Plastics & Composites Engineering Admissions

A group of PCE students collaborating
A PCE Student posing and smiling in front of the lab

Overview

Admission to the Plastics & Composites (PCE) Engineering major is a two-phase process. After acceptance to WWU, students first declare as a Plastics & Composites Pre-major at the time they register for classes at WWU. PCE pre-majors take foundational courses in math, physics, chemistry and engineering principles.  Depending on when students are able to begin calculus, these foundational courses take up to 5 quarters to complete at WWU.  Foundational coursework may also be taken at community colleges or other institutions.  See Transfer Students for more information.  These foundational courses are the minimum required courses (see below) to apply to the PCE major. The PCE program accepts major applications during winter quarter.  See below for details. Upper division coursework is restricted to students who have been accepted into the full major.

Major Admissions and Requirements

Admission to full major status is determined by academic performance as a pre-major, an essay, and other factors. Admission to the major is competitive. Neither completion of the prerequisites nor attainment of any specific GPA guarantees admission. Twenty four students are typically accepted into the program each year and they begin major courses spring quarter.  While admission decisions are based primarily on cumulative GPA in the foundational courses, successful completion of other required major courses, GPA in the major, and overall GPA are also considerations.

Admissions Statistics

The Plastics & Composites Engineering program admits 24 students per year. The average GPA of admitted students usually varies between 2.9 and 3.1 in the required foundational courses. This is an average GPA that we have seen historically based on the applicant pools and is not a cut-off GPA. 

The Admissions committee also considers overall GPA, grades in any major course, and the required essay. The overall competitiveness of admission depends on the total number of applications we receive, as well as the general strength of the applicant pool, and it can vary widely from year to year. The committee encourages all eligible applicants to apply, and to also consider a backup plan as we can’t predict the future competitiveness of the applicant pool.  Students may contact the department Pre Major Advisor, Lisa Ochs, at Lisa.Ochs@wwu.edu to discuss admissions questions.

To Apply

The 2020-2021 major application is now closed.  Major applications will be accepted again during winter quarter 2022. 

Required essay: In addition to academic performance as described above, acceptance will also be based on an essay (500 words or less) explaining any prior experience, academic challenges and/or achievements that would give insight as to why you would like to study Plastics & Composites Engineering.  Suggested topics to cover:

  • what interests you about Plastics & Composites engineering
  • why did you chose this program overs at WWU
  • what experiences (if any) do you have that relates to engineering
  • what motivates you
  • what challenges have you faced

 

Students may be currently enrolled in no more than three of the required courses when they apply for major admission. The required courses are listed below. A final decision on your application may be delayed until receipt of final grades for in-progress courses. Students must obtain at least a C- in the above courses and an overall GPA in them of 2.0 or higher to be considered. AP scores are converted to GPA as follows: 5 = A; 4 = B; 3 = C. While admission decisions are based primarily on cumulative GPA in the foundational courses, successful completion of other required major courses, GPA in the major, and overall GPA are also considerations.

Applicants will be notified of decisions prior to Spring quarter registration.

Required courses to apply: 

  • MATH 124 - Calculus I
  • MATH 125 - Calculus II
  • CHEM 161 - General Chemistry I
  • CHEM 162 - General Chemistry II
  • PHYS 161 - Physics w/ Calculus I
  • ENGR 115 or 104 or 197D- Intro to Engineering & Design
  • ENGR 170 - Intro to Materials Science & Engineering
  • ENGR 214 - Statics

*students may be enrolled in no more than two of the above courses during winter quarter when they apply

Recommended courses, but not required for application:

  • MATH 345 or 341 - Engineering Statistics
  • PHYS 162 - Physics w/ Calculus II
  • PHYS 163 - Physics w/ Calculus III
  • ENGR 225 - Mechanics of Materials
  • CSCI 140 or 141 - Programming Fundamentals

 

Students who are accepted must register for PCE 371, MFGE 231 and MFGE 261 Spring quarter before the end of Phase II registration unless they are given explicit permission from a PCE advisor not to do so. Students who do not register for these classes by the end of Phase II registration may lose their major status. Students need to complete PHYS 163 by the end of fall quarter year three and MFGE 342 by the end of winter quarter year three or graduation will be delayed.

Transfer Students

A student that will be transferring to Western Washington University will be designated as a pre-major and will need to apply to the major. Transfer students who believe they are ready to apply to the PCE major should contact the Pre Major Advisor at Lisa.Ochs@wwu.edu. Learn more about transferring into our department on our Transfer Students page.

PCE students working together
A PCE professor pointing at the camera
A PCE student is demonstrating a process to a group of students and their professor