phd requirements gpa

PhD Admission Guide

Gain admission to your dream school, guide to phd admission.

While some students swear off further education after undergrad, some love the thrill of intellectual discovery and research. For these students, graduate school is a natural choice. Graduate degrees are separated into “professional” and “academic” categories. Professional degrees are JDs and MDs, while academic degrees are PhDs (literally “Doctorates of Philosophy” regardless of what field you actually study).

Whether or not you need to pursue a PhD depends entirely on what career you wish to have. Some require higher education, while many others do not. In this guide we’ll go over how to apply to PhD programs, what they are looking for, and how the application process works. This guide is focused on the US and Canada; Europe has a system which is simultaneously similar and very different.

What PhD Programs Look For

phd requirements gpa

PhD programs want to make sure you are prepared academically for the rigors of the program, and that you have a concrete research goal in mind. PhD programs culminate with each student answering a research question they devise, contributing new knowledge to the world in the process. 

Thus these programs seek to evaluate your intellectual ability, research goals, previous research experience, and how you will contribute to their program. To determine this, they ask for the following:

Letters of Recommendation

We’ll go through each of these in turn, and explain what graduate programs are looking for from each.

Your GPA in undergrad is the single most important factor in PhD admissions. If your GPA is too low your application will be dismissed out of hand. While there are no hard limits, we suggest a minimum GPA of 3.5 for serious contention, especially at top schools. If your GPA is below 3.0 then you will likely not get admitted into any PhD programs.

The reason for this is that PhD programs are a lot of work. Being intelligent is necessary, but is far from sufficient alone. Everyone in PhD programs is intelligent, and everyone is also willing to do the work. Your GPA is seen as the primary indicator of your willingness and ability to do academic work to a high standard, and your preparation for the rigors of a PhD program.

Along with your overall GPA, schools request your major GPA. This is your GPA when calculated only using courses in your major. This is usually expected to be higher than your overall GPA. Your major GPA should be over 3.5.

While taking harder courses in undergrad is a great experience, they can also harm your overall GPA. Of course, the best approach is to take very hard classes and do well in them, but this is not always possible. We recommend taking a blend of courses, so you are never overloaded, and able to give each the attention it needs to do well.

Academic Preparation

Your GPA and transcript is also used to judge your academic preparation for the program. You should have a solid grounding in the field, and have taken advanced courses as well. Taking graduate level courses in undergrad can exemplify this. 

Some PhD programs also require research languages. This is more common in the social sciences and humanities, but all students will benefit from knowing other languages well enough to do research in them. You should look up language requirements when researching programs to apply to.

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test meant for students who intend to apply to graduate programs. Both MA and PhD programs ask for GRE scores. Much like the SAT or ACT in college exams, the test is meant to be a standardized measure of academic preparation and logical skill.

The test consists of six sections. The first is writing, next are two on verbal reasoning, then two on quantitative reasoning, and finally a research or experimental section, meant to test new questions. The entire test is offered on the computer, with one minute breaks after each section, and a ten minute break after the third section. While there is also a paper-based test, almost all testing is now done on a computer. Due to the pandemic, both testing centers and at-home testing are offered. The GRE is a multi-stage test, and how well you do on earlier sections determines the difficulty of later sections and questions. 

The verbal sections each consist of 20 questions, to be answered over 30 minutes. The whole is scored on a scale of 130-170. The quantitative section is scored the same, and consists of two 20 question sections, each of which should be completed in 35 minutes. The writing section is scored from 0-6. For this section, you write an essay on a given issue in 30 minutes, and offer a response critiquing a provided argument for 30 minutes.

Your total score from the GRE is given from 130-170. While the exact scores you need to enter graduate school vary, higher is better. In addition, some programs only care about your verbal score, while others only care about your quantitative score. How much weight each program puts on GRE scores varies greatly.

We recommend studying for the GRE for some time before testing. You can take the GRE up to five times per year, but must wait at least 21 days between testing dates. Only scores from the past 5 years will be released or considered by graduate programs.

Curriculum Vitae

This is akin to a resume, but is dissimilar enough that the two cannot be used interchangeably. The purpose of a CV is, like a resume, to detail what you have accomplished academically and in your career. It is far more focused on academics however, and is widely used for academic careers.

We recommend finding a template for a CV online, or asking your college’s advisors for help in creating one. If you already have a resume, then you will easily be able to convert it into a CV.

What admissions officers are looking for in your activities is primarily signs of research. This should be in whatever field you intend to pursue a PhD in. Publications are also incredibly valuable. All of academia runs on publication, and getting an early start helps your career at every step.

You should try to do research while still in undergrad. What this looks like depends entirely on what field you are pursuing. While the research does not have to exactly line up with what you wish to pursue, it should teach you skills which are cross applicable. Higher level academic research has its own set of methods and language which must be learned, and students who are already familiar with the forms and structures of research have a leg up in graduate school. 

Publication is not required, but is nice to see. If you have completed a master’s degree, you should have some publication history; of your thesis if nothing else. Speak with your academic advisors about getting your work published.

Each graduate school you apply to will ask for an essay. You will be able to use the same basic form for each, but will need to edit it to be about the particular program you are applying to. Most schools only require a single essay, although some programs ask for a second on diversity.

The purpose of this essay is to explain your research interests, what you have studied, your intended area of specialization, and what your focus will be on. Every PhD student is asking and trying to answer a very specific research question. This question forms the basis of their dissertation, and will be the focus of your life for several years if you are accepted.

Thus the essay is the most important part of your application. Your grades and GRE are required to see if you are academically ready for graduate school, but the essay lets readers know if you are a match for their program, and serious about your research.

Your essay should begin by stating which program you are applying to, and why. Next, go through your previous academic experience in the field, both coursework and research. You don’t have to go through every class, but cover the ones most relevant to your desired research topic.

You should discuss any prior research you have done in the field. If you completed a thesis for your undergraduate degree or a master’s program, cover that here. If you have any publication credits, cover those as well. This should relate directly to the field you are trying to enter. If you wish to pursue lab work, discuss your previous experiences; if instead you are pursuing field work, talk about your experiences there.

Next you should talk about the research you specifically wish to pursue through a PhD. You don’t need to have an exact research question worked out, but it is helpful to have some idea; you should at least know the subfield you will be focusing on. The more specific you are, the better. Having some discussion of methodology can be nice, but is not always necessary.

If there are any ongoing research projects ongoing at the school you wish to work on, cover those next. You should discuss how these projects specifically relate to your own research interests. Finally, you should talk about which professors you wish to work with. Professors take on graduate students to advise, and you ideally want one with a specialization at least tangentially related to your field of interest. The more closely related the professor’s studies are to your own, the better.

You will be able to leave much of this essay the same for each school you apply to, changing only the name of the program, the research projects, and the professors you wish to work with. 

This essay should be a page and a half to two pages long, single spaced. You should go into sufficient detail for those reading it to understand the research you want to pursue. These essays are reviewed by the faculty who run the department, and they make the admissions decisions for PhD programs. There are many more applicants than there are spaces, and admissions rates are low. The more specific and detailed you are in this essay, the better the faculty will understand your research aims, and the better your chances will be.

Diversity Statements

Not all programs ask for these, but you will likely be able to reuse the same essay for those that do. The purpose of the diversity statement is to see what unique points of view and experiences you will be able to contribute to the program. PhDs are about learning, and the more viewpoints and ideas within a program, the broader the experience will be.

If you are a member of an underrepresented group, an immigrant, come from an underprivileged background, or come from an area which is generally underrepresented, we suggest discussing that in this essay. You should not write an essay about your interactions with members of these groups, or a study abroad experience.

Above all, this essay should be authentic to you and your experience. The goal is to show how your background has shaped you as a person, and how it impacts your view of the world.

As with college applications, letters of recommendation are required for PhD admissions. These tell admissions committees who you are as a student and researcher, and give their opinion on how you will perform when doing graduate level work. Academic fields are small and often insular, and the professors writing your letters will often be known by those reading them, either by reputation or in person.

Programs ask for two to four letters. These should primarily come from professors who know you and your work well. If you had a thesis advisor, they should write one of your letters. If you’ve worked doing research for some time, then a mentor or lab director can also be a good source of a letter, even if they haven’t taught you in class. Letters should not come from non-academic sources, unless you have worked professionally in that field. 

While you have the option to read the letters that are written for you, you should always waive that right. If you don’t trust your writers to craft good letters for you, then you shouldn’t be asking them for letters. Asking to see letters is considered a sign of lack of trust, and is gauche. Many professors will decline to write letters if you insist on seeing them.

You should ask for letters well in advance of when they are due; we recommend at least a month or two. If you are asking non-tenured faculty for a letter, more leeway is recommended, as they have more on their plate, and are often more stressed. You may need to send a reminder as deadlines approach. You should also share a copy of your essay with letter writers, so they know exactly what subfield you intend to pursue, and can discuss this in their letters.

Finally, you should be aware of politics when asking for letters. Some professors do not like each other at all. If you are seen as the protege of a professor who others detest, this can impact your admissions chances. Always discuss which schools and programs you are applying to with your letter writers. You should also discuss your choices of writers with an advisor (for example a thesis advisor) familiar with the field. Academic politics are incredibly petty, but if you plan to pursue a PhD you need to be aware of the game, and how it is played.

phd requirements gpa

If your application passes the first review, you will be invited to do an interview. This will be with faculty in the program you are applying to. This is to further get to know you, and to understand your research objectives. 

You should be able to clearly explain what you want to research, and how this program will help you do so. The people talking to you will all be familiar with the field, though not necessarily your specific subfield. They are looking for your ability to communicate and explain your view. Be prepared to answer some questions about the specifics of your goals, though it’s ok if you don’t know everything right now.

Interviews are generally in person, though due to the pandemic, virtual interviews have become more common. This is also your chance to ask any questions you have about the program you were unable to find answers to online. You can practice for this interview with an advisor or mentor; many schools have career centers which hold mock grad school interviews as well.

When and How to Apply to Grad School

There is no unified platform for PhD applications. Instead you must apply to each program individually, through the school’s website. This will mean filling out information multiple times, but they fortunately don’t ask for much. Once you have your documents in order, the rest is personal, demographic, and contact information.

You will need to pay to have your GRE scores sent to each school you apply to. Even though this is all electronic, they still charge dearly for it. 

Applications are generally due in December or January, with interviews held over the next few months. Applications open in September or October. We recommend getting your applications in before the due date, though most programs don’t use rolling admissions. Each program sets their own deadlines, so you should track when each of your applications is due carefully to make sure nothing gets overlooked.

Paying for Grad School

PhD programs are for the most part fully funded. This means you will not be paying tuition, and will also get funding to live on. This funding is generally contingent on academic standing, and doing work TAing, teaching, or on ongoing research projects (or most commonly, all of the above). Many grad students also work full or part time to support themselves. 

While you will not need to take on additional debt to pay for graduate school, you will not be well paid either. While the exact amount graduate students receive varies by school and program, it is generally in the range of $20-30,000 annually. This goes towards food, housing, and supplies.

While you are in a PhD program, you will not have to make payments on any government loans you took out to pay for undergrad, though they will continue to accrue interest. Making payments on them during grad school is difficult, but will greatly cut down on the amount you need to pay back later.

There are also outside scholarships available to help pay for graduate studies. While the amounts offered by these vary, most are small. They can help greatly with paying for the necessities however, and applying to them is usually worth the time investment.

Grad School Admission FAQ

Now we’ll answer some of the most common questions about applying to PhD programs.

Can older students apply?

Yes. Many professionals return to school for a PhD long out of undergrad. We suggest taking some courses at a local university in the field you plan on entering before you do this however. Academic research advances quickly, and this will familiarize you with the latest developments. Further, this will introduce you to professors who can provide you with letters of recommendation.

What are my odds of acceptance?

This depends on both your field and program. Generally, however, it is quite difficult to gain admissions to a PhD program, and admission rates hover around 10%. Only the best students get accepted, and this is even more the case at the top schools and programs.

When should I start thinking about applications?

When you choose your major, you should decide what level you want to reach within that field. Some majors lend themselves to PhDs if you want to work in that field, while others allow employment at various levels.

Where should I apply?

You should find programs with professors who are dedicated to your particular subfield. A prestigious institution which does not focus on your area is far less useful, regardless of how famous its name is. You are looking for someone who will be able to advise you, and help you perform worthwhile research. Further, professors are looking for students studying fields similar to their own when they admit graduate students.

How long are PhD programs?

Generally programs last 4-5 years, though this can vary based on field. The exact structure of the programs also varies a lot based on field and program.

phd requirements gpa

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Admissions Requirements

Application requirements.

Congratulations on taking the next step towards submitting your graduate application! To help you along the way, we’ve compiled a list of requirements to complete your graduate application.

It’s also important to check with the program to which you’re applying, as they may have additional requirements specific to their program of study and degree not listed on this page.

Minimum Admissions Requirements

The minimum graduate admissions requirements are:

  • Expect to or hold a bachelor’s degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution.
  • A satisfactory scholastic average, usually a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.0 (B) on a 4.0 scale; and
  • Enough undergraduate training and/or professional experience to do graduate work in your chosen field.

Academic Records

You must hold or expect to hold a bachelor’s degree prior to the start of classes from a U.S.accredited institution by one of the AACRAO regional accrediting agencies* or a recognized equivalent from an accredited institution outside of the U.S.

* Regionally accredited college or university means an institution of higher education accredited by one of the following regional accreditation associations in the United States:

  • Middle States Commission on Higher Education
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges
  • The Higher Learning Commission (formerly known as North Central Association of Colleges and Schools)
  • Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities
  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges
  • WASC Senior College and University Commission

Graduates of accredited academic institutions outside the United States should hold a degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree. Please contact Graduate Admissions with questions.

Bachelor’s Degree from a U.S. Institution

Required Records : Upload unofficial transcripts (ie, a scanned copy) from every post-secondary school that you have attended, including your undergraduate institution, community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs.

Bachelor’s Degree from an International Institution

Required Records : Upload a scanned copy of your transcript and degree certificate for each institution after high school. If your academic records are in a language other than English or Spanish, you may submit translations in one of two ways:

  • Submit translations prepared by certified translators from the American Translators Association or the Ministry of Education. Degree names and grades should be transcribed, not converted, into English words or the U.S. grades of A-F. 
  • Submit an official World Education Services (WES) International Credential Advantage Package (ICAP) evaluation (opens in a new tab) . To electronically submit your WES ICAP, follow the instructions provided by WES. Select “University of California at Berkeley” as the recipient and “Graduate Admissions” 318 Sproul Hall #5900, Berkeley, CA 94720-5900 as the school/division.

Evidence of English Language Proficiency

All applicants who have completed a basic degree in a country/region in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This requirement applies to institutions from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, Israel, the People’s Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asian countries, most European countries, and countries in Africa in which English is not the official language.

There are two standardized tests you may take: the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). You can obtain detailed information from the TOEFL website .

We accept the internet based (iBT) and iBT Home Edition. We do not accept the TOEFL ITP or Duolingo .

For purposes of admission, your TOEFL test score must be at least 90 for the Internet-based test (IBT). Please contact individual academic departments for more information, as they may choose to require a higher score.

For Fall 2024, tests taken before June 1, 2022 will not be accepted even if your score was reported to UC Berkeley. Please send your test score directly from ETS to the institution code for UC Berkeley: 4833 for Graduate Organizations. We do not accept MyBest Scores.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

You can also submit scores from the Academic Modules of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), which is jointly managed by the British Council, IDP:IELTS Australia, and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. Consult the IELTS website to locate the office of the test center where you plan to take the test.

For purposes of admission, your most recent overall band score must be at least 7 on a 9-point scale.

For Fall 2024, tests taken before June 1, 2022 will not be accepted. All IELTS scores must be sent electronically from the testing center, and no institution code is required. Our address for identification purposes is: University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Division, Sproul Hall Rm 318, MC 5900, Berkeley, CA 94720. Please do not mail any score reports to us.


To qualify for a TOEFL/IELTS exemption, you must fulfill one of the following options:

  • Have a basic degree from a recognized institution in a country where the official language is English.
  • Have completed a basic or advanced degree at an institution, in the United States or a United States institution abroad, where the language of instruction is English and the institution is accredited by one of the United States’ regional accrediting agencies.
  • The following courses do not qualify for an exemption: courses in English as a Second Language, courses conducted in a language other than English, courses that will be completed after applicants submit their application, or courses of a nonacademic nature.

