International Applicant FAQs


I wish to apply for a PhD. Do I need a master’s degree to apply?

Not usually. The vast majority of our graduate programs accept applicants with a four-year bachelor’s degree or its equivalent. The exceptions are the PhD programs in the Divinity School and the School of Social Service Administration, which require a master’s degree, and our master’s degree in Public Health Sciences, which requires a doctoral-level clinical degree (e.g., an MD, DO, or PhD in Nursing). However, it is not uncommon for some programs to have a preference for individuals already holding master’s degree, and an increasing number of entering doctoral candidates in some fields do already hold a master's degree.

I have not graduated with a four-year bachelor’s degree. Can I still apply?

For admission to most of our programs, applicants need the equivalent of a four-year bachelor's degree. However, our faculty understand that in many parts of the world three-year undergraduate degrees are standard. In those cases, our programs will typically accept a three-year degree, provided it is equivalent to a bachelor's, such as a BTech or BSc degree. That said, it is not unusual in some programs for students to do a fourth-year program of some type to enhance the competitiveness of their application.

Do you offer conditional admission?

Very few programs at the University of Chicago offer conditional admission to students who have yet to formally apply to a program or do not yet meet our English Language requirements. The best way to find out if your program offers conditional admission is to contact them directly.

What financial aid is available to international students?

International applicants are given equal consideration for all awards and sources of University funding for which they qualify. However, sources of aid are limited and competitive because some programs receive funding from the U.S. government that cannot be used to support international students. International students are also not eligible for U.S. student loans in most cases. For these reasons, we encourage all international students to investigate outside sources of aid, including programs within their home country, as well as organizations like Education USA, the Institute of International Education, and International Education Financial Aid. Further information on financial policies can be found here.

What work opportunities are available to international students?

There are many employment opportunities available for graduate students, regardless of their citizenship status. Visit our international student funding page and the Office of International Affairs website to learn more about applying for work as an international student.

Will the University sponsor a visa for me?

The University of Chicago only sponsors visas for students who have been accepted to and are enrolling at the university. Our Office of International Affairs will facilitate this process once you accept an offer of admission.

English Language Requirements

What are the English language test requirements?

International applicants to graduate programs at the University of Chicago are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores during the application process. The English requirement may be waived for applicants who are native to or have studied in certain English-speaking countries. Students who studied in English in other countries are not exempt from the English language requirement. For most programs, the minimum required score for the TOEFL is 104 overall, with four sub scores of 26 each. If you are applying to a program in the Physical Sciences Division or the Institute for Molecular Engineering (IME), the minimum TOEFL score may be lower. You should confirm your individual program’s requirements before applying. Minimum required scores on the IELTS are an overall score of 7, with sub scores of 7 each.

Can I have a waiver for the English language test requirements?

The English language requirement may be waived if the applicant is a native of or studied in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or English medium universities in Canada or South Africa. Further information regarding the English language requirements can be found here. Exemptions are granted by the division or school during the application process, and there is no form required—only submission of your transcripts which indicate you meet the waiver requirement.

Does the university offer English language courses?

Our English Language Institute offers classes for non-native English speakers through the Academic English Pre-matriculation Program (AEPP), as well as special interests classes and workshops during the school year. However, these classes are not part of an accredited program at the University of Chicago and do not satisfy any University requirements. All international applicants are required to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores during the application process. Information about minimum scores required for admission can be found here.

I studied at an English medium university in a country which is not in the TOEFL/IELTS exempt list. Do I still have to take the exam?

Yes. Unless you are a native of or have studied in an English-speaking country, you must take an English language exam. If you attended an English-medium university not in one of the approved list of countries, you must still take the exam.

Application Questions

What is the application process? What extra is required of international applicants?

Each department handles its own admissions process, so please be sure to check the admissions requirements listed on your program’s website carefully. For most programs, international applicants provide all the same materials as domestic applications. However, they must also submit TOEFL/IELTS scores meeting our minimum requirements, and in some cases programs may also ask international applicants to upload video statements to their application or interview via Skype or Google. In some cases, due to visa timelines, programs may require international applicants to apply during one of their earlier application cycles.

Do I need to convert my GPA to a 4.0 scale?

Unless you are specifically requested to do so in the instructions on your application, please do not convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale.

Do I have to have my transcripts translated into English?

Yes. Please send documents in their official language along with an English translation. Translations should be prepared or verified by someone whose position requires knowledge of both English and the other language—for example, a professor of English at a French university. The University of Chicago does not offer translation services. However, applicants seeking a translator might consider contacting their home country’s consulate or embassy or searching the directory of the American Translators Association.