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FAQs for Prospective Students

About the AuE Program Application Process and Admissions Accepted Students International Students Miscellaneous

About the Automotive Engineering (AuE) Program

Application Process and Admissions

Clemson University Graduate School Policy Handbook

Accepted Students

International Students


What makes Clemson's automotive engineering program different?
Our entire focus is automotive engineering. It is not one of a number of tracks or options offered in our program, instead, automotive engineering is our sole reason for existence. We are the nation's only graduate-level department of automotive engineering. We are also housed on a campus that is devoted to the automotive industry. By narrowing our focus, we can give students deep knowledge in a particular area like powertrains, vehicle electrification or hybrid propulsion while helping them understand the breadth of the automotive industry. We are creating engineers with both technical skills and business sense. This approach was recommended by the automotive industry leaders who sit on our advisory board. We are also implementing many of the key objectives outlined in ASME's Vision 2030.

Do I need to have a mechanical engineering background to succeed in your program?
Due to our systems-integration focus, our program draws interest from students with a variety of backgrounds. Our admissions guidelines state that students should have a degree in any branch of engineering, applied sciences, or mathematics. We find that students are best suited for success when they have an understanding of the principles and skills listed below.

Integral calculus (one variable, two variables)
Differential calculus
Differential equations
Linear algebra
Matlab (software)
Good verbal and written communications skills (required for every class)

The lists below are specific to each technical concentration area.

Engineering design (two units)
Manufacturing processes
Strength of materials (SOM)
Materials or materials engineering class


Heat transfer, controls
Understanding of fluid mechanics

Understanding of fluid mechanics

Basic electronics
Electrical circuits

Human factors

I've applied. When will I hear about my application?
Thanks for your interest in our program. We ask for your patience during the admissions process. Our faculty committee reviews applications continuously during the consideration window and makes decisions on a rolling basis. To follow the status of your application, please use the Clemson Grad School status check system.  We ask that you do not e-mail or call to check on your application as responding to these inquiries takes time away from other activities and will delay the review process. We anticipate that all admissions decisions for MS applicants will be communicated by May 15. Ph.D. applicants are required to identify a project together with a faculty member agreeing to be an advisor before the application will be considered.  (Updated Sep. 7, 2016)

Who can apply?
Enrollment is open to those with degrees in any branch of engineering, applied sciences, or mathematics.

What are the admissions requirements?
We look at each student as a whole when making decisions about admissions. Test scores and GPA are considered along with post-graduate work and automotive interest/experience.

The test scores listed below are our general guidelines for admissions.
GRE SCORES –revised scoring system (previous scoring system in parenthesis)
Verbal  153 (500 - previous GRE scale)
Quantitative 155 (700 – previous GRE scale)
Written 3.0

Additional requirements
M.S. - Bachelor’s degree in engineering, applied sciences, or math with a GPA of 3.0 or equivalent from an accredited program. While not required, two years of post-BS, industry experience is a plus.
Ph.D. - A master’s degree is typically desired. Students wishing to enter the Ph.D. program directly after obtaining their BS degree must have a GPA of 3.5 or better. Degrees must be in engineering, applied sciences, or math.

My verbal GRE score is less than 153 (500 on the old scale); do I have a chance of getting in?
We cannot give you a firm answer to this question. Our faculty committee looks at GRE scores, GPAs, previous experience -  both educational and industrial, recommendations, and essays before making a decision. Using this holistic approach, strengths in one category can help make up for deficiencies in another. It is not our policy to review applications or credentials that do not go through the official application process. Therefore, the only way to find out whether you’ll get in or not is to actually apply and go through the process.

What were the average GRE scores for students admitted to previous classes?
Please keep in mind that our holistic review process means that marginal GRE scores can be balanced by industrial experience or other factors. We cannot guarantee that students who meet or exceed these averages will be granted admission. With that stated, the average GRE scores for previous years are listed here.

