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Application Questions

What is the application deadline?

Application deadlines can be found on our deadlines webpage.

What is the application fee?

Domestic application fee is $60. The fee can be paid online when you submit your application via credit card or electronic check.

International application fee is $80. If you do not live in the US or have a US bank account, paying by credit card is your best option. If you do not have a credit card or prefer not to pay that way, your next best option is to send an international money order made payable to the University of Colorado.

Please note the application fee is nonrefundable.

Do you offer an application fee waiver?

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 November 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) member. Please contact Meredith Canode prior to submitting your application to have the fee waived.

The Graduate School also offers application fee waivers for participants in the following programs:

  • AmeriCorps (currently serving)
  • Louis-Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP)
  • McNair Scholars Program, Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Scholars Program
  • Peace Corps (currently serving)
  • Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP)
  • Teach for America
  • Leadership Alliance
  • Project 1000
  • All active duty U.S. military, veterans, those who have previously served, those in the National Guard, and those on Active Reserve will automatically have their application fee waived.

If you are affiliated with one of these programs, please send proof of your affiliation to gradadm@colorado.edu before you submit your application, and we will process your fee waiver for you. 

Should I submit official transcripts when I apply?

No. You only need to submit unofficial transcripts with your application. The Graduate School will request official transcripts if you are accepted.

Do I need to provide a transcript from every post-secondary institution I have attended?

Yes. We require one copy of a scanned unofficial transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution you attended. This includes community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs. While credits from one institution may appear on the transcript of a second institution, transcripts must be submitted from each institution, regardless of the length of attendance, and whether or not courses were completed. 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.

Do I need to send transcripts for transfer credit?

Yes. While credits from one institution may appear on the transcript of a second institution, unofficial transcripts must be submitted from each institution, regardless of the length of attendance, and whether or not courses were completed.

Is the GRE Required?

No, the GRE is not required.

What is the page limit for my personal statement?

The personal statement should be limited to two pages. 

Are there any requirements as to who should complete the letters of recommendation and how many are needed?

Four letters of recommendation are required. At least three academic references are preferred. If you have not recently been in an academic setting, you may use professional references from managers, clients, etc. References should be requested from individuals qualified to judge your potential for success in graduate school.

How do I submit the letters of recommendation?

In the online application, you will provide the name and e-mail of your recommender(s). An e-mail will be sent immediately to your recommender with a unique link to the online recommendation form. The recommender simply fills it out and submits the form online, along with their letter. Once it is submitted, the recommendation is automatically received. You and your recommender will receive a notification e-mail as well. To ensure your application is complete in time for review, we recommend sending the recommendation request right away while you complete the finishing touches on your application.

What if my recommender did not receive the request?

If a recommender informs you that they did not receive a link to the recommendation form, you can resend the recommendation or update their e-mail address on your application status page. Underneath the checklist on your status page, you will see a link to resend notifications to your recommender. Click that, and then select edit next to your recommender’s name and click “send reminder”. From there, you can update your recommender’s e-mail address and resend the notification. We also recommend having your recommender check their junk/spam e-mail box.

Can I replace a recommender?

Yes. Once you login to your application status page, you can change the e-mail address of a recommender or replace a recommender (as long as the letter has not been received yet). You will need to edit the recommender and then choose to ‘Exclude’. This will then allow you to reenter the corrected recommender information as a new entry.

Can recommendation letters be mailed in?

Yes. The letters must come in signed and sealed envelopes.

For Domestic Applicants:

Graduate Admissions
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine Street - 553 UCB Bldg. RL3 Suite A122
Boulder, CO 80303-1058


For International Applicants:

For standard international mail or mail within the US, including USPS Priority and Express:

Office of Admissions/International
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine St Suite A122 65
UCB Boulder, CO 80309-0065


USA Overnight/Express Mailing Address (DHL, UPS, FedEx)

Office of Admissions/International
University of Colorado Boulder
3100 Marine Street - 65 UCB Bldg. RL3 Suite A122
Boulder, CO 80303-1058 USA 303-492-6301

Can I upload additional documents like thesis, reports, papers, portfolios, or presentations in the application?

No. Unfortunately, you cannot upload additional documents to your application.

Can I add materials, or change the information in my application, once it’s been submitted?

No. Unfortunately, no edits are allowed to an already submitted application; however, additional materials (e.g. recommendations, transcripts, etc.) can be added by forwarding those materials directly to the admissions office. Make sure to include your full name and either the application number or your employee/student ID number.

Do I need a master’s degree to apply for the PhD?

No. Many of our students enroll directly from their undergraduate institution with only a Bachelor’s degree.

I have taken graduate level courses from another engineering program. Are any of these courses transferable?

In some cases, a limited number of graduate level course credits can be transferred from another regionally accredited institution and applied toward a master’s or PhD degree. These credits must be approved by your faculty advisor and the Graduate School. Students who have completed their first semester in the masters or PhD program are eligible to seek transfer credit.