The TOEFL or IELTS must be submitted by applicants who do not meet the exemption criteria above.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Other Test Scores

Some programs require applicants to take a standardized test such as the GRE General Test, a GRE Subject Test, the GMAT or MCAT. Consult the program to which you are applying for the department’s requirements.

For the GRE, send your test score directly from ETS to the institution code for UC Berkeley: 4833 for Graduate Organizations. No department code is needed unless specified by the specific program. ETS will not report test scores older than 5 years.

For the GMAT or MCAT, please consult your program for details.

Letters of Recommendation

The application requires at least three letters of recommendation. Applicants should check with their prospective program for questions . Your recommenders are asked to give their personal impressions of your intellectual ability, your aptitude in research or professional skills, your character, and the quality of your previous work and potential for future productive scholarship. Be sure to inform your recommenders of the program’s application deadline.

Applicants may waive the right to inspect their letters of recommendation on a voluntary basis. This option can be selected when you fill out the recommendation invite for your recommender.

The Graduate Division may verify the authenticity of academic letters of recommendation with the school or recommender.

Submit a Statement of Purpose and Personal History statement, along with any other essays the program you are applying to requires.

The Statement of Purpose should describe your aptitude and motivation to enter the program. This can include relevant details about your preparation or specialization in the field. This is a good place to share your academic plans, research interests, and future career goals. Read tips on how to craft your Statement of Purpose .

The Personal History statement describes how your own background and experiences influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Read tips on how to write your Personal History statement .

Application Fee

If you are a U.S. citizen or current permanent resident, the non-refundable application fee is $135; for all others, the fee is $155.

Fee Waiver : U.S. citizens or permanent residents who demonstrate financial need or have participated in an eligible program may apply for an application fee waiver. See guidelines for waivers .

Fee Exemption : Some programs do not require the application fee payment. See guidelines for fee exemption .

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Application requirements for all doctoral programs (phd).

All of our doctoral programs are designed to develop outstanding educational researchers who have a deep understanding of the scientific, practical and policy issues they study. All require full-time study, and we promise five years of full-time financial support for every student we admit. Our doctoral programs are small, typically ranging from about 25 to 35 new students a year. The small size of our doctoral cohorts creates big educational advantages for students: the classes are almost always small, students receive individualized attention from their advisors, and they have many opportunities to develop close collegial relationships with fellow students.

It is extremely important to demonstrate in your statement of purpose that your interests converge closely with the current research of faculty who work in the program to which you are applying. Other doctoral applicants will certainly do this, and if you don't, you will forfeit an important competitive advantage to them. 

If you wish to contact faculty, please read our Which Degree Which Program article, by Professor Eamonn Callan, which outlines the appropriate process for contacting faculty with whom you share research interests. 

  • Program website:  Degrees and Programs/PhD
  • Length of Program:  5 years (average length)
  • Tuition: fellowship/assistantship salary and tuition guaranteed for first five years of the program (autumn, winter and spring quarters) for all students, including international students. Funding includes two summers.

Application Requirements:

Application form.

Complete and submit Stanford's graduate online application .

Application Fee

The application fee is $125 , is non-refundable, and must be received by the application deadline.

Application Fee Waivers

Stanford offers three types of application fee waivers for which GSE applicants may apply and be considered:

  • GRE Fee Reduction Certificate-Based Waiver
  • Diversity Program Participation-Based Waiver
  • School-Based Waiver

Please visit the Stanford Graduate Diversity website for instructions, deadlines, and the fee waiver application form.

Statement of Purpose

A Statement of Purpose is required. Your statement should be typed, single-spaced and should be between one to two pages . Describe succinctly your reasons for applying to the proposed program, your preparation for this field of study, and why our program is a good fit for you, your future career plans, and other aspects of your background as well as interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study. You may indicate potential faculty mentors as part of your study and research interests. Be sure to keep a copy for your records. What's a Good Statement of Purpose?

A resume or CV  is required of all applicants, depending on which document is most appropriate for your background. There is no page limit for resumes or CVs, though we typically see resumes of one page in length. Please upload your resume or CV in the online application.

Three (3) Letters of Recommendation

Applicants are required to submit three letters of recommendation . In the online application, you will be asked to identify your recommenders and their email addresses. Please notify your recommenders that they will receive an email prompt to submit their recommendation online. You can submit your request for letters of recommendation through the system without submitting the entire online application.  Stanford GSE only accepts online recommendations through the application system ; Stanford GSE cannot accept mailed, emailed or faxed recommendations.

Recommendations should be written by people who have supervised you in an academic, employment, or community service setting. We very strongly recommend that at least one of these letters be from a university professor familiar with your academic work. Your recommendations should directly address your suitability for admission to a graduate program at Stanford GSE.

It is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all three letters of recommendation are submitted through the system by the application deadline , so please work closely with your recommenders to remind them of the deadline.

College and University Transcripts

Transcripts are required from every college and university you have attended for at least one academic year as a full-time student. When submitting your online application, transcripts should be uploaded to the application as a scanned copy or PDF ; this is sufficient for the application review process. Please refrain from sending a secured PDF/transcript with a digital signature as our system cannot upload these properly. The best way to ensure we receive an upload-able document is for you to print out the secured transcript, scan it, and upload the scanned copy (not to exceed 10MB) as a PDF. 

If you earned a degree at the institution from which you are submitting a transcript, please ensure that the degree conferral date and the degree conferred is clearly visible on the document. If you are currently enrolled in a degree program and will not have earned the respective degree by the time of submitting your GSE application, you should submit your most recent in-progress transcript from your institution.

Only if admitted will we contact you with instructions on sending two copies of your official transcripts to our office. We cannot accept mailed, emailed or faxed copies of your transcripts during the application process. Please note: the instructions for sending transcripts on the online application and on the general Stanford Graduate Admissions Office website differ from this Stanford GSE requirement.

Concerning course work completed in a study abroad program

If the coursework and grades are reflected on the transcript of your home institution, you do not need to submit original transcripts from the study abroad institution.

Concerning foreign institutions

If your institution provides a transcript in a language other than English, we require that you submit a translation of the transcript that is either provided by the institution or a certified translator. Translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records.

If your transcript does not include your degree conferral date and the degree conferred , please submit a scanned copy of your diploma, a conferral statement, or a conferral document in addition to your transcript . If you are currently enrolled in a degree program and will not have earned the respective degree by the time of submitting your GSE application, you should submit your most recent in-progress transcript from your institution.

Stanford University requires the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) from all applicants whose native language is not English. The GSE requires a minimum TOEFL score of 250 for the computer-based test, 600 for the paper-based test or 100 for the internet-based test in order to be considered for admission. The Test of Written English (TWE) portion of the TOEFL is not required. Applicants who have completed a four-year bachelor's degree or a two-year master's program (or its equivalent) in the U.S. or at an institution where English is the main language of instruction are not required to take the TOEFL. For more information on TOEFL requirements, please refer to the Required Exams  page on the main Stanford Graduate Admissions website. You may register for the TOEFL test directly at the ETS website .

TOEFL Dates and Deadlines

PhD applicants who are required to take the TOEFL should plan to take the internet-based TOEFL test and have official TOEFL scores sent electronically to Stanford at institution code 4704 (department code does not matter) no later than November 1 . This will give your official TOEFL scores time to be sent from ETS and be received by our system in time for the December 1 deadline. PhD applicants to Knight-Hennessy Scholars should plan to take the internet-based TOEFL test no later than October 16 so your scores can be received by our system in time for the November 16 KHS GSE deadline. Please note that the TOEFL may be taken no earlier than 18 months prior to the application deadline.

Does Stanford accept tests other than TOEFL?

No. We accept only TOEFL scores; we do not accept IELTS or other test scores.

Contact Information

Admissions:  [email protected]  

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Graduate School

Ph.d. requirements.

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Brown University awards more than 200 doctor of philosophy degrees annually.

The Brown Ph.D. is primarily a research degree. Teaching is an important part of many doctoral programs, and many departments require candidates for the Ph.D. to have teaching experience.

Brown University offers substantial financial support to doctoral students. All incoming doctoral students are guaranteed five years of support, which includes a stipend, full tuition remission, health-services fee, and a health-insurance subsidy. Doctoral students in the Humanities and Social Sciences are guaranteed six years of support. All promises of student support are subject to students making satisfactory academic progress, as determined by their programs of study. Please see related links for additional details regarding the University's commitment to doctoral education.

Ph.D. Funding

Funding guarantee, four general requirements for the doctor of philosophy.

The candidate must be formally admitted to his or her degree program.

The normal residency requirement is the equivalent of three Academic Years of full-time study beyond the bachelor's degree. Students who enter a PhD program at Brown already holding a master’s degree in a related field have a residency requirement equivalent to two Academic Years of full-time study upon entering the PhD program at Brown. Use of a previously earned master’s degree to reduce PhD residency requirements is contingent upon approval of the program Director of Graduate Study. Graduate work done at other institutions and not used in fulfillment of the requirements for any doctoral degree elsewhere may, on the approval of the program Director of Graduate Study, be counted in fulfillment of up to, but not exceeding, one year of the residency requirement. A student who desires credit for work done elsewhere should file a timely application with the program Director of Graduate Study; transfer credit forms are available through the  Office of the Registrar .

A student is advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. when he or she has completed satisfactorily all the requirements, departmental and general, requisite to beginning work on the dissertation. Candidacy is determined by the department or program of study and certified by the Registrar. Most departments require a preliminary examination before advancing any student to candidacy. Most departments also require a final examination or defense. The examination is conducted by professors in the department and by such other members of the faculty as may be appointed.

The candidate must present a dissertation on a topic related to his or her area of specialization that presents the results of original research and gives evidence of excellent scholarship. The dissertation must be approved by the professor or committee under whose direction it is written and by the Graduate Council. All requirements for the Ph.D. must be completed within five years after advancement to candidacy.

Faculty Member Leaves Brown

If a faculty member working with a doctoral student leaves Brown for any reason before that student has completed his or her degree requirements, it may not always be possible for that faculty member to continue working with the student as an advisor. In such cases, departments will work with students to help them locate a new advisor.

Additional Requirements

Individual departments and programs may have additional requirements regarding the number of courses to be taken, proficiency in foreign languages, special examinations, and theses. The department should be consulted for specific information.

PhD Program Requirements

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Harvard Griffin GSAS strives to provide students with timely, accurate, and clear information. If you need help understanding a specific policy, please contact the office that administers that policy.

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In addition to the common degree requirements expected of Harvard Griffin GSAS students, students must meet additional requirements specified by their department or program. This section provides additional degree requirements by academic program.


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Application Requirements

The application for fall 2024 is now open. the deadline to apply is december 15th, 2023 11:59 p.m. eastern standard time. a complete application includes a completed online application and supplemental application materials. we recommend that you begin the application process early as it may take longer than expected. allow enough time to complete your online application, gather and submit your materials, and take the necessary standardized tests., please note: the ethics & legal studies phd program is not accepting applications for fall 2024 entry. applications for the ethics & legal studies phd program will open in september 2024 for fall 2025 entry..

Wharton only accepts applications submitted via our online application system.

Recognizing the challenges of teaching, learning, and assessing academic performance during the global COVID-19 pandemic, Penn’s admissions committees for graduate and professional programs will take the significant disruptions of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 and 2021 into account when reviewing students’ transcripts and other admissions materials as part of their regular practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant. In particular, as we review applications now and in the future, we will respect decisions regarding the adoption of Pass/Fail and other grading options during the period of COVID-19 disruptions. An applicant will not be adversely affected in the admissions process if their academic institution implemented a mandatory pass/fail (or similar) system for the term or if the applicant chose to participate in an optional pass/fail (or similar) system for the term. Penn’s longstanding commitment remains to admit graduate and professional student cohorts composed of outstanding individuals who demonstrate the resilience and aptitude to succeed in their academic pursuits.

Letters of Recommendation

The Admissions Committee requires three recommendations. The recommendations must be submitted using our online system.

When you apply online, you will provide the names and email addresses of three recommenders. These recommenders will receive an email with a password, login, and link to our site that will enable them to submit their recommendation directly to our office via the online system.

To submit letters of recommendation via Interfolio, please follow the instructions from Interfolio:

Assistance for applicants or the Interfolio agent can write to  [email protected] .

Transcripts & Academic History

You must submit transcripts of your academic work by scanning and uploading copies of your transcripts through the online application system. The file cannot exceed 600 KB in size and should be in .doc, .wpd, .rtf, .xls, .pdf, .docx, .xlsx or .txt format. For Mac users, please note that the filename must include the appropriate three- or four-letter extension. Also, please do not attempt to upload a document that is password-protected or that contains macros. This will cause the process to fail.

If you are offered admission, you will be required to provide official transcripts of all previous academic work to verify the information provided. If there are discrepancies between the self-reported academic work and official records, the offer of admission will be revoked. Offers of admission are not binding until academic records are verified.

When applying, list all post-secondary educational institutions you have attended, including technical and professional schools. Use the full, actual names of the institutions attended, and provide the titles of all diplomas or degrees earned. If you have attended more than one institution, submit official records from each institution, with the exception of study-abroad programs. If academic records and diplomas are not issued in English by the institution, both the official record and an authorized English translation must be submitted.

All translations should be complete and literal renditions of the original record. Records should show the date of enrollment, courses taken, units of credit or time allotted to each subject during each term or year, your marks or ratings in each subject, and, if available, your rank in the total class or group.

The institutional grading scale or other standards of evaluation, including minimum passing and failing marks and definition of grades between them, should appear on official records or be provided as an attachment.

Pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, as amended, personally identifiable information can be disclosed to persons outside the University only with the written consent of the student or alumnus/alumna. The complete confidentiality statement is available in the University’s graduate academic bulletins.

You must complete the Personal Statement essay question on the online application.

There is also an optional essay question where you may provide additional information or clarification on other points of your application.

Standardized Test Scores

The Wharton Doctoral Programs requires ALL applicants to take and provide scores for either the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Test requirements vary by program, as described below. Applicants whose native language is not English must also take the TOEFL.

Self-reported test scores may submitted in the application, pending receipt of your official scores.

We no longer accept late test scores due to Covid-19. Please plan accordingly to ensure test scores and materials are submitted by the December 15 deadline.

Accepted applicant GMAT and GRE test scores usually fall within the top 10 percent. For the TOEFL test, a high level of proficiency is expected. You can find information about the average GRE and GMAT scores for our most recent fall matriculates in our FAQ section.

To expedite the processing of your application, you must self-report your scores via the online application. In addition, you must request that the ETS send an official copy of your scores to the Wharton Doctoral Office.

We strongly encourage applicants to take the necessary tests in the fall at the latest so that the test scores reach the Wharton Doctoral Office before the December 15 deadline. It has been our experience that students often underestimate the time it takes for the School to receive grade transcripts and test scores. Since this time period may be as long as two months, students are well advised to send requests for grade transcripts and to schedule the appropriate tests as early as possible. Note: Late arrival of test results prevents evaluation of your application.

GRE & GMAT Requirements by Program

  • Accounting: GRE or GMAT
  • Applied Economics: GRE only
  • Ethics & Legal Studies: GRE or GMAT
  • Finance: GRE or GMAT
  • Health Care Management & Economics: GRE or GMAT
  • Management: GRE or GMAT
  • Marketing: GRE or GMAT
  • Operations, Information & Decisions: GRE or GMAT
  • Statistics and Data Science: GRE only

We will accept GMAT and GRE scores that are up to 5 years old. If your test scores are more than 5 years old (taken prior to July 2018), you will have to take the test again and submit the new scores. Please see the GRE and GMAT websites for further information on taking those tests.

The GMAT and GRE in-person and home tests will both be accepted.

We evaluate only GMAT and GRE results from tests taken prior to the receipt of your application. The highest score is used — we do not combine multiple scores. This requirement cannot be waived; there are no exceptions.

Ask the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to report your test scores using the following Wharton Doctoral Programs’ ETS codes:

  • GRE: 2954-5199 or 2954-0000
  • GMAT: G56-97-12

TOEFL Applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL. You may request a TOEFL waiver if you have earned an undergraduate or master’s degree (or will receive the degree by June 2024) in an English-speaking country or from an institution in which English is the language of instruction.

To waive the TOEFL, you must submit your request under the optional essay section of the application and have it documented that your medium of education was English. Your transcripts may serve as documentation that English was the language of instruction.

TOEFL scores are valid for two years. If your TOEFL test was taken prior to July 2021 you will need to submit new scores.

