Current Student Questions

I am on track for admission into Engineering after the current semester ends. Can I register for courses in my intended major now?

Unfortunately, you will not be able to enroll in restricted engineering courses until you are officially admitted to the college. If you are on track to be evaluated for admission at the end of fall semester, admission decisions are made in late December. You can either wait until you are admitted or request enrollment for department restricted courses in your intended major. Please note that some departments will not enroll students in their sophomore level courses until they have been officially admitted to the college.

Can I take MATH department courses to fulfill Pre-Engineering math requirements?

Yes. You can take MATH 1300, MATH 2300, MATH 2400 to complete the Calculus 1 - Calculus 3  series. All majors within the college accept either APPM or MATH for their Calculus 1, 2 and 3 requirements.

How do I know if a course counts as a Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) Electives?

The best place to check is the Humanities & Social Science section of the college website. Some courses are simply listed directly on this site and others are included by virtue of falling under certain categories (i.e., Arts & Sciences General Education Distribution: Arts/Humanities or Arts & Sciences General Education Distribution: Social Science). You can also use your Pre-Engineering degree audit to determine if your enrolled courses are approved as HSS electives.

Am I allowed to enroll in Herbst Program courses as a Pre-Engineering student?

No. All Herbst ENES courses are restricted to Engineering students only at all times.

I am living in a Residential Academic Program (RAP) and am required to take courses through that program. Will RAP courses work as HSS electives?

If the RAP course falls under any of the categories of Humanities and Social Science Electives, then yes. If it does not, it could work as a Free Electives. Please consult with your academic advisor for more details.

Please note: Participation in Pre-Engineering does not exempt you from any course requirement in your Residential Academic Program.
How long can I remain in Pre-Engineering?

Students can stay in Pre-Engineering up to four semesters, not including summers, to meet the admission requirements to Engineering (as long as students are making satisfactory and forward progress in Pre-Engineering).

How will P/F grades earned in Spring 2020 affect my Pre-Engineering eligibility??

The College of Engineering and Applied Science will allow P+ grades, as well as the equivalent letter grades (C- or higher), received in the Spring 2020 semester to satisfy admission pre-requisites for any degree program. If you receive a P or F grade, this means your instructor input grade was below a C- and we will not allow this for admission, and it will also not satisfy prerequisite requirements for subsequent courses.  

We will still require the appropriate CU Boulder Cumulative and Technical GPAs to meet admission requirements, though any classes with a P or P+ grade will not be calculated into those GPAs.

I still have more questions! Where can I go for additional help?

Email your assigned Academic Advisor, or email to reach the entire Pre-Engineering Advising Team.

Common Questions for Admitted Students and Parents

Why was I not offered direct admission to the College of Engineering and Applied Science?

The College of Engineering and Applied Science gets many more applicants than is room in engineering majors. As Pre-Engineering staff are not involved with the admission decision process, we recommend you contact your CU Boulder admission counselor for more information.

I was not offered admission to Pre-Engineering. Can I still join?

No, only a small number of first-year students who initially applied for direct admission to the College of Engineering and Applied Science are admitted to Pre-Engineering.  Students who were not admitted to Pre-engineering or Engineering can explore a potential transfer into the College of Engineering and Applied Science via Intra-University Transfer (IUT). Students will work with their advisor in the Program of Exploratory Studies to complete the requirements for IUT.

Does participating in Pre-Engineering add time to complete an engineering degree or delay graduation? Can I still graduate in four years with an engineering degree?

Pre-Engineering is not intentionally designed to add time to complete an undergraduate engineering degree. One of the biggest factors affecting time to degree completion is a student's starting math level in their first semester. All eight semester degree plans in Engineering begin with Calculus 1 as the first math course. Pre-Engineering students starting in Calculus 1 or higher in their first semester have a better chance to maintain a four-year graduation timeline. 

