Graduate Program F.A.Q.

Could you please send me application materials?

We do not send materials by postal mail, since all of the needed information and required forms are available on this website.

Can I apply to begin the program in the Spring semester?

We strongly discourage applications to begin the program in the Spring and only rarely admit students who submit applications.  The reasons are that (1) courses that are offered only in the Fall semester are often prerequisites for Spring semester courses; (2) funding is rarely available in the Spring for new students; and (3) office space is rarely available in the Spring.

How many students apply each year?  How many are admitted?

Application volumes can vary substantially from year-to-year.  Lately, we are seeing about 50 applications per year. Incoming cohorts are generally 5-8 students. The number of admittees usually depends on the availability of funding to support the students.

What proportion of admitted students receive funding?

Currently, all of the students admitted to our program have some form of funding.  Most receive teaching or research assistantships.  Some have external (i.e., non-University of Iowa) funding.  A very small number of students receive fellowships from the University of Iowa's Graduate College.

What is the difference between a fellowship and a teaching or research assistantship?

A fellowship generally includes a 12-month stipend and a full tuition scholarship, renewable for four or five years (provided that the student is making adequate progress in the program).  Usually, the first and last year of a fellowship are free from assisting faculty with research and teaching (while the middle years require that the student work with faculty on assignments related to teaching or research).  In contrast, teaching and research assistantships are generally 9-month appointments, carrying a stipend and partial tuition scholarship.  Students who receive teaching or research assistantships are expected to work an average of 20 hours per week on assignments related to teaching or research.

Is funding available for students who are not U.S. citizens?

Yes.  Students who are not U.S. citizens are eligible for teaching assistantships, and in most cases, research assistantships.  Note, however, that students who receive teaching assistantships must be certified by the English as a Second Language Program.  International students are also eligible for Presidential Fellowships.  International students do not apply for the Presidential Fellowships themselves.  The Department will decide if a student should be nominated for a Presidential Fellowship and, if so, will submit the nomination to the Graduate College.

What are the minimum GRE scores for each area?

We do not have a required minimum for the GRE scores.  We do like to see the total of the verbal and quantitative scores at a minimum score of 300 or better and, preferably, a 4.0 or better writing score on the aptitude test of the Graduate Record Examination (quantitative plus verbal GRE scores).  Yet, these are not requirements.  Rather, they reflect the range for students who tend to be successful in our programs.  At the same time, we have had many students who are quite successful whose scores are lower.

We read the entire application file.  Consequently, what a student may perceive as a deficiency in one component of the application (say, a low quantitative GRE score) can be compensated with exceptional strengths in others (say high grades in quantitative college courses like mathematics that are reflected on a transcript).  If a student feels that her/his GRE scores do not accurately reflect her/his ability, then it is a good idea for the student to explain that in the application statement (pointing to other evidence of the ability in other application materials).

How recent must my GRE scores be?

Your GRE scores are no longer valid after five years.  Thus, if your scores are five years or older, you must re-take the GRE.

Will you accept the initial report on my GRE that I received after taking it?

No.  We must have an official report sent to us by ETS (the organization that administers the GRE).  We must have the official report by the application deadline to ensure that your application receives full consideration.

How many times can I take the GRE?

You can take the GRE as many times as you would like.  We will consider all of your scores as an aggregate.  That is, we will examine the range, the median, and the trends in the scores.  Thus, note that taking the GRE multiple times and scoring higher on one attempt than others does not necessarily mean that we will consider only that highest attempt.