Frequently Asked Questions

Index to Categories of Questions

Available Programs and Options

Is the College of Technology part of Purdue University?

Yes, Purdue University is organized into academic colleges and schools. The College of Technology (CoT) is one of these colleges. The Department of Computer and Information Technology (CIT) is organized into the College of Technology.

In the end, CIT graduate students have access to all applicable and appropriate Purdue University courses, faculty, libraries, computing, and laboratories.

What other graduate programs are available through the College of Technology and Purdue University?

Computer and Information Technology (CIT) is one of several graduate degree programs offered in the College of Technology. For the latest listing of all of these programs see the web page for College of Technology Graduate Degrees.

Additionally, many Purdue graduate programs are offered through other schools and colleges. For a complete list of these programs, see The Graduate School’s Degree and Academic Programs web page.

You’re right! It can be confusing, and you want to choose the appropriate program since you cannot easily transfer between these four programs because they are offered in different Purdue colleges and schools.

Computer Science

Purdue offers computer science degrees through the Department of Computer Science (CS) in the College of Science. Computer scientists tends to focus on the science of computing, networks, and algorithms. CS graduates build the latest system software and utilities such as computer operating systems, network operating systems and protocols, programming languages and development tools, database management systems, graphics engines, email engines, and software needed to provide the essential capabilities required of all computers and networks. See the CS graduate program web page for more information.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Purdue also offers computer engineering degrees through its School of Electrical and Computing Engineering (ECE) in the College of Engineering.  Computer engineering is focused on the hardware of computing and networks (including firmware).  ECE graduates design the latest computers, peripherals, and devices, including those devices that implement the hardware aspects of networks. See the ECE graduate program web page for more information.

Computer and Information Technology / Information Technology

This is OUR program!  We offer information technology degrees through our Department of Computer & Information Technology (CIT) in the College of Technology. Information Technologists apply computers and networks to solve real-world problems for society, industries, and businesses. We are application focused. You are currently reading a page from the CIT graduate program web site.

Information Systems / Management Information Systems /Computer Information Systems

Information systems professionals build the business databases and applications that run every business. Examples include IT applications such as accounting, finance, human resources, marketing and sales, procurement, manufacturing planning and control, customer relationship management, supply chain management, and business intelligence. Graduate students in our CIT program can specialize in various aspects and applications for information systems. In fact, one popular specialization we offer to information systems professionals is project management and IT leadership. On the other hand, students interested in a more comprehensive graduate degree in information systems should probably explore the graduate program offerings on the Purdue Krannert School of Management web page.

The world needs all four of the above disciplines. Engineers build the hardware. Computer scientists add the system software to that hardware to provide essential computing and network capabilities. Information technologists and information systems professionals then apply the ECE and CS products to develop real-world applications that solve the problems of society, create economic development, and build and support IT solutions and products for various industries and businesses.

The above distinctions are important when applying for admission. If you are interested in our graduate programs, you must specify Computer and Information Technology on your electronic application form.

What concentrations and specializations are available to CIT graduate students?

At Purdue, concentrations are defined sets of courses that, when completed, are recorded as a named concentration associated with the awarded degree. At this time, the Computer and Information Technology (CIT) program does not offer such concentrations; however, the graduate faculty is considering establishing such concentrations in the future.

On the other hand, the flexibility within the CIT graduate program allows students to build highly specialized plans of study that can be fine-tuned to each individual student’s professional and research aspirations. Some of these specializations are listed on the MS in Computer and Information Technology home page.

Does the CIT M.S. program require a thesis?

By default, all Computer and Information Technology (CIT) graduate students are admitted to the thesis option; therefore, a thesis is required. Furthermore, most students complete a thesis and their degree is posted to the transcript as “thesis”. The thesis is widely considered as a prerequisite to any future opportunity to pursue a doctorate degree.

Some students elect to switch to a non-thesis degree option called “directed project”. A directed project consists of applied research and development that results in a unique application or product of information technology. The degree is posted to the transcript as “non-thesis”. The directed project course is worth fewer credit hours; therefore, the student must make up those hours with additional coursework.

Do we offer a CIT coursework-only M.S. degree option?

