Typical PhD Application Checklist

PhD application checklist

Image licensed under Creative Commons, courtesy of Daniel Kulinski

The following items are normally part of all applications for PhD programs, though in some instances one or more of these items may not be required.

  • Application form (usually online forms and submission)
  • Application fee (typically $40 – $100)
  • Standardized test (GRE or GMAT)
  • English language test (TOEFL, IELTS, or the Pearson Test of Academic English)
  • Transcripts from all universities attended
  • Essay (typically called “Statement of Purpose” or “Admission Essay”)
  • References (usually 2, sometimes 3)

The following items may be required for programs in certain fields of study only:

  • GRE Subject Tests
  • Portfolio
  • Writing sample
  • Admission interviews
  • Audition

Generally, an application cannot or will not be reviewed until all items have been received by the school. Sometimes, a university will review applications with copies of these materials and render a decision based on them only. In these cases, the official documentation will be required sometime after the decision has been released and usually before a student enrolls at the school.

In some cases, all these materials may be required before the application deadline, while at other schools, some of these items may be submitted after the application deadline. In cases like this, the online application form and fee may be the only item that must arrive before the deadline time. It is important to consult websites for each school you are applying to and to learn their individual policy.