Admission FAQ

1. Where is West Lafayette?
West Lafayette and Lafayette are adjacent cities on the banks of the Wabash River. They are located about 60 miles north of Indianapolis, and 136 miles south of Chicago, on Interstate 65 .

2. Is Purdue University a private school?
Purdue University is a land-grant, public university established in 1867. It serves about 38,000 students on the West Lafayette (main) campus and its overall enrollment is about 69,000 students.

3. What courses do I have to take?
The Ph.D. is a tailored program that requires a minimum of predetermined courses. Find details here.

4. How can I tailor the program to my goals?
Extensively. By careful selection of Technology Focus courses, Cognate courses and the Discovery Foundation courses, students can achieve considerable tailoring of their learning experience. Of course, the choice of dissertation topic also contributes much to tailoring the outcomes of your program of study.

5. What opportunities are there for financial support?
Graduate assistantships, both research and teaching, are available as are a limited number of doctoral fellowships.

6. How do I get a teaching or research assistantship or fellowship?
Applicants are advised to make their request for assistantships/fellowships known in their letter of application. If support is essential to enable graduate studies this should be stated (although applicants are alerted that this will preclude admission if no financial support is available).

7. How long will it take?
The PhD program’s duration depends on the student’s intensity and work load during graduate study. Most students complete the degree in three to five years although some have succeeded in less time while others have required longer.

8. What are the entrance requirements?
As specified in the admissions requirements page.

9. What does it cost (living & fees) for a year at Purdue University?
Tuition and Fees
Financing Graduate Studies

10. Is a dissertation required for the PhD degree?

11. What do I have to do to apply as an international student?
In addition to meeting all the necessary admission requirements as listed in the application page, international applicants must also demonstrate adequate English proficiency (both written and oral) and sufficient financial resources to meet the US Immigration and Naturalization Service’s requirements.

12. What opportunities exist for gaining teaching and/or research experience?
Considerable opportunities exist for these activities. Applicants are advised to consult with the department head that is most closely aligned with their major interest to learn more about the potential for such experiences.

13. What are the housing, living & parking situations in West Lafayette?
For more information, visit the Purdue Graduate School Web site.

14. How many courses may I transfer in?
Twelve credit hours.

15. What examinations are required in addition to coursework?
A qualifying examination may be employed but the preliminary examination and final examination are mandatory.

16. Should I travel to Purdue University to interview before I apply?
It is recommended that individuals interested in applying to the Ph.D. program contact the Purdue Polytechnic Graduate Studies Office to arrange for an appropriate interview and tour of the college’s facilities.

17. Will I have an office?
Office space availability varies depending upon the work assignment and departmental resources and facilities available at the time. Currently, many Ph.D. students have the use of an office. The college also provides access to computer laboratories, common spaces, and more.

18. Can I choose my advisor?
The choice of an advisor is a mutual one between the student and the faculty member involved. All students are assigned an initial advisor upon admission to the program. Pending the willingness of another doctoral faculty member to serve as advisor, students may change advisors when appropriate.

19. What are the application deadlines?
Candidates for admission must have submitted all necessary application materials by the deadlines indicated below. Applications will be reviewed expeditiously and admission decisions made within ten days of these deadlines.

  Summer Fall Spring
International Students (applying outside the US) February 15 April 1 September 1

Domestic Students
International Students
(applying from inside the US)

April 1 April 1 October 1