There exists an exit option for graduate students who cannot complete a thesis or directed project, for whatever reason. The exit option is coursework-only; however, the plan of study has less flexibility (more required courses), and requires more total credit hours than either the thesis or directed project options. Additionally, the student will lose applicability of any earned credits for courses related to a thesis or directed project, and will be disqualified for any teaching or research assistantships that are funded by the Department of Computer and Information Technology (CIT). Obviously, this exit option is a last resort scenario. Students cannot be admitted to this coursework-only option.

Do we offer a CIT 3+2 undergraduate + graduate M.S. program?

At this time, Computer and Information Technology (CIT) does NOT offer a 3+2 (5 year) plan of study that simultaneously earns both the bachelor and masters degrees.

Do we offer any online CIT M.S. programs?

Yes, the Computer and Information Technology (CIT) program does offer an online professional masters degree in Information Technology Project Management (ITPM). The admission criteria for this program require significant and relevant IT work experience. For more information, see the M.S. in IT Project Management Online program web page.

Do we offer a CIT Ph.D. program?

At this time, the Computer and Information Technology (CIT) graduate program does not offer its own Ph.D. degree. However, many CIT faculty participate in the College of Technology’s Ph.D. program which offers a Ph.D. in Technology with a Computer and Information Technology specialization. Students who graduate with the M.S. in Computer and Information Technology with a thesis are eligible to apply to continue their graduate studies in the College of Technology’s Ph.D. program. For information, see the Ph.D. in Technology program web page.

It should be noted the Computer and Information Technology faculty are in the exploratory stages of proposing and developing their own Ph.D. program.

Can a student be admitted directly into the College of Technology’s Ph.D. program with the intent of specializing in Computer and Information Technology?

Yes, exceptional applicants for graduate study can be directly admitted to the above Ph.D. program based on their baccalaureate degree credentials, experience, and test scores. The admission requirements are more stringent. For prospective students who know they want to pursue the doctorate, this direct-to-Ph.D. program can make them eligible for financial fellowships that are not available to M.S. degree seeking students.

Costs and Funding Opportunities

How much are tuition and fees? How much will it cost me to attend Purdue University?

Tuition differs for Indiana residents, U.S. non-Indiana residents, and international students. The current tuition and fees can be found at the Bursar’s Office web site.

You can estimate your tuition, fees and total living expenses using the Bursar’s Office web-based Tuition Calculator. After opening the fill-in form, select “Technology – Graduate” as your SCHOOL. You can compare costs with and without an assistantship (defined below) by selecting either “Graduate Appointment” (with) or “General Purdue Student” (without) in the “STATUS” drop-down field. The other fields should be self-explanatory.

The above tuition calculator does not currently calculate costs for our online M.S. program in Information Technology Project Management (ITPM). The fees for that program are published on the M.S. in IT Project Management Online program web page.

Is financial support available?

Yes, but financial support is limited by available funding. Most financial assistance for CIT graduate students is in the form of graduate assistantships and fellowships.

What is a graduate assistantship?

Graduate assistantships typically involve approximately 20 hours of work per week to assist a professor in his/her work. In return, you receive a remission of most tuition, plus a monthly stipend (i.e., salary). You may also purchase medical insurance if you work at least 20 hours per week. In CIT, a specific professor generally awards assistantships based on available funds and the qualifications of applicants. However you may also be able to secure an assistantship outside of your academic program.

The two most common types of assistantships are teaching and research. In CIT, teaching assistantships are limited and usually allocated to the highest enrollment undergraduate courses. The supervising course instructor establishes responsibilities and expectations. CIT research assistantships are also limited since they are usually funded through faculty research grants. The supervising faculty researcher sets responsibilities and expectations.

What is a graduate fellowship?

Graduate fellowships are similar to undergraduate scholarships. They are typically awarded by competition and generally do not require work in return for the award. Fellowships usually provide tuition waivers or scholarships, monthly stipends, and possibly a supplement for purchasing medical insurance. Most internally funded fellowships (meaning, funded by Purdue) are limited to Ph.D. students.

