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The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is required for Master’s and Doctoral Degree courses in all subjects other than Management (Engineering, Physics, Biology, Pharmacy, Computer Science, Psychology, etc.)

The GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test) is required for all Management courses. It is also advisable to take the GMAT® if you are applying for an MS in related fields like Finance, Accounting, Marketing and allied fields

The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is required for all undergraduate i.e. bachelor’s level courses

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is required for all International students whose native language is not English and are seeking admission to American universities

Some universities require you to take the GRE whereas some require you to take the GMAT. We recommend that you check the specific requirements of the universities you are interested in applying to.
Most universities do not have a ‘cut-off’, but to secure admission to a good American university the score required in these examinations is:

The GRE test: 1100 out of 1600 for admission. For financial assistance, your score should be more than 1400. Of course a student can get admission even if his score is as low as 900, but in that case he cannot apply to a high ranked university

The GMAT test: Good business schools require a GMAT score of 600 out of 800 for admission. Obtaining financial aid means getting a score of more than 730. Of course a student can get admission even if his score is as low as 450, but in that case he cannot apply to a high ranked university

The TOEFL test: Most graduate/undergraduate schools require a minimum score of 80 (out of a maximum of 120) for admission, but some good universities demand a score of 100.

The tests can be taken more than once. Universities generally consider the best score but sometimes they may consider the average score. The decision is totally at the discretion of the university concerned.
Students aspiring to join American Universities in the Fall Semester beginning in August/September should take the examinations latest by January of that year. Students planning to join in the Spring Semester beginning in January should take the examinations latest by July in the preceding year
For admission to master’s courses in biological sciences, pure sciences and computer science, it is recommended that you take the subject GRE test. A good performance in the test proves you have adequate preparation to enter a graduate program. Moreover the subject GRE test score may be an added advantage for getting financial aid.
Generally, American universities require that you complete 16 years of education before enrolling for a graduate program. Therefore students who have obtained a bachelor’s degree after 15 years of education are required to complete a master’s degree to qualify for admission to an American university. Students with an exceptional academic record can get admission in spite of 15 years of education, especially in pure sciences and humanities
American universities are not generally willing to accept bachelor’s or master’s degrees obtained through correspondence courses. Also, degrees offered by institutes not affiliated to recognized universities are not accepted.
Nowadays apart from a good GMAT score, many universities ask for work experience of at least 2 years
It is not possible for M.B.B.S. degree holders to obtain visas for further studies in medicine in the United States unless they pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) . But M.B.B.S. degree holder can seek admission in M.S. or Ph D programs in non-clinical subjects such as Immunology, Bacteriology, Anatomy, Genetics, Microbiology, Pharmacology, Toxicology, Pathology, Bio-medical Engineering, Public Health, Biotechnology etc. For this they will have to take the GRE test and the TOEFL test.
No, this is not true. The American education system and job market needs students from various fields. In fact non-engineering students stand a better chance of getting financial support from US universities. Every year we send several students in the fields of Sociology, Psychology, Geography, Economics, Mathematics and Statistics, Literature and Languages, Environmental Sciences, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Immunology, Physiology, Biomedical Sciences, Toxicology etc. A majority of these students secured admission in the top ranking universities with financial aid.
Most universities offer substantial financial assistance to their students. They can be divided into three types:- Fellowships/Scholarships, Teaching or Research Assistantships, Campus Jobs.
The cost of education in the United States ranges from $15000 to over $40000 per year. In addition to tuition fees, books and food, you have to plan for the expenses towards housing, health insurance and transportation.
US laws do not allow students on an F-1 visa to work off-campus. But on-campus job opportunities are available. It is possible to work for up to 20 hours per week and the pay can vary between $6-10 per hour, depending on the area and type of work. Jobs can vary from working in a computer lab to library work or dishwashing in the cafeteria.
Generally yes. But funds keep coming to professors throughout the year. What matters more is the fact that most universities do not have comparable courses for Spring and Fall. We recommend that you compare the difference in courses before taking a decision.
Generally yes, but relevant work experience is more likely to be considered e.g. if you are applying for Environmental Engineering, then you must have worked in the field for at least a year. You must send your work profile, duly authenticated by your employer, along with the application form.
Yes. If you are not satisfied with your university, after you join it, you can apply to other universities and transfer your credits to the university you choose. You can do this at any time, but usually most students transfer admissions after the 1st or the 2nd semester. You should be aware that the new university may not accept all your credits and may ask you to take some extra credits. You can also take transfer, if another University is giving you financial aid.
Yes. The American system is very flexible. So you can change your field of study while studying in a particular university e.g. a student doing his M.S. in the engineering or the physics department can shift to the computer science department. But it often happens that when you transfer your terms for some other subject, the new department may not accept all your earlier credits. They may treat you as a fresh admission and accept only those credits that are similar in both courses.
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Yes. The American system is very flexible. So you can change your field of study while studying in a particular university e.g. a student doing his M.S. in the engineering or the physics department can shift to the computer science department. But it often happens that when you transfer your terms for some other subject, the new department may not accept all your earlier credits. They may treat you as a fresh admission and accept only those credits that are similar in both courses.
Anyone who has a consistently good academic record, firm financial support and proficiency in English is eligible to apply to the US for higher education. Please check the details of the program and the university you wish to apply since different programs have a different set of criteria to be eligible. You may be required to take a few admission tests to be eligible.
