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Admissions FAQ's

What Engineering majors do you offer?

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Agricultural and Biological Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
  • Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Engineering Physics
  • Engineering First-Year Undeclared
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering
  • Systems Engineering and Design

Check out each majors curriculum maps and/or websites.

What is required for admission to the Grainger College of Engineering at the U of I?
Submit an application via MyIllini or Coalition application (we are not on the  Common App) . There is a space to list any info about extenuating circumstances that impacted your academics or that should be considered in your application. We do not require teacher recommendations nor official transcript to apply. You will send your official transcript once you are admitted and accept your offer. For more information, see the University's requirements for freshman applicants.

What are the admission deadlines?
See dates and deadlines for freshman applicants.

What are your high in demand majors?
Computer Science (including all CS + X majors), Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering. These cannot be selected as a 2nd choice. Information Sciences & all Music majors except Music BA are also not available as a 2nd choice. 

How do I make myself competitive to get into Grainger Engineering?
For the high in demand majors we recommend applying by the early action deadline to provide yourself with the best chances of admissions to our most selective programs and special attention for admission to honors programs and for merit awards.  Take your essay seriously and highlight how Illinois will help you reach your future goals via the major you selected.  We want to know if Illinois is the right fit for you.  Do not share the laundry list of the things you’ve accomplished for the extracurricular activities that you will list in another portion of the application.  Do share what current activities/academics you’ve participated in high school that have contributed to your interest/preparedness for the major you selected.

List an engineering major as your 2nd choice option (if you would consider another major). This lets us know that you really want a spot in Grainger Engineering at Illinois, which allows us to do our best to fit you into one of our majors if you’re admissible and provide additional options for admission into engineering. Selecting a another major outside of engineering is okay if that is your interest, it won’t allow for us to look into alternative options for you on our end as your application will be directed to the other college.

What classes should I take in high school to make myself competitive?

  • Math, chemistry, and physics
  • Advanced STEM classes, like honors or AP level calculus and physics
  • PLTW (Project Lead the Way) courses are an excellent choice AFTER fulfilling advanced STEM courses
  • AP computer science class is almost required to get into CS, if your High school offers that

Do you offer credit for Project Lead The Way classes?
No. The PLTW courses are favorable information on your application to show your committed interested in Engineering but should not be taken over Math, Chemistry, or Physics courses.  If it is associated with a AP test then yes we will accept that credit if you receive a qualifying score (i.e. 4 or 5).

Do we look at the weighted or the unweighted GPA, 4.0 or 5.0?
Weighted means they take honors courses, etc., into consideration and weigh the GPA. Unweighted means they take the grades as they come. Admissions accordingly converts GPA’s to a 4.0 scale.

How many credit hours are required to graduate?  Graduation rate?
128 hours, minimum (16 credit hours/semester)

How do I setup a visit to campus?
Sign up for a campus visit via our admissions website OR visit our Grainger Engineering visit page.

How many students are admitted into each major?

  • Each year it varies based on the department’s capacity for the upcoming year so unfortunately, we don’t provide data on that information due to the fluidity of it changing from year to year.   
  • The percentage admitted varies on the number of applicants each year.  
  • On average we get 13,000 engineering applications and admit about 4700 into the engineering department = 37% acceptance rate.  
  • Our high demand majors have a lower acceptance rate than this average. Our other majors have a higher acceptance rate than the average. 

Can I double major? Minor? 

  • Yes, but you can only be admitted to one major as an incoming freshman.
  • Typically, dual degrees and minors are declared in a student’s 2nd year.
  • Consult with an advisor about the feasibility and rationale of getting a dual degree - adds 30 hours (15 per semester) & typically takes 5 years to complete.
  • Minors can be done in 4 years, AP classes in high school help with this.

Why are you better than other engineering schools? Why come to Illinois?
Just ask one of our students!  They will be eager to share Why they Choose Illinois.

Here are some of the Engineering specific resources we offer for our students CARE, ECS, GFX, IPENG, MEP, WIE that makes this place feel like home to many future Engineers.

What is the difference between the CS and CS+X degrees?
CS degree will require more Chemistry and Physics so it is more science based. You will graduate with an ENG degree in CS. CS + X degree’s curriculum is split between the 2 colleges – X college and ENG. So, the college of LAS, ACES, FAA, or Media will provide half of the curriculum and CS will provide the other half. CS+X degrees are to give you a background in CS, but your degree will be from the X college (Media, ACES, LAS, or FAA).