Engineering degrees are demanding and technical, additionally they require more credit hours than other degrees offered by CU Boulder (128 versus 120 credit hours). Even students who start in their desired engineering major first semester may take longer than four years to complete their degree requirements simply due to the demands of the degree. Graduation and retention rate information can be found on the Office of Data Analytics webpage.

How quickly can I be admitted into the College of Engineering and Applied Science from Pre-Engineering?

Pre-Engineering admission to the College is possible after the very first semester through the Accelerated Admission Option. We expect most students to complete Pre-Engineering admission requirements within two to three semesters because of the sequential nature of the required classes. Students should expect to spend a minimum of two semesters to complete the course requirements to be eligible for Pre-Engineering admission into the college. Four semesters is the maximum timeframe a student can remain in Pre-engineering.

When will I be considered for Pre-Engineering admission to the College of Engineering and Applied Science?

Pre-Engineering students are automatically reviewed for admission once they complete their required coursework for the program: two select math and two select science courses taken at CU Boulder. Staff track each Pre-Engineering student's progress each semester. Students will be asked by email prior to the end of the semester to confirm their intended engineering major.

I am not sure what type of engineering I want to study. Do I need to declare my intended engineering major right away?

Absolutely not. Pre-Engineering requirements are designed to help students progress forward on any of the undergraduate engineering degrees we offer. You only need to confirm your intended major once you are near Pre-Engineering admission review. We encourage students to explore the disciplines of engineering by getting involved in student clubs and organizations in the college. Some departments offer an introduction to the major course, offered in fall semester, which explores that discipline in greater depth (Pre-Engineering students can request a seat in such classes).

Is admission to the College of Engineering and Applied Science via Pre-Engineering competitive?

No. All students need to do is successfully complete Pre-Engineering admission requirements and meet or exceed the minimum grade, credit and GPA requirements to secure guaranteed admission to the major of choice.

What if I have already earned college credit (i.e., AP, IB, CU Succeed, etc.) for one or more of the Pre-Engineering course requirements?

College credit earned elsewhere cannot be utilized to meet Pre-Engineering course requirements as these must be completed on the CU Boulder campus. However, this credit can potentially apply toward engineering degree requirements. If you have earned credit for a course requirement, you can elect to move on to the next level of mathematics or lab science or repeat the course on the CU Boulder campus for improved mastery of that subject.

For example, a student earns Calculus 1 credit through their performance on the AP Calculus AB exam. This Calculus 1 credit can apply toward degree requirements for any engineering major. However it does not exempt the student from needing to complete the necessary two math requirement courses for Pre-Engineering. This student could elect to repeat Calculus 1 in their first semester at CU Boulder followed by Calculus 2 in their second semester. The student could also enroll in Calculus 2 in their first semester followed by an approved higher level math course in their second semester. As every student situation is different, we recommend speaking with an academic advisor once credit has been awarded at CU Boulder to determine the best path for you.

Is it possible to use AP/IB/college credit to fulfill Humanities & Social Science (HSS) electives?

Yes! If you took Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) exams in the humanities or social science areas, you should determine if your exam score will earn you any college credit for courses that satisfy HSS electives. Visit the CU Boulder Catalog to see if your exam score will earn you college credit for any CU Boulder courses. You can then cross-reference your earned credit against the approved Humanities and Social Science requirements. You can also check your Pre-Engineering degree audit or ask your academic advisor for assistance.

Do Pre-Engineering students take all of the same courses as first-year Engineering students?

Pre-Engineering students will enroll in the same foundational mathematics and science courses as Engineering students during the first year. However, the majority of engineering courses are restricted to Engineering students only. Many departments will allow Pre-Engineering students to enroll in their lower division courses pending seat availability. Find out more about requesting enrollment in restricted engineering courses.

We have suggested first year schedules by major for students to plan their course schedule. Students can also refer to the 8 semester plans for the majors in engineering to help them plan their path to degree.