After you complete 12 years of school education. But the planning should begin 12 -18 months in advance.
After you complete 16 years of education including 4 years of college education. But the planning should begin 12 -18 months in advance.
It is advisable for you to complete an additional year of studies to be stronger applicant to a master’s degree in the US. However, some students with a good track record are able to secure admission after a three-year bachelor’s degree. Please check with the university you wish to apply for.
At least 18 months in advance of your intended date of enrollment at a US university. For example, if you wish to enroll in August/September 2010.You should start the process around April/May 2009. Be sure of the deadlines of the programs!
Yes, it does. Approximately, Rs.50,000 for applying to an average of 7 universities. This includes test fees, application fees, communication, and mailing expenses.
Colleges and universities offer scholarships, assistantships and fellowships to outstanding students, largely based on merit. There is stiff competition for financial assistance and availability varies from university to university.Click here to find out more about fellowship opportunities for graduate and undergraduate study in the US.!
The cost (tuition + living expenses) could range from $15,000 to $40,000 for a year, depending on the course. The average cost for a year of study is $20,000.
The most common student visa is F1. For further information on visas, visit the American Embassy site.
Announcements inviting applications for Fulbright-Nehru and other Fulbright Fellowships appear in leading dailies in February every year. One can also approach USIEF offices in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai for brochures and application forms OR download the form from our website.
Though not mandatory, contact with host institutions can be very useful. It expedites the affiliation process.
The process takes about a year from the time of application.
Fulbright grants are not for the principal purpose of attending seminars and conferences or for presenting papers.
Please see the eligibility criteria listed with respect to each grant category in addition to the general prerequisites.
No. These grants are offered for research/teaching to be done in the U.S.
It can range from 2 to 36 months depending on the grant. See individual grant descriptions in the brochure or the website.
Yes, there is a preferred age and/or age limit for each fellowship category.
CB IELTS is s computer-based version of IELTS. It is the same test as the present Pen and Paper test. Just delivered differently. It consists of Listening, Reading and Writing tests. The Listening and Reading test MUST be taken on the Computer. The Writing test can be taken EITHER on Computer OR on Paper.
No. The Speaking tests will be conducted face-to-face, as is presently done.
No. Presently, only Academic Module is available on the CB IELTS
The CB IELTS is available currently at the New Delhi centre of IDP: IELTS Australia in India. Other IDP centres will be added in due course.
To apply contact your IDP: IELTS Australia Centre, or log on to and go into the CB IELTS section. The application form for CB IELTS is the same as the one currently used.
The CB IELTS test costs the same as the paper based test. The current fee (w. e. f. 1st January 2006) is Rs. 6,825/-, payable by Demand Draft drawn in favour of “IELTS India Project”, payable at “New Delhi”. You can also pay by credit card (Master / VISA) at the test centre or even register and pay on-line on .
Please get in touch with the IDP: IELTS Australia Centre for a free orientation / demonstration. Apart from this you can purchase practice material and also undergo a preparatory training program on IELTS with specific emphasis on CB IELTS.
There is NO DIFFERENCE between the computer-based test and the paper-based test. Both tests are SAME, it is just the difference in the test delivery.
No. The TRF will look exactly the same and there is no difference between the TRF of a CB IELTS and a Paper based IELTS.
The Listening, Reading and Writing will be conducted on the same day. Regarding the Speaking test, it will be held on same day, under normal circumstances. However, if is advisable to seek confirmation from the Test Centre, 4 days prior to the test date.
NO. The TRF will be released on the 13th day of taking your IELTS test. This is a standard policy followed worldwide by all centres.
The IELTS score is valid for 2 years. While obtaining admission to an educational institute, the latest IELTS score is considered.
You can write TOEFL iBT on any working day of the year (Saturdays and Sundays are holidays).
Obtain the “TOEFL iBT Information Bulletin” available free with Sylvan Testing Services and USEFI. You can also request the bulletin from and it will be delivered to your given address free of cost. The Test Scheduling Form comes with the bulletin. The Test Scheduling Form comes with the bulletin.
Yes. That is possible. You can book your date without passport.
Your name should be exactly same as passport, if your are citizen of India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. There is no requirements of passport while registering for TOEFL iBT date.
This is a tough question to reply because it is depends on individual’s strength. I would suggest 4 hours per day for 1 month.
It is entirely depends on particular students but 3 hours per day for 30 days is more than sufficient.
Find valuable IELTS Prep Course at IELTS Correspondence Course
Yes you can apply without the help of any coaching institute. Book IELTS Test Date
In the UK most PhD programmes last for three years. Students are expected to submit a thesis within 12 months of the end of the programme (and preferably within the three year period). There are an increasing number of programmes, such as the New Route PhD scheme or the Wellcome Trust 4 year PhD scheme, which incorporate a number of taught modules into the programme which increases the length to 4 years.
This depends on where you are from, where you want to study and whether or not you qualify for funding. If you are a UK student, with appropriate qualifications (see below) then you should be able to apply for one of the many funded projects on this site. Funding in the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is often more complicated than in the sciences and engineering – see our article on PhD Study in the Arts & Humanities for more information. If you are an international student wishing to study in the UK or a UK student wishing to study abroad then visit our Funding section now to see whether you are eligible for any scholarships.
You can fund yourself and, if you are not a home student, you may need to do just that (at least partially). Whilst self funding can make it easier to find a supervisor, you’ll still need to prove to them that you are capable of completing the PhD successfully. A new section on Self Funding will be added to FindAPhD in the near future.
The normal prerequisite for a UK research council PhD studentship is a 2(i) degree or a 2(ii) plus an appropriate Masters degree. A small number of studentships are funded by charitable trusts or by the host university which can have less rigid qualification criteria. The other possibility is a job as a Graduate Research Assistant, where you can register for a part time PhD (it may still only take three years). Keep checking back in the New Projects section of FindAPhD for the latest opportunities.