  • TOEFL: 2954-02 or 2954-00

Please note:

  • The TOEFL IBT and TOEFL ITP in-person and home tests will be accepted.
  • We do not accept IELTS scores in place of TOEFL scores

Application Fee

A nonrefundable application fee of $80 must accompany your application. Credit card payments, made with a Visa or MasterCard only, are processed through Wharton’s secure server using Cybersource. The application fee cannot be waived; there are no exceptions.*

* McNair, Fulbright,  Leadership Alliance, IDDEAS and GRE Fee Reduction recipients applicants may waive the application fee. Please follow the instructions in the application.

Application Deadline

To begin your studies in Fall 2024, you must submit your application and make sure that all your supporting materials (letters of recommendation, transcripts, and either GMAT or GRE scores) are in the hands of the Doctoral Programs Office no later than December 15, 2023.

As states on our website, please submit your application by December 15, 2023, 11:59PM ETS.

Prior Convictions Information

If an applicant has ever been convicted of, or plead guilty or no contest to, any felony or misdemeanor (excluding minor traffic violations), he or she must report that information. We offer a secure site for the applicant; answers will be reviewed by the Wharton Doctoral Programs Review Officer.

This information will not be provided to the admissions committee as part of the regular academic review process. If you have questions, you may contact the Review Officer directly at  [email protected] .

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PhD Admissions Requirements and Procedures


Thank you for your interest in applying to the doctoral program offered by the Department of Statistics.

  • PhD in Statistics

Contact: stat-admissions-PhD [at] ( stat-admissions-PhD[at]lists[dot]stanford[dot]edu )

All graduate applications are reviewed at the department level. Please read the following information and the Admissions FAQ page carefully. We have made a great effort to provide detailed, thorough and relevant information regarding the application process and hope that it will provide answers to your questions.

APPLICATION DEADLINE - Thursday, November 30, 2023 (11:59PM PST)

The deadline for all graduate application forms to be submitted online for the Department of Statistics for matriculation in Autumn Quarter 2024 is Thursday, November 30, 2023 . We do not matriculate students in any other quarter. The online application fee is $125 for all applicants, both domestic and international. Click here for details regarding the Application Fee Waiver .

Self-reported (unofficial) test scores that could not be included with the online application should be emailed to stat-admissions-PhD [at] (stat-admissions-PhD[at]lists[dot]stanford[dot]edu) and must be received by the deadline above.

Recommenders must submit online recommendation letters by the deadline above.

IMPORTANT: Effective March 2021, the GRE Math Subject Test is no longer required. Applicants to our program are required only to take the GRE General Test.

Applicants who do not have a bachelor's degree from a university based in the U.S. should review the information for international student eligibility to apply to graduate school at Stanford . The applicant should be sure that the bachelor's degree or equivalent will be conferred before the intended program start date.

Offers of admission cannot be made without receipt of official test scores.

What do I need to submit?

Applicants can access the online application and all accompanying information beginning in mid-September. If you encounter any problems while completing or submitting the application, please contact the support team by clicking Request Application Support in the Instructions section of the application. Since the Stanford application software is not Stanford-based, we are unable to help with technical issues.

Explain the nature of your interest in one specific program in the department and reasons for wanting to study at Stanford. In the first sentence of your statement of purpose, indicate the name of the specific program to which you are applying. Include details about your preparation for this field of study, your future career plans, and any other aspects of your background and interests which may aid the admissions committee in evaluating your aptitude and motivation for graduate study. Your statement should be typed, single-spaced, and no longer than two pages, ensuring that your full name and the program to which you are applying is on each page. If you are applying to Stanford together with another person (siblings, couples, etc.) and would not accept admission if both were not admitted, please let us know. Note that once your application has been submitted, we cannot accept any revised statements of purpose, résumés or transcripts.

Do not upload academic papers, theses, or dissertations as part of your statement of purpose. These items are not required. If you wish to submit them, please do so separately by uploading them in either the Experience section of the application (if applicable) or the Additional Information section. We do not accept materials submitted via email or mail.

List every post-secondary institution where you were enrolled — or are currently enrolled — in an undergraduate or graduate degree program. Your list must include the institution where you earned your bachelor’s degree or its international equivalent as defined in Stanford’s minimum education requirements for graduate study.

For each institution you list, upload your transcript. The transcripts you upload as part of your application are considered unofficial and will suffice for the review process.

If you are offered admission to Stanford AND accept the offer, you will be required to submit official transcripts/degree conferral documents. Instructions are provided on the status page immediately after accepting the offer.

If you have participated in a study abroad program or transferred courses to your home institution, and the individual courses and grades are reflected on the transcript of the home institution, you do not need to submit separate transcripts for the study abroad/transfer institution.

Multiple page uploads are allowed for all transcripts. Do not send official copies of transcripts (print or e-transcripts) to the department during the application process. They are not required as part of the application and will not be uploaded to your application or acknowledged.

See the Graduate Admissions transcripts web page for additional guidance on transcripts.

GPA/Converting International GPA

GPAs of at least 3.5 are strongly recommended.

Applicants must include GPAs for all current and completed degree programs. If the applicant's school does not use any scoring system or only provides grades at the end of the degree program, please note this in the second free text field of the Academic History section of the application.

Applicants whose school's scoring system does not use the 4.0 scale should enter the original GPA and GPA scale (e.g., a scale of 1-30 or 1-100) as it appears on your transcript. Do NOT convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale if it's reported on a different scale.

GRE Math Subject Test: Effective March 2021, the GRE Math Subject Test is no longer required. Applicants to our program are now required only to take the GRE General Test. The GRE Math Subject Test will not be considered during the review of applications. GRE Math Subject Test scores submitted to Stanford University will not be made available to our department.

IMPORTANT: Please note that it can take 2-3 weeks for your official test scores to arrive from ETS. In addition, the department cannot see or access these scores until approximately two weeks after you have submitted your online application. Finally, the test score status in your checklist (viewable after submission of the application) may take an additional 10 business days to change to "official". Applications will be considered complete with unofficial scores, although no offers of admission can be made without receipt of official scores.

GRE General Test ( ): Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Applicants who already hold a PhD degree from an accredited institution may request a waiver for the general test (see below).

Applicants wishing to submit an application for matriculation in 2024 must be able to provide at least self-reported (unofficial) test scores for the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE general test by the Statistics Department's PhD application deadline. All official score reports must be sent electronically by ETS to Stanford University. Our institution code number for ETS reporting is 4704. No department number is required. Test scores may be no older than five years, dating back from the Statistics Department's PhD application deadline. The GMAT is not accepted as a substitute for the GRE.

Applications will be processed using the self-reported (unofficial) test scores. If you submit your online application before you have taken the test, you may add the scores later, as long as it is still prior to the Statistics Department's PhD application deadline. Offers of admission are contingent on receipt of the official scores.

While we have not established any particular GRE score necessary for admission, the average General GRE percentile scores of recently admitted applicants are Verbal 92%, Quantitative 94% and Analytical Writing 83%. If you submit results from more than one eligible test date we will consider the higher of the scores.

If you have already earned a PhD degree, or your PhD studies are in progress when you apply and your degree will be conferred prior to your intended start quarter, you may request a GRE General Test waiver by emailing stat-admissions-PhD [at] (stat-admissions-PhD[at]lists[dot]stanford[dot]edu) with the following information and attaching an unofficial copy of your PhD transcript: full name, institution attended, degree earned, and degree conferral date. Use the subject heading "GRE General Test Waiver Request".

IMPORTANT: Please note that it can take 2 to 3 weeks for your official test scores to arrive from ETS. In addition, the department cannot see or access these scores until approximately two weeks after you have submitted your online application. Finally, the test score status in your checklist (viewable after submission of the application) may take an additional 10 business days to change 'official'. Applications will be considered complete with unofficial scores, although no offers of admission can be made without official scores.

Adequate command of spoken and written English is required for admission. Applicants whose first language is not English must submit an official test score from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Stanford accepts only ETS (Educational Testing Service) scores. Our institution code number for ETS reporting is 4704. No department number is required. Test scores may be no older than 24 months, dating back from the Statistics Department's PhD application deadline. Scores expire after two years and will not be available from ETS.

We accept the TOEFL iBT Home Edition and TOEFL iBT Paper Edition if you are unable to take the traditional TOEFL iBT test in a test center. If you take the Home Edition or Paper Edition, you may be required to complete additional English placement testing prior to enrollment. We do not accept TOEFL Essentials scores or any other English proficiency test (e.g., IELTS, PTE).

Exemptions are granted to applicants who have earned (or will earn, before enrolling at Stanford) a U.S. bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree from a regionally-accredited college or university in the United States (territories and possessions excluded), or an equivalent degree from an English-language university in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom.

You may request a waiver if you (will) have an equivalent degree from a recognized institution in a country other than Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom in which English was the language of instruction. You must submit a Stanford application before submitting a TOEFL waiver request form. Note that U.S. citizenship does not automatically exempt an applicant from taking the TOEFL if the applicant’s first language is not English.

A minimum TOEFL score of 100 on the Internet based test (iBT) is required by Stanford University for all Ph.D. applicants. However, please note that the Graduate Admission's Required Exams webpage also states that incoming students who score below 109 on the TOEFL will likely be required to complete additional English placement testing prior to enrollment. Evidence of adequate English proficiency must be submitted before enrollment is approved by Graduate Admissions. The average TOEFL score of Ph.D. applicants admitted to the statistics department is 112. The Test of Written English (TWE) portion of the TOEFL is not required. Stanford accepts MyBest scores but does not currently accept TOEFL Essentials test scores.

Applications will be processed using the self-reported (unofficial) test scores. If you submit your online application before you have taken the test, you may add the score later, as long as it is still prior to the Statistics Department's PhD application deadline. iBT test-takers should be able to access their scores online approximately 10 days after the test date. We recommend that you take the test no later than early November 2023 to ensure that you meet the Statistics Department's PhD application deadline application deadline. Offers of admission are contingent on receipt of the official scores.

Three letters of recommendation are required. Letters of recommendation are managed via an online recommendation system, which is part of the online application. Applicants will be required to register the contact information of their recommenders who will then receive an email with directions on how to proceed. Recommendations must be submitted by the Statistics Department's PhD application deadline.

We do not accept emailed or paper recommendations. However, we do accept letters submitted by your university's letter service. If this applies to you, you will still need to enter information for each recommender in the online application, including e-mail addresses which will automatically generate the email to each recommender requesting a letter. It is your responsibility to contact them to let them know to disregard this email and to use the university's letter service. Please use stat-admissions-phd [at] (stat-admissions-PhD[at]lists[dot]stanford[dot]edu) when routing through the letter service.

The recommendation process now supports letters submitted via Interfolio. The applicant registers a recommender using an email address that contains "". Please remember that letters written specifically for your Stanford graduate program tend to be stronger than letters written for general use purposes. Furthermore, the recommendation form displayed for a recommender using Interfolio will not include the evaluation questions displayed and required for other recommenders.

Your letters should be written by those who have supervised you in either an academic or employment setting. If possible, at least one should be from a university professor familiar with your academic work. Your recommendations should directly address your suitability for admission to the Statistics department. We pay extra attention to the potential for future excellence, as indicated in letters of recommendation. The most important factors we look at are: quantitative and analytic strength, communication skills in English, leadership, maturity and focus.

Note: If you have any concerns that one of your recommenders will not be able to submit their letter by the deadline, you may want to consider requesting letters from a total of four recommenders. This will increase the likelihood that three letters will be submitted by the deadline and that your application will be marked as complete.

Applicants must upload a resume/CV into the Experience section of the application. Applicants may also upload additional papers such as samples of your academic or published works in this section. Any additional papers will be included in your application file, though there is no guarantee that they will be reviewed by the admissions committee. Do not send any duplicates of materials that you have submitted online; they will not be added to your file.

Applicants who indicate that they would like to be considered for the master’s program in the Program Selection section of the online application must confirm this by submitting an email request within three business days of receiving the PhD admissions decision notification. Note that it is not guaranteed that the MS Admissions Committee will accept your application for review. You will be notified via email whether your request has been approved.

Notification of Received Application Materials

Please refer to your application checklist on the Graduate Application Status page of your online application to determine whether any materials have yet to be received.

Financial aid

Please note that requesting financial aid on the application form will not affect your chances of being admitted to one of our graduate programs. All prospective students should review the estimated expenses associated with graduate study at Stanford.

Financial support

All students accepted to the Ph.D. program are guaranteed 5 years of 12-month funding. Financial support typically is provided through teaching and research assistantship salary and tuition allowance.

Students are strongly encouraged to apply for outside scholarships, fellowships, and other forms of financial support. Students with outside support enable the department to stretch its own resources. The department will supplement outside awards to the level set for departmental support. More information about financial support.

For more information

For more information, please review the Stanford Graduate Admissions web site. If you still have questions after carefully reviewing this page and our FAQ page, please contact us at stat-admissions-PhD [at] (subject: Admissions%3A%20LAST%20NAME%2C%20First%20Name) (stat-admissions-PhD[at]lists[dot]stanford[dot]edu) ; type "Admissions: LAST NAME, First Name" in the subject line of your message, specifying your last and first names. We receive a large number of requests for information, and therefore appreciate your understanding in the event that there are delays in receiving a response.

Good luck! We look forward to receiving your application.

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Whether you’ve just finished your undergraduate degree or you want to pivot your career, grad school may be the next logical step in your educational and professional development.

But how do you apply to graduate school so you have the best chance at receiving that coveted acceptance letter? Read on to learn how to submit the perfect graduate school application to impress admissions officers. For information on due dates and a printable timeline, check out our  grad school application checklist .

How Grad Schools Evaluate Your Application

The exact criteria for  graduate school admissions  vary depending on the school and program. Still, there are certain qualifications, including GPA and grades from specific undergraduate courses, that all admissions officers consider. Most graduate programs look for a minimum 3.0 GPA.

A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of at least 318 is considered strong and can help your application. A professional resume with work experience related to your program is often helpful or required. Programs typically ask for letters of recommendation and a  graduate school admissions essay  as well.

Are You a Good Fit for the Program?

Whichever program you apply for, you must first make sure it’s a good match. Consider the following questions before submitting your application:

  • Do you love the field of study the program you’re applying to focuses on?
  • Do you have an undergraduate degree or work experience in an area related to your graduate school program of choice?
  • Will earning this degree help you advance your career or earning potential?
  • Do you have the resources to pay for graduate school, either through your own funds or through loans, grants and scholarships? For more information about this, see our guide on  how to pay for graduate school .

Taking time to reflect on these questions can help you decide whether graduate school is right for you. You can also reach out to professors, students and alumni to get a better feel for your prospective program. You might even schedule a tour of the campus before applying.

Do You Have Relevant Internship or Research Experience?

Internships and relevant work experience may not make or break your graduate school application, but they can help set your application apart from the rest. Once you’re in a graduate program, you may be required to complete an internship or research work to graduate.

What Does Your Statement of Purpose Demonstrate?

A statement of purpose or personal statement tells admissions committees more about you. This essay should touch on your interests, especially as they relate to the graduate school program. The statement of purpose should also describe what you can bring to the program and why you want to be a part of it.

What Do Your Letters of Recommendation Demonstrate?

Letters of recommendation are important for graduate school because they show that credible academics and professionals think highly of you and believe you would be a good asset to the program you’re applying to.

An effective letter of recommendation is written by someone who knows you well academically or professionally, such as a professor, mentor or work supervisor. It should include titles of relevant research articles you’ve written, academic awards and honors and relevant academic activities like projects, presentations or research studies.

What Do Your Undergraduate Transcripts Show?

Simply put, official undergraduate transcripts verify that you attended the school you said you did and maintained a GPA that’s consistent with the program’s requirements. Undergraduate transcripts also allow admissions officers to see whether you took courses relevant to your prospective course of study.

How Are Your GRE Scores?

Most graduate school programs require students to take the GRE as part of the application process. An overall score of 318 or higher is considered a good score, so you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to study and retake the test if needed before your grad school application is due.

Is Your Prior Academic Experience Relevant?

While you don’t always need an undergraduate degree in the same field as the graduate program you’re applying to, admissions officers typically consider relevant undergraduate coursework, research projects and work experience when reviewing applications.

Statement of Purpose Tips

Your statement of purpose gives you the chance to show some individuality and let your personality shine through. You should aim to leave a memorable impression and craft a well-written, concise statement of purpose to boost your application. See our tips below for writing a statement of purpose.

Follow the Prompt Carefully

Be sure to answer all of the questions in the prompt to give admissions officers all the information they need. Additionally, make sure to follow any guidelines for things like style, font and file format. While these factors may seem small, incorrect formatting can lead to your application being disqualified.

