Applying to Graduate School

Graduate School application deadlines typically range from December – February for Fall admission.  The key to preparing your applications is to begin the process early.  The Princeton Review details a sample timeline for preparing for graduate school applications for the Fall semester following senior year.

As you prepare to apply for graduate school, please read the below carefully. This information is not a comprehensive source (as some graduate programs differ) of information about the Graduate School and its requirements. Applicants are strongly urged to visit the websites of the universities AND specific departments to which they are applying, as those sites offer detailed information about those departments' graduate programs.

There are typically 5 components to the application. They are:

1) The Application
Most universities, these days, use the online application to apply. The online application offers tools for collecting and submitting some, but often not all, of the documents and information required for the application. Departments may require additional information, so please check their listings. In general, though, applicants are responsible for submitting the following:

2) Personal Statement
All applicants are required to submit a personal statement regarding their interests and/or intended areas of study. Some programs ask applicants to address specific questions in their personal statements. Please review the listings for the Ph.D. or master’s program in which you are interested for details. 

UNH Center for Academic Resources (CFAR), Graduate School Preparation Services (Personal Statement Workshops):

3) Transcripts
Applicants must provide an official transcript(s) with their applications. Applicants who have attended international institutions must submit transcripts or certified attestations of study, with certified English translations. Once translated, the original transcript and the certified translations are to be sent to the Graduate School admission office. College seniors should submit current official transcripts, followed by a final official transcript showing the award of the baccalaureate degree prior to matriculation, as is required and mentioned above. 

4) Letters of Recommendation
Most Graduate School requires three letters of recommendation by persons well qualified to speak from first-hand knowledge about the applicant's potential for graduate study. All letters should comment on an applicant’s ability to do research and perform in the program’s required coursework. At least two of these letters should be from faculty at the institution of current study or, if the applicant is not in school at the time of application, at the institution most recently attended. Letters of recommendation for applicants to master’s programs may be from academic or non-academic sources; please consult individual program listings for details.

*recommenders should be given the following:

  • Necessary recommendation form
  • Copy of your statement of purpose for each program you are applying
  • Resume
  • Brief summary of courses taken and grades received from that faculty member (don’t expect them to look it up)
  • Respectful, detailed requests to have them address specific skills or topics within their letter of recommendations
  • Stamped and addressed envelopes
  • Application deadlines and the dates by which you need the recommendations
  • It is recommended that you waive your right to view your references as many graduate programs will weight such recommendations more favorably and view them as being more honest

UNH University Advising and Career Center, Letters of Recommendation Guidelines:

Applicants must have their results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test sent to the Graduate School. Please check program requirements regarding subject tests or supplementary materials.  A list of school ETS codes can be found here.

When taking the GRE, you can request that the scores be sent to specific universities directly. Usually, four can be sent FREE of charge.

The UNH Center for Academic Resources (CFAR), Graduate School Preparation Services offer GRE Workshops during the academic year:

While the GRE is the most common admissions test, there are others.  The following websites include detailed information for various graduate school admissions tests.

Additional Graduate School Admission Tests

Educational Testing Service (ETS) administers the GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, and other tests used for graduate school admissions.

Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) administers the MCAT.

The Law School Admission Council (LSAC) administers the LSAT.

The Princeton Review offers information on test preparation.