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Multicultural Engineering Recruitment for Graduate Education (MERGE)

MERGE is a diversity recruitment initiative that gives talented students from underrepresented groups from across the nation an opportunity to visit our campus early in the application process. Join us for an all-expenses-paid, two-day visit to learn more about Illinois' top-ranked engineering graduate programs, meet with current students, learn how to prepare a strong graduate application, and explore the University of Illinois campus and Champaign-Urbana area.

Apply for a MERGE Visit

The MERGE event will be held on the Urbana-Champaign campus September 24-26, 2020. Apply by August 8. Visit our schedule page for more program details.

Apply Now

For applications after this date, contact Liz Johnson at

Application Information

Eligibility Criteria

Candidates must be:

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident
  • Currently enrolled or recently completed an accredited curriculum in engineering, computer science, or physics

Preference will be given to individuals who will be graduating in the coming year, with a GPA of 3.2 or higher (on a 4.0 point scale), and individuals whose cultural background will increase the diversity of the graduate student body, for example, African Americans, Hispanic/Latino, Native Americans, women, or persons with disabilities.

Application Procedures

To receive full consideration, we advise that all application materials should be submitted as soon as possible. The following items must be provided within your application:

  • An unofficial transcript
  • A statement of no more than two pages addressing your plans for graduate study, including research interests, career goals, relevant coursework completed, and other educational experiences
  • A detailed resume that outlines research experiences, internships, publications, and leadership experiences


Unique "Micro-Urban" Community

Urbana-Champaign is on an accelerated development track, emerging as a leading example of a "micro-urban" community—a population center of less than 250,000 with a set of highly desirable attributes commonly found in larger cities. Our vibrant arts/culture/nightlife scene, internationally diverse population, strong technology base, and commitment to societal issues coupled with a world-class university make this an ideal place to live, study, and work.

Students working together

True Interdisciplinary Spirit

We're home to numerous research centers, multidisciplinary research efforts, and many advanced laboratories. Interdisciplinary discovery is a topic of conversation at every university today. At Illinois, it isn't just talk. It's a way of life. Here it's possible to redefine success, and invent new ways of working with colleagues from across campus in almost any field, for almost any reason.

Graduate Program Rankings

The graduate engineering programs at the University of Illinois' Grainger College of Engineering ranked 10th overall in the Best Graduate Schools issue of U.S. News and World Report (published in March 2020.) The following list includes all of Grainger Engineering's ranked graduate engineering science specialties and their corresponding ranking.

Explore Graduate Programs

Graduate Degree Program Rankings

  • 7 Aerospace / Aeronautical / Astronautical
  • 6 Biological / Agricultural
  • 24 Biomedical / Bioengineering
  • 13 Chemical
  • 1 Civil
  • 5 Computer Engineering
  • 5 Computer Science
  • 8 Computer Science - Artificial Intelligence
  • 11 Computer Science - Programming Language
  • 5 Computer Science - Systems
  • 12 Computer Science - Theory
  • 4 Electrical / Electronic / Communications
  • 4 Environmental / Environmental Health
  • 14 Industrial / Manufacturing / Systems Engineering
  • 6 Materials
  • 5 Mechanical
  • 6 Nuclear
  • 9 Physics
  • 12 Physics - Atomic / Molecular / Optical
  • 1 Physics - Condensed Matter
  • 11 Physics - Nuclear
  • 9 Online Graduate Engineering