How do I apply?
You may apply on the web at  Your materials are loaded into a system that will allow us to evaluate your application and act accordingly.

What documents should I submit? Can I learn more about supporting materials?
Official GRE scores (ETS code – 5111  There is no additional department code.)
Official TOEFL/IELTS scores for International Students
(ETS code – 5111  There is no additional department code.)
Unofficial Transcripts
Letters of Recommendation

Official transcripts are required upon acceptance.
Do not submit the transcript before you are accepted. Students* must submit one official academic transcript from each previously attended institution. These transcripts must be mailed to the address below. Graduate Admissions will not accept faxed or scanned copies. Do not send high school transcripts or any certificates other than degree certificates. To ensure proper handling, do not send official transcripts until you have received your letter of acceptance.

Clemson University Graduate Admissions
Clemson University
Graduate Admissions Office
E-209 Martin Hall
Clemson, S.C. 29634

*Clemson students do not need to submit a transcript.

For more on supporting materials, please visit the Grad School's information page.

What is an official transcript? When do I submit it?
Unlike the unofficial transcript that should accompany your application, the official transcript must be mailed to the Clemson Graduate School after you have been admitted. Your transcript must be placed in a sealed envelope by your college or university's registrar. The seal of the envelope should then be signed by the registrar. This seal is not to be broken by anyone outside of Clemson's Graduate School. These measures help to ensure the authenticity of your documents.

After you have been admitted, the official transcript should be mailed to:
Office of Graduate Admissions
209 E-Martin Hall
Clemson University
SC 29634

I submitted my GRE and/or TOEFL score sheet but my application status still reads "awaiting materials." Why?
Your official score report comes directly to Clemson from the testing service (ETS). Any documents that you upload are not considered official. You must request a score report from the testing service. Be sure to use Clemson's institution code 5111 when making your request. It can take two-to-four weeks for the official score report to be matched to your application.

What are the application deadlines?
For fall admissions (M.S. and Ph.D. students can enroll in fall.) all materials must be in by January 15 to receive full consideration for both admission and funding. The application window will be open until April 30 but applications received after January 15 are subject to availability of vacancies in the program.
For spring admission (Ph.D. only) applications should be submitted by Sept. 15 for full consideration.

How much are the application fees?
Domestic Fees: $80
International Fees: $90
These non-refundable fees can be paid by credit card, debit card, or electronic check (U.S. banks only) when the application is submitted.

How can I learn more about the admissions process?
The Graduate School’s Webster has an extensive list of FAQs about the application process. We encourage you to read the information available here Read through the Clemson University Graduate School Policy Handbook.  Either the Graduate Coordinator or the Graduate Student Services Coordinator can assist with questions that are not answered by this site or the graduate school’s site.

Please do not call the office or send e-mails inquiring about your application status. This only slows the processing and review of your application. All Fall entry applicants will be notified by May of the year of application.

How can I check the status of my application?
You may check the status of your application by logging into the Application Status Check. Once your application is received and added to our student database, you will be able to see the information we have recorded about you, the status of your supporting documents, if your test scores have been received from ETS and when actions have been taken regarding admission status. If you find erroneous information when checking the status of your application, please notify us at

Please do not call the office or send e-mails inquiring about your application status. This only slows the processing and review of your application. All Fall entry applicants will be notified by May of the year of application.

May I apply for both the M.S. and Ph.D. program on a single application?
No, you must select only one degree program or the other. Typically students apply for the master's program. If after a semester, they have decided to pursue a Ph.D., the student will complete a change of major form to make the switch. It is important to note that a student must have a faculty recommendation to make the switch, the ability to change your degree program is not guaranteed.

May I apply for multiple programs at Clemson on the same application?

Clemson allows you to apply to more than one program (for instance, both automotive engineering and mechanical engineering). However, you must use two separate applications. All applications at Clemson are customized to meet the needs of each specific program and are, not interchangeable. After you have submitted and paid for your first application, you are to go back in with the same UserID and password and change your major. You will have to submit the second application and pay another application fee. For more on the application process, and to complete an application form please visit the Clemson Graduate School.

