Admissions FAQ's

Frequently Asked Questions

What Engineering majors do you offer?

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Agricultural and Biological Engineering
  • Bioengineering
  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Computer Science + Bioengineering
  • Computer Science + Physics
  • Computer Science + X 
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Mechanics
  • Engineering Undeclared
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering
  • Neural Engineering
  • Physics
  • Systems Engineering and Design

Learn more about Engineering majors and minors.
Check out curriculum maps for each major and/or their websites.

What is required for admission to the Grainger College of Engineering at the U of I?

Submit an application via MyIllini or CommonApp application. 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 first-year applicants.

What are the admission deadlines?

See dates and deadlines for first-year applicants.

Which of the engineering majors are most competitive? 

Each of these majors will not be available on the list when choosing a 2nd major option on the admissions application.  Please see the admissions website for the full listing of 1st choice only majors.

How do I make myself competitive to get into Grainger Engineering as First-Year Applicant?

For our most competitive majors we recommend applying by the early action deadline to provide yourself with the best chances of admissions to those selective programs. Take your major-specific writing prompt(s) seriously and answer the entire question. We want to know if Illinois is the right fit for you.  Focus on explaining how current activities/academics have contributed to your knowledge/interest/preparedness for the major you selected. Then connect that to your passions/goals/dream job. 

Listing a second choice major is in your best interest and improves your chances of being admitted to Illinois.  You can select another engineering focused major or a major in another academic focus area. 

What classes should I take in high school to make myself competitive as First-Year Applicant?

  • Math (pre-calc & beyond), physics, and chemistry
  • Advanced STEM classes, like honors or AP level calculus and physics, dual enrollment courses, IB or A-Level courses
  • Taking 4 years of Math and lab sciences in high school
  • PLTW (Project Lead the Way) courses are an excellent choice AFTER fulfilling foundational and advanced math and science. 

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?

Rather than simply looking at your GPA, we look at how you earned that GPA.  We consider your grades in the context of the specific courses you took, taking into consideration what was available to you at your high school.  We also consider trends in your course rigor and grades.  You should be taking the most challenging course work available to you provided you can be successful.  This will not only make you competitive for admission, but prepare you for the course work at Illinois. 

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.  The admit rate for our most recent first-year classes can be found on the Admissions website. Don't be discouraged from applying based on a lower admit rate. The data provided is not a determinate of what the admit rate will be during your application cycle as the data changes with each class.  
  • The admit rate varies based on the number of applicants we receive.  
  • On average we get 17,000 engineering applications and in some years have exceed this amount.
  • Our competitive majors typically have a lower acceptance rate. Our other majors have a higher acceptance rate.

Can I double major? add a Minor? 

  • Yes, but you can only be admitted to one major as an incoming first-year student.
  • Typically, dual degrees/double majors and minors are declared in a student’s 2nd year.
  • Consult with an advisor about the feasibility and rationale of getting a dual degree/double major - 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.
  • A dual degree is adding another major outside of your college and a double major is adding another major within your college. 

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 chose 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?

The CS and CS+X majors cover the exact same core curriculum in the first and second year.  The biggest difference is in the advance coursework.  CS+ majors advance coursework will be focused in the X subject matter and have a computational aspect to the advance curriculum as well.  For CS majors, advance coursework will be based on the focus area of your choose for a deeper dive into various computing and programming areas.

As a CS+ major you have full access to both your X subject and the CS department academic advisors, department-level opportunities, Grainger Engineering Career Services, as well as your X subject college's Career Services. 

CS Blended Academic Programs FAQs

What are all the CS + X degree programs? (14 total)

  • Advertising – College of Media (COM)
  • Animal Science – College of Agricultural, Consumer, & Environmental Sciences (ACES)
  • Anthropology – College of Liberal Arts & Sciences (LAS)
  • Astronomy – LAS
  • Chemistry – LAS
  • Crop Sciences – ACES
  • Economics – LAS
  • Education (Learning Sciences) - EDUC 
  • Education (Secondary Education) - EDUC 
  • Geography, Geographics, & Information Science – LAS
  • Linguistics – LAS
  • Philosophy – LAS
  • Music – FAA
  • Mathematics & Computer Science – LAS
  • Statistics & Computer Science – LAS

Is Chemical Engineering (ChBE) in the ENG or LAS college?

Chemical Engineering 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 only requires completing level 3 of a foreign language which aligns with general education requirements for Grainger Engineering students, even though LAS requires completion through level 4 for other majors.  ChBE majors are granted full access to all the resources and opportunities offered within the Grainger College of Engineering. 

Is Agricultural and Biological Engineering (ABE) in the ENG or ACES college?

ABE is in both the college of Agricultural, 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. Transfer students will only have Grainger COE as their home college. Thus all ABE majors are granted full access to all the resources and opportunities offered within the Grainger College of Engineering. 

As a engineering undeclared (EU) student, am I guaranteed a spot into one of our ENG majors?

Students who earn at least a 3.0 UIUC GPA and a 3.0 specialized GPA while fulfilling other program requirements are pre-approved to enroll into one of their three majors of interest (target majors). While we try to place you in your first-choice major of interest, it is not guaranteed. Students specify their target majors at the end of their first semester and may modify them in consultation with an EU advisor.  Students can be enrolled as an EU major for up to 4 semesters. 

NOTEYou can NOT declare the Computer Science major if you begin as an Engineering Undeclared student. CS+ blended majors are available for major declarations. 

If I am an Engineering Undeclared student, will it take longer than four years to graduate to make up for the time when I did not have a declared major?

No. You will have the opportunity to take basic level engineering classes while an undeclared student 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 Engineering 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.

The only exception is if you are applying to the Computer Science + Music major 

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.