Ph.D. Program: Admissions

Admissions decisions are based on several criteria. One of the most important parts of the application is the statement of purpose and research interests. We encourage you to be as specific as possible in outlining your scholarly interests and career goals and their fit with our program and faculty. We also consider standard criteria like GRE scores, grade-point averages and letters of recommendation.

Minimum criteria for admission include:

  • A recognized undergraduate degree and a master’s degree or J.D. degree
  • An undergraduate grade average of “B” or better (3.0 GPA)
  • Minimum GRE scores in the 55th percentile on the verbal portion, in the 50th percentile on the quantitative portion and 4.5 on the analytical writing portion
Graduate School minimum MJ-school minimum Admitted-student average, 2016
# % # % # %
Verbal reasoning 151 50 153 55 158 78
Quantitative reasoning 153 50 153 50 155 55
Analytical writing 3.5 - 4.5 - 4.5 67

International students also must take the TOEFL or IELTS exam and score at least:

  • 105 on the Internet TOEFL exam OR
  • 260 on the computer TOEFL exam OR
  • 620 on the paper TOEFL exam OR
  • 7.5 on the IELTS exam

Throughout the entire admissions process, we balance the need to admit promising individuals who are able to state their research interests, career goals and learning objectives with the goal of enrolling a diverse and multidisciplinary student cohort. To this end, GRE and GPA minimums are treated solely as guides, and meeting these criteria is not a guarantee of admission.

After Admission

Incoming graduate students attend orientation one week before classes begin. We’ll provide information about orientation and other onboarding during mid-summer. At orientation, students are assigned a temporary faculty adviser, who helps with course selection and registration, among other tasks.

The Application Process

The school admits students once annually, to begin the program in the fall semester. Visit the UNC Graduate School website to apply online.

Apply Now

  • Application opens

    🕐  Early August

  • Application deadline

    🕐  Dec. 5, 2017

  • Faculty review of applications (two reviewers within each academic specialization)

    🕐  December and January

  • Finalists selected and invited to interview on campus (U.S. residents*)

    🕐  End of January

    *International student finalists will be interviewed via Skype.
  • On-campus* interviews conducted (travel and accommodations subsidized)

    🕐  Second week of February

    *International student finalists will be interviewed via Skype.
  • Admission and funding decisions made shortly after campus visits

    🕐  Mid-February

  • Deadline to accept offer of admission and submit a $250 non-refundable deposit. Failure to respond within stated timeframe may result in the withdrawal of the offer of admission.

    🕐  Mid-April (or at least three weeks after the offer of admission)