Impact of COVID-19 on Admissions Considerations

We understand that the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic has been disruptive to all and that student experiences in response to the disruption have not been equitable. In response to these events, we recognize that some applicants will have concerns about the impacts these events could have on admissions. University of Colorado Boulder, College of Engineering and Applied Science is dedicated to recruiting and supporting diverse, talented students and we are dedicated to holistic application reviews and supporting students when they arrive on campus. 

We want to be clear that we understand 

  • students have been facing and will face unprecedented challenges during this time. 
  • testing centers and schools have suspended operations.
  • many students and institutions have chosen to adopt the Pass/Fail (or Credit/No Credit) option due to these events.
  • due to this disruption students may not have performed to their usual abilities during times of remote study or challenging classroom adjustments. 
  • some research projects will have been interrupted or will be incomplete as a result of university and facility closures. 
  • many students will be unable to take on internships and summer research programs or other professional development initiatives, as they had planned.  
  • there are myriad other challenging circumstances that have arisen in individuals’ experiences.

We will take this all into consideration as we review applications holistically, understanding that our goal continues to be a graduate student cohort of future leaders, full of diverse life experiences and perspectives that will add new dimensions to our existing graduate community. If you have any questions about your specific circumstances, please contact: Meredith.Canode@colorado.edu, Director of Graduate Programs, CU Engineering. 

Be well and stay safe and healthy.

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 2022 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, 2021. 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 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. Four Letters of Recommendation: 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.
  3. Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  4. Personal Statement: Limited to two pages and should address the following areas:
    • Your reasons for applying to CU Boulder and your preparation for this field of study
    • Scientific and professional goals and other aspects of your background and interests which may aid the admission committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study
      • If you are interested in pursuing research as part of your degree at CU Boulder, please include the following information in your personal statement:
        • What are your research interests?
        • Are there any faculty you are specifically interested in working with?
        • Please include if you have external funding such as government fellowships, corporate sponsorships, etc.
  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 115
  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.