Students seeking a degree from the University of Colorado Boulder must complete the majority of their coursework while enrolled in a graduate program as a degree seeking student. Generally speaking, graduate level courses that have not been used toward a bachelor’s degree, and in which grades of B or better are earned, are eligible for transfer into the MS or PhD programs. Credits from a completed master’s program cannot be transferred into a current master’s program. A maximum of 9 credits can be transferred to the MS program, and a maximum of 18 credits can be transferred to the PhD program.

Can I defer my enrollment?

Enrollment can be deferred for up to one year from the original application term. A written request (e-mail is acceptable) 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 our graduate program can be applied to your degree.

Prerequisite Questions

Where can I take my prerequisites?

You can take prerequisites at any regionally accredited university or college, including community colleges. 

What is the time limit on prerequisites?

We will consider all successfully completed courses, regardless of the amount of time since completion. Because of the nature of our programs, it is important that students have a working knowledge of all prerequisite subjects in order to build on that foundation.

Can online courses meet the prerequisite requirements?

Yes. We accept online courses for prerequisite requirements as long as they are completed at a regionally accredited institution and meet the semester hour and grade requirements.

Can I start my graduate degree while I complete my prerequisites?

Yes. You can start taking graduate courses while you complete any required prerequisites. All prerequisites need to be completed prior to applying for graduation. To verify the successful completion of prerequisite courses, you will need to submit official transcripts.

Program Questions

How do I schedule a visit to the Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering Department?

Faculty welcome visitors and appointments should be made directly with them via e-mail. Faculty information is found on our website. You should directly contact faculty members who specialize in an area of interest similar to your own by sending them an e-mail requesting an appointment and/or tour of their labs.

The university’s Admission Visit Programs offers individual appointments, information sessions, and campus tours to provide a full picture of life at CU Boulder.

You can also use this self-guided tour map to visit campus anytime that is convenient for you.

Click here for maps and driving directions. It is recommended that visitors park in metered lots designated for public parking, which are located on the campus map.

Who is my faculty advisor?

Your initial faculty advisor will be listed in your acceptance letter attached to the e-mail with your admission decision. You can access this letter in your application portal. If you wish to change advisors, you will need to communicate this to both your current and new faculty advisor. If both faculty members agree to the change, please contact the graduate program advisor to have the change officially made in the BuffPortal.

Establishing Colorado Residence

How do I know if I am eligible for in-state tuition?

To determine whether you are eligible to apply for in-state tuition classification, visit the Tuition Classification section of the Office of the Registrar’s website.

I am a member of the armed forces. Can I qualify for in-state tuition?

Active duty members of the armed forces of the United States and Canada on permanent duty stationed in Colorado, and their dependents (as defined by military regulations), are eligible for in-state status regardless of domicile or length of residence. For further information regarding tuition classification, please contact the Office of the Registrar at 303-492-0907 or registrar@colorado.edu.

If I defer my admission to establish residency, can I take any courses?

Yes. 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.

As a domestic PhD student, do I need to establish Colorado residency?

Yes. All domestic non-resident graduate students (including permanent residents) must obtain Colorado in-state tuition classification prior to the start of their second year of employment as a graduate student. Instructions on how to apply for residency can be found on the Office of the Registrar’s website. Failure to do so will result in ineligibility for tuition coverage, starting with the following semester.

Graduate Student Tuition and Fees & Financial Aid

How do I apply for Federal Financial Aid?

In most instances, a domestic graduate student will be eligible for enough federal financial aid to cover their total cost of attendance. The cost of attendance (budget) includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, rent and utilities, food, medical, transportation, and personal expenses. Please note that car expenses (payments, insurance, repairs), credit card payments, and rent/utilities over the budgeted amount are not included. For more information regarding your eligibility for financial aid, please contact the CU Office of Financial Aid at 303-492-5091 or via the e-mail form.

How do I apply for teaching assistantships, research assistantship, and fellowships?

The admissions committee automatically considers admitted students for graduate assistantships/fellowships; there is no separate fellowship application. Recipients are selected during the admissions process, and in most circumstances, will be notified before their $200 academic deposit is due.

Do you offer any resources on fellowships, scholarships, or grants?

Yes! The Graduate School offers a robust list of national fellowship opportunities along with information about grants, a scholarship search list, and other funding opportunities.

How much will the program cost?

Tuition and fees are charged at variable rates based on residency, program, student status, and the number of enrolled credits each semester. Understanding the structure of tuition and fees can help to maximize the return on educational investment. Detailed information on tuition and fees is available at this section of the CU Bursar’s Office website.​

Fees are determined based on a number of factors. To determine the fees for which you are responsible, first identify your graduate status. A full list of mandatory fees, by graduate status, can be found on the Bursar's Office website.