I have not taken the GRE yet, can I still apply for the program?
You can complete the application before you take the GRE. The application system will match your GRE scores to your application when they are submitted by ETS. Be sure that the name used on your GRE matches the name used on your application. Please use Clemson's institutional code 5111 when requesting your score report. There is no separate departmental code in addition to the institutional code.

I am having technical issues with the application. What should I do?
First, be sure you have carefully read and followed all the application instructions. Secondly, review the FAQs provided by the Clemson Grad School. Finally, e-mail with technical issues.

Is it possible to send requests for letters of recommendation before I finish the application?
Yes, you can send a letter of recommendation requests before finalizing your application. As you enter information for your references, you will see a button allowing you to request a letter of recommendation. Click the button to generate the e-mail request.

I made an error when entering my recommender's e-mail address. What do I do?

Go to the Application Portal here:   Go to “Manage Your Account” and click on “Review Your Activity”. Use the same userID (email address) and password you created when you submitted your application. This will take you to any applications that you have completed through College Net. Click on Clemson University (Graduate).

You will see the section for Online Letters of Recommendation. You can see who you requested and if they have started their recommendation yet. There is a dropbox that says "take action". The two selections are "send reminder" and "edit this recommender." The second option allows the name and/or email address to be edited.

When this is done, the original link is deactivated, and a new email is automatically generated and sent using the new information.

If you are still having problems, please contact College Net at

My reference did not receive an e-mail from the system. What do I do?

Go to the Application Portal here:   Go to “Manage Your Account” and click on “Review Your Activity”. Use the same userID (email address) and password you created when you submitted your application. This will take you to any applications that you have completed through College Net. Click on Clemson University (Graduate).

You will see the section for Online Letters of Recommendation. You can see who you requested and if they have started their recommendation yet. There is a dropbox that says "take action". The two selections are "send reminder" and "edit this recommender." Use the send a reminder link. If you are still having problems, please contact College Net at

How can I learn more about transferring to Clemson's automotive engineering program?
The Graduate School sets policies concerning transfer credits. Those policies are spelled out on the GS Policy Handbook. Students with specific questions about transferring to the automotive engineering program should contact the Graduate Student Coordinator.

What is the cutoff score for GRE/GPA?
There is no cutoff score enforced for the GRE test. Median scores of admitted students can be found here:  Due to different scales of GPA, there is not a fixed cutoff. GPA and grades in individual courses are considered directly from the transcript(s).

The application asks me to input my GPA on a 4.0 scale, but my grading system is on a different scale. How do I convert it?
This field applies only to GPAs originally calculated on a 4.0 scale. If you are using a different scale, please leave this field blank and we will find your GPA directly from the transcript(s).

I got a score of XXX on my GRE, I have a GPA of XXX, I have taken courses XXX, and I have work experience XXX. What are my chances of getting into your program?
Each application is reviewed as a whole (including both these quantitative measures as well as references, personal essay, and understanding of work experience), and compared to the current applicant pool. Therefore, it is not possible to give an accurate assessment of the possibility of admission. Please use the baseline data and program description to assess yourself, and apply accordingly.

I am a Ph.D. applicant. When will I find out if I am admitted to the program?

If you are applying Ph.D., we require that you identify an advisor and project before we will admit you. We encourage you to contact researchers in your area of interest to find open positions.


I've been accepted. Now, what do I do?
Visit the Clemson Graduate School's site and follow the steps outlined in the "new student checklist."  Please note that this site may list dates for orientation that do not apply to our program; you will receive orientation information directly from our department.  In addition to the steps outlined on the site, you will also receive a "response card" that must be completed and returned to us. This will allow us to start preparing for your arrival.

