Admission & Enrollment Policies

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Freshman Applicants

Prospective engineering students must have a mathematical aptitude and keen interest in science and its methods. Curiosity about the natural principles governing the behavior of forces and materials and the ability to visualize structures and concepts are prerequisites. Strong skills are also essential in written and oral communications.

The college seeks applicants who demonstrate a high probability of completing their designated engineering degree program. Admission is based on the evaluation of many criteria; among the most important are the general level of academic performance prior to admission, performance on standardized tests, and other evidence of motivation, potential, academic ability, and accomplishment. These factors are indicated by academic records, test scores, letters of recommendation, and personal accomplishments.

Specific admission requirements are detailed in Undergraduate Admission in the General Information section of this catalog. All students are expected to be enrolled as full-time students and must petition to be enrolled part time.

For more information, see

Confirming Your Choice of Major

When students apply to the College of Engineering and Applied Science from high school, they may indicate to enter the college as “open option” (unsure of engineering major), or they may select a preliminary engineering major. Sometime after completion of the first semester, and by March 15 at the latest, all students should finalize their choice of major in the college. For details regarding this process, see (Confirming Your Choice of Major).

Transfer Students

Students desiring to transfer from other accredited collegiate institutions are considered for admission on an individual basis if they meet the transfer student competitive admissions requirements outlined in Undergraduate Admission in the General Information section. All transfer students are expected to be enrolled as full-time students and must be admitted to the college prior to the last 45 semester credit hours of their degree program.

For more information, see

Intercampus Transfer Students

Admission criteria for students at other CU campuses are the same as for other transfer students.

The student is advised that the engineering degree requirements differ from one campus to another in the number of credit hours required for the degree, specific course content and titles, and residency required in the college. Where there is a difference in credit hours between courses listed as equivalent, the College of Engineering and Applied Science at CU-Boulder applies the smaller number of credit hours. To ensure the maximum acceptance of credit toward degree requirements and minimize the length of time required to complete the degree, the student planning an intercampus transfer must contact the destination major department as soon as possible once deciding to complete an engineering degree at another University of Colo-rado campus.

Generally, an intercampus transfer should be accomplished at the end of the first year, with some course selection coordination required between the student and the degree-granting major department during that year. With increased course selection coordination, some students may be able to delay their transfer until the middle or end of the sophomore year. Beyond that point, the student is most likely to lose substantial course credit and time in completing degree requirements.

For additional information, see (Intercampus Transfer).

Intrauniversity Transfer Students

Undergraduate intrauniversity transfers (IUTs) on the Boulder campus of the University of Colorado to the College of Engineering and Applied Science are considered on designated criteria. The applicant’s academic record must fulfill the IUT admissions requirements of the College of Engineering and Applied Science. Specific admission criteria and application details may be found at (Intra-University Transfer).

Former Students

A former student is expected to meet the current requirements outlined in Undergraduate Admissions in the General Information section and must reapply to the university. Courses taken at other collegiate institutions are not necessarily a determining factor in the student’s readmission to the University of Colorado, but transcripts on all such work must be submitted. 

Interruption of studies may require completion of current degree work in addition to repetition of course work for new degree requirements.

A former student returning to the college after a break in attendance must have course work reevaluated by the major department if it is older than 10 years from the date of his or her return. 

Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS)

All students entering the University of Colorado who finished high school in the spring of 1988 or after must meet Minimum Academic Preparation Standards (MAPS) specified by each school or college. The College of Engineering and Applied Science has adopted the following standards for students. These standards are defined in high school units; a unit is one full year of high school course work:

  • English: 4 units
  • Mathematics: 4 units (includes at least 2 of algebra, 1 of geometry, and 1 of college preparatory math such as trigonometry, analytic geometry, or elementary functions)
  • Natural Science: 3 units (includes 1 of physics AND 1 of biology or chemistry; or 2 of chemistry AND 1 of physics or biology; or 2 of biology AND 1 of chemistry or physics)
  • Social Science: 3 units
  • Foreign Language: 3 of the same foreign language or 2 years in each of two different foreign languages

Students are strongly encouraged to fulfill MAPS requirements prior to entering the College of Engineering and Applied Science. In some cases, students may be admitted even though they have not met all MAPS. If you have a MAPS deficiency, you are required to complete the appropriate MAPS courses prior to your graduation from college through courses taken at CU, other institutions of higher education, or approved credit-by-examination programs. It is the student’s responsibility to be aware of any MAPS deficiencies and complete them in a timely manner. The major department has the responsibility to advise the student on which courses must be taken to satisfy any MAPS deficiencies.

For additional information, see (Advanced Placement and MAPS).