For CIT graduate students, fellowships are usually obtained from the Graduate School, or an outside entity, such as a government agency or philanthropic foundation. The funding source establishes eligibility requirements. Most CIT graduate students must apply for fellowships by completing a separate application.

Are tuition and fees covered by a graduate assistantship or fellowship?

Assistantship benefits generally include tuition remission, although there is a small graduate staff fee to be paid by the student. There may also be supplemental fees assessed by the university that are not paid for by assistantships (e.g., technology, parking, co-recreational gymnasium use, etc.)

Fellowships generally include tuition waivers or scholarships. Tuition waivers scholarships are in addition to the monthly stipend and other benefits. Again, there may be supplemental fees assessed by the university that are not covered by fellowships.

How do I find out more about available graduate assistantships and fellowships, or other opportunities for part-time employment?

CIT is in the process of developing a web page to serve as a clearinghouse for available CIT assistantships, fellowships, and part-time employment opportunities. The link to this new web page is in the named tabs above the web page you are currently reading.

Our vision for the new assistantships web page is to not only include available information about assistantships, but also fellowships and part-time jobs. Please consider the new web page a work-in-progress as we are trying to design and implement tools to improve the page and its currency. Thank you for your patience.

Other published university funding opportunities are posted on the web in the Graduate School’s Funding Database.

How do I apply for a graduate assistantship?

To be considered for assistantships offered by the CIT program, you must apply directly to the faculty member who is funding the opportunity. You should submit a detailed resume’ or vita. You cannot apply before you have been admitted to the graduate program.

To be considered for assistantships offered by other academic programs, visit that program's web page or contact the program to determine the appropriate application process.

How do I apply for a graduate fellowship?

To be considered for fellowships offered by the Graduate School, you must first be admitted to Purdue. The Graduate School’s Funding Database provides information regarding specific fellowships. In most cases, you must apply for the fellowships.

Admission Criteria

I do not have an undergraduate degree in a computing-related discipline. Can I be admitted to your program?

Our graduate program is designed for advanced computer and information technology study. Therefore, it is assumed that all CIT graduate students have already earned a bachelor degree that included at least 15 credit hours of study in computing or information technology. Most of our graduate students have earned a bachelor degree in computing or information technology; therefore, they have significantly more than 15 credit hours of undergraduate computing credits.

It may be possible to be admitted to our graduate program without the prerequisite computing credits, if a CIT professor sees a background that he or she believes would be valuable to their own research agenda. But realistically, it is more likely that the faculty would find other applicants who already have the prerequisite computing background.

Students with insufficient academic preparation in computing and information technology may be conditionally admitted but required to develop prerequisite computing competencies by enrolling in designated undergraduate courses prior to undertaking their graduate study. These credits will not count toward the graduate degree; therefore, it will take the student longer to graduate.

Are three-year undergraduate degrees acceptable for admission?

The Graduate School welcomes applications from Bologna bachelor's degree recipients. Bologna bachelor's degrees are conferred in European countries listed on the following web site.

What is the minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) required for admission to your program?

You must possess a minimum of a 3.00/4.00 GPA (where A = 4.00) in order to be admitted without conditions. The graduate faculty will consider conditional admission with a GPA below 3.00; however, an admission is very rare in cases where the GPA is below 2.75.

What is the selectivity (i.e., the percentage of applicants that are admitted) to your program?

The figure varies from year to year. Typically, the selectivity in the CIT graduate program is 20-25%. Admissions are highly selective because the number of applications typically exceeds the faculty's capacity to mentor students through the plan of study and thesis requirements. Because of the department’s parallel commitment to undergraduate education, it is necessary to maintain the graduate enrollment within reasonable limits.

How competitive am I for admission?

It is impossible to predict or guess how likely you are to be admitted to our program. Many factors impact admission decisions, such as the number of applicants, qualifications of other applicants, the number of new students that can be accommodated, and the number of professors that share your research and scholarly interests. All components of the application package, including the application, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, academic record (i.e., transcripts), test scores, resume/curriculum vitae (CV), and other items required by the graduate program are considered.

If I give you my undergraduate GPA and test scores, can you tell me what are the chances of admission?