Get Personal

This is your chance to tell your story. Write a statement of purpose that only you could write. Does your passion for medicine date back to an injury or illness you had as a child? Did you grow up watching Law & Order and feel inspired? These details remind graduate admission committees that you are a well rounded person with much to offer.

Discuss Your Goals

Aside from how your own personal and career goals relate to the program, you should also touch on how you can contribute to your school or program of choice. Do you plan on collaborating with colleagues or contributing to your institution’s research goals? Make this known in your statement of purpose.

Know Your Audience

What is the culture of the school or program you’re applying to? What does the institution value? Spend some time on its website and social media accounts to find out. You can even reach out to current students and alumni to get a better idea so you can tailor your statement of purpose accordingly.

Proofread and Revise as Needed

Don’t just write your first draft and send it off. After writing it, take some time to sleep on it, then come back and read and revise with fresh eyes. You should also have someone like a professor or tutor read your statement of purpose and provide feedback.

Interview Tips

The interview is a big part of the graduate school application process if your program requires one. Make sure to come ready and prepared.

Do Your Research

Read up on the university and program you’re applying to so you can sound knowledgeable and interested during the interview. Answer questions such as, how big is the program or school? What have its graduates gone on to do? What are the program requirements?

You can also read up on any academic articles or research professors in your program have created.

Prepare Questions for Your Interviewer

Remember, this isn’t just about the school interviewing you. You’re also interviewing the program to determine if it’s a good fit for you. What career and network opportunities are available to students and alumni? What about grants and scholarships? Will you be paired with a mentor or an advisor?

Practice With Mock Interviews

Practice makes perfect. Look into common graduate school interview questions, and practice with a professor, classmate or friend. You can even practice solo using these  20 Graduate School Interview Questions .

Bring a Professional Portfolio

Depending on the nature of your work, it may be helpful to bring in a professional portfolio, such as if your speciality is print graphic design. Other subject areas like writing or research lend themselves to online portfolios, which you can send to your interviewers ahead of the scheduled interview.

What Does a Grad School Application Look Like?

In addition to your transcripts, test scores, statement of purpose and portfolio, your graduate school application will require some basic background information about you.

Biographical Information

  • Full legal name
  • Any previous legal names used
  • Age and date of birth
  • Social Security number

Ethnicity Information

Ethnicity information about applicants and current students is used by the university to see if it is meeting diversity quotas and to share with stakeholders. You may select one particular ethnicity, or choose options like “other,” “multiracial” or “decline to state.”

Military Status

Scholarships, grants and special services can be available to active-duty and reserve military service members and veterans.

Contact Information

  • Current mailing address
  • Current phone number
  • Current email

Program Selection

  • The program you’re applying to
  • Any speciality or concentrations available as part of your program

Academic Interests

  • Specialities in your program that you want to focus on
  • Research topics or projects you want to pursue

History of Education

  • Undergraduate degree and major
  • Academic achievements and awards

Standardized Test Information

  • *GRE scores (Check with your program as some may no longer require or accept GRE scores )
  • Scores from any other required tests

Financial Aid

Deadlines for financial aid often coincide with deadlines for admissions. Make sure to submit the FAFSA to ensure you qualify for as many financial aid resources as possible. Visit the  Federal Student Aid  website for more information, and check out our guide on  how the FAFSA differs for graduate school .

Previous Employment

  • Relevant work history related to your program
  • Internship or research experience related to your program

Do you speak the primary language spoken in the area where your campus is located? Do you speak more than one language? These are things admissions officers will want to know.

Supplemental Information

  • Certifications or special licenses or training
  • Special Awards

Reference Information

  • Contact information, like phone numbers and emails, for professors, mentors and work supervisors who are willing to provide a reference

Upload Documents

When submitting your online application, make sure to upload all required documents so your application will not be disqualified.

Application Fee

  • Graduate school application fees can range from around $60 to more than $100. You must pay this fee before you can submit your application.

Confirm and Submit Form

  • Finally, make sure to confirm that all your information is correct and all necessary documents are uploaded before you submit your application.

This article was originally published on on Feb. 3. 2023. Author is Ryah Cooley Cole, and Editor is Brenna Swanston.

phd requirements gpa

Masters GPA for PhD: Doctorate Acceptance Guide

What is an acceptable masters GPA for PhD programs? For some students, their grade point average ceases to matter after completing an undergraduate degree.

Masters GPA for PhD Doctorate Acceptance Guide

If you are pursuing further education, though, you may be wondering how important it is.

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The impact of your GPA can vary throughout your academic career. Its importance can also vary based on your field of study and your intended career goals.

Masters GPA for PhD Programs

A higher GPA, or grade point average, can be useful for gaining admission to a Ph.D. program.

At most colleges and universities, GPA is calculated by assigning a quality point on a scale of zero to four for each letter grade you receive on your transcripts, as follows:

The quality points for all the courses you have completed are then added together and divided by the number of courses to get a mathematical average. For instance, if you earned an A in every course, you would receive a 4.0.

Do PhD Programs Look at Masters GPA or Undergrad GPA?

PhD Programs gpa

Most PhD programs look at both your graduate school GPA and your undergraduate GPA. With most programs you need a masters to get a PhD , so your masters GPA will likely be regarded as the more important of the two in the admissions process.

If your undergraduate GPA was less than satisfactory but you showed consistent improvement with your graduate GPA, admissions officials will likely consider this to be a strength.

What GPA Do I Need for a PhD?

How high your GPA needs to be depends on the school and PhD program you’re applying to. Some students wonder how to get into graduate school with a 2.5 GPA . The fact is, minimum GPA requirements commonly range from 3.0 to 3.75.

But the good news is that some PhD programs may also evaluate you based on your work history, personal statements, or interview. So don’t give up your dream of earning a PhD simply because your GPA is not as high as you would like.

Does Grad School GPA Matter?

Does Grad School GPA Matter

Both during and after graduate school, your GPA provides a quick way for you and others to evaluate your overall academic performance.

Role of GPA During Graduate School

In graduate programs, you often need to maintain a minimum GPA in order to keep a scholarship or qualify for fellowships.

At this stage of your education, the significance of GPA does decrease somewhat as compared to during your undergraduate studies. Instead, conducting research is typically seen as a more significant accomplishment by many professors.

Role of GPA After Graduate School

Role of GPA After Graduate School

How important GPA is after graduate school can depend on where you want to go. For those hoping to earn PhDs or pursue careers in academia, your graduate school GPA can continue to have some importance.

For those planning to start a career, some employers may be impressed by a high GPA as an indicator of potential and likely job performance. Others may place more of an emphasis on work experience or other factors.

To find out how important GPA is in the field where you want to work, you may want to ask people who already work in that field. You can also ask about other qualifications that may be more important to potential employers than GPA.

What Is a Good Master’s GPA for PhD Programs?

You may be wondering how high of a GPA your desired doctoral program will want you to have. A high GPA is generally helpful to gain admittance, but doctoral degree programs can vary widely in terms of expectations for your GPA.

Also, there are some universities with low GPA graduate schools that may be of interest to students who earned lower grades in their masters or undergraduate programs. These are often the easiest doctorate degree programs to gain admission to.

You can usually find out the GPA expectations for a specific program by visiting the school’s website. The competitiveness and field of study of a program are some factors that can affect a program’s minimum GPA standards.


PhD programs vary in terms of both size and the number of students applying. At a prestigious or reputable school that many students want to attend, the minimum GPA could be quite high.

Lucrative fields, such as law and medicine, can also have highly competitive doctoral programs. Setting a high minimum GPA requirement can provide the school with a way to filter out applicants. A higher GPA can indicate that you value your education and have potential to perform well at the doctoral level.

Field of Study

Good Master's GPA for PhD Programs

Applicants often wonder how hard is it to get into graduate school for psychology , engineering, or business administration, Well, a degree program in a popular field of study, such as computer science, will likely have many applicants. A popular program with many applicants will likely have higher minimum GPA requirements.

Some programs evaluate more than just your cumulative GPA. They may also consider your grades in specific courses that are especially relevant to the field you are pursuing.

How to Get Into a PhD Program with a Low GPA

PhD Program with a Low GPA

If you want to earn a PhD but did not earn a high GPA during your graduate studies, you may be concerned about whether you have a good enough GPA for PhD programs. A low graduate GPA is not the end of the world, and it does not have to be the end of your education.

Here are some tips for pursuing acceptance in a PhD program with a low GPA:

  • Look for programs that emphasize other admissions factors . Some PhD programs emphasize and prioritize other admissions factors more highly than GPA.
  • Look for programs that emphasize undergraduate GPA . If your undergraduate GPA was higher than your graduate GPA, you might look for PhD programs that emphasize undergraduate grades in their admissions process.
  • Take the GRE or GMAT . Earning good scores on a standardized test can help you compensate for a low GPA.
  • Emphasize your achievements . This can include volunteer work or the completion of an internship related to your field of study.
  • Explain your low GPA . If there is a legitimate reason why you did not earn a high GPA as a graduate student, you can often explain this in an admissions interview or in your personal statement. Many schools will take special circumstances into account.
  • Try to network . If possible, try to network with people at the school to which you are applying.
  • Complete relevant coursework . You can often enroll in classes at your chosen school as a non-degree seeking student. By working hard and doing well in a class that’s relevant to your desired PhD program, you can demonstrate your current academic abilities.
  • Apply for probationary admission . Some schools will accept students who do not meet PhD GPA requirements on a probationary basis. After taking classes for a semester, students may then gain full acceptance if their GPA improves.

It is possible to get into a PhD program without having an extremely high graduate GPA.

How Much Does GPA Matter in PhD Admissions?

minimum GPA requirements for doctoral applicants

Your GPA can be an important factor in PhD admissions, depending on the program. Many schools have minimum GPA requirements for doctoral applicants, and doctoral GPA requirements are usually higher than those for graduate degree programs.

Your GPA is just one piece of the puzzle, though, when it comes to PhD admissions. Universities know that grading can be a somewhat subjective process. Different schools can grade differently, and even different professors at the same school may grade differently.

Comparing applicants based on GPA alone is generally not an effective way to find the best students. Your grades in certain individual courses may be more relevant to your current field of study than your cumulative GPA.

A high GPA increases your likelihood of being accepted into a PhD program, but other admissions factors are considered too. If you did not finish your graduate degree with a high GPA, you can focus on other aspects of your application to try and stand out from the crowd.

Admissions Requirements

Phd Programs Admissions Requirements

Here are some common admissions requirements for PhD programs:

  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letter of recommendation
  • Work experience

Admissions requirements for institutions can vary widely. Some schools ask for GRE or GMAT scores, but standardized test scores are now optional for a growing number of schools. If you do not have a high GPA, though, you may want to submit GRE or GMAT scores even if they are optional. A solid personal statement or letter of recommendation can be helpful as well.

Does Your Masters GPA Matter for a PhD?

Admissions committees for PhD programs

Admissions committees for PhD programs do pay attention to GPA. Your grade point average is a general indicator of how well you have performed academically over the past years of your education.

If you have a high GPA, admissions committees are more likely to trust that you are motivated and that you make the most of educational opportunities. They also typically review exactly what courses you took while earning your GPA. A high GPA looks even better if you took challenging coursework relevant to your chosen field of study.

Getting Your Doctorate Degree Online

Doctorate Degree Online

Online doctoral programs are becoming more popular. If you are an aspiring PhD student, there are currently many program options available online. There are a variety of programs available to suit students from a wide variety of academic and personal backgrounds.

Online programs are known for their convenience, as they offer more flexible scheduling than traditional degree programs. Much like earning a masters degree online , earning a doctorate online can enable you to balance rigorous academic work and the completion of a dissertation with your other work and life commitments.

You can start your doctoral journey today by exploring accredited universities!

phd requirements gpa

PhD Application Requirements

Thank you for your interest in our Ph.D Program. The application for admission for Fall 2024 is now open. The application will close on December 4, 2023.

We do not offer spring admissions.

The application process is entirely online. All supplemental materials such as your transcripts, the descriptive list of courses, publications and/or resumes should be uploaded as PDF files. Please do not mail copies of your transcripts, statement of purpose, letters of recommendations, TOEFL scores, resumes, or any other documents as they will not be included with your application.

Once you upload and submit supplemental material, you will not be able to update it so please make sure you are submitting the correct material. Due to the high volume of email during the admissions season, we are not able to update and replace already submitted material.

Required Materials

  • Graduate Application
  • Letters of Recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • Coursework List

1. Submission of the Graduate Application 2. Application Fee Online 3. Unofficial Transcripts 4. Three Letters of Recommendation 5. Statement of Purpose 6. Personal Statement 7. C.V./Resume 8. TOEFL score (if applicable) 9. Descriptive List of Math & Statistics Courses

The Fall 2024 PhD application and all required materials are due no later than December 4, 2023.

New: The GRE is no longer required and will not be accepted. Also, we do not require the Math subject test but if the scores are available you will have the option to submit as part of your application.

All applicants from countries in which the official language is not English are required to submit official evidence of English language proficiency. This requirement applies to applicants from Bangladesh, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Latin America, the Middle East, Israel, the People's Republic of China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia, most Eurpoean countries, and non-English-speaking countries in Africa.

If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a U.S. university, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must upload an official transcript from the U.S. University.

Applicants must receive a score of 570 on the written test. The computer-based TOEFL must have a minimum score of 230. The minimum score for Next Generation TOEFL (iBT) is 90. Take the TOEFL at least 30 days prior to the deadline. The institution code for Berkeley is 4833. There is no department code for the TOEFL.

For Fall 2022, tests taken before June 1, 2020 will not be accepted. Your most recent overall Band score must be at least  7  on a 9-point scale.

See more information on English Language Proficiency »

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Prospective phd applicants.

A bachelor's degree or recognized equivalent from an accredited institution . If you are in your final year of studies, and you expect to earn your degree by mid-August of the following year, you may apply. If you are admitted, you will be required to provide proof at that time that you have earned your bachelor's degree, usually in the form of a final official transcript.

If you attended a university that uses a 4.0 grade-point average (GPA) scale, a satisfactory scholastic average with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (B) is required. If you attended a university that does not use the 4.0 GPA scale, please do not try to convert your grades to the 4.0 scale for the application.

Background in mathematics, statistics, or a quantitative field

Statistics classes in particular are not necessary, however we look for mathematical and computational preparations at the undergraduate level to ensure that students are well-prepared for our graduate course sequence. Typically, this means good performance in real analysis or an equivalent class, or a similar level of mathematical preparation in another major such as physics. Students with superb computing skills or experience in applied statistics or data science are a plus and can pick up more mathematical skills after arrival if necessary.

Past research is overall a positive, but we also admit students based on other dimensions, such as academic excellence or strong letters of recommendation.

We welcome applicants with industry experience, especially if it has helped prepare you for your desired program of research.

The University does not allow applicants to apply to two departments simultaneously unless there is an established concurrent degree program between the two departments or schools ( ). Statistics does not have a concurrent degree program.

No, applicants may only apply to one program.

No, unfortunately, you must decide to which program you would like to be considered for.

No, we only admit students for the Fall semester.

We do not offer any part-time, evening or distance learning degree programs. All our degree programs are full-time.

We receive around 350 applications for admission to the PhD program each year and typically admit between 18-22 PhD students to achieve an incoming class of 10-12 PhD students.

For more information, please see the Graduate Division website for their policy on the Duplication of Degrees:

No, this is not required. Instead, on the application, you will list faculty members who you would like to work with should you be admitted to our graduate program. You can view the list of all our faculty on our website.

Application Questions

Yes, you must submit an application fee by the application deadline for your application to be reviewed. The application fee is not refundable. Please view the Application Fee rates.

U.S. citizens or permanent residents who can demonstrate financial need are eligible to apply for an application fee waiver. Please see the eligibility requirements and deadlines for Requesting an Application Fee Waiver .

For international applicants, we are pleased to offer a limited number of need based fee waivers each year to eligible applicants. The form to request a fee waiver is included in the payment section of the online application.

We do not use a GPA cutoff. Most successful applicants have a high GPA, especially in technical courses. However, lower GPAs can be overcome with exceptional recommendation letters, especially ones related to successful research experiences.

Yes. Applicants who received their undergraduate degree at an American university or college are required to list their cumulative GPA, major GPA (all courses completed in their major area of study), and advanced GPA (all course work excluding the first two years of study). If you attended a university that does not use the 4.0 system, please do not try and convert your grades to our system; just leave that section blank.

International transcripts and degree certificates that are in a language other than English must have an official English translation of the transcript uploaded to the application along with the original transcript. Translations should be prepared and issued by the school the student attended or an ATA certified translator.

