Ph.D. applicants are admitted through an evaluation process of the graduate faculty in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute. A controlled enrollment approach ensures that only a manageable number of highly talented degree aspirants with genuine academic leadership potential are admitted. One goal is to have every admitted Ph.D. graduate student have the opportunity to be supported by one of the college's research and development projects or teaching assignments.

Persons seeking admission to the program should have relevant prior coursework and experience in the discipline to ensure a significant potential for success in the program. Additionally, a requirement for acceptance is that a match exists between the applicant’s goals and interests and that of the program’s intent and the faculty research. When faculty, in their judgment, identify deficiencies in either the applicant’s formal education or experiential background, they have a responsibility to require appropriate prerequisite experiences in addition to the standard program requirements.