What is PREP?

  • If you're a newly admitted Pre-Engineering student who will be a freshman for fall 2020, we encourage you to watch this presentation to learn more about the program. 

  • The Pre-Engineering Program (PREP) is intended to provide an opportunity for highly qualified students to prepare for possible transfer into the Grainger College of Engineering. 

  • Students in PREP will reside in the Division of General Studies while they complete the prescribed curriculum and prepare for possible transfer into the Grainger College of Engineering. 

  • Students are encouraged to explore multiple majors while in the Pre-Engineering Program.

PREP Support and Resources
  • Pre-Engineering Advisor: A designated Pre-Engineering Academic Advisor in the Division of General Studies will help students navigate their academic journey. Advising is required each semester before being able to register for classes.
  • The Grainger College of Engineering Resources: PREP students have access to resources such as the Center for Academic Resources in Engineering, International Programs in Engineering, Women in Engineering, student organizations and design competition teams.
  • Engineering Coursework: In addition to exploratory courses, students have access to  introductory major courses within the Grainger College of Engineering curriculum.


Please note: PREP students are assessed the Grainger Engineering tuition rate to access all of the support and resources listed above


Exploring Grainger Engineering Majors
  • Most Engineering career fields are flexible on what major you have, so you have room to explore multiple paths to get to your desired career.

  • Work with your PREP Academic Advisor to build a schedule to explore and prepare for more than one major in Grainger Engineering.

  • In ENG 101, students will be exposed to all majors in the Grainger College of Engineering and careful reflection will be encouraged prior to applying.

  • Students who apply to the Grainger College of Engineering will be able to list up to three engineering majors of interest.


Guaranteed Admission

PREP students have a guaranteed admission to an open capacity major in the Grainger College of Engineering if the following requirements are met:

  • Complete at least two, full-time semesters at Illinois
  • Earn at least a 3.00 cumulative and specialized grade point average (GPA) each semester
  • Adhere to the suggested major course sequence found in the Undergraduate Catalog
  • Earn grades of B- or above in all foundational technical coursework 
  • Successful complete 3-4 major appropriate technical courses each semester. Students who are ahead in the suggested course sequence for the major, e.g. through Advance Placement or proficiency credit, will continue taking an appropriate engineering course load.


  Students Enrolled in PREP Starting Fall 2018 and after

Competitive Review

3.75 overall & sGPA + competitive review


Computer Science

Mechanical Engineering

Restricted Capacity

3.75 overall & sGPA

Computer Engineering

Electrical Engineering

Limited Capacity

3.50 overall & sGPA

Aerospace Engineering

Moderate Capacity

3.25 overall & sGPA

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Industrial Engineering

Open Capacity

3.0 overall & sGPA

Agricultural and Biological Engineering

Engineering Mechanics

Engineering Physics

Materials Science and Engineering

Nuclear, Plasma and Radiological Engineering

Systems Engineering and Design


  • Competitive Review majors (Bioengineering, Computer Science, and Mechanical Engineering) are not guaranteed admission based on GPA.  Admission will be based on a holistic application review by the Grainger College of Engineering and the space available in that competitive major.
  • Although the listed criteria provide guaranteed admission into majors, all applications are reviewed holistically.  The guaranteed admission criteria does not represent a minimum cutoff for admission.
  • sGPA or Specialized GPA is the cumulative GPA of all math, science, and Engineering courses taken at Illinois.

PDF version of GPA Requirements

  • Admission to competitive review programs (Bioengineering, Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering) is not guaranteed.
  • Students are only admitted to the Grainger College of Engineering if they are in Good Standing in PREP and have completed the required coursework.
  • Success in PREP starts with the first semester. Students should work with their PREP Academic Advisor to carefully select courses that are required and appropriate.
  • Students should be involved in outside of the classroom (student organizations, project groups, research, etc.), but should also make sure their primary focus is on doing well academically.
  • Engineering careers are flexible. If you are open to exploring your options, PREP may be a good fit. If you are not open to exploration, you may consider that when making your decision on accepting your offer of admission.

The Pre-Engineering Program (PREP) began during the fall 2017 semester. The Fall 2017 cohort of PREP students is the only one for which the full set of data is known. Of the Fall 2017 cohort:

  • 41% were in Grainger Engineering after 4 semesters
  • 43% were in another major at UIUC after 4 semesters

Of the 43% of students that went to another major on campus, they ended up in 26 different majors. The top 3 most common majors are:

  1. Economics
  2. Technical Systems Management
  3. Statistics

The data below represents students who have successfully applied to the Grainger College of Engineering and were accepted into their first-choice majors since the first transfer period in Spring 2018. These students remained in PREP Good Standing according to the criteria listed above and were eligible to apply to the Grainger College of Engineering at the end of their time in PREP.

  • 80% of the submitted applications were accepted into a major within the Grainger College of Engineering
  • 84% of the accepted applications were admitted to their first-choice major in the Grainger College of Engineering

Jessica Arnold

Senior Assistant Director for Admission & Transition Programs

Division of General Studies