Successful work in the College of Engineering and Applied Science is dependent upon uninterrupted attendance in all classes. Students who are unavoidably absent should make arrangements with instructors to make up the work missed. If students stop attending a course in which they are enrolled, they will receive a failing grade (F) if their overall academic performance, including missed work, is at a failing level. 

If a student misses a final examination because of illness or other valid personal emergency, the student must notify the instructor and the dean’s office no later than the end of the day on which the final examination is given. Failure to properly notify these officials may result in an F in the course.

Changing Majors

The form necessary for transferring from one undergraduate engineering major to another, or to add an additional engineering major, is available in the dean’s office (ECAD 100) and at (Change of Major). 

Class Standing

To be classified as a sophomore in the college, a student must have completed 30 semester credit hours; to be classified as a junior, 60 hours; and to be classified as a senior, 90 hours. A student with more than 120 hours is classified as a fifth-year senior. All transfer students are classified on this basis according to their hours of credit accepted at the University of Colorado. This class standing does not necessarily reflect the academic standing of a student in a degree program.

Credit Policies

Advanced Placement

Advanced placement (AP) and college credit may be granted on the basis of the College Entrance Examination Board’s (CEEB) Advanced Placement tests. For students who have taken an advanced placement course in high school and who make the required score in the CEEB’s Advanced Placement examination, advanced placement and college credit are granted. All advanced placement credit must be validated by satisfactory achievement in subsequent courses, in accordance with the transfer credit policies of the college. For additional information, see (Advanced Placement and MAPS).

College-Level Examination Program Credit

Prospective students may earn college credit on select College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) examinations, provided that they score at the 67th percentile or above. A list of subjects in which CLEP examinations are accepted may be obtained in the College of Engineering and Applied Science dean’s office. All CLEP credit must be validated by satisfactory achievement in subsequent courses, in accordance with the transfer credit policies of the college.

Credit for Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC)

Up to 6 semester hours of credit of approved ROTC courses may be counted toward a student’s degree requirements in the humanities/social sciences. These approved courses may be found at With written approval from the student’s major department, additional ROTC credit hours may be applied as free electives and/or technical professional electives.

Final Grade Appeal

The college’s grade appeal policy may be found at (Appealing a Grade).


The grade of I (incomplete) may be given by an engineering faculty member when requested and only with documented circumstances beyond a student’s control. A substantial amount of work must have been satisfactorily completed before approval for such a grade is given. If an incomplete grade is given, the instructor is required to document both the conditions precedent to the removal of the incomplete and the time limit for the fulfillment of these conditions. The specified time shall not exceed a one-year period. A copy of the “Incomplete Grade Form” is filed with the dean’s office, the student’s major department, the instructor, and the student involved. 

Course work to complete a grade of I must be taken on the same campus on which the grade of I was awarded. Credit for a course similar to the course in which the grade of I was awarded may not be used to substitute for the incomplete course or be used to remove the grade of I.

If the I grade is not resolved within one year, it reverts to an F.

No Credit Restrictions

In the College of Engineering and Applied Science, courses required for fulfillment of graduation requirements cannot be taken for no credit (NC). Once a course has been taken for no credit, the course cannot be repeated for credit. Engineering students must petition for approval before enrolling for any course NC.

Pass/Fail Option

The primary purpose for offering courses on a pass/fail grading option is to encourage students to broaden their educational experience by selecting elective courses with this grade option without serious risk to their academic record. Individual departments may have rules that should be checked before registering for the pass/fail option. The college pass/fail policy is:

  1. The maximum number of credit hours a student may elect with the pass/fail option shall be designated by the student’s major department, but no more than 16 semester hours of pass/fail credit can be applied toward degree requirements. (Study abroad pass/fail credit is exempt from this limitation.)
  2. Students should obtain advance approval via petition prior to selecting the pass/fail option. Course work taken pass/fail without appropriate approval may be reverted to the letter grade earned.
  3. All students who wish to register for the pass/fail option must do so during the university registration or schedule adjustment period. 
  4. Students on academic probation may not elect the pass/fail grade option.

Transfer Credit

After a prospective transfer student has applied and submitted transcripts to the University of Colorado, the Office of Admissions issues a transfer credit evaluation listing those courses acceptable for transfer by University of Colorado Boulder standards. A copy of this evaluation is made a part of the student’s college record. The student’s major department will then indicate which of those courses are acceptable in meeting engineering degree requirements. It is the responsibility of the transfer student to request final validation of the transfer credit hours by the major department and confirm that this validation is noted in the student’s college file.

If at any time a student wishes to have a course not previously accepted reconsidered for transfer, the student should consult with the faculty transfer credit evaluator in the major department  and petition the dean through the department for approval of the course.

