Past Education

To be eligible for the PhD degree program, applicants must hold an undergraduate degree in engineering, sciences or mathematics from an institution accredited by an agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. A complete list of accredited institutions and agencies is available from the Database of Accredited Post-Secondary Institutions and Programs

Given the technical and quantitative nature of our graduate courses, any such degree should have included—or exceeded—the following course recommendations:

  • Undergraduate courses in calculus, linear algebra, and differential equations
  • Two semesters of undergraduate calculus-based physics
  • At least two semesters of upper-division undergraduate courses in engineering or physics

If you have an undergraduate degree that does not cover these recommended courses, please email the graduate program team at prior to applying. If you completed prior graduate coursework or a graduate degree that includes some or all of the above course recommendations, then you are eligible to apply, even if your undergraduate degree does not include the recommended courses.

You do not need to have a master's degree to be admitted to our mechanical engineering PhD program! If you join the program without an MS degree, you can earn one during the same time as earning your PhD degree. Many incoming PhD students will have prior degrees in some type of engineering, although students from other fields, such as physics, mathematics, biology, and chemistry are also routinely admitted and can acquire any missing background material during the course of their PhD studies at CU Boulder. 


Although GPA alone doesn't paint a complete picture of a graduate student’s prior performance and future potential, our most competitive applicants have an undergraduate and graduate GPA of 3.4 or above.

English Language Test Scores

International applicants are also required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Preferred scores for each of these tests are the following:

  • TOEFL: The minimum required score is 80, but a score of 90 or above is preferred.
  • IELTS: The minimum required score is 6.5, but a score of 7.5 or above is preferred.
  • Duolingo Englist Test (DET): The minimum required score is 120.

Note: The English language exam requirement is waived for international applicants whose native language is English, or who have completed at least one year of full-time study at a U.S. Institution (or at an institution in a country where English is the native language), within two years from the desired admission term. Additionally, applicants from countries listed on the Graduate School's English Proficiency Requirements webpage are not required to take an English language exam.

GRE Not Required

We have discontinued the requirement for applicants seeking admission to the PhD or MS program to submit GRE scores.