What are all the CS + X degree programs? (13 total)

  • Advertising – College of Media
  • Animal Science – ACES
  • Anthropology – LAS
  • Astronomy – LAS
  • Chemistry – LAS
  • Crop Sciences – ACES
  • Economics – LAS
  • Geography, Geographics, & Information Science – LAS
  • Linguistics – LAS
  • Philosophy – LAS
  • Music – FAA
  • Mathematics & Computer Science – LAS
  • Statistics & Computer Science – LAS

Is chemical and biomolecular engineering in the ENG or LAS college?
ChBe is housed within the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. This is just internal structuring of the program and does not speak to the quality nor prominence of the major. You will receive an engineering degree even though the major is located in a different college. This degree requires completing level 4 of a foreign language (4yrs of the same language).

Is Agricultural and Biological Engineering in the ENG or ACES college?
ABE is in both the college of Agriculture Consumer & Environmental Sciences and The Grainger College of Engineering. The first 60 credits is in ACES and the last 60 credits is in Grainger COE. You will graduate from the Grainger College of Engineering with an engineering degree.

As an engineering undeclared freshman, am I guaranteed a spot into one of our ENG majors during my second semester?
Yes, you’re guaranteed admissions into an ENG major but NOT guaranteed into your first choice – MechSE, CompE, & BioE are all highly sought after.

NOTE – you can NOT declare a CS major if you begin as an ENG undeclared student, starting with the 2021 admissions cycle.  You can take CS courses but you’ll have to apply to CS through our traditional inter-departmental transfer process.

Will I have to go longer than four years to make up for the first year of not having a declared major?
No. You will have the opportunity to take basic level engineering classes during your first year that will introduce you to engineering and help you decide on which major is best for you. These classes will go toward your engineering degree.

How many scholarships do you give out?  How do I apply for scholarships? 
When you apply to the U of I, you are automatically applying for scholarships as well.  Your application for admissions is what we use to determine what merit-based scholarships you are eligible for. Your application essay is very important. Visit our scholarship FAQ page.

Do we require a student portfolio when applying to the Grainger at the U of I?
No, and it will not be required at any other time. Also, we do not ask for letters of recommendation.

What is Pre-Engineering (PREP)?
The Pre-Engineering Program (PREP) is intended to provide an opportunity for highly qualified students who are not currently in the Grainger College of Engineering to prepare themselves for possible transfer into the Grainger College of Engineering. Students in PREP will reside in DGS while they complete the prescribed PREP curriculum and prepare for the Intercollegiate Transfer (ICT) process to the Grainger College of Engineering. Learn more about PREP.

Where can I go to get more information?

Can you test out of courses?
Yes, we have proficiency exams and they allow you to test out of classes. Learn more about proficiency exams.

Which residence halls do engineering students live in?
Engineering students live all across campus in the various residence halls. Illinois St residence hall is predominant (ISR) because it is the closest to the quads. Innovation and the Honors living learning communities (LLC) are popular amongst engineering majors as well. Visit www.housing.illinois.edu to find all the hall and LLC descriptions.

What kind of public transportation is there?

  • Taxis, Uber, city bus service, Amtrak & Greyhound station
  • Bus Service is MTD – free MTD pass included with tuition
  • One or more buses loop campus during class times
  • All other buses can take you anywhere in Champaign/Urbana

What kind of stores & shops are in Champaign Urbana? (Within a 7 mile radius)

  • Meijer (2), Walmart (3), ALDI (3), Ruler Foods (2), Harvest Market
  • Walgreens, CVS, GNC (2)
  • Carle Clinic & Hospital, Christie Clinic & OSF Hospital
  • Kohl’s, Gordmans, Old Navy, TJ Maxx, Aeropostale, JC Penny, American Eagle Outfitters, Bath & Body Works, Bed Bath & Beyond, Forever 21, Gap, Finish Line, Foot Locker, Tuscola Outlet Mall, etc.
  • Texas Roadhouse, Red Lobster, Chilis, Denny’s, O’Charley’s, TGI Fridays, El Toro, Dos Reales, Blaze pizza, Portillo’s, Rosati’s, Thai, sushi, Japanese, steak houses, and many, many more!
  • Day spas; manicure, pedicure, & hair salons; beauty supply stores; thrift stores
  • AMC Theater, Savoy 16 IMAX, Virginia & Krannert theaters, bowling alleys, mini golf, roller blading with laser tag, apple and pumpkin orchard, escape room (CU adventures in time and space), etc.