Applications should be submitted through the Graduate Admissions portal.

The CU Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science is waiving the application fee for fall 2024 PhD applicants who meet either of the following criteria:

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident with an undergraduate GPA of 3.4+ and apply before Nov. 15, 2023. The application fee will automatically be waived for applicants who meet these criteria; no code is required.
  • National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) members: Please contact Meredith Canode prior to submitting your application to have the fee waived.

The application process differs for domestic and international applicants. Please read all application requirements and instructions carefully.

See Deadlines page for applicable deadlines. Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as possible before the deadline.  Admission is done on a rolling basis, and early applicants will sometimes have access to more funding opportunities.

Application Requirements:

  1. 3.00 Undergraduate GPA: Applicants who cannot meet this undergraduate standard may still secure regular admission if they have completed 9 semester hours of relevant graduate course work with at least a 3.25 average.
  2. Three Letters of Recommendation: At least two academic references are preferred. If you have not recently been in an academic setting, you may use professional references from managers, clients, etc.
  3. Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  4. Personal Statement: We require a personal statement of no more than two pages. This is where a student can outline their interests, future goals, and how their prior experiences have prepared and motivated them to pursue a graduate degree from CU Boulder. Additionally, students that are pursuing research are asked to provide information about how prior research and professional experiences shaped their interests for graduate school. Your personal statement should address the following areas:
    • What inspired you to pursue a degree in this field, and how does your background prepare you for success in the program? Please be as specific as possible and highlight any relevant coursework, research, or professional experiences that have influenced your decision to pursue this degree.
    • What specific areas of research or practice within the department interest you most, and why? If interested in research, which professors are you interested in working with? Explain your rationale.
    • Describe a significant academic or professional accomplishment that demonstrates your ability to succeed in the graduate program. What challenges did you encounter, and how did you overcome them? How did this experience prepare you for the rigor of graduate-level coursework and research?
    • How would your experience or engagement with issues related to diversity add to the field of civil, environmental, and architectural engineering over the next 10 years? This can include working with diverse communities, involvement or leadership with diversity-related student groups, or other forms of engagement.
    • What are your career aspirations following completion of the degree, and how do you see the program at CU helping you achieve these goals?
  5. Unofficial Transcripts: Upload an unofficial copy of your transcript(s) from all undergraduate and graduate institution(s) you attended. This includes community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs. Failure to list and submit transcripts from all institutions previously attended is considered to be a violation of academic ethics and may result in the cancellation of your admission or dismissal from the university.
  6. International Applicants: International applicants must provide a TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo score if English is not your native language. The English proficiency requirement will be waived if you have completed at least one year of full-time study at a US institution (or at an institution in a country where English is the native language) at the time you apply, and within two years from your desired admission term. Your transcripts are used to confirm this. Non-native English speakers only should provide certification of adequate spoken and written English. Preferred scores for each English proficiency exam are:
    • TOEFL 90 (only internet-based tests are accepted)
    • IELTS 7.0
    • Duolingo 120
  7. GRE: The GRE is not required. 

If you have any problems or questions during the application process, please contact the department’s graduate program advisor.

If you are interested in participating in the Mortenson Center Graduate Certificate option, include in your statement of purpose:
  • How your previous experience (EWB, Peace Corps, professional, etc.) prepares you for the Mortenson Center in Global Engineering program;
  • A description of language training you have received to prepare yourself for Mortenson Center in Global Engineering-related activities and your level of fluency in listening, speaking, reading, and writing in any language other than English;
  • State your clearly defined area of interest for graduate study in engineering for developing communities (i.e., water/sanitation/hygiene, energy, cook stoves, shelter, disaster relief, etc.); and,
  • An indication of how participating in the Mortenson Center Graduate Certificate option will further your academic and professional ambitions

The Mortenson Center Graduate Certificate is unique within the Western region of the United States, and offers residents of eligible WICHE-participating states a tuition benefit via the Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP). For more information, please visit the WICHE WRGP website. If you believe you are eligible, make sure to mark the appropriate checkbox in the Background Information section of the online application – see the Supplemental Information section. The Tuition Classification division of the Office of the Registrar requires significant documentation to verify eligibility.

Please note that your application must be complete before it is processed.

The Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering (CEAE) Department graduate committee will look closely at your area of specialization, your undergraduate degree and GPA, your recommendation letters, and your statement of purpose.

We recognize that GPA alone does not paint a complete picture of an applicant’s prior performance and future potential, our most competitive applicants meet the target 3.00 undergraduate grade point average, or have completed 9 semester hours of relevant graduate course work with at least a 3.25 grade point average. Applicants must also show promise of ability to pursue advanced study and research, as judged by their application materials.

All applicants will be automatically considered for teaching assistantship and research assistantships. 

However, the process is extremely competitive, and applying to or being admitted to the program does not guarantee support. You should contact professors in your specialization area for research assistantship availability. Unless exceptionally well qualified, you will be considered for financial support only after you have demonstrated superior performance in academic work during your first year in residence.

Please indicate if you have external funding – government fellowships, corporate sponsorships, etc. – in your statement of purpose.

If we decide to offer you financial support in the form of assistantships or fellowships, we will notify you in a separate letter once that decision has been made.

All applicants will receive an admission decision via e-mail informing you of the CEAE Graduate Committee’s admission recommendation.

If accepted, your e-mail will include a message from the Dean of the Graduate School along with an attached acceptance letter from the CEAE Graduate Committee. This letter will include the name of your temporary faculty advisor. If applicable, the letter will also include any prerequisite courses required by your specialization program or provisions to your acceptance.  You must respond to all forms received from the Graduate School to become a student at the University of Colorado Boulder.

To accept your offer of admission, you must confirm your admission in your application portal and submit a $200 academic deposit. This deposit is held by the university until you graduate or officially withdraw within established deadlines.

If you receive an offer of admission and confirm your intent to enroll, you will be required to submit your official transcripts to Graduate Admissions. Do not send official transcripts until a final official transcript is available - including all graded coursework and degree with graduation date. Official transcripts must match the unofficial ones that were submitted with your application.

An advising registration hold is be placed on all incoming graduate students. To have the hold removed, you will need to meet with your faculty advisor to discuss your degree plan. Once this conversation takes place, your faculty advisor will notify the Graduate Program Advisors, and the hold will be removed. If you are unsure who your faculty advisor is, this information is included in your acceptance letter. If you are having trouble getting this hold removed or any other registration concerns, please contact the graduate program advisor.

Enrollment can be deferred for up to one year from the original application term. An email request must be sent to the graduate program advisor for a deferment. If the deferment is requested to establish residency, one course per semester can be taken through the Division of Continuing Education ACCESS program at a lower rate than non-resident tuition. With your faculty advisor’s approval, up to three courses taken before beginning your graduate program can be applied to your MS degree.