No, unfortunately, you cannot submit a new transcript after you’ve submitted your application. If you are currently finishing your undergraduate degree, please upload the most current version of your transcript. The application will provide a space for you to list any additional courses that you are currently taking or plan to take in the future. The department will also reach out to you directly for an updated transcript if the committee is interested in seeing your Fall grades.

New: The general GRE is no longer required and will not be accepted.

We do not require the Math subject test but if the scores are available you may submit it as part of your application.

If you have completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better in residence at a recognized U.S. institution, you do not need to take a standardized test. Instead, you must submit an official transcript from the recognized U.S. institution. The following courses will not fulfill this requirement:

courses in English as a second language courses conducted in a language other than English courses that will be completed after the application is submitted, and courses of nonacademic nature. For more information:

At times the online application has difficulty matching official test scores especially if your name does not match.

Unfortunately, due to the large volume of applications, we cannot confirm the receipt of scores. However, we will use your self-reported scores for the admissions review and, if admitted, we will match your official scores or contact you directly if we are unable to locate them.

Letters of recommendation are an important part of our overall evaluation. These can come from research mentors, instructors, or employers, but should speak to your intellectual maturity, creativity, and determination and drive. All letters or recommendation are due by the application deadline.

The online application will allow you to submit more than three letters of recommendation. However, due to the number of applications we receive, there is no guarantee that more than three letters will be read.

The system will allow recommenders to submit their letters after you have submitted your application and after the deadline. However, the review process begins immediately after the application deadline. If the admissions committee has already reviewed your application before your recommender has submitted their letter, it is not guaranteed that your application will be reviewed again. Therefore, it is highly advised that you contact recommenders well in advance of tthe application deadline to give them ample time to submit their letters by the deadline.

Yes, these help us assess your maturity and drive, to better understand your research interests and how they fit in with Berkeley faculty, and help provide additional context for holistically evaluating your application.

As part of the application, we require applicants to submit both the statement of purpose AND personal statement (also known as the personal history statement). For the statement of purpose, be concise; an ideal essay should say everything it needs to with brevity. Approximately 500 to 1000 well-selected words (1-2 single space pages in 12 point font) is better than more words with less clarity and poor organization. Personal statements are typically one page or shorter, though some are longer.

Please make sure to include courses and books for all statistics-relevant courses, including those in related areas (e.g. math, computer science). Since the course title by itself usually doesn’t convey much information, including the books used helps give us a better idea of what the courses contained. It helps to be complete and include all the information requested.

All applicants will be notified via email by the end of March.

We understand that Spring and Fall 2020 grades are less meaningful due to the wide variation in individual circumstances from the COVID-19 pandemic. We plan to take this into account when reviewing applications, but also encourage people to indicate in their personal statement if they had particular challenges that would have affected their academic performance. Since many institutions switched to pass/fail for that semester, we expect many grades will be on a pass/fail basis and will not penalize students who took a pass/fail option.

  • Graduate School

Graduate Program Requirements: Your Roadmap to Grad School

Featured Expert: Dr. Charlene Hoi, PhD

Graduate Program Requirements

Graduate program requirements are the first key for how to get into grad school . Most graduate programs have extensive and specific admissions requirements since these programs are a higher level of study and often more academic than bachelor’s degrees or diploma programs. Whether you’re applying for your master’s degree, a PhD or even to an online graduate program , the requirements will be consistent across programs. In this blog, we’ll explore the graduate program requirements for both master’s degrees and doctorate programs in the US and Canada, graduate requirements for these programs, plus tips on how to bridge any gaps in your applicant profile.

>> Want us to help you get accepted? Schedule a free strategy call here . <<

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Article Contents 15 min read

Graduate program requirements: master’s degree.

Graduate program requirements, naturally, are higher than the admission standards for undergraduate programs, diploma programs and certificate programs. However, it’s important to note that all graduate programs may have different requirements, depending on the school, the program and the type of applicant (i.e. international or mature students). The admissions standards for graduate programs also tend to be higher, so it’s wise to be prepared when figuring out your grad school application timeline .

Graduate programs, as advanced studies in your chosen field, tend to be more academic in focus. They are designed to deepen your understanding and expertise in your field. Therefore, on top of the expected admissions essays, graduate school GPA requirements and applicant interviews, you’ll often be asked to prove you have undergraduate research experience and submit test scores for a graduate-level entrance exam.

Below is a list of the common requirements for master’s graduate programs:

Graduate Program Admission Requirements: Master’s Degree

  • Relevant Bachelor’s degree and transcripts
  • Minimum GPA
  • Standardized test scores (program dependent)
  • Graduate school statement of purpose
  • Research interest statement or grad school career goals statement
  • Grad school resume
  • Grad school letters of recommendation
  • Admissions interview

Note that the admission requirements for graduate programs in the US and Canada are similar, so whether your goal is to pursue a PhD at one of the top universities in the US or get a master’s degree in Canada , the application requirements will be almost identical.

We’ll cover each of these requirements in more detail next!

Would you like us to help you with your grad school applications? ","buttonText":"Free Strategy Call","buttonColor":"#ffffff","bannerUnderText":null,"belowButtonText1":null,"belowButtonText2":null,"trustpilot":false}" :url=""https:\/\/\/contact-schedule-free-strategy-call"" code="banner1" background-color="#000066" button-color="#ffffff" banner-image> 1. Previous Education

Most graduate programs require a 4-year undergraduate degree, or bachelor’s degree, to gain admission. Master’s degree programs may even list specific areas of study or a short list of acceptable bachelor’s degrees. This is where graduate program requirements can differ, since the requirements for a master’s degree in psychology will vary from those for a master’s in social work , for example.

The reason why you need to hold a bachelor’s degree, and one related to your chosen master’s program, is so that you meet any required prerequisite courses and to ensure you have the foundational knowledge in that field to succeed in a graduate program. Graduate programs are more in-depth educations on their subject matter, so if you don’t have any previous experience or instruction, you won’t have the necessary background or skills required. In some cases, the bachelor’s degree requirement can be waived in the place of years of work experience or other professional qualifications.

For example, advanced types of nursing degrees , such as a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) require you to hold either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, to prove you have previous, formal education in nursing, or the RN qualification, which indicates you have a higher level of work experience as a practicing nurse. Either way, you need some prior qualification or education to succeed in an advanced nursing program.

2. GPA Requirements

Graduate programs also may list a minimum GPA you must meet to be considered for admission. For more competitive programs, this is usually a minimum of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. Some programs may accept a lower GPA as long as you submit a standardized test score or meet some other criteria.

However, achieving this minimum GPA is often not enough to get into competitive programs. Many graduate programs are hard to get into, especially at top schools. To see how you measure up against the competition at these programs, check the average accepted GPA of students in these programs. This is the GPA you want to shoot for, or ideally, surpass for the best chances of admission.

Still, to get into grad school with a low GPA is possible with a strong application, very good standardized test scores and a good interview performance. You can offset a lower GPA and still have a shot of getting into your desired program, but you should also carefully consider which programs to apply to, based on your undergraduate GPA and the requirements of specific programs.

3. Standardized Test Scores

Many graduate programs require you to submit standardized test scores. For some professional programs, the standardized test will be unique to these types of programs. Applicants to law school will take the LSAT, medical school applicants will write the dreaded MCAT, and MBA applicants sit the GMAT.

However, a majority of graduate programs require you to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). While there are graduate programs that do not require the GRE , it is the most common standardized test used for graduate admissions in the US and Canada. It’s vital to invest in some GRE test prep and learn what is a good GRE score , so you can start preparing.

Your GRE scores, like your GPA, will be used as an indication of your academic ability and whether you’re ready for graduate school. Similar to minimum GPA requirements, you can check the average accepted GRE scores (or other test scores) at your chosen graduate programs and see what score you should aim for to be accepted.

4. Grad School Statement of Purpose

Think of your grad school statement of purpose as a more advanced version of your college essays. In this statement or essay, you’re answering the question of “ why do you want to join our graduate program” and why you want to study in your field at the graduate level.

You may also address your future career goals and how a graduate program will allow you to achieve these goals, such as in a grad school career goals statement. Every program may have different essay prompts or essay questions for you to answer, as well as guidelines on your statement length and intent. Read these carefully before you start writing!

If there are no guidelines for you to follow, take a look at some Ivy League grad school statement of purpose examples , for a clearer understanding of this essay’s structure, content and purpose. You can also look at essays tied to a particular kind of program, such as an MBA statement of purpose if you’re applying to graduate business school.

Check Out Our Podcast for More Free & Useful Content ","buttonText":"Go to Podcast","buttonColor":"#ff6600","bannerUnderText":null,"belowButtonText1":null,"belowButtonText2":null,"trustpilot":false}" :url=""https:\/\/\/ca\/podcast\/bemo-admissions-experts-podcast\/id1642349082"" code="bannerpodcast" background-color="#000000" button-color="#ff6600" banner-image> 5. Experiences and Extracurriculars

Your work experience, academic experiences, extracurriculars and even your hobbies can help make or break your application to grad school. They can also give you a distinct advantage over the competition while also meeting grad program requirements.

Depending on the field you hope to gain a master’s degree in, research experience may be either strongly recommended or a hard graduate program requirement. If the graduate program you’re applying for is more academically focused, research experience can give you an advantage on your application materials and may be a strong requirement. If you’re lacking some concrete research experience and need it for a graduate program, take a look at some summer undergraduate research fellowships and internships!

Programs that are more skills or experience-focused, such as an MBA, might prefer years of direct work experience over research roles. This is why some graduate programs ask for an updated resume, a list of your extracurriculars or a full recording of your research experience. Check out what your chosen graduate programs require for admissions but also what they value or what they consider a “bonus” for applicants to have.

Let’s say you’re interest in how to get into nursing school . Aside from an undergraduate degree in nursing, direct experience working with patients is a must, and you can stand out in a nursing school application with volunteer experience and strong letters of recommendation from your nursing supervisors.

Here’s another example. One of the biggest MBA requirements is work experience. Many programs ask for at least 3-4 years of professional experience before you can apply to these programs.

6. Letters of Recommendation

While it’s possible to get into grad school without recommendation letters , they are a valuable asset to have on your application. Graduate programs usually require 2 to 3 recommendation letters for admission. And they may have certain guidelines for who can write your recommendations.

Most of the time, your recommendation letters will be written by your undergraduate professors, employer, volunteer supervisor, mentor or some other professional you have worked with in some capacity. When choosing your referees, focus on asking the individuals with whom you have a strong and positive relationship, and who can speak to your skills and suitability for grad school.

What we mean is, if you’re applying for a master’s in engineering, ask your employer or one of your undergraduate professors who is familiar with your skill as an engineer, your work ethic and technical ability. Applying to a graduate program in music? At least one of your recommendation letters should be from your music professor or mentor.

7. Grad School Interview

Not every program uses or requires a grad school interview, but it’s not uncommon for more competitive graduate schools to use interviews as a tool to narrow down the applicant pool. If you are invited to a grad school interview, accept the invitation! Use this as your opportunity to make a strong first impression and secure an acceptance letter by showing the admissions committee that you are a good fit for their program. Practice for your interview with some Ivy League grad school interview questions.

Remember that the grad school interview is a two-way street. Meaning this is also your opportunity to ask questions about a program and see if the program is a good fit for YOU and will meet your expectations. Ask your interviewer questions about the school, the campus culture, the program faculty and curriculum, opportunities for students and what the program has to offer students.

Graduate Program Graduation Requirements: Master’s

Let’s take a brief look at the graduate program requirements for graduation. To complete a bachelor’s degree, you need to calculate how many credits to graduate and complete specific courses to gain your degree.

A master’s degree is no different and will have both core coursework and electives you need to complete, as well as the minimum number of credits for completion. Aside from the coursework aspect of a master’s degree, there is one cumulative project you’ll need to finish: your master’s thesis or capstone project .

Different master’s programs have different final projects, but in general a master’s thesis is the final research paper or project required for academically focused programs, and a capstone is more a demonstration of knowledge and skill. However, these terms may be used interchangeably by graduate programs.

To prepare for you final project, you’ll need to know how to write a master’s thesis proposal and have it approved by your program’s supervisor. Then you’ll need to prepare for thesis defense , present your project to a panel of program faculty and answer thesis defense questions about your research. Once you’ve undergone this evaluation and your project has been approved and graded, you’re done!

Prepare for graduate school interview questions with these examples!

Graduate Program Requirements: PhD

PhD programs, or doctorate programs, are similar to master’s programs in that they are very academically focused. Research experience and a degree relevant to your desired field is essential. If you want to know how to get a PhD , the admission requirements are a little more specific and tougher to meet, and the graduation requirements are more extensive. This is reflected in how long it takes to get a PhD .

PhD programs also require extensive previous education and experience in your chosen field. Below is a list of the common requirements for a PhD program.

Graduate Program Admission Requirements: PhD

  • Relevant Master’s degree and official transcripts
  • Research proposal
  • PhD motivation letter
  • Statement of intent
  • CV for graduate school  or  research resume
  • Letters of recommendation
  • PhD interview

As we can see, the requirements for a master’s degree and a PhD are remarkably similar, with a few exceptions for PhD applicants. Let’s go over these additional PhD requirements in detail:

1. Relevant Education

Like a master’s degree, a PhD requires extensive previous education in a field that’s either directly related to or highly relevant to the PhD program. Most PhD programs also require a master’s degree on top of a bachelor’s degree, because a master’s degree will provide you with the academic knowledge and research experience required to successfully complete a PhD.

A PhD is an intensive and research-focused program to enter into, and it usually takes many years to complete. Because it is a bigger commitment and is the highest qualification you can receive in most fields, it requires you first complete the foundational education steps before applying.

2. Research Proposal

A unique part of applying to a PhD program is the submission of a research proposal. Some programs will ask you to submit this during the application process, and others will give you time to develop one in the first year or two of your program.

Your research proposal details what you plan to research during your PhD program and what contribution you hope to make to the field in terms of academic research. Either during the application process or before you begin your final dissertation, be prepared to answer research proposal questions and defend your ideas to a panel of academics or your PhD advisor.

3. PhD Motivation Letter

PhD programs are curious to know why do you want to do a PhD ? Your motivation letter will answer this question. Your letter should discuss why you want to pursue an advanced degree in your field, what new information or insights you hope to contribute to your field, why you’ve chosen a specific PhD program and how a PhD is the necessary next step in your educational journey. A PhD is a huge undertaking, so you should be able to present a clear idea of why you want to take on this commitment and how it will benefit you, aside from just wanting to become an expert in your field or spend a little more time in school.

Graduate Program Graduation Requirements: PhD

PhD programs, being much longer and more intensive than master’s degree programs, nonetheless start with some of the same curriculum requirements.

The first year or two of a PhD begins with completing advanced coursework, both core and electives, in your chosen field of study. The completion of your coursework typically ends with the comprehensive exam, or comps, which evaluate your knowledge of all the coursework you’ve taken so far.

From here, you’ll work with your PhD supervisor or academic advisor, a member of the faculty who will advise and guide your research as a PhD candidate. Unless you’re completing a PhD without a dissertation , you’ll now embark on several years of research. The culmination of this research with be an original contribution to academic research in your field: your dissertation or PhD thesis.

While you’re completing your independent research and writing your dissertation, you may also have responsibilities as a PhD student. This can include teaching roles or participating in research with other academics in your department. This is essential if you want to know how to publish as a graduate student and get your name out into academic circles.

Once your dissertation is complete and approved by your advisor, you’ll once again need to prepare for thesis defense and present your original research to a panel of academics, who will either approve your project or send it back for revisions. This evaluation is sometimes conducted through an oral presentation of your work, called “orals”.

Once your dissertation is presented and approved, you’ll be eligible for graduation and awarded your degree!

Graduate program requirements can be intensive, and you might find that you’re missing a requirement or two when you start planning your applications. If this is the case, there are fortunately ways to fill any gaps that need to be filled without losing too much time or scrapping your goal of going to grad school.