How can I be considered for fellowships?
All incoming students who meet the deadlines (Jan. 15 - fall admissions and Sept. 15 - spring admissions) are considered for fellowships. For most of our fellowships, there is no additional work on the student's part. The admission application provides the information needed for faculty to make decisions about fellowship awards. If other fellowships are available and involve a separate application form, accepted students will receive application information. Please note that fellowships with separate application processes may have additional criteria including the ability to work in the US without sponsorship ( US citizenship), specific interests, or experience.

I've heard there are medical requirements. What does this mean? What about health insurance?
All new Clemson students must complete an Online Medical Clearance Form on the Clemson Medical site and provide written proof of required immunizations by July 1 (fall admissions) or December 1 (spring admissions). Students will also be enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan. Those who already have insurance can complete the online waiver form
Clemson University Health Insurance

Where should I live?
Students should live in Greenville, South Carolina. Clemson does not have official housing in Greenville.  Students who don't have their own transportation are encouraged to live in complexes served by the Greenlink Shuttle. At this time those are Waterside Greene.

Are there additional steps that I must complete?
Yes. International students must complete the steps outlined here.

Do I submit financial certification documents when I apply?
Your financial certification documents are part of the 1-20 process that begins after students are admitted. Do not submit financial certification materials unless you are accepted and working to obtain an I-20. For more information visit

Your financial certification documents are part of the I-20 process. Students only begin this process after they are accepted so you should not worry about financial certification unless you are admitted to our program. For more information see

Can you tell me more about the Office of International Engagement (international student office)?

Located on Clemson's main campus, the International Student Office offers a number of services to help new students. Please start by reading the information the office has prepared for new students.
The office can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 864-656-3614.

Where can I find the forms for international students?
All forms pertaining to international students can be found here
This includes the IS-50 Financial Certification Form needed for the I-20 process.

As an international student, what do I need to know about the English-proficiency requirement?
Unless you have a degree from an English-speaking institution, you are required to earn a satisfactory score on either the TOEFL or IELTS test.


Do I qualify for in-state tuition?
There are many factors that determine whether a student is eligible for in-state tuition or not. Clemson’s Office of Residency Classification assists graduate and undergraduate students with questions regarding residency and eligibility for in-state tuition. Please visit their website ( or contact the office (864-656-2280) for assistance with your specific questions.

What other costs should I be aware of?
Please look carefully through Clemson's Graduate School Financial/Tuition website for updated information.

Students should also consider housing, utilities, and groceries and other typical living expenses when calculating their costs. These costs will vary greatly depending on your personal tastes. Rental rates for one-bedroom apartments near the CU-ICAR campus typically run from $450-700 per month. Many students live with roommates to bring down the cost of their housing and utilities. This information from the Greenville Chamber of Commerce shows the average cost of common products and services in the Greenville area. Use this information and think about your own habits to know what you should budget for household expenses.

How can I get an assistantship?
Graduate assistants receiving funding pay a flat fee for tuition and fees.  To receive the reduced tuition and fees for a particular semester, a qualified student must be on the department payroll by the end of the second week of that semester.  Assistantship opportunities will be emailed to students when they become available. The emails will contain details about the position and application instructions. Students should not send unsolicited resumes/CVs to faculty members as these messages will be deleted. In general, only Ph.D. students will be considered for assistantships due to the compact nature of the master’s degree curriculum.
Assistantships are limited and awarded on a highly competitive basis; preference is given to Ph.D. students.

The department and CU-ICAR relationships with companies. How does this help me get an internship or job?
Our department does not have an internship placement program that matches all of our students with an internship. Students are responsible for finding their own six-month internships to fulfill the graduation requirement. When possible, we try to help our partners and other companies with finding interns and employees from within our student and alumni populations. This is meant to be a service to the automotive industry; it is not a guaranteed internship program for students. All students should prepare for their internship search by downloading the Graduate Student Career Plan provided by Clemson's Career Services.