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Graduate Admission FAQ

What are the basic admission requirements?
Due to the large number of applications, pre-screening is not performed. You will have to formally apply before an assessment of your admissibility can be made. However, below are the basic guidelines. Please note that there are a wide variety of factors that are considered. More detailed information can be found on the Admissions page.
GPA – a minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
TOEFL/IELTS – a required minimum TOEFL Internet-based Test (iTB) score for international students whose native language is not English of 18 on each part and a total score of at least 80. We also accept the IELTS exam (minimum score of 6.5 on each section).
GRE – there is no minimum required GRE score but qualitative scores should be competitive with the current applicant pool.

With less than a 3.0 GPA, direct admission is not possible; if the overall application package looks acceptable, the review committee may recommend that a few (3-4) courses be taken as a non-degree studies (NDS) student and demonstrate proficiency. After the completion of those courses, the review committee will review (or re-review) an application for admission consideration. Note that an applicant could transfer up to 12 hours of graduate coursework, with at least a B grade, to your graduate coursework plan (i.e., you could transfer the NDS credits with a B or better grade).

GRE scores are no longer required for admission to any of our graduate programs. Applicants are welcome to submit GRE scores with their applications if they choose to do so. Since GRE scores are no longer required, they can not be used to judge or determine admission to the program. Submitted scores will be reviewed as a reference only.

We receive a large number of requests for application fee waivers. NC State University is a public university, and we do not have a way to “waive” the application fee for anyone. The fee has to be paid by someone, either the applicant or the program. The program does not have the funds to cover the fee for all the applicants given the number of applications we receive. Thus, we are not in a position to cover anyone’s application fees.

Yes, as long as there is enough time to process the application. International students should also consider the time required to process their visa and travel documents to arrive before the start of the term.

The cost of attendance can be found on this chart Cost of Attendance: Graduate Student. Tuition and fees are subject to change each new academic year.

Depending on the prior academic preparation and experience, there are possible pathways to bridge from a non-engineering undergraduate degree to a master’s degree in civil engineering. The key purpose of the bridging includes: 1) to develop the necessary fundamental engineering knowledge to be prepared for graduate engineering courses; and 2) to build up sufficient engineering credit hours. With these considerations in mind, we have suggested lists of science/math and engineering courses for each area of concentration (e.g., transportation engineering, structural engineering, etc.). You can find that suggested list of background courses here:

Yes, both thesis and non-thesis programs are considered to be in the STEM field.

We fund a small percentage of our graduate students generally in the form of a Research Assistantship (RA) or a Teaching Assistantship (TA). International students must take and pass an NC State University speaking test before they can apply for a TA. RAs are available from individual faculty and vary according to the active grants and contracts that the faculty member has at any particular time. You may go to the Research link on our departmental website and review our faculty interests. You may then contact those faculty members whose technical interests overlap with your own and inquire directly about possible research opportunities. Generally, TAs and RAs are not granted to non-thesis students. Funding decisions are usually made after admission.

Statements of Purpose can go over the word count limit within reason.

Yes, official scores are required during the application review process. An application will not be considered complete until official scores have been received and usually not released to the department for review until complete. If an application is reviewed with only unofficial scores, a decision will not be made or submitted to the Graduate School without official test scores.

Academic Category


P/F vs. S/U:  P/F is different from S/U; the latter is the “Covid grade.”

Changing a course to P/F will not allow you to transfer it to grad school nor it will allow you to double count it since P/F is not considered a grade.

While opting for S/U (if you get S) technically is considered “transferable” or “double-countable” it is not encouraged because it indicates a lack of performance; of course, all grades are considered when admitting a student to the graduate portion of the ABM program.

Note:  The Graduate School looks at the grades of double-counting courses very closely and at times the decision for admission may be out of the department. At the end of the day, Graduate School admits students to the graduate program.


If not admitted to the graduate program through the ABM route, students can always pursue a graduate program through the traditional track in our department; the only downside is that you will not get the benefit of double counting.

Current students must see, speak to, and/or email their academic adviser before the term advising hold will be lifted. If there is no adviser assigned to you, please contact the GSC (Jodie Gregoritsch at about being assigned an adviser. A registration memo for each semester is posted on the CCEE Graduate Student Central

Students must be enrolled in Nine (9) hours every semester. Once students have reached the required hours for their degree (30-31 for masters & 72 for doctoral), they will be considered full-time until they complete their thesis or dissertation provided they enroll for at least three (3) hours. If students are unsure, they can (1) check their PackPortal for the number of completed hours or (2) ask the Graduate Program Coordinator (Jodie).

Create your Plan of Work in MyPack Portal (MyPack Portal > Student Homepage > Planning and Enrollment Tile Tile> Graduate Plan of Work). You may save in-progress work and submit it at a later date. You may make changes at any time up until submission. Detailed instructions for entering the POW are available here.

We recommend that master’s students submit their plan of work after the completion of 18 hours of coursework and that Ph.D. students submit their plan of work when ready to take their preliminary exams. Students should begin their plan of work in their second semester and keep it at the pending stage while they go through their program until the appropriate time to submit. More information on the CCEE Plan of Work can be found on CCEE Graduate Student Central.

No. Only list courses that apply toward your degree requirements. Students should not list more courses/hours above those required. For example, Masters students should only list the 30-31 hours of coursework that earns them their degree. Doctoral Students should list 72 hours of courses and research that earn them their degree. It is not necessary to list research hours beyond the 72 hours.

You may add a course that is restricted or needs departmental approval if you contact the instructor via email and get written permission to enroll– clearly explain why you cannot self-enroll and/or how you meet the prerequisites for the course you wish to be enrolled. Once you have written approval, forward the email to so the Graduate Programs Coordinator can manually process your course enrollment.

The Graduate School requires students to complete and submit an Audit Request form AFTER registering for the course using Enrollment Wizard. Completed forms should be submitted to the Graduate School for processing, at IMPORTANT: audit request forms should be submitted to the Graduate School before Census Day.

Financial Category

Student fees are determined by the number of credit hours students are registered for. First-semester students have extra fees for their first semester only. What a student pays in fees is posted on CCEE Graduate Student Central under Current Graduate Students>Tuition & Fees

There are two possibilities:

Tuition is paid when all GSSP eligibility requirements are met. If a student has a tuition balance, the student 1. may not have been the eligibility criteria or 2. is no longer GSSP eligible. The Dept’s share of student fees (50%) are not processed until after Census Day. It is normal for a balance to be on a student’s account/bill until final fee payments are processed.