We’ll start with master’s degree applicants and go over our tips for how to bridge common gaps in graduate program requirements, followed by PhD applicants:

Master’s Degree Applicants

  • Your GPA is too low: If your GPA is too low, all hope is not lost. Your application may be strong enough to offset your low academic record, or your GPA may not matter as much to some graduate programs. However, you should still do whatever possible to raise your GPA if you still have time. Some programs will consider you despite a low GPA so long as you meet other criteria. You can contact the admissions office to ask if this is an option for you. Otherwise, take a look at the easiest graduate programs to get into, or the easiest PhD programs to get into , as these tend to have lower admissions standards.
  • Your standardized test scores are too low: If your test scores are too low to get into the program of your choice, there are two options. You can either retake the test and try to earn a higher score, or apply exclusively to programs that don’t require standardized test scores. Many programs are test-optional, or accept different tests in lieu of the GRE. For instance, you can decide between the GMAT vs GRE for many graduate school programs.
  • You don’t have the right degree: If you don’t have the right undergraduate degree or you lack an undergraduate degree, this can be a hurdle to getting a graduate degree. Some master’s programs allow applicants without a bachelor’s degree, or who have a different type of qualification, such as an associate degree or a diploma. It’s likely your qualifications will need to be relevant to the master’s program, and you may need to complete additional prerequisites, but check to see what exceptions a program might offer when it comes to previous education.
  • You’re missing experience: Whether it’s work experience, research experience or an extracurricular activity that will strengthen your application, it’s worth doing whatever you can to stand out in your grad school applications. Before applying to your desired program, consider putting off applying until you can gain the missing experience you need.
  • You’ve previously been rejected: Were you rejected from a grad school program previously? Of course you want to ensure you’re successful the next time around, but you may not know how to improve your application materials or what is preventing you from getting in. A grad school admissions consultant can make the difference here, as having an expert’s eyes on your application materials can help you identify what your weaknesses are.

PhD Applicants

  • You don’t have a master’s degree: Do you need a master’s to get a PhD ? Normally, yes, but there are exceptions! Believe it or not there are direct-entry PhD programs you can apply for straight after finishing your bachelor’s degree. Keep in mind the requirements for these programs are usually very high, academically speaking, so you’ll need a strong GPA at the very least.
  • You want to accelerate or combine your PhD: Getting your PhD takes a long time. After completing a 4-year bachelor’s degree, you’d normally finish a 2- or 3-year master’s degree followed by a PhD, which can take 6 years or more. If you’re interested in shortening this timeline, there are accelerated graduate programs or online graduate programs that are shorter. You can also pursue a dual degree program, which sometimes combines the curriculum of a master’s and PhD or two different graduate programs. Some examples would be an MBA Law dual degree or an MD-PhD . Looking for super fast online graduate programs? Look for 1-year PhD programs online or 1-year master’s programs .
  • You’re not sure a PhD is right for you: Not sure a PhD is the best choice for your goals? Intimidated by the application process? Consider asking PhD consultants for help. These are professional admission experts who can walk you through the application process, the graduate school requirements and advise you on the right type of program for you.
  • You can’t afford the cost of a graduate degree: The high cost of graduate school will deter many applicants from getting an advanced degree. Fortunately, there are many excellent graduate school scholarships , bursaries and awards you can apply for. Financial aid options are also widely available at many schools. Speaking to an admissions consultant or financial advisor about your options for grad school is also a good idea, since you’ll need a solid plan for funding your schooling. PhD candidates may be fortunate enough to find a fully funded program, meaning the cost of their program is covered, and they may even receive a stipend to cover their living costs. For PhD candidates who apply for PhD scholarships to help fund their degree, be sure to write a strong personal statement for PhD scholarship , since competition can be high.

The common requirements for a graduate program include a complete undergraduate degree, standardized test scores, a statement of purpose or personal statement, recommendation letters, a grad school CV and an admissions interview. Some programs will have additional requirements specific to their programs. It’s best to always check with the program directly what their admission requirements are.

To get into a PhD program, you typically need a strong GPA, a master’s degree in a relevant field, prior research experience, a motivation letter or personal statement, a resume, recommendation letters and a PhD interview. 

Getting into graduate school is definitely not easy, and some programs may be more competitive than others. Depending on the field, the school and the specific graduate program requirements, the acceptance rate for some grad schools is below 10%. However, with the right prep and a carefully crafted application, you can significantly increase your chances of getting in, provided you meet all the requirements.

Many graduate school programs have a minimum GPA requirement of 3.0. More competitive programs have a minimum GPA of 3.3 and above.

This can vary by program, but most graduate programs require or accept the GRE, or Graduate Record Examination. If you’re not sure what a good GRE score is for you, check what the average accepted scores are for your chosen programs. Your goal should be to achieve at least this average score to get into your desired program.

Most graduate programs accept applications directly through their online application portals. However, some professional graduate programs may have central application services you can use to apply to multiple programs at once.

If you’re missing some of the graduate program requirements, it is possible to bridge these gaps. Check what requirements you are missing and start making a plan to meet them before you start applying to programs. You can seek the help of a professional, such as an admissions consultant, or simply take a gap year to gain the necessary experience you’re missing.

Going to grad school can absolutely be worth it if it helps you achieve your personal and professional goals. Grad school is a big commitment, in both time and money, but for many students it is an opportunity to enhance their professional qualifications, deepen their knowledge of their field or even shift their career trajectory.

Aside from financial aid, grad school scholarships and bursaries, some students continue to work while going to school or receive financial help from their employer so they can pursue a degree that will enhance their professional qualifications.

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Minimum admissions requirements.

Prospective graduate students must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Hold the minimum equivalent of a four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S. or its equivalent from an accredited foreign institution or a Bologna bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 180 European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) credits.
  • Also acceptable: hold a Master’s degree, a doctoral degree (Ph.D., D.Phil.), or a professional degree (M.D., J.D., D.V.M., etc.) from a regionally accredited college or university in the U.S. or its equivalent from an accredited foreign institution.
  • After  accepting an offer: all students confirming enrollment must provide an official (sealed) transcript and degree statement (with date of award & title of degree awarded) for verification to  Graduate Enrollment Management Services (GEMS) . For more information, see Official Transcripts Requirements. Students who submit an official transcript to their admitting department are still required to submit an additional transcript to GEMS upon enrollment.

Read more about requirements on our Admissions Help and FAQs page.

  • Have at least a 3.0 cumulative grade-point-average on a 4 point scale (or equivalent measures of performance if a graduate of an institution with no grading system; or equivalent grade-point-average from an accredited foreign institution) for those credits earned at the regionally accredited institution awarding the bachelor’s degree OR at least a 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) for  the last 90 graded quarter credits or 60 graded semester credits.
  • Also acceptable: have earned at least a cumulative 3.0 grade-point-average (on a 4 point scale) from an accredited institution for a Master’s, graduate doctoral degree, or professional doctoral degree.
  • Graduate programs may consider an applicant with a GPA below a 3.0. Graduate programs must submit an admission petition to the Dean of the Graduate School and receive approval before an offer is made. For the complete policy, refer to  Policy 3.1: Graduate Admissions .
  • Some graduate programs will have additional admission requirements and may require a higher grade-point-average. These requirements can be found in the graduate program listing:  select a graduate program .

English Proficiency

  • Demonstration of English proficiency is required of all non-native English speakers. 
  • Applicants who do not meet the minimum required score will not be considered for admission. We do not offer conditional admission. 
  • Admitted students may be required to take additional English classes during their graduate studies, see Policy 3.2.
  • Some graduate programs may require a higher score beyond the minimum required score. Additionally, some programs may not accept MyBest Scores. Please check with graduate programs to confirm their requirements:  select a graduate program .

For additional ways to demonstrate English proficiency, see  Policy 3.2 .

For more information, please visit our comprehensive page for International Applicants .

Citizenship and Visa Status

The Graduate School accepts applications from U.S. citizens, permanent residents (green card holders), immigrants and international applicants. Undocumented individuals are eligible for admission to any graduate program at the University of Washington. Graduate School admission requirements and application procedures are the same for all applicants regardless of citizenship and visa status.

Once an international student planning to study on an F-1 or J-1 student visa has been admitted and has accepted their offer, they must provide documentation to show proof of adequate financial support.

  • Refer to our Financial Ability Requirement information
  • International students must have a visa status that allows academic study at the UW. This status includes temporary U.S. visas such as F-1 student visas, J-1 exchange visitors, H-1 temporary worker, dependent visas or any other non-immigrant classifications. Students who will study on an F-1 or J-1 visa will be required to complete additional steps after confirming their intention to enroll before the Graduate School can process their visa paperwork.
  • Regarding F-2 dependent visa holders, a June 2015 US immigration rule permits dependents (F-2) of international students to engage in study at SEVP-certified schools in the U.S., as long as they are enrolled in part-time study. Although the F-2s can only study part-time, that part-time study can result in the attainment of a degree. However, the F-2  would not be eligible for any employment, including on-campus, CPT, or OPT.  At the University of Washington Graduate School, if an F-2 wants to enroll in a full course of academic study (10 credit minimum), they must apply for and  obtain approval  to change their nonimmigrant classification to F-1 or J-1. For further information on this rule, refer to  the Department of Homeland Security website.

PhD Degree Requirements

This webpage provides a quick overview of the requirements for our PhD program. More detailed information can be found in the Psychology Graduate Guide . This webpage and the Graduate Guide supplement the Psychology PhD requirements defined in the Stanford Bulletin and the policies for all Stanford graduate education as defined in the Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures Handbook . 

The most important component of our PhD program is engaging in scientific research. Students in our PhD program conduct in-depth research in at least one of five areas of study: Affective , Cognitive , Developmental , Neuroscience , or Social Psychology. All students are expected to spend at least half of their time engaged in research. Each quarter, students should register for 8 - 10 research units (PSYCH207: Graduate Research) and take no more than 10 units of coursework.

The sections below outline program requirements regarding coursework and teaching, as well as key milestones towards a PhD degree.

Course Requirements

  • Teaching Requirements  
  • Key Program Milestones

Core Courses, Statistics/Methods Courses, and Advanced Units must be taken for a letter grade and passed with a grade of B- or higher. Click each requirement to open the relevant sections in the Graduate Guide.  

Professional Seminar 

All incoming students are required to take PSYCH207 in the first quarter (Year 1 Autumn). This is a course taught by the Department Chair with guest lectures from faculty across all areas, and serves to introduce the first-year students to the Department. 

  • PSYCH 207: Professional Seminar for First-Year Ph.D Students

As a part of PSYCH 207, first-year students are also expected to meet with their advisor(s) early in the fall quarter of the first year to discuss mentorship expectations. 

Core Courses

Students are required to complete 4 of the following Core Courses by the end of Yr 3.

  • PSYCH 202: Cognitive Neuroscience
  • PSYCH 205: Foundations of Cognition
  • PSYCH 211: Developmental Psychology
  • PSYCH 213: Affective Science
  • PSYCH 215: Mind, Culture, and Society

Statistics / Methods Courses

Students must complete PSYCH 251 and one additional statistics/methods courses by the end of Year 2. At least one of the two courses must be taken in the first year. 

  • PSYCH 251: Experimental Methods (Required) 
  • PSYCH 249: Large-Scale Neural Network Modeling for Neuroscience
  • PSYCH 252: Statistical Methods for Behavioral and Social Sciences
  • PSYCH 253: Measurement and the Study of Change in Social Science Research
  • PSYCH 289: Longitudinal Data Analysis in Social Science Research

Some students may wish to take advanced courses in Statistics or CS not listed above; please consult with your advisor and send an inquiry to the Student Services Manager. These requests may be reviewed by the DGS and/or the GPC.

Advanced Units / PhD Minor  

Students must complete 12 units of advanced graduate coursework (“Advanced Units”, or AU), or complete a PhD Minor by the end of Year 4.  

Students and their advisor(s) should discuss the course requirements and create a plan together for completing the Advanced Units. To this end, rising 2nd year students must submit an Advanced Courses Form by the first Monday in October (usually the first Monday of the Fall Quarter) of the 2nd year. 

Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) Statu s

Students should apply for Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status once they have accumulated 135 units of residency and have filed a Dissertation Reading Committee form . Students in TGR status should register for PSYCH 802: TGR Dissertation (0 units) and take no more than 3 units of coursework per quarter. Typically, students transition to TGR in the Winter quarter of 5th year. 

For more information about Course Requirements, consult the Graduate Guide and the Stanford Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures Handbook .

Teaching Requirements

All students serve as teaching assistants for at least 5 Psychology courses during their graduate study, regardless of the source of their financial support. Of these 5 TAships, students must apply for 2 of their TAships to be in one of the two tracks: 

  • PSYCH 1 Track (2 quarters of Introduction to Psychology)  
  • STATS Track (2 quarters of core statistics/methods course: PSYCH 10, PSYCH 251, PSYCH 252, PSYCH 253).  

Students can review the Department's complete  TA policy  for more details. Questions about TA assignments or TA policy should be directed to the Student Services Manager. 

Program Requirements and Milestones

Year 1: First Year Project (FYP)

At the end of their first year of graduate study, students must submit a written report of their first-year research activities, called the First Year Project (FYP) by June 1 The FYP is submitted to their advisor, second FYP reader (another faculty), and the students’ services manager. Students are also expected to present the results of their FYP in their area seminar. 

Year 2: Admission to Candidacy

In our department, a student’s application for candidacy must be filed as soon as all requirements for Year 1 and Year 2 are completed (and by the end of the 2nd year). The decision to advance a student to candidacy is made based on a holistic assessment of the student’s progress in the program. For more information, please refer to the Graduate Guide, section on Admission to Candidacy. 

Conferral of a masters degree: Graduate students in the Department of Psychology who have completed (a) the first-year and second-year course requirements and (b) at least 45 units of Psychology courses may apply for a conferral of the MA degree.

Master of Arts Degree in Psychology (Optional)

Graduate students in the Department of Psychology who have completed (a) the first-year and second-year course requirements and (b) at least 45 units of Psychology courses may apply for conferral of the MA degree. The application should be reviewed with the Student Services Manager. The  application process  typically occurs in 2nd or 3rd year.

Year 3: Research Plan and Dissertation Reading Committee   

Students in Year 3 are expected to:

(1) Form a dissertation reading committee (due Feb 1): The research committee includes the dissertation advisor and at least 2 additional faculty members, for a total of 3 members, at least two of whom should have primary appointments in the Psychology Department. 

(2) Schedule and hold the 3rd Year Committee Meeting to take place in Winter or Spring quarter (before June 1), and submit a research plan to their committee 2 weeks before the meeting

(3) After the committee meeting, submit the Research Plan to the Student Services Manager and report the meeting date using the Committee Meeting Google Form .

Year 4: Area Review and Research Roadmap (ARRR) and Committee Meeting

Students in Year 4 are expected to:

(1) Schedule and hold the 4th Year Committee Meeting in the Winter quarter and submit an Area Review & Research Roadmap (ARRR) to the committee two weeks before the meeting.

(2) After the committee meeting, submit the ARRR to the Student Services Manager and report the meeting date using the Committee Meeting Google Form . 

Final Year: Oral Examination and Dissertation  

Students in Year 3 and above are expected to hold a committee meeting every year. In their final year, students must form their Oral Examination Committee including identifying an external chair. Students must submit the Oral Exam Form to the Student Services Manager at least 2 weeks before the anticipated defense and follow the standard Department protocol for reserving a room for their defense.

Individual Development Plan

Every year, each graduate student completes an Individual Development Plan (IDP) and has a meeting with their advisor to discuss the IDP and set an Action Plan for the coming year. The goal of the IDP is for the student to step back from their daily tasks, reflect on the larger picture, discuss these topics with their mentor, and make an action plan for achieving their goals going forward. The IDP meeting must occur by June 1 each year. 

The IDP process has 4 steps:

1. Student completeness the IDP Self-Reflection form  

2. Student prepares the IDP Meeting and Action Plan form and schedules a one-on-one meeting with the advisor. 

3. Student and Advisor(s) complete the Action Plan (pages 3-4 of the IDP Meeting and Action Plan form ). 

4. Student submits the IDP Meeting Google Form to report the meeting to the Student Services.

Students can also use the IDP meeting to discuss mentorship expectations and schedule additional meetings if further conversations are needed. Note that first-year students must schedule a separate meeting with their advisors to discuss Mentorship Expectation as a part of their ProSem requirement

Graduation Quarter

Registration for Graduation Quarter is required for the term in which a student submits a dissertation or has a degree conferred. Please consult the Registrar's Academic Calendar for the quarterly deadlines for submitting dissertations; they are strict, and missing the deadline can have serious funding implications. For more information, please refer to the Graduate Guide and Registrar's Office website .

