Graduate Program Frequently Asked Questions
- What "homework" should I do before completing my graduate application?
Begin by thinking about your career goals and how a graduate degree will help you achieve these goals. You should compare at least two graduate programs to learn more about their similarities and differences. You should ask lots of questions to make an informed choice about the graduate program that's right for you. An important consideration is the selection of a faculty member who will serve as your advisor. Review faculty profiles on department websites and then communicate directly with specific faculty to explore mutual interests. You’ll also want to prepare for the GRE. Many study resources are available to help you. Finally, identify individuals who can submit letters of recommendation for you.
- Could I visit the ASEC graduate program before I apply?
There are a number of ways you could become familiar with the ASEC graduate program to help you decide if you should apply. The Graduate Chair would be glad to visit with you and answer your questions via a campus visit or phone call. You may also wish to visit with faculty and current students. Many students wish to visit campus at some point to learn more about the program and department. Some choose to visit campus before they apply, while others visit after they have been admitted. Please let the Graduate Chair know your preferences and how we can accommodate you.
- When should I apply?
Applicants applying for fall admission must submit an application by November 15th.
Note: ASEC will no longer accept applications for the spring semester.
- What should I write in my statement of purpose?
The statement of purpose is a key component of the graduate application. It should provide a sense of the applicant's motivation, goals, interests, and direction in pursuing a graduate degree. The statement of purpose helps the graduate committee determine program fit and to identify a prospective advisor for the applicant. The statement should be approximately 500 words (approximately 2 double-spaced pages) and it should directly address the applicant's purpose for undertaking or continuing graduate study, reasons for wanting to study at Purdue, research interests, professional plans, and career goals. Applicants may also wish to explain any special circumstances in their background and to elaborate on scholarly publications, awards, achievements, abilities, and/or professional history. The statement of purpose is evaluated in terms of both content and quality of writing.
- Should I identify in my statement of purpose potential faculty with whom I would like to work?
It is important to articulate your career and research interests, even if you do not know who would be best to work with as your advisor. You are encouraged but not required to mention any faculty whose work is most closely aligned with your research interests.
- Whom should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?
You should ask three qualified individuals to submit letters of recommendation on your behalf. Typically, these individuals hold doctoral degrees and can accurately assess your competencies and potential to develop competencies as a successful graduate student. Professors who can accurately assess your academic performance and potential as a graduate student are excellent references.
- What does the graduate committee look for in an application? How can I know if I’ll be competitive?
The graduate committee considers the entire application as evidence and focuses on two global criteria: (1) academic excellence, and (2) Program fit . Academic excellence is demonstrated through transcripts, GRE scores, statement of purpose, and letters of recommendation. Program fit is demonstrated through the statement of purpose, CV or resume, and letters of recommendation. A graduate application is competitive when multiple sources of evidence consistently support academic excellence and fit into the ASEC graduate program.
- Can ASEC provide funding? Can I get an assistantship?
Funding decisions are handled separately from admissions. Once admitted to the ASEC graduate program, students should work closely with their faculty advisor to identify and secure funding. Assistantships are the most common source of financial support. Graduate students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. may be eligible for fellowships. The graduate chair and committee determine if a doctoral application should be nominated for a fellowship. While it is the student's responsibility to secure funding, ASEC can provide assistance.
- Do I qualify for a tuition waiver?
Typically, tuition is waived for students on fellowship or those supported by at least a quarter-time graduate assistantship. Students on a assistanship pay fees, which is around $750 per year.
- How will I be notified if I have been admitted?
Graduate committee review of applications typically takes 4 to 6 weeks. You will be notified via a letter sent to the postal address listed on your graduate application. You will be asked to accept, decline, or defer your admission via a response form that you will send back to the department.
- How many graduate credits can I transfer into the ASEC graduate program?
Master’s degree students may transfer up to 12 graduate credits, if the student’s graduate committee approves. Doctoral degree students may transfer up to 30 graduate credits from their master's degree, if their graduate committee approves.
- Can I take a graduate course and then apply to a graduate degree program? What are the requirements to apply for non-degree status?
An applicant may apply as a non-degree student and, if accepted, complete up to 12 graduate credits. Admission to non-degree status does not guarantee admission to the graduate program. To apply as a non-degree student, you will need to complete the following steps: (1) complete the online application, (2) write a statement of purpose, and (3) submit official transcripts to the department. GRE scores are not required for non-degree applications.
- What if I have additional questions?
The Graduate Chair is an excellent source for any questions you may have about the ASEC graduate program. Jenny Franklin, the Graduate Program Coordinator can assist you with specific questions on completing your graduate application and checking the status of submitted applications. They can be reached at 765-494-8439.