No, we cannot predict your chances of admission based on GPA or test scores. Other factors impact admission decisions, such as the number of applicants, qualifications of other applicants, the number of new students that can be accommodated, and the number of professors that share your research and scholarly interests.

I meet all your admission criteria. Does this guarantee admission?

No, satisfaction of the minimum criteria does not guarantee graduate admission. Other factors impact admission decisions, such as the number of applicants, qualifications of other applicants, the number of new students that can be accommodated, and the number of professors that share your research and scholarly interests.

It should be noted that failure to satisfy the minimum criteria might lead to automatic denial of admission. Also, failure to submit all required application materials will lead to denial of admission.

Must I take certain pre-admission tests?

Prospective students ask many questions about pre-admission tests. We have created an entire section in these frequently asked questions for Pre-Admission Testing Requirements.

Pre-Admission Testing Requirements

Is the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) required? Can it be waived?

Yes, the GRE is required – there are no exceptions. If you have previously taken the GRE, those scores are valid for five years after the year in which you took the test.

Do you accept the GMAT as a substitute for the GRE?

No, we currently do not accept GMAT scores as a substitute for GRE scores.

Must I take the GRE test before applying for admission?

No, you can submit your electronic admission application before you take the GRE test; however, we cannot admit any applicant until we have reviewed the GRE scores

How do I make sure that my GRE test scores will be received by Purdue University at West Lafayette?

The institutional code for Purdue University at the West Lafayette (main) campus is 1631. The institutional codes for other Purdue campuses are different. See the GRE Requirements web page for the full listing of Purdue campus codes.

What is the minimum GRE score that is required for admission?

The CIT graduate program does not have a minimum required score for the GRE. As a general guideline, GRE scores are expected to be in the upper 50th percentile for unconditional admission.

The overall selection process also considers various information such as prior academic performance, prior work experience, the statement of purpose (for graduate study), letters of recommendation, writing samples, pre-admission test scores, and other relevant information provided as part of a complete admission package as submitted by the applicant.

Is an English proficiency examination required?

International degree-seeking applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) unless they have graduated from a university or college that used English as the primary language of instruction.

Do you accept the IETFL or PTE exams as a substitute for TOEFL?

TOEFL is preferred; however, alternatives include the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), and the Pearson Test of English (PTE).

Must I take an English proficiency test before applying for admission?

No, you can submit your electronic admission application before you take the TOEFL exam; however, we cannot admit any international applicant until we have reviewed the TOEFL scores – unless that applicant has earned a degree from an English-speaking university or college.

What are the minimum TOEFL scores that are required for admission?

In summary, the minimum paper-based score required for admission is 550. The minimum Internet-based scores required for admission are:

  • Writing 18
  • Speaking 18
  • Listening 14
  • Reading 19
  • Total 77

Applicants must exceed each of the five scores listed above. For more information on minimum scores for TOEFL or alternative tests, see the Graduate School’s English Proficiency Requirements web page.

How do I make sure that my TOEFL test scores will be received by Purdue University at West Lafayette?

The institutional code for Purdue University at the West Lafayette (main) campus is 1631.

Will you accept photocopies of TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE scores that are more than two years old?

Purdue does NOT accept photocopies of any TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE score reports.

Are TOEFL, IETFL or PTE scores that are more than two years old accepted?

TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE scores are valid for only two years.

I am an international student currently studying in the United States. Do I still have to take an English proficiency examination?

The Graduate School routinely waives the English proficiency examination requirement for applicants who have received a baccalaureate, graduate, or professional degree from a U.S. institution within the past 24 months. Applicants who qualify for this waiver of the English proficiency examination should bring this to the attention of the program to which they are applying.

Admission Process

I am an international student currently studying in the United States. Do I still have to take an English proficiency examination?

All applicants to our graduate program must complete the Graduate School's online application and pay the non-refundable application fee of $60 (U.S. dollars) for domestic applicants and $75 (U.S. dollars) for international applicants. Detailed instructions and requirements are available on the application and on the Graduate Program Requirements Web page.

It is extremely important to apply to the correct program. If you are interested in our graduate programs, you must specify Computer and Information Technology on your electronic application form. To differentiate our program from other computing programs at Purdue, see Differences Between Computer and Information Technology, Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, and Information systems.