PhD Program Timeline At-A-Glance

  • FYP Proposal and name of 2nd reader due to Student Services

End of Fall Quarter 

  • Complete the mentorship expectations meeting with advisor
  • FYP due to Student Services, advisor, and 2nd reader

Summer of 1st Year

  • Meet and receive feedback from advisor and 2nd reader
  • Submit  Advanced Units coursework form  to Student Services

June 1  

  • IDP Meeting Due

By the end of 2nd Year

  • Submit  Candidacy Form  to Student Services
  • Submit  Doctoral Dissertation Reading Committee form  to Student Services
  • Schedule 3rd Year Committee Meeting
  • Hold Committee Meeting (Research Plan to committee 2 weeks before meeting), and report meeting to Student Services; IDP Meeting
  • Schedule 4th Year Committee Meeting
  • Submit ARRR to the committee two weeks before the meeting
  • Hold Committee Meeting
  • Report meeting to Student Services
  • IDP Meeting

2 weeks before Defense: 

  • Submit the  Oral Exam form  to Student Services

End of Spring Quarter: 

  • Oral Examination
  • Submit Dissertation 
  • Schedule and hold a 5th Year Committee Meeting 

Graduate School

  • Request Information
  • Application Instructions

Your journey begins here

Here we go! Carefully review all that you need for your graduate school application.

+ Admissions Requirements

Bachelor's Degree

Admission to a UMN graduate program requires a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the U.S., or a comparable degree from outside the U.S.

Many graduate programs prefer an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher for admission. Consult your  program of interest for specific GPA requirements.

Caculate grades received in a letter-grade format, to calculate GPA into 4 point scale use the grade calculator from the  Minnesota Office of Higher Education . For international transcripts where numerical grading scales are used, such as 1-10, 1-20, or 1-100, enter your GPA as calculated on your transcript.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores may be required by your program of interest.

English language proficiency

International and domestic applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency . A TOEFL, MELAB, IELTS, PTE Academic, or Cambridge C1 Advanced test is required for applicants whose first language is not English.

Recommendation letters

Many graduate programs require letters of recommendation,  submitted and uploaded online . Consult your  program of interest  for specific requirements.

Transcripts and credentials

Unofficial copies of all post-secondary coursework and degrees are required with your application.  Please follow instructions on the  Transcripts & Credentials page, as well as the specific information given on the International Student Resources page.

+ You're Ready to Apply

You’ve reviewed the admission requirements. The Graduate School can help guide you through the application process.

Choose your program

Learn and explore the specific application requirements of your  program of interest . Application requirements include the upload of all unofficial transcripts. Each graduate program may require additional application materials, such as test scores, letters of recommendation or other requirements not set by the Graduate School. Please adhere to the requirements of the graduate program in which you are applying.

Know your application deadline

We encourage you to apply as early as possible so that we can process your application as efficiently as possible. Deadlines vary from program to program. It is important you know the application deadline of your  program of interest .

Application fees

You will be prompted to pay an application fee while applying online. You can find more information on the  Application Fees  page.

+ Apply Now

Apply online

Create and complete your application Note that you can save the form and return to it as often as you wish prior to submission.

Check your application status

For more information, visit the  Application Status  page, or log in to the admissions system  you used to submit your online application.

Questions or concerns

Please don’t hesitate to contact the  Graduate School Admissions Office  or your  program of interest .

+ International Requirements

Student Visa Process

To attend the University of Minnesota Graduate School, you will need to apply for a student visa. Explore Student Visa Process

English Language Proficiency

International and domestic applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency. Explore English Language Proficiency

Transcripts & Credentials

Frequently Asked Questions

+ prospective students.

What are the requirements for graduate school?

Requirements for admission vary from program to program. For the most accurate information, please contact your  program of interest .

Can I talk to/make an appointment with an academic adviser or counselor to decide which program I should apply?

The Graduate Admissions Office does not provide this service. We strongly encourage prospective applicants to reach out to  programs  they’re interested in and request information and/or a meeting with someone in the department to discuss their interests and fit. Most program websites provide detailed information about their program’s focus and curriculum, along with admissions requirements. If you are unsure of whom you should contact, please contact the  Graduate School Admissions Office .

What graduate programs do you have? Do you have a list of all of the masters (insert Phd, professional degree, certificate, etc.) programs that your University offers?

To view what programs the University offers, please refer to our  Graduate Programs  page.

How long does it take to get a graduate degree?

Completing a graduate degree can take anywhere from one to eight years. Much of this will depend on whether you pursue a degree as a part-time or full-time student, level of degree, and program requirements.

Can I get an application fee waiver?

The Graduate Admissions Office does not provide application fee waivers. We encourage you to reach out to your  program of interest  to determine if this is something your program can support.

When do I need to submit my official transcript(s)?

Unofficial transcripts should be uploaded to your application. Official transcripts are required  only  if you’ve been admitted. Please do not send official transcripts until we request them from you, as this may delay the processing of your application. For more information, please visit the  Transcripts & Credentials page .

What is my program’s application deadline?

Deadlines vary from program to program. Please contact your  program of interest  for specific application deadlines.

Can I apply to more than one graduate program at the same time?

Yes, you may apply for admission to as many graduate programs as you wish. To do so, you must:

  • Create an  online application account .
  • Click on "Start New Application" for each application you intend to submit, and follow your program's application instructions.  Please note that you will need to pay a separate  application fee  for each application you submit.

We highly encourage you to contact your  program(s) of interest  regarding their individual admissions requirements, timelines, and processes.

+ International Applicants

I am an international student. Can I apply with the degree from my country?

Anyone who has or will obtain a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the U.S. or a comparable degree from an officially recognized college or university outside the U.S. may apply for graduate admission. If you are unsure that your degree meets these requirements, you can email copies of your credentials to the  Graduate School Admission Office  and a member of our staff will do a preliminary evaluation.

Do I need to have my credentials evaluated? Do you take WES evaluations?

Credentials are evaluated by our in-house staff, so we require copies of documents issued by the institution, in original language and translations.  We do not accept credential evaluations as a replacement for documents issued by your institution. 

  • Please contact your program as they may have additional requirements.

Do you offer conditional admission?

Please contact your  program of interest  to find out if they offer a conditional admission.

Are TOEFL/IELTS scores required? English is one of the main languages spoken in my country, do I have to provide a TOEFL score?

International and domestic applicants whose first language is not English must provide proof of English language proficiency, which is measured by a number of exams and/or coursework. For more information, please visit our  English Language Proficiency page .

Can I get a scholarship/funding/financial aid?

Fellowships, grants, research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and loans provide the most common forms of support for graduate students. Please visit our  Funding page  for more information.

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Who is Eligible to Apply? 

If you have completed your undergraduate degree (bachelor's or equivalent) or will have completed it prior to your intended matriculation date at Yale, you may apply to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS).

A Master's degree is not required to apply for a PhD at Yale, although some programs give preference to applicants with post-baccalaureate training. Consult your program of interest directly for information on how it evaluates applications.

We value diversity of all kinds at the Graduate School, and we encourage students from all backgrounds to apply if Yale is a good fit for your intellectual and professional goals. All are welcome to apply, without regard to citizenship or immigration status, socioeconomic level, race, religion, gender identification, sexual orientation, disability, etc.

Requirements for All PhD and Master's Degree Applicants

You will need to provide the following with your application for admission:

  • A statement of academic purpose. You will find the prompt for the statement of purpose in our Application Question FAQs . 
  • A list of all the prior colleges or universities you have attended, accompanied by unofficial transcripts from each school. Unofficial transcripts should be uploaded with your application. Official or paper transcripts are not needed at this time. 
  • Three letters of recommendation. Enter the names of your recommenders directly in the application and they will receive a link to upload a letter on your behalf. 
  • $105 application fee or fee waiver. 
  • Standardized tests . GRE requirements vary by program. TOEFL or IELTS are necessary for most non-native English speakers. 
  • Resume/CV . 
  • Some programs have additional requirements, such as a writing sample . You can find information about any specific requirements on the program's website. 

Where Do I Begin?

Decide whether you will apply for a PhD or a terminal Master’s (MA, MS) in one of the programs available at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences . (Note that you will earn one or more Master's degrees en route to a PhD.) Learn about the program: its faculty, course offerings, and resources. Read the faculty's research publications. If you can identify and articulate why the program is a good fit for you and show how your preparation and interests align well with it, you will have a strong application.

A note to students applying to one of Yale’s professional schools or programs:

  • If you are applying for a PhD in Architecture, Environment, Investigative Medicine, Law, Management, Music, Nursing, or Public Health; for an MS in Public Health; or for an MA in Music, be sure to use the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences PhD/Master's application.
  • If you are applying for any other degree at one of the University’s professional schools (Art, Architecture, Divinity, Drama, Environment, Global Affairs, Law, Management, Medicine, Music, Nursing, and Public Health), visit that school’s website for further instructions. Those programs have separate admissions policies and processes that are administered by the professional schools, not GSAS.

Application deadlines vary by program, so please see Dates & Deadlines for information about your program of interest. 

All new students matriculate in the fall. The admissions process begins nearly a year in advance of matriculation.

Some PhD and Master’s degree programs require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. Check your program's standardized testing requirement before you apply. 

In addition, applicants whose native language is not English may need to take an English Language test (TOEFL or IELTS).

The application for Fall 2024 entry is closed. The application for Fall 2025 entry will be available starting in mid-August 2024. 

Be sure to complete and submit the application before your program's application deadline. 

Your application fee or an approved fee waiver is due upon submission of your application. 

Your letters of recommendation do not need to be received before you will be able to submit your application. However, since programs begin reviewing applications shortly after the respective application deadline, please be sure that your letters of recommendation are submitted promptly.

What Happens After I Submit My Application?

The faculty admissions committee in each department and program begins reviewing applications shortly after their application deadline. Led by the director of graduate studies (DGS) or director of graduate admissions (DGA), the committee will recommend students for admission to the Graduate School. Once confirmed by the deans of the Graduate School, the admissions office will release final decisions to applicants.

Unlike undergraduate admissions, the admissions office and staff of the Graduate School maintain the application, the application process, and other administrative transactions, but the admissions staff does not review applications or make admissions decisions. That responsibility is handled by the faculty of each department or program.

Most admissions decisions are provided between February and early March. You will receive an email notification when your admissions decision is available.

If you are accepted for admission, you will need to decide if you wish to accept our offer by April 15. We abide by Council of Graduate School's April 15 Resolution , regarding graduate financial support. 

Ready to apply? Begin your application today.

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phd requirements gpa

  • September 30, 2023
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What is a Good Master’s GPA for PhD? A Guide to Academic Excellence

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phd requirements gpa

Pursuing a PhD can be an exciting yet challenging endeavor. As you set your sights on advancing your academic career, one question frequently arises: What is a good Master’s GPA for PhD? 

Read on as we explore the importance of grades in your academic journey, the nuances of the PhD admission process, and provide insights into what can be considered a competitive Master’s GPA to increase your chances of success.

Understanding the PhD Admission Process

PhD programs are highly competitive, and admissions committees carefully evaluate candidates to ensure they possess the knowledge, skills, and dedication required for doctoral-level research. 

One essential aspect of this evaluation is your academic record, which includes your Master’s GPA. However, it’s crucial to recognize that the PhD admission process is multi-faceted. Admissions committees consider various factors besides your GPA, such as recommendation letters, research experience, standardized test scores (like the GRE or GMAT), and statement of purpose. So, be prepared and look into specifics since different institutions might have additional requirements. 

What is a Good Master’s GPA for PhD?

Grades are a reflection of your commitment, work ethic, and mastery of course material. Excelling in your Master’s program not only demonstrates your ability to handle the rigors of a PhD program but also sets a strong foundation for future academic success. It is essential to view your Master’s GPA as a stepping stone in your educational journey, as it provides insight into your ability to excel in coursework, conduct research, and contribute meaningfully to your field.

While there is no universally defined “good” Master’s GPA for PhD admission, it typically starts from 3.0. Nevertheless, this can differ depending on the field of study, the program’s competitiveness, and the institution’s specific requirements. Some highly competitive programs may expect even higher GPAs.

Factors Influencing a Good Master’s GPA


Achieving a good Master’s GPA is not solely about hitting a specific numerical target; it reflects your academic journey and the effort you invest in your studies. There are several factors that significantly influence your Master’s GPA, helping you excel in your program.

Academic Rigor and Course Selection

Your choice of courses in your Master’s program can significantly influence your GPA and shape your academic journey. Opting for academically challenging courses demonstrates your commitment to acquiring in-depth knowledge and skills in your field, fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which can translate into higher grades. 

However, it’s essential to strike a balance. Overloading your schedule with too many demanding courses can lead to burnout and stress, negatively affecting your GPA. Assess your capabilities, align classes with your academic interests and career goals, and manage your workload wisely. 

Seek guidance from academic advisors or professors when selecting courses to make informed decisions that benefit your GPA and overall educational experience.

The Role of Research and Thesis Work in GPA

For many Master’s programs , research and thesis work are integral components that can significantly impact your GPA. Therefore, the quality of your research and thesis work directly affects your GPA. A well-executed thesis that contributes original insights to your field can earn higher grades. To excel in this area, dedicate time and effort to conducting thorough research, analyzing data, and presenting your findings effectively.

Average Master’s GPA Requirements for PhD Programs

The average Master’s GPA requirements for admission to PhD programs can vary significantly depending on the field of study, the competitiveness of the program, and the specific policies of individual universities. However, as a general guideline, an acceptable Master’s GPA often falls from 3.0 to 3.7. Some highly competitive PhD programs may expect even higher GPAs, approaching or exceeding 3.8.

How Can a Master’s GPA Impact Career Prospects?

Your Master’s GPA can significantly influence your career prospects, though its impact may vary depending on your field of study and the specific job opportunities you’re pursuing. 

A strong Master’s GPA can enhance your competitiveness in job applications, particularly in professions where academic achievement holds significant importance. Employers in finance, engineering, and healthcare industries may strongly emphasize academic achievement, and a strong GPA can set you apart from other applicants.

Specific specialized or competitive roles may also have GPA requirements for entry. For example, some research positions, government jobs, and graduate programs may require a higher GPA than usual. A strong GPA can open doors to these opportunities and help you qualify for roles that align with your career goals.

The Role of GPA in Securing Internships and Entry-Level Positions

A strong Master’s GPA significantly enhances your prospects of securing internships, especially in competitive industries such as finance, consulting, and information technology. Many companies use GPA to identify candidates with strong academic backgrounds and potential. A high GPA can help you stand out in a competitive pool of applicants and increase your chances of landing the internship you desire.

For entry-level positions, your Master’s GPA may play a role in the hiring process, but it is rarely the sole determining factor. Employers often consider a combination of factors, including your GPA, relevant coursework, internships, extracurricular activities, and interpersonal skills. While a high GPA can make you an attractive candidate, it’s essential to complement it with relevant experiences, strong communication skills, and a well-crafted resume.

While a Master’s GPA can be important for entry-level positions, its significance tends to diminish as you gain work experience. Once you establish your career, employers typically focus more on your professional accomplishments, skills, and contributions than your academic performance.

Strategies for Improving a Master’s GPA


Improving your Master’s GPA requires a combination of practical study strategies, time management skills, and commitment to your coursework. Remember to prioritize self-care to maintain a healthy work-life balance, as burnout can hinder academic performance. Keep in mind that improvement takes time, so be patient with yourself and consistently apply these strategies to see positive changes in your GPA.

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Advice for Students Looking to Boost their GPAs

If you aim to boost your Master’s GPA, consider adopting a proactive approach to your studies. Start by reviewing your past performance to identify areas where you can improve: time management, study habits, or course selection. Set clear and achievable goals for each course by dividing big tasks into smaller, manageable steps.

Utilize campus resources such as tutoring services, academic advisors, and study workshops to enhance your skills and understanding of challenging subjects. Seek feedback from professors and peers to identify areas for growth and make necessary adjustments. Finally, stay organized, stay motivated, and maintain a growth mindset to strive for academic excellence.

Seeking Help and Resources When Struggling Academically

When facing academic challenges during your Master’s program, reaching out for help and utilizing available resources is essential. Feel free to approach professors during office hours or via email to seek clarification on course material or assignments. Many universities offer tutoring services, study groups, and academic workshops to support needy students. 

Additionally, consider seeking assistance with time management and study skills from academic advisors or counseling services. Don’t isolate yourself; connect with classmates facing similar difficulties, as sharing strategies and working together can be beneficial.

In conclusion, a Master’s GPA is key to academic and career success, influencing internship opportunities, entry-level positions, and specialized roles. To enhance your GPA , employ effective study strategies, maintain a balanced workload, and seek guidance from academic advisors when selecting courses. However, remember that GPA is just one aspect of your educational journey; active engagement in coursework, feedback-driven adaptation, and a focus on professional growth contribute significantly to your long-term success.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a good master’s gpa for phd admissions.

