Even though there are school-specific graduate school requirements, the following are minimum graduate school requirements every grad school in the U.S. will ask for. These requirements should be carefully reviewed by an applicant before going ahead to start the application process. This is very important to ensure that all minimum graduate school requirements are clearly understood and met. By doing so, an applicant stands a better chance of getting admitted into a graduate school. In addition to these requirements, it is advisable to visit the individual school and departmental websites to check for any other additional requirements.
Application Deadline: Each school has an application deadline and should be checked ahead of time to ensure that applicants do not miss the deadline.
6 Minimum Graduate School Requirements
1. Bachelor’s degree requirement
The applicant must have earned a four-year bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited college or university. If you are in your fourth year of college, you can also contact the Program’s director to find out whether it’s fine to start the application process right away. The GPA cut-off requirement varies from school to school.
2. Official transcripts
Your official transcript will be required as part of the application process. Some schools may allow a scanned copy of your transcript and only require you to mail a sealed copy when you have been admitted to the school and plan to enroll. However, others may have you mail a sealed copy as part of the documents required for consideration for admission.
3. Tests required
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE): This is a crucial requirement by most American schools. This is to give every individual applying from any part of the world an equal ground to prove how outstanding they are academically. The GRE is required by most arts and social science programs. Each school has a different cut-off point they require on the GRE. It is advisable to check with your school’s program to have an idea of the cut-off points required for admission. There are usually Test Centers in every individual’s country where you can register locally, take the test and send the scores to your chosen schools. Note that before you take the test, it is better to have your schools and their institutional codes ready so that you can easily send the scores to your schools right after your GRE test has been taken. This saves you money compared to having to send the results later which will require you to pay an additional amount.
The GRE test scores are valid for five years after the testing year in which you tested (July 1–June 30). See the score scale below.
|Verbal Reasoning||130-170, in 1 point increments|
|Quantitative Reasoning||130-170, in 1 point increments|
|Analytical Reasoning||0-6, in half-point increments|
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is required by most business schools to gain admission into an MBA program. This follows a similar process as discussed under the GRE Section.
Total GMAT Scores range from 200 to 800. GMAT Scores also include a Percentile Ranking. This number indicates the percent of test takers that you performed better than.
English Language Proficiency Exams: Students from non-native English speaking countries are required to submit either Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) taken within a certain amount of years. Usually, if the medium of instruction from your academic institution is English, you may submit a letter that confirms that. This will enable your school to waive the English language requirement on your behalf.
4. Recommendation letters
Two or three academic and/or professional recommendation will be required from each student. Students should request for recommendation letters from their undergraduate professors and/or supervisors ahead of time in order not to miss the application deadline. Some schools may strictly request your references to submit the recommendation letters online. Others may allow applicants to mail the reference letters.
5. Statement of purpose
This can also be referred to as an application essay or objectives for graduate study. This is required to know more about the applicant’s background, career path and how the graduate degree program can help the applicant’s career objectives.
6. Application fees
Each applicant is required to pay a certain amount of fees after submitting the online application. This amount may vary from school to school. Most schools require a credit card payment even though this may not be applicable to every school.
Resume/CV: In addition, your resume or curriculum vitae may also be required. In the U.S., most resumes are one page long and should not contain personal information such as your gender, race, religion or marital status.
Passport: An electronic copy of your passport may be required to ensure the correct spelling of your name.