What is the application deadline?

In general, it is suggested that you apply. Applying early has its advantages: more funding opportunities are typically available and more spaces may be available for admission, particularly in competitive programs such as ours.

For maximum consideration, applications and all supporting documentation must be received on or before the deadlines listed below.

  Applying to start Fall Semester Applying to start Spring Semester Applying to Start Summer Semester
US citizen or resident (applying for on-campus program) April 1 October 1 April 1
US citizen or resident (applying for distance program) July 1 November 15 No entry
International (applying for on-campus program) April 1 September 1 February 15
International (applying for distance program) June 15 October 15 No entry
Do you accept applications for spring or summer semester admission?

We do accept applications for all our graduate programs for spring semester admission.

We only accept applications for our on-campus programs for summer admission, but usually only if the initial faculty advisor works during the summer.

Can I apply to two or more graduate programs separately?

Yes. If you are interested in applying to two or more graduate programs separately, you will be required to create a new application and pay an application fee for each application submitted. If you apply to graduate programs separately, you will have the opportunity to customize your supporting documentation (for example, statement of purpose, recommendations, resume, and fellowship essay) for each program.

How do I pay my application fee?

You must pay your application fee online with your credit card. Visa and MasterCard cards are accepted and processed using a secured online payment system. Your application will not be processed until your nonrefundable application fee has been paid. Our application fee is $60 (U.S. dollars) for domestic applicants and $75 (U.S. dollars) for international applicants.

What supporting documents must I submit?

For admission to our graduate program, you must submit the following supporting documentation. We will not process your application with all documentation listed as required.

  • Required: Official GRE scores, submitted electronically to Purdue University. Use the institution code, 1631.
NOTE: You can apply for admission without the GRE scores; however, the GRE scores must be submitted prior to formal application consideration.
  • Required: Original transcripts of all universities and post-secondary institutions attended.
  • Required: A detailed, reflective Statement of Purpose highlighting career goals, capabilities to be developed, and a self assessment highlighting both strengths and weaknesses. You may also reflect on any irregularities or special circumstances applicable to your background, or elaborate on your special abilities, awards, achievements, publications, and/or professional history.
  • Required: At least three letters of recommendation from faculty or individuals with an earned masters or doctoral degree. These letters should attest to the applicant’s potential for successful graduate study.
  • Required: A detailed resume’ or vita that describes your education, work history, significant skills, etc.
  • Required: Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores; only required for international applicants whose first language is not English, or who have not graduated from a university or college using English as the primary language of instruction.
  • Recommended: A writing sample that documents a high level of competence in written communication such as a prior thesis, research paper or report, or other significant personally written product.
How important is the Statement of Purpose?

The Statement of Purpose is extremely important. It is used to match your professional and graduate study interests with those of the graduate faculty. It is also an opportunity to demonstrate your writing skills, both organization of thought and appropriate style and grammar.

Where do I send my documents supporting my application?

For our graduate program, the Graduate School's online application will require you to upload the Statement of Purpose, resume/CV (optional but recommended), and the names of your letters of recommendation providers.

Test scores will be sent to Purdue from the testing agencies, but you must specify the Purdue University West Lafayette campus code, 1631, to make this happen.

Additional supporting documents, such as official transcripts, should be mailed from a registrar's office directly to our office at the following address:

Computer & Information Technology

Purdue University

KNOY Hall, Room 255
 Attention: Stacy Lane
401 North Grant Street

West Lafayette, IN 47907-2021

 USA


You may choose to send the transcript to our office yourself, but such transcripts must be in an envelope sealed by the registrar. Transcripts will not be returned.

Can my official transcripts be returned?

Once you submit official transcripts to Purdue University, they become property of the University and will not be returned. We recognize, in very rare instances, that students may have access to only one transcript (or an extremely limited number of transcripts) or other academic credentials. In this instance, you may submit a request (at the time you apply) to preserve your original documents to the graduate program. Requests forwarded to the Graduate School will be considered on a case-by-case basis. For contact information, please visit Graduate Program Requirements web pages.

Can I update my online application after it is submitted?