The ideal Master’s GPA for PhD admissions can vary depending on the university, program, and field of study. However, an acceptable GPA often starts from 3.0. Some highly competitive programs may expect even higher GPAs.

Why is a Master’s GPA important for a PhD?

A strong Master’s GPA is essential for PhD admissions because it demonstrates your academic competence and ability to excel in graduate-level coursework. It can also be critical in securing funding or scholarships for your doctoral studies.

How does my Master’s GPA affect my job opportunities?

Your Master’s GPA can influence your job opportunities, particularly in academia, research, and some specialized fields. A high GPA can make you a more attractive candidate for competitive positions, research grants, and academic roles.

Are there specific GPA requirements for different PhD programs and fields?

Yes, GPA requirements can vary significantly by program and field. Some areas and programs may emphasize other factors, such as research experience or standardized test scores. It’s essential to research the specific admission requirements for the PhD programs you’re interested in.

In which industries or roles is a high Master’s GPA particularly important for job prospects?

A high Master’s GPA can be essential in academia, research, and some technical or scientific roles. Professors, researchers, and employers in these fields often consider GPA an indicator of your ability to handle complex tasks and excel in a competitive environment.

What strategies can I use to improve my Master’s GPA if it’s not at the desired level?

If your Master’s GPA is not where you want it to be, consider these strategies:

  • Prioritize your coursework and assignments
  • Seek help from professors or tutors if you’re struggling with specific subjects
  • Manage your time effectively to balance study and other responsibilities
  • Stay organized and maintain a study schedule
  • Take advantage of study groups and peer support
  • Review and practice regularly to understand the material better
  • Communicate with your professors if you encounter challenges
  • Consider retaking courses where you received lower grades if allowed by your program

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CS PhD Course Guidelines

The following program guidelines (a.k.a model pogram) serve as a starting point for a discussion with the faculty about areas of interest.   This description of the Computer Science PhD course guidelines augments the school-wide  PhD course requirements .   Students should make themselves familiar with both.

Course Guidelines for Ph.D. Students in Computer Science

We expect students to obtain broad knowledge of computer science by taking graduate level courses in a variety of sub-areas in computer science, such as systems, networking, databases, algorithms, complexity, hardware, human-computer interaction, graphics, or programming languages.

Within our school, CS courses are roughly organized according to sub-area by their middle digit, so we expect students to take courses in a minimum of three distinct sub-areas, one of which should be theory (denoted by the middle digit of 2, or CS 231). Theory is specifically required as we expect all students to obtain some background in the mathematical foundations that underlie computer science. The intention is not only to give breadth to students, but to ensure cross-fertilization across different sub-disciplines in Computer Science.

Just as we expect all students obtaining a Ph.D. to have experience with the theoretical foundations of computer science, we expect all students to have some knowledge of how to build large software or hardware systems , on the order of thousands of lines of code, or the equivalent complexity in hardware. That experience may be evidenced by coursework or by a project submitted to the CHD for examination. In almost all cases a course numbered CS 26x or CS 24x will satisfy the requirement (exceptions will be noted in the course description on my.harvard). Students may also petition to use CS 161 for this requirement.   For projects in other courses, research projects, or projects done in internships the student is expected to write a note explaining the project, include a link to any relevant artifacts or outcomes, describe the student's individual contribution, and where appropriate obtain a note from their advisor, their class instructor, or their supervisors confirming their contributions.  The project must include learning about systems concepts, and not just writing many lines of code.   Students hoping to invoke the non-CS24x/26x/161 option must consult with  Prof. Mickens ,  Prof, Kung,  or  Prof. Idreos  well in advance of submitting their Program Plan to the CHD.  

Computer science is an applied science, with connections to many fields. Learning about and connecting computer science to other fields is a key part of an advanced education in computer science. These connections may introduce relevant background, or they may provide an outlet for developing new applications.

For example, mathematics courses may be appropriate for someone working in theory, linguistics courses may be appropriate for someone working in computational linguistics, economics courses may be appropriate for those working in algorithmic economics, electrical engineering courses may be appropriate for those working in circuit design, and design courses may be appropriate for someone working in user interfaces.


The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS) requires all Ph.D. students to complete 16 half-courses (“courses”, i.e., for 4 units of credit) to complete their degree. Of those 16 courses, a Ph.D. in Computer Science requires 10 letter-graded courses. (The remaining 6 courses are often 300-level research courses or other undergraduate or graduate coursework beyond the 10 required courses.)

The requirements for the 10 letter-graded courses are as follows:

  • Of the 7 technical courses, at least 3 must be 200-level Computer Science courses, with 3 different middle digits (from the set 2,3,4,5,6,7,8), and with one of these three courses either having a middle digit of 2 or being CS 231 (i.e., a “theory” course).   Note that CS courses with a middle digit of 0 are valid technical courses, but do not contribute to the breadth requirement.
  • At least 5 of the 8 disciplinary courses must be SEAS or SEAS-equivalent 200-level courses. A “SEAS equivalent” course is a course taught by a SEAS faculty member in another FAS department. 
  • For any MIT course taken, the student must provide justification why the MIT course is necessary (i.e. SEAS does not offer the topic, the SEAS course has not been offered in recent years, etc.). MIT courses do not count as part of the 5 200-level SEAS/SEAS-equivalent courses. 
  • 2 of the 10 courses must constitute an external minor (referred to as "breadth" courses in the SEAS “ Policies of the Committee on Higher Degrees [CHD] ”) in an area outside of computer science. These courses should be clearly related; generally, this will mean the two courses are in the same discipline, although this is not mandatory. These courses must be distinct from the 8 disciplinary courses referenced above.
  • Students must demonstrate practical competence by building a large software or hardware system during the course of their graduate studies. This requirement will generally be met through a class project, but it can also be met through work done in the course of a summer internship, or in the course of research.
  • In particular, for Computer Science graduate degrees, Applied Computation courses may be counted as 100-level courses, not 200-level courses.
  • Up to 2 of the 10 courses can be 299r courses, but only 1 of the up to 2 allowed 299r courses can count toward the 8 disciplinary courses. 299r courses do not count toward the 5 200-level SEAS/SEAS-equivalent courses. If two 299r’s are taken, they can be with the same faculty but the topics must be sufficiently different.
  • A maximum of 3 graduate-level transfer classes are allowed to count towards the 10 course requirement.
  • All CS Ph.D. program plans must adhere to the SEAS-wide Ph.D. requirements, which are stated in the SEAS Policies of the Committee on Higher Degrees (CHD) . These SEAS-wide requirements are included in the items listed above, though students are encouraged to read the CHD document if there are questions, as the CHD document provides further explanation/detail on several of the items above.
  • All program plans must be approved by the CHD. Exceptions to any of these requirements require a detailed written explanation of the reasoning for the exception from the student and the student’s research advisor. Exceptions can only be approved by the CHD, and generally exceptions will only be given for unusual circumstances specific to the student’s research program.

Requirement Notes

  • Courses below the 100-level are not suitable for graduate credit.
  • For students who were required to take it, CS 290hfa/hfb may be included as one of the 10 courses but it does not count toward the 200-level CS or SEAS/SEAS-equivalent course requirements nor toward the SM en route to the PhD.

Your program plan  must always comply  with both our school's General Requirements, in addition to complying with the specific requirements for Computer Science. All program plans must be approved by the Committee on Higher Degrees [CHD]. Exceptions to the requirements can only be approved by the CHD, and generally will only be given for unusual circumstances specific to the student’s research program

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Admission Requirements for the Ph.D. Program

The doctoral program at Penn State strives to prepare high-quality researchers to serve as leaders in the field of communication sciences and disorders.

Graduates of the program will be prepared to assume careers as researchers and scholars at colleges, universities, and research institutes. The Ph.D. program is not an advanced clinical degree; it is conferred in recognition of the attainment of the highest academic excellence and productive scholarship.

Students who enter the Ph.D. program in Communication Sciences and Disorders should have already obtained a Master's degree in CSD or another field. Students who hold a Master's degree outside of CSD may choose to seek the Master's degree in CSD along the way to earning a Ph.D., but this is not a requirement.

Regardless of the method of entry, all students will complete, at a minimum, three projects: a first, second, and third doctoral project.

Since the intent of the doctoral program is to prepare outstanding researchers and scholars to assume leadership roles within the field of communication sciences and disorders, only high-caliber students who demonstrate strong academic performance and research potential are accepted into the doctoral program. Admission to the Ph.D. program in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Penn State is very competitive.

Students accepted into the doctoral program have:

a cumulative GPA in their Masters program of well above a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale

outstanding letters of recommendation documenting their performance and their potential as researchers and scholars

a written statement of scholarly interests and research career goals

completed the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

  • GRE scores are optional ; the inclusion or the non-inclusion of GRE scores will not alter applicants' chance of acceptance into the program. Applicants are encouraged to submit GRE scores to provide evidence of their technical and/or writing skills in the absence of other supporting evidence. It is recommended that applicants have GRE scores greater than the fiftieth percentile on the verbal and quantitative sections and a 4.5 or above on the writing section.

Two-Step Admission Process

According to the practices of the Graduate School at Penn State, admission to the Ph.D. program is a two-stage process. First, the initial application to the Department for permission to enter the graduate program; and second, the qualifying exam to enter the doctoral program.

Completion of the Ph.D. program is dependent upon the student's successful completion of all academic course work and degree requirements (e.g., comprehensive examination, dissertation).


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  2. How To Calculate Your GPA And Convert Your Grades

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  3. GPA Requirements for PhD in USA

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  4. GPA to CGPA Calculator

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  5. What is the GPA summary and how do I enable it?

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  6. Medical School GPA Requirements: What You Need For 2022/2023

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  1. Thermographic Imaging (Guest Dr. Peter Leando, PhD, DSc, DAc)

  2. If you have low GPA, apply these universities in USA #fall2023 #phd

  3. #Eligibility Criteria for PhD #Age limit qualification for PhD # Who r eligible for PhD

  4. Preparing to Apply for PTDF Scholarship for PhD

  5. PhD student update: My PhD upgrade

  6. PhD Coursework


  1. Grade Point Average

    A - 4 B - 3 C - 2 D - 1 F - 0 This will give you a number between 0 and 4, which is your GPA. 4.0 is normally the highest GPA you can achieve, though some 'weighted' GPA systems use a 5.0 scale which award students 5 points if they achieve an A in an especially challenging course.

  2. The Complete Guide to PhD Admissions

    Your GPA in undergrad is the single most important factor in PhD admissions. If your GPA is too low your application will be dismissed out of hand. While there are no hard limits, we suggest a minimum GPA of 3.5 for serious contention, especially at top schools. If your GPA is below 3.0 then you will likely not get admitted into any PhD programs.

  3. Admissions Requirements

    Minimum Admissions Requirements Academic Records Evidence of English Language Proficiency Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and Other Test Scores Letters of Recommendation Statements Application Fee Expand All

  4. Application Requirements for All Doctoral Programs (PhD)

    Application Requirements for All Doctoral Programs (PhD) All of our doctoral programs are designed to develop outstanding educational researchers who have a deep understanding of the scientific, practical and policy issues they study. All require full-time study, and we promise five years of full-time financial support for every student we admit.

  5. Ph.D. Requirements

    Ph.D. Requirements Home Academics & Research Programs & Requirements Brown University awards more than 200 doctor of philosophy degrees annually. The Brown Ph.D. is primarily a research degree. Teaching is an important part of many doctoral programs, and many departments require candidates for the Ph.D. to have teaching experience.

  6. PhD Program Requirements

    Application for Degree Credit for Completed Graduate Work Degree Requirements Doctor of Philosophy Ad Hoc Degree Programs Dissertations English Language Proficiency Research PhD Program Requirements African and African American Studies American Studies Anthropology Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and Urban Planning Astronomy

  7. Application Requirements

    Application Requirements. The application for Fall 2024 is now open. The deadline to apply is December 15th, 2023 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. A complete application includes a completed online application and supplemental application materials. We recommend that you begin the application process early as it may take longer than expected.

  8. PhD Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

    We do not have a minimum GPA requirement for applicants to the PhD program, but GPAs of at least 3.5 are strongly recommended. While we have not established any particular GRE test score necessary for admission, the average General GRE percentile scores of recently admitted applicants are Verbal 92%, Quantitative 94% and Analytical Writing 83%.

  9. Standard Requirements for All Advanced Degree Candidates

    To qualify for the Ph.D., students are required by the Graduate School to: Pass the general examination in their subject; Present an acceptable dissertation; and After receiving approval of the advanced degree application from the department and the Graduate School, to pass the final public oral examination

  10. PhD Admissions Requirements and Procedures

    1. Application Form 2. Statement of Purpose 3. Transcripts, GPA, Converting International GPA 4. GRE General Test Score 5. TOEFL Scores 6. Letters of Recommendation 7. Résumé (and optional papers) 8. Consideration for the M.S. Program Notification of Received Application Materials

  11. How to Apply to Grad School: A Complete Guide

    Most graduate programs look for a minimum 3.0 GPA. A Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of at least 318 is considered strong and can help your application. A professional resume with work experience related to your program is often helpful or required.

  12. Masters GPA for PhD: Doctorate Acceptance Guide

    What is an acceptable masters GPA for PhD programs? For some students, their grade point average ceases to matter after completing an undergraduate degree. If you are pursuing further education, though, you may be wondering how important it is. Explore All Online Programs Southern New Hampshire University You have goals.

  13. PhD Application Requirements

    If you attended a university that uses a 4.0 grade-point average (GPA) scale, a satisfactory scholastic average with a minimum GPA of 3.0 (B) is required. If you attended a university that does not use the 4.0 GPA scale, please do not try to convert your grades to the 4.0 scale for the application. Background in mathematics, statistics, or a ...

  14. Graduate Program Requirements: Your Roadmap to Grad School

    15 min Graduate Program Requirements: Master's Degree Master's Degree Graduation Requirements Graduate Program Requirements: PhD PhD Graduation Requirements Missing Graduate Program Requirements? Here's What to Do FAQs Graduate Program Requirements: Master's Degree

  15. PhD Course Requirements

    General Requirements GSAS requires that all Ph.D. students complete at least 16, four-unit courses or their equivalent prior to graduation.

  16. Requirements

    Prospective graduate students must meet the following minimum requirements: Degree GPA English Proficiency Citizenship and Visa Status The Graduate School accepts applications from U.S. citizens, permanent residents (green card holders), immigrants and international applicants.

  17. PhD Degree Requirements

    Students must complete 12 units of advanced graduate coursework ("Advanced Units", or AU), or complete a PhD Minor by the end of Year 4. Students and their advisor (s) should discuss the course requirements and create a plan together for completing the Advanced Units. To this end, rising 2nd year students must submit an Advanced Courses ...

  18. Graduate Degrees & Requirements

    Graduate Degrees & Requirements. The Graduate School at Princeton University encompasses 43 degree-granting departments and programs that admit graduate students and awards more than 300 advanced degrees annually. Doctoral education, available in all divisions, emphasizes original and independent scholarship, while master's degree programs in ...

  19. Application Instructions

    GPA. Many graduate programs prefer an undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) or higher for admission. Consult your program of interest for specific GPA requirements. Caculate grades received in a letter-grade format, to calculate GPA into 4 point scale use the grade calculator from the Minnesota Office of Higher ...

  20. PhD/Master's Application Process

    Where Do I Begin? Apply Now 2) Verify the application deadline for your program. 3) Determine what standardized tests you need to take. Register early. 4) Complete your application. Decide whether you will apply for a PhD or a terminal Master's (MA, MS) in one of the programs available at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.

  21. What is a Good Master's GPA for PhD? A Guide to Academic Excellence

    While there is no universally defined "good" Master's GPA for PhD admission, it typically starts from 3.0. Nevertheless, this can differ depending on the field of study, the program's competitiveness, and the institution's specific requirements. Some highly competitive programs may expect even higher GPAs. Factors Influencing a Good Master's GPA

  22. CS PhD Course Guidelines

    The requirements for the 10 letter-graded courses are as follows: 8 of the 10 courses must be disciplinary, and at least 7 of those must be technical courses drawn from the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, FAS or MIT. Of the 7 technical courses, at least 3 must be 200-level Computer Science courses, with 3 ...

  23. Admission Requirements for the Ph.D. Program

    According to the practices of the Graduate School at Penn State, admission to the Ph.D. program is a two-stage process. First, the initial application to the Department for permission to enter the graduate program; and second, the qualifying exam to enter the doctoral program. Completion of the Ph.D. program is dependent upon the student's ...