Before You Apply

Start planning now

It’s never too early to start planning.

Early preparation is the key to a smooth (and successful!) application and admission process. In the last few years, the number of applicants to our program has grown dramatically. We’re limited by space and resources.

Give yourself the best chance of joining us by doing your research and putting your best application forward.


We strongly encourage you to meet with faculty members whose work most interests you. It’s helpful to include their names, up to four faculty, in your Statement of Academic Interests and to explain why their research program align with your goals. Visit our department directory and use the focus area filters to help you find the right individuals.

Know your deadlines

Applications are due December 15. We only admit degree candidates for the Fall semester.

Don’t wait until the last minute to apply! Start early and give yourself plenty of time to collect all your materials.

Check your requirements

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in an area relevant to the program
  • Grade Point Average At least 3.00/4.00 for the final 60 semester hours (90 quarter hours) of undergraduate study and a minimum of 3.00/4.00 for all work beyond the baccalaureate level.

International Students: If English isn’t your native language, you might need to take an English proficiency test. We require minimum scores of:

  • TOEFL: 80- with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Speaking 20, and Writing 21 (iBT Test); 60- with subscores of Reading 19, Listening 17, Writing 21 (revised Paper-Delivered Test), OR,
  • IELTS: 5- with subscores of 6.0 for all four subscores, OR,
  • PTE-Academic: 54- with subscores of Reading 51, Listening 47, Speaking 53, and Writing 56.

Prepare your documents

When you apply, you’ll need to submit your transcripts, a statement of academic interest, three letters of recommendation, current curriculum vitae and a writing sample. Get started on those now! Refer to the Applying page for all the specifics.

The application process is paperless. Please don’t mail any materials unless told to do so. Documents that you will upload must be in PDF format, no larger than 5 MB in size. “Portfolio” PDFs and secured PDFs which require a password are not compatible with our system.

International Students: You might have a few extra things you need to provide. Read through the International Requirements page to make sure you have everything you need.

Have your test scores sent in advance

International Students: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores must be submitted to UIC directly from ETS using the institutional code 1851. Paper score reports will not be accepted.

Think about funding

See what funding options are available to you. The Graduate College has some great information on financial resources and funding opportunities.

Graduate assistantships are the primary means of financial support for PhD students. The department offers appointments in both teaching and research (or a combination of both). Assistantships are competitive and many are awarded at the time of acceptance into the program, so you should submit your materials early for full consideration.

Other assistantship opportunities may arise during the year. These are sometimes advertised on the student mailing list, but you can also find opportunities by maintaining contact with faculty or other staff members. Although opportunities vary, most have a direct connection to a student’s academic work and help to prepare them for the future.