If you decide that a Masters degree would be a good first step then you should be prepared not only to support yourself during the course, but also to pay full course fees. A very small number of grants are available for Masters degrees; you will need to check this on a course-by-course basis. In certain circumstances your Local Education Authority may provide some support. Before accepting a place on a Masters course, make sure that it would qualify you for the types of PhD you’re looking for. See our sister site to see what Masters courses are on offer.

Students whose first language is not English will need a recognised English language qualification. See our English Language Qualifications article for more information.

Because of the wide variety of qualifications from each country it can be difficult to find out if your qualification is considered to be equivalent to a 2(i) degree. To give you a rough idea a British 2(i) degree (referred to as an ‘Upper Second Class Honours Degree’ or a ‘Two-One’) is the second highest mark available for a British Honours Degree.

Where the US/Canadian marking scheme is used, a minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.3 is usually required.

The British Council in your home country will be able to help you. Before you apply you could try asking your former course tutors or alternatively you can visit The National Academic Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom. They will give informal advice free of charge. An official ‘letter of comparability’, which will be accepted by employers, costs £30 (+VAT), but should not be necessary for most universities, who will assess you themselves.

It is generally the case that international students are required to have a Masters level qualification as well as a 2(i) equivalent qualification.

Primarily you should look for a project which interests you. It is generally considered better to study for a PhD in a different university from the one where you did your first degree, as it will expose you to a different set of academic influences. However it is not uncommon for people to stay in the same place, either because of family commitments or because of the quality of projects on offer.

To decide whether or not to accept a place you should look at a number of factors:

The Research Assessment Exercise (RAE)

The research rating of a department or school is known as its RAE rating. Most departments will publish their RAE score on their web sites or you can see the results of the whole RAE on the RAE web site. The RAE takes place is a long process and the latest RAE for which results are published is from 2008. The results can be hard to interpret and each university may choose to display them in a different light. Any department or school with 50% or more of their staff rated 4* or 3* is doing very well for itself and studying there will make you look good. It does not however mean that every research group in that department is at the top of their game. Universities have a degree of flexibility in how they are assessed for the RAE. They sometimes group departments together, so if they’ve got two outstanding life science departments and one not so good one they may submit all three as one unit, hiding the bad department. They can, and do, choose not to submit some of their academics for inclusion in the assessment (sometimes because they are young and haven’t had time to build up a publication record or sometimes because they’re not very good). The reason they go to so much effort is that a large amount of funding for the five years following the RAE is based on the result.