You may submit your application only once. You will not be able to make changes to your application information using the online application system after submission. The application should be submitted and all required materials should arrive by the appropriate deadline.

Can I add or remove recommendation providers after my application is submitted?

Once your application is submitted, you do not have the ability to return and make revisions to your recommendation provider list.

You do have the ability to have a hard copy recommendation letter sent to the program to which you are applying. For recommenders wishing to complete a paper recommendation, please use the following recommendation form (pdf file).

Do all of my letters of recommendation need to come from faculty?

It is preferred that most or all of your letters come from faculty; however, all of your letters must come from individuals who have earned at least the same degree you plan to pursue (e.g., masters or doctorate).

I have already applied for admission. Now what do I do?

If a complete application has been submitted (meaning, you have completed and submitted the Graduate School's application, paid the application fee, and submitted letters of recommendation, official transcripts, test scores, and any other items required by the program), no additional action is required. Your application status is available through the Graduate School's online application system.

How do I check the status of my submitted application?

You may check the status of your submitted application by visiting the Graduate School's online application system. We update your application status on that system.

If you have additional questions regarding your application status, please contact our graduate program coordinator, Stacy Lane at: Phone: (765) 494-4545 | Email: smlane@purdue.edu

Has the graduate program to which I applied received documents supporting my application?

If you have questions regarding receipt of your supporting documentation, please contact our graduate program coordinator, Stacy Lane at: Phone: (765) 494-4545 | Email: smlane@purdue.edu

Has the graduate program to which I applied received my GRE or TOEFL scores?

If you have questions regarding receipt of your test scores please contact our graduate program coordinator, Stacy Lane at: Phone: (765) 494-4545 | Email: smlane@purdue.edu

How do I accept or decline my offer of admission?

Inform our graduate program coordinator, Stacy Lane of your decision to attend, or not attend Purdue University. Stacy can be contacted at: Phone: (765) 494-4545 | Email: smlane@purdue.edu

Can I apply and delay my enrollment, if I decide to begin my studies later?

You can defer your start date for up to one year. If you want to enroll more than one year later, you must reapply and pay another application fee. Contact our graduate program coordinator, Stacy Lane, to defer your start date: Phone: (765) 494-4545 | Email: smlane@purdue.edu

International Students

Am I considered an international student?

You are classified as an international student if you are not a permanent resident or citizen of the United States.

How much is the international student tuition and fees?

The current tuition and fees can be found at the Bursar’s Office web site.

Additionally, international students pay a $60 fee each semester to help fund the unique services the University offers to international students, such as immigration regulation advising, cultural/educational programming, SEVIS reporting (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System), and compliance with the United States' government.

Is financial support available to international students?

Yes, although specific fellowship, assistantship, and other award eligibility may vary, funding is generally available for both domestic and international students.

Does the United States Department of Education classify the Purdue Computer and Information Technology graduate program as a STEM discipline (meaning “Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics”)?

Yes, the Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code for the Computer and Information Technology (CIT) program classifies it as a STEM field of study. As a STEM field of study, this currently extends the period of time during which you can work in the United States after graduation.

Life at Purdue University

Where is Purdue located?

Purdue University's first and largest campus is located in West Lafayette, Indiana. West Lafayette and its neighboring city, Lafayette, are often referred to as Greater Lafayette. Both cities boast a competitive cost of living that is below the national average, giving graduate students more purchasing power. For more information on Greater Lafayette, visit the Community Information Web page.

What is the weather like?

Indiana enjoys four distinct seasons each year: winter, spring, summer, and fall. January is typically the coldest month of the year with normal daily maximum temperatures ranging from 31 to 38F. July is the warmest month with daily maximums averaging 80 to 83F. Average annual precipitation ranges from 37-47 inches. For more Indiana climate information, visit the National Climate Data Center web page.

What housing is available for graduate students?

There are a variety of affordable housing options available both on campus and off-campus. Visit our Graduate Student Housing Web page for more information.

How do I schedule a campus visit?

Contact our graduate program coordinator, Stacy Lane, to inquire about visitation opportunities. Stacy can be contacted at: Phone: (765) 494-4545 | Email: smlane@purdue.edu