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Elements of a Strong M.S. or Ph.D. Application

We find that the best applicants to the MS and PhD program show evidence of undergraduate research in a STEM field, although it is not required for admission. In addition, we have specific advice on the following elements of your application:

  • GRE scores and GPA: we do not admit or deny applicants on the basis of GRE or GPA scores; rather, we aim to consider the applicant as a whole. For guidance, our average GRE score for applicants over the past 5 years is approximately 300 combined verbal and quantitative on the new scale. If your GRE scores are below the 50th percentile, we urge you to consider re-taking the exam to obtain a better score.

  • Statement of Purpose: the Statement of Purpose should be an essay describing past experiences relevant to the MS or PhD program (e.g. undergraduate research experience) and should indicate your research interests. We strongly recommend applicants contact faculty with whom they share research interests, and mention these faculty by name in their essay.

  • Letters of recommendation: Letters of recommendation should come from academic referees, rather than previous employers; however, in cases where your workplace involved issues relating directly to your planned M.S. or Ph.D. course of study (e.g. a summer internship in a related STEM field), then letters from supervisors are encouraged.

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