The Grainger College of Engineering Pathways Program Expands Statewide


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Engineering Pathways students during the immersive, 8-week summer experience
Engineering Pathways students during an on-campus event

The Grainger College of Engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign now offers greater access to its nationally ranked academic programs. Beginning Fall 2023, qualified students attending any Illinois community college can apply to participate in Engineering Pathways

The immersive program provides students with a streamlined transfer experience and guaranteed admission into The Grainger College of Engineering. Applications are accepted now through April 5.

Starting in 2012, Engineering Pathways was available at only a handful of participating community colleges. In recent years, Grainger Engineering has redesigned the program to expand access and eliminate traditional barriers to transfer, such as credit loss or lack of credit applicability and difficulty navigating admissions. Engineering Pathways now partners with community colleges across the state to administer the comprehensive, two-year program that focuses on supporting transfer students from any Illinois community college to Grainger Engineering, start to finish.  

“By addressing challenges in the transfer process, we expand the opportunity to earn a degree from The Grainger College of Engineering to a more diverse population of talented students attending our Illinois community colleges,” said Keri Niehans, the program’s director.  

Engineering Pathways uses a cohort-based model and provides full program support to students, including: 

  • Academic advising and mentoring
  • Orientations and events
  • Opportunities for major exploration and professional development
  • Early engagement with Grainger Engineering and the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Each student in Engineering Pathways works directly with an advisor in Grainger Engineering’s Transfer Programs office. Our trained advisors guide students through appropriate degree-specific coursework and general education requirements. Participants can explore multiple engineering fields before selecting one of sixteen available majors, all while staying on track for timely degree completion.

When it’s time to transfer to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, students can participate in an 8-week summer experience designed to familiarize them with the campus and help support a successful transition. During the summer, students live in university housing, participate in community-building activities, enroll in a technical course in their major and engage in research under the supervision of an engineering faculty member.

“Everyone’s path is different. And Engineering Pathways is not your average transfer agreement; it is more than that. We’ve redesigned and developed our program to meet students where they are and offer them complete assistance in reaching their goals. Our 92% transfer degree completion rate speaks to the strength of the Engineering Pathways program,” said Jonathan Makela, associate dean for undergraduate programs at The Grainger College of Engineering. 

Engineering Pathways students during an on-campus event
Engineering Pathways students during an on-campus event

Informative Zoom sessions are offered to provide an overview of the program and application and time to meet with a student panel and to answer questions. The registration links are located on the Engineering Pathways website

Eligible students must reside in Illinois to apply and participate in the program. The application is due April 5. There is no cost to apply, though some fees may be associated with admissions and assessment at the selected community college. Applicants must complete assessment testing through their community college, including the mandatory ALEKS PPL math assessment. Depending on individual school policies, reading/writing (English) assessments may be required.

While we encourage all eligible individuals to apply, priority for admission goes to Illinois residents and students in-district at their selected community college. Interested students who have attended an institution other than an Illinois community college post-high school completion should contact to determine eligibility.

For questions from the press, email Chelsea Hamilton, Associate Director of Communications, at 

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This story was published January 23, 2023.