Transforming technology: Creating the Purdue Polytechnic Institute

As pioneers of learn-by-doing and use-inspired research, Purdue is forging a new path for technology education through the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. With an intense focus on innovative learning methods, hands-on experiences and industry partnerships, the University is preparing students with the skills, knowledge and training required by business and industry today and in the decades to come.


  • Transform the Purdue Polytechnic Institute courses, curricula and plans of study as follows:
    • Increase hands-on learning and other applied learning activities
    • Replace traditional “sage on the stage” lectures with “active learning” instructional techniques
    • Employ team project-based learning in majority of courses
    • Integrate humanities and social science studies with technology studies
    • Develop competency-based programs and student e-portfolios
    • For all students, include a two-semester senior capstone project that is sponsored or recommended by industry partners
    • Include globalization/cultural immersions to strengthen students’ cultural competency
    • Offer students comprehensive, one-on-one professional mentorship opportunities
  • Make the Purdue Polytechnic Institute the University's hub for consumer-oriented technology research.
  • Offer students the opportunity to earn an innovation certification through the development of a market-ready product or technology.

 Major Milestones

  • In fall 2014, the former College of Technology launched a pilot program with 36 students that offered a transformed curriculum, teaching methods, teaching spaces and student assessments, designed to inform the transformation of the entire college.
  • The College of Technology was officially renamed the Purdue Polytechnic Institute in May 2015. 
  • In fall 2015, the Purdue Polytechnic Institute launched its transformed first-year experience to more than 600 students. 
  • In March 2016, the Purdue Polytechnic Institute received final approval from the Higher Learning Commission for the nation's first-ever competency-based degree program at a public research university. The Polytechnic’s new Transdisciplinary Studies program combines individualized plans of study, close faculty mentoring and a competency-based approach to learning.
  • The Purdue Polytechnic Institute implemented a faculty mentor program for second-year students in spring 2017 to provide career guidance and professional mentorship. The program was expanded to third-year Polytechnic students in fall 2017. 
  • In fall 2018, a second competency-based program, Transdisciplinary Studies in Engineering Technology, began. 
  • Over the last seven years, the Purdue Polytechnic Institute has achieved a 39% increase in undergraduate enrollment and a 60% increase in graduate student enrollment. In fall 2020, the college set an enrollment record for the fourth consecutive year. 


  • The Purdue Polytechnic Institute offers 70 academic options in six subject areas at the main Purdue campus in West Lafayette.
  • New beginner enrollment in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute has grown every year since the college's transformation began in 2013, with record enrollment of women and underrepresented minority students.
  • The Purdue Bound program, formerly called Science Bound, moved from the Office of the Provost to become part of the Purdue Polytechnic Institute in September 2015 in alignment with the missions of both areas.
  • More than 90 percent of undergraduate courses in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute involve significant learn-by-doing lab or lab-like activities, including team project-based learning to prepare students for work in organizations that rely on effective teamwork for success.
  • Recognizing the power of integrating technology studies with humanities and social science studies, the majority of Polytechnic undergraduate majors require completion of the Cornerstone program offered by the College of Liberal Arts.
  • To help graduating students become even more career-ready, all schools/departments in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute require a two-semester senior capstone course or project that is sponsored or recommended by industry or community partners. Additionally, all academic units require an internship or other workforce-like activity in their plans of study.
  • All Purdue Polytechnic Institute programs of study require a globalization/cultural immersion experience designed to enrich students' perspectives and enhance their ability to succeed in a culturally diverse marketplace.
  • To facilitate collaboration with the Purdue Research Park Aerospace District and Purdue Aviation, LLC, the Department of Aviation Technology expanded into the School of Aviation and Transportation Technology.
  • In July 2017, the Polytechnic Institute announced that it will provide courses, seminars and workshops at the WestGate@Crane Technology Park as part of a collaboration among Purdue University, the Purdue Research Foundation and WestGate Authority, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division (NSWC Crane).
  • The Polytechnic Institute expanded its Project Lead the Way partnership, moving annual core training for K-12 teachers from Kokomo to West Lafayette and providing up to 12 credit hours toward Purdue Polytechnic majors to high school students who successfully complete Project Lead the Way courses.