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. Declaring a pre-major is done in person in ET 204.  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 and summer quarters.  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, as 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. Students may be currently enrolled in no more than two of the below courses when they apply for major admission. 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 prerequisite courses, successful completion of other required major courses, GPA in the major, and overall GPA are also considerations.

Minimum Prerequisite Coursework:

  • MATH 124 - Calculus I
  • MATH 125 - Calculus II
  • CHEM 121 - General Chemistry I (w/ lab)
  • CHEM 122 - General Chemistry II (w/ lab)
  • PHYS 161 - Physics w/ Calculus I
  • ENGR 104 - Intro to Engineering & Design
  • ENGR 170 - Intro to Materials Science & Engineering
  • ENGR 214 - Statics


Recommended additional courses towards the major: Students must complete PHYS 163 by the end of fall quarter in year three or graduation will be delayed.

  • CHEM 251 - Elementary Organic Chemistry
  • PHYS 162 - Physics w/ Calculus II
  • PHYS 163 - Physics w/ Calculus III
  • ENGR 225 - Mechanics of Materials
  • CSCI 140 or 141 - Programming Fundamentals

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 prerequisite 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 to discuss admissions questions.

To apply

Major Application (webform)

Major Application Winter Quarter: Applications are due by noon on the first Friday in February. In addition to academic performance as described above, acceptance will also be based on an essay (500 words or less) explaining why you want a degree in Plastics & Composites Engineering. Only complete and on-time applications will be considered. Applicants will be notified of decisions prior to Spring quarter registration.

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 and MFGE 342 by the end of winter quarter junior year or graduation will be delayed.

Major Application Summer Quarter:  Applications will be taken over the summer, if space allows. The summer application due date is July 7, 2017.  All pre-majors will be notified of the secondary major application due date.  Students accepted into the major at this time will begin major coursework fall quarter and will be advised of courses to register for.

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 by email or by phone 360.650.4132. For more transfer student information click here.