Nontransferable Credit Hours. Students desiring to transfer credit hours from engineering technology programs should note that such credit hours are accepted only upon submission of evidence that the work involved was fully equivalent to that offered in this college.

Some technology courses are taught with titles and textbooks identical to those in similar engineering courses. These courses may still not be equivalent to engineering courses because the areas of academic em-phasis are divergent.

In order to assist engineering technology students with transfer problems, the following guidelines have been established:

  1. Courses on basic subjects such as mathematics, physics, foreign languages, literature, or history may be acceptable for transfer credit if they were taught as part of an accredited program for all students and were not specifically designated for technology students.
  2. Students who have taken courses with technology designations that may be valid equivalents for engineering courses have these options:
  • They may petition for permission to waive the course requirement. The course requirement can be waived if students demonstrate that, by previous course work, individual study, or work experience, they have acquired the background and training normally provided by the course. No credit is given for a waived course, but students may benefit from the waiver by being able to include more advanced work in their curriculum. Other students may profit by repeating the course at this college and thus establishing a fully sound basis for what follows.
  • The appropriate University of Colo-rado academic department may recommend to the dean’s office that credit be transferred to count toward the requirements for a related course in its curriculum. Credit cannot be given for vocational/technical or remedial courses under rules of the university. 
  • The student may seek credit for the course by examination. 

For more information on transfer of credit policies, see Transfer of College-Level Credit in the Undergraduate Admission section.

Work Experience

It is the academic policy of the College of Engineering and Applied Science that credits accrued in the official records of a student that were awarded for work or co-op experience do not apply toward degree requirements.

Petition Policy

A student desiring a waiver of college or departmental policies must request and secure approval for this waiver through a petition procedure. Petitions are first presented to the student’s major department for review, followed by review at the dean’s office. It is the student’s responsibility to obtain official notification of the petition decision from the dean’s office. Petition forms and information on the petition procedure are available in the dean’s office, in the academic department office, or at (Petition Form). 

Registration and Enrollment

To ensure the prompt completion of degree requirements and satisfaction of the four-year guarantee, the undergraduate student is expected to register for, and complete each semester, a full-time course load as outlined in the relevant major department curriculum. All students are expected to be enrolled full time and must petition to be enrolled part time. Part-time enrollment (less than 12 credit hours) will negatively impact the student’s financial aid and scholarships, and is likely to negatively impact student health insurance, on-campus housing, and the four-year graduation guarantee. Students must also petition to be enrolled in more than 19 credit hours in any given semester. 

Sequence of Courses

Students are expected to follow the curriculum recommended by their major department.

A student who receives a grade of D+ or lower in a course that is prerequisite to another may not enroll in the succeeding course without an approved petition from the student’s major department, the instructor of the succeeding course, and the dean’s office. (Check with the major department for more stringent requirements on prerequisite course grades.)

All courses are not necessarily offered each semester. According to college policy, undergraduate courses having an enrollment of fewer than 20 students may be cancelled. Students can minimize scheduling problems by closely following the curricular sequence recommended by their major department. If a course is unavailable, a student may petition to enroll for equivalent study.

Grading System, Pass/Fail, and Drop/Add Procedures

See Registration in the General Information section for the University of Colorado uniform grading system and for additional pass/fail option information and drop/add procedures. Specific dates and procedures may be found at

Only under circumstances beyond the student’s control are petitions for dropping courses approved after the drop deadline. Students in their first semester at CU-Boulder may be approved to drop a course through the 10th week of the semester. 

Repetition of Courses

Students are not to register for credit in courses in which they already have received a final grade of C- or higher, unless the major department requires a higher grade in the course. When students take a course for credit more than once, all grades are used in determining their University of Colorado GPA (unless the Course Repetition Program had been utilized). A final grade of F in a required course necessitates that the course be repeated and a satisfactory final grade attained. Students may not register for credit in any course they have previously completed for no credit (NC).

A student may not enroll more than three times in a course that applies toward degree requirements; furthermore, after the third attempt, a student may not substitute an equivalent course.

Summer Courses

An expanded selection of summer session courses is offered for new and continuing students and for those who must remove academic deficiencies. For information about courses, see Students on academic suspension may not register for Maymester courses. 

Withdrawal from the University

Engineering undergraduate students may withdraw only during the first six weeks of the semester. After this time, withdrawals are permitted by this college only upon presentation of evidence to verify that the withdrawal is necessary because of documented conditions clearly beyond the student’s control (medical, psychiatric, or extended family emergency).

If a student withdraws, college permission may be required for reenrollment. Students who interrupt their course of study may be required to complete all current degree requirements and to repeat courses previously completed.