Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to common admissions questions below.

General Admissions

Different programs have different deadlines. Please refer to our Deadlines and Requirements page for a complete list.

Unless specifically noted on our deadlines and requirements chart, you do not need to have a master’s degree before you start a Ph.D. program.  

Yes, but you may not apply to more than one doctoral program per admissions cycle.

You may only apply to one doctoral program at a time in a current admissions cycle. There are a few doctoral programs that may consider you automatically for the doctoral and master’s program at the same time. If you have not been accepted to a doctoral program you applied to and wish to be considered for another program that still is accepting applications in the same admissions cycle, you may do so by filling out a separate online application.

You may only apply to one master's program at a time in a current admissions cycle. If you have received a decision for a doctoral program and wish to be considered for a master's program that still is accepting applications, please contact the Office of Admissions.

No, we do not. We also do not have any plans to develop one at this time.

You must submit the entire online application form again, including the application fee, for the current admissions cycle. You must also submit a newly revised applicant statement rather than reuse a copy of the prior statement. The Office of Admissions cannot access any of the uploaded documents submitted with your prior applications, so we cannot transfer your prior letters of recommendation to a new application.


You must upload a file that contains an English translation from a certified translation service. The scanned file must contain the original document that the translation represents as well as the certified translation.

Transcripts must be uploaded into the online application from each college or university attended even if you did not complete a degree or did not enroll in courses in your current field.

This includes all credit-bearing coursework, even if it:

  • Did not lead to a degree on a transcript from the issuing institution where the courses were originally taken.
  • Was for a degree program unrelated to the discipline now being pursued.
  • Is still in progress. Transcripts that only list courses in progress for the current semester must still be uploaded for review, even if they do not yet contain grades for the current or most recent semester.
  • Was transferred to another institution. This coursework must be also submitted on a transcript from the original issuing institution. (This includes community college coursework that was transferred to a four-year degree program. The community college transcript must also be uploaded to the online application.)

This does not include:

  • Credits from study abroad coursework or credits taken as part of AP or other high school college level coursework.
  • Coursework that was non-credit-bearing or taken at non-academic institutions such as religious, career, or non-academic technical colleges. 

You must request an official one to be sent to you. That copy should be opened, scanned, and uploaded into the online application form. You may want to request two copies from the issuing institution and keep one unopened, so that if you are admitted you will have an official copy available to forward to the Office of Admission prior to registration. Only admitted applicants are required to send an official transcript.


If at all possible, you should furnish academic letters of recommendation — in other words, letters from professors who have had you in class and can speak to your strengths as a student and a scholar. If you absolutely cannot obtain academic letters, then professional letters of recommendation may be submitted.

We do not accept recommendations that are not uploaded into our online application system. Please select recommenders who can upload recommendations into our online system in order to ensure a timely review of your application.

After you have submitted your online application, you can remind your recommenders to submit their online recommendation by logging back into the online application system. At the dashboard (the first screen you will see upon logging back in), click on the blue button on the upper right-hand side that says “View Application.” On the left-hand navigation bar, you will see a link to “Recommendations” under the “Important Links” header. That will bring you to a button that says “Recommendation Provider List” where you can resend the request to previously listed recommenders. 

The system does not allow you to add additional recommenders or to correct/modify and email address of a recommender. You can request those changes by emailing the Office of Admissions, though a significant delay in the processing of your application may occur.

Standardized Testing Scores

If you are applying to a doctoral program that requires a GRE, you will need to take the GRE General Test regardless of whether or not you have already obtained a master’s degree. Certain programs require or recommend the GRE Subject Test in addition to the General Test. Please refer to our Deadlines and Requirements page for program-specific information.

GRE General and Subject exam scores are valid for five years. You will need to take the test again if your scores are older than five years.

You must submit scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL iBT) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) unless you have a post-secondary degree from an institution in which the language of instruction is English-only and located in a country that recognizes English as an Official Language. We cannot accept Duolingo or testing other than TOEFL iBT or IELTS.  

