For students not currently enrolled as undergraduate or graduate students at CU who would like to be considered for the PhD degree program, the following items must be submitted:

An application must be completed through the graduate school admissions website.

An application fee of $60 for domestic applicants and $80 for international applicants must be paid at the time of application. 

The Paul M. Rady Department of Mechanical Engineering understands that this application fee presents a challenge for some applicants. Our community is committed to providing educational opportunities for a diverse range of applicants and strives to waive application fees whenever possible. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at with any questions you may have about the various fee waiver opportunities listed below.

  1. Graduate School fee waivers are available for participants in the following programs. If you are affiliated with one of these programs, please email proof of your affiliation to before you apply to receive a waiver. 
    1. AmeriCorps (currently serving)
    2. Louis-Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP)
    3. McNair Scholars Program
    4. Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Scholars Program
    5. Peace Corps (currently serving)
    6. Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP)
    7. Teach for America
    8. Leadership Alliance
  2. Members of the U.S. military will receive an automatic application fee waiver from the graduate school upon submission of the application.
  3. Domestic PhD candidates with a 3.4 or higher undergraduate GPA who apply for admission prior to November 15, 2023 will receive an automatic application fee waiver upon submission of the application.
  4. International PhD candidates with the equivalent of a 3.4 or higher undergraduate GPA may apply for an application fee waiver through the application portal before Nov. 15. You will find out by Nov. 15 if you have received an application fee waiver. Application fee waivers are limited and not every competitive applicant will receive a waiver. The more information you can provide - including a personal statement, letters of recommendation, transcripts, and fulfilling our English proficiency requirements - the better we will be able to assess your qualifications. 
    1. Faculty members may request a fee waiver for an international PhD candidate by emailing with the full name and email of the specific international student as it appears on their application. 
  5. Fee waivers are also available directly from the department for MS and PhD candidates who are not eligible for the Graduate School fee waiver (see above for requirements for the Graduate School fee waiver); and are a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident, or DACA recipient; and meet any one of the following:
    1. The application fee is a financial hardship.
    2. You are a first-generation college student. 
    3. You are/were involved in any organization aimed at increasing access to higher education and/or improving the higher education experience for students from underrepresented backgrounds. Some examples of organizations that meet this requirement include:
      1. National Society for Black Engineers (NSBE) members/participants
      2. Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE)
      3. TRiO program participant
        1. ​CU Boulder Guardian Scholars Program
      4. GEM Fellowship applicant
      5. Bill and Melinda Gates Millenium Scholars
      6. CU Boulder’s SMART and/or STEM Routes program participant
    4. You are eligible for accommodations via the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
      1. Please note that students who chose not to utilize accommodations they were eligible for while an undergraduate are still eligible for a fee waiver.

To request a fee waiver from the department, please email an explanation or proof of your affiliation to before you pay for your application fee

A complete academic CV detailing prior education, work and re-search experience, as well as honors, awards, publications, conference presentations and community engagement and outreach activities, must be provided.

A personal statement must be provided by each student that describes academic and research interests, prior research and professional experience, achievements and/or additional information that the admissions committee should be aware of. Students applying for the PhD program are encouraged to describe faculty and research groups with whom they are interested in pursuing research. The best personal statements tell a story and do not simply repeat information that can be found on the CV. Rather, the personal statement is where a student can outline their interests, future goals, and how their prior educational, research, and professional experiences have prepared and motivated them to pursue a graduate degree from CU Boulder.

Unofficial transcripts must be provided from coursework at all post-secondary institutions (including community college courses, courses taken for college credit during high school, and study abroad coursework, even if this coursework shows as transfer credit on another transcript). Applicants offered admission who choose to matriculate at CU Boulder will be required to provide official transcripts for all schools attended prior to the beginning of their first semester.

Three letters of recommendation must be included in the application. Names and contact information for recommendation letter writers are solicited as part of the online application process. The strongest letters come from instructors/professors, research advisors, work supervisors, and others who can provide detailed comments on the potential of the student to succeed in graduate-level engineering coursework and research.

If you are an international student, you submit unofficial or official TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo scores. If you are offered admission and wish to join our graduate program, you will be required to provide official language scores in order to be issued an I-20 and apply for a visa.

The University of Colorado Boulder institution code is 4841. 

This requirement is waived for international students 1) whose native language is English, 2) 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) at the time of submission or within two years from the desired admission term, or 3) who are a citizen of one of the countries listed on the Graduate School English Proficiency Requirements webpage.