Application Process

UntitledApplication Deadlines

  • Investigate application deadlines for each of the universities.
  • All materials must be submitted by the deadline.
  • If all application materials are not submitted, the university may not review your application as it will be considered incomplete.

Application Materials

It is important to research and understand the required application materials. Then develop a timeline that allows you to submit all materials at least two weeks before the deadline. This allows you time to resolve any technical problems you might have when uploading your application materials or to work with the department if there are missing pieces to your application. Below are some guidelines on some of the general application materials you will need to prepare.

The Initial Application

  • Make sure to complete the initial application and ensure all the required and related questions are answered.
  • It is important to complete the section that may ask for research interest areas and the faculty members of interest.
  • It is important to pay the application fee because most of the time, the applications will not be considered complete and released to the department until the application fee is paid. The application fee is usually paid through the online application using a credit card. There are times where students are eligible for an application fee waiver. That is an excellent question to ask the University Admission Office or the department to which you are applying.

Recommendation Letters

  • Select your recommenders carefully. Choose references that can vouch for your research and academic abilities.
  • Ensure that your recommenders know you relatively well and can write about your strengths — not just that you do well in their course.
  • Try to identify your recommenders early and interact with them so they really get to know you, your abilities, etc.
  • It is important to have a variety of recommenders. It is often best to include at least two faculty members as well as at least one from a summer internship.
  • If you participate in a summer REU program or a summer research internship, the faculty involved in the program would be excellent references if you worked closely with them.
  • Make sure to ask your references well in advance to write your letters.  Supply your reference with an updated resume to help them learn more about you.


  • A CV/Resume should address your education, job, and research experience; remarkable achievements; publications; organizations; awards; and leadership experiences.
  • Generally, it is 1-2 pages.
  • A CV/Resume should provide the Admissions Committee an overall picture of your background. This can also help when a department is trying to identify funding opportunities for incoming recruits such as a research or teaching assistantship.

Statement of Purpose

Please reference the Statement of Purpose webpage.

General Record Examination (GRE)

Please reference the GRE webpage.


Read carefully when it comes to transcripts.  Some departments will require you to submit “Official” transcripts, which need to be sent directly to the university you are applying to from the University of Illinois Registrar’s Office. Click here to request “Official” transcripts to be sent from Illinois. If unofficial transcripts are requested, you can obtain a copy through the DARS system.

Other Application Materials

  • Watch for emails that are sent directly from the department requesting additional information. Some departments have additional forms for applicants to complete once the initial university application is submitted.

Many programs have an online interface that confirms application materials have been received. If there is not an interface in place, it’s important to follow up with the department after you submit your entire application to ensure your application is complete.