The Research Group

Some of the criteria upon which the RAE is graded include research publications, industrial collaborations, grant income, and numbers of research students. You can get an idea of this yourself by looking up the publications of your potential new supervisor. It is unlikely that you will know which journals are more prestigious but you can always ask around. A pretty good measure of grant income is to count the number of students and postdocs in the group. Postdocs are an invaluable source of help and inspiration, particularly in larger groups where time with your supervisor may be limited.

Having said all this, work with a younger academic at the start of their career can have many advantages. They are likely to have much more time to give to you and will be very pleased to have you as grants are hard to come by.

The best source of information on who to work for will come from your current course tutors. Academia is a small world and is highly collaborative, people know who the leaders and the stragglers are in their own fields.

The Supervision

At most PhD interviews you will have the opportunity to see where you are going to be working and probably be given a tour by a current PhD student. Ask them about how the team works, how often they present group seminars, how often is the supervisor absent (does it make a difference when they are). It helps a lot during a PhD if you like, or at least respect, your supervisor, bear this in mind during your interview.

The Training

PhD students used to be left at the total mercy of their supervisor. These days most departments offer some degree of support. As well as your supervisor the department should provide one or more advisors. These will be academics from the same department, their job is to check that your project is on track to get you a PhD and to listen to any complaints about your supervisor. Many departments also run seminar programmes covering research methodologies, thesis writing and other relevant subjects.

Taking these relatively new developments a step further, 4 year programmes such as the New Route PhD or many similar schemes funded by the EPSRC, BBSRC, MRC, Wellcome Trust and others, offer an even greater degree of formal training.

Most information on support and training for PhD students will be on the department’s web site. If not you can ask at the interview.

Most PhD studentships begin in October. However they can start at any time of year. You should begin applying as soon as posible. Although new studentships are advertised throughout the year, competition for places gets higher and higher the closer you get to October.
The answer for scientists and engineers is only if you’re asked to. Most funded projects in the UK (and particularly those on this site) have been thought up by the supervisor concerned and peer reviewed. Your job is to convince them that you’ll be able to do the work. If you have your own research proposal, then you may find it very difficult to get it funded. You’ll certainly need the support of a leading academic in your field of interest and even then obtaining funding in this way outside of the Arts and Humanities is unusual.

Our article on PhD Study in the Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences has its own section on writing a research proposal.

International students do not generally qualify for UK Research Council funding and may be required to submit their own research proposal to the people from whom they wish to get funding. The input of a potential supervisor is recommended if it is available.

Your application should include all the usual information on qualifications and employment history. You should also list the degree modules covered in your final year and the title of any dissertations or research projects. If you’re fortunate enough to have been published include the reference. In your application letter state why you are interested in the particular research project and what you enjoyed about any research you have already done. If you intend to find your own funding, make this clear in the application.

When applying from this site apply to the person indicated in the ‘Enquiries To’ line, unless the description of the project says anything different. You can write to the supervisor to ask for further details of the project. If you send an email make sure it is personalised, if you send a letter saying “Dear Dr Smith, Please send me an application form for a PhD in your lab with funding” you will be very unlikely to get a reply. Sending bulk emails to supervisors does not work.

It’s not really for us to say what you might be asked. PhD interviews vary tremendously depending on the supervisor concerned. It is likely however that you will be asked about your third year project or any other research experience you may have.

If you have been given details of any particular references then make sure you do your best to read them. If you’ve not been given this info, then use the web to find relevant papers (particularly those by your potential supervisor). You are not likely to be examined on these things, but the supervisor will be looking to see that you were at least interested enough to read them.

The other question you are likely to be asked is why you want to do a PhD in general, and this PhD in particular. You should think about the answers to these questions before you go to the interview. Many people apply for a PhDs because they can’t think of anything else to do. A good supervisor will try to avoid these people.

Finally, remember to find out as much as you can while you’re there. Try to speak to PhD students working in your potential new lab/Department and see if you like the atmosphere. Don’t be afraid to ask the PhD students about the quality of supervision. Three years is a long time to be stuck with a bad supervisor or to work in an unfriendly environment.

The million-dollar question. Past and present PhD students can fill you with tales of dread and delight. Use the menu above (right) to expore the PhD Study pages, and take a look at the articles in our “PhD Life” section for a sideways look at the next three years of your life!

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