If you have a post-secondary degree (bachelor’s degree or higher degree) from one of the following countries, you are exempt from the TOEFL iBT or IELTS exam:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Botswana
  • Canada (with the exception of those attending French-speaking universities)
  • Dominica
  • Eswatini (Swaziland)
  • Fiji
  • Gambia
  • Ghana
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • Kenya
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Malawi
  • Malta
  • Mauritius
  • Namibia
  • New Zealand
  • Nigeria
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Rwanda
  • Samoa
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Singapore
  • South Africa
  • South Sudan
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Tanzania
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Uganda
  • United Kingdom
  • United States (with the exception of those attending Puerto Rican universities)
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Applicants who have only studied in Puerto Rico or India must complete the TOEFL iBT or IELTS.

There are no minimum scores that guarantee admission. Each program takes into consideration all the elements of an application.

The institutional code for the GRE and the TOEFL iBT is 2113.

The institutional code for the GMAT is XWT-S7-47.

Other Application Components

A successful applicant statement usually does the following:

  • Articulates a particular topic area in which you propose to do research.
  • Explains a research agenda and how this program suits that academic goal or indicates how Ph.D. coursework will help focus some already existing (yet still evolving) interests.
  • Positions your proposed project within an ongoing scholarly conversation (i.e. that you want to connect your work to existing work in the field, but build on it and add something new) and argues for its urgency both within the field and academic studies as a whole.
  • Shows an awareness of your field but is accessible to people outside your field.
  • Speaks to why you want to study in the GC's doctoral program specifically: not just in terms of the resources of The Graduate Center, but also how you hope to contribute to this intellectual and pedagogical community.
  • Recounts your educational background that has led to the Ph.D. program or describes a professional position that has inspired further academic study.
  • Includes an appropriate amount of citational references (literary or rhetorical) that demonstrates your knowledge base, interest, and investment in further research.
  • Offers a rationale of how a Ph.D. program will enrich and fulfill your intellectual goals. 
  • Connects your scholarly passions to your personal motivations for taking on the work (this can take many forms).

There is no universal maximum (though some programs do set a limit, so please be sure to confirm on the Deadlines and Requirements page), but generally we would suggest a word count of around 1,000.

The maximum file size for application components in 4 MB. To ensure that your file is smaller than the maximum size, you may have to scan your file at the lowest DPI that produces a legible image. In most cases, you will be able to use a DPI under 200.

Do not scan in color. Use grey scale if possible; otherwise, use black and white.

If the file already exists as a download from your institution, please refer to Adobe’s instructions for reducing the size of a PDF.

Upload them into the online application system. Please be sure to include your full name and date of birth on the writing sample.

No. All supporting documents must be uploaded to the online application system by the program's deadline.

Credit Transfer

On average, programs do not accept more than 15 transfer credits; however, each case is reviewed individually after an applicant has been admitted to a program. Transfer credits will only be evaluated after you have begun the registration process in your first semester as a student.

Submitting Your Application

The nonrefundable fee is $75.

After you have completed the online application form, you will be asked to submit the form for review. A payment page will then appear asking you to select your payment method. You may pay online with a credit card or by sending in a check by mail.

The application fee is only waived for United States Armed Services Veterans and McNair Scholars.

To apply for these fee waivers, please select the "pay by mail/check" option when you submit your application. You must then notify the Office of Admissions via email that your application is complete, and that you are requesting a fee waiver (do not actually send a check). Please specify in the email if you are a veteran or a McNair Scholar and attach documentation confirming your status.

For institutions within the United States, the most effective method of locating institutions using this screen is to search in the CITY field. If you cannot locate the institution by CITY, then search in the NAME field. If that does not result in locating the institution, please type in "Undeclared" in the NAME field and select “Undeclared Domestic” as the institution.

For institutions outside of the United States, please search first by selecting only CITY. If that does not result in locating the institution, search only by NATION field. If that does not result in locating the institution, please select “Nation: Foreign Inst” for that country. (For example, if you are searching for a Canadian institution that does not appear on the list for Canada, select “Canada: Foreign Inst.”)

Financing Your Education

All doctoral applicants are automatically considered for all school-based funding (including scholarships, fellowships, and assistantships).

All applicants to all fall master’s programs are automatically considered for the Dean’s Merit Scholarship. 

Visit our Financing Your Education page for more details.

All current tuition and fee costs be found on our Tuition and Fees page.

International Students

The baseline application process is the same for all students. However, there are additional requirements for international students. Please refer to the section for international students on our How to Apply page [link to heading].

Please see our International Students resource hub for a list of requirements you must fulfill after being accepted.

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