Frequently Asked Questions For Graduate Program Applicants

On average, how many applications does your office receive each year? --Approximately 450

On average, how many offers of admission does the Physics Graduate Program make each year? --We typically make about 100 offers of admission per year.

On average, how many students enroll in the Physics Graduate Program each year? --We usually enroll 30-34 new students per year

What is the ratio of domestic to international students admitted to the physics program? --Approximately 75% of our students are domestic and 25% are international.

What is the average GRE score among applicants? --The average GRE scores for students who were admitted for Fall were Verbal-610, Quantitative-780, and Physics Subject-760

Can a person apply to your program without having taken the subject GRE? --The physics subject GRE is required to be considered for admission.

What are the minimum GRE and TOEFL scores that an applicant must have to apply to the program? --There are no minimum GRE score requirements. However, you must receive a score of 92 (internet-based), or 237 (computer-based) or 580 (paper-based) on the TOEFL to be considered for admission

For the GRE and TOEFL scores, what is your institution’s code and your department’s code? --The code for the institution is 1846. There is no need to enter a department code.

Have my GRE and/or TOEFL scores been received yet? --You can use the website URL and UW ID number that were given to you from the UW-Madison Graduate School when you submitted your electronic application to check whether or not your test scores have been received. Once the test scores have arrived, the name of that particular test will be listed near the bottom of the page under the heading “Tests Received.”

How do I know if I am exempt from taking the TOEFL? --You are exempt from TOEFL if the language of instruction at your undergraduate institution is English. You are also exempt from TOEFL if you have completed at least two full-time semesters at a U.S. institution.

Are photocopies of GRE/TOEFL scores acceptable -- Official scores should be sent electronically to the UW.

What is the average GPA among applicants? --The average GPA for students who applied for Fall was 3.58 on a 4-point scale.

What is the minimum GPA that an applicant must have to apply to the program? --The minimum GPA requirement to be considered for admission is 3.0 on a 4-point scale.

What is the deadline to apply for fall admission? --The deadline for submitting application materials for the Summer or Fall term is December 15. These include the electronic application, application fee, and all supporting materials. Only complete applications are processed.

Is it possible to waive the application fee or defer payment until after admission to the program? --Although we do appreciate your financial constraints, we cannot waive or defer the application fee under any circumstances. Applications without the fee cannot be processed. Criteria for eligibility for a fee grant are available from the graduate school during the electronic application process. International applicants are not eligible for fee grants.

Am I able to pay the application fee after submitting the application? --Yes. You will need to log back into your application, and there you should find instructions to pay your fee by credit card. Do not submit a new application.

Where do I send my application materials? --The electronic application and application fee should be submitted directly to the Graduate School. All other materials, including transcripts, can be uploaded to the Graduate School Application Site. All materials must be uploaded electronically by the applicant. We cannot accept paper recommendations or other materials.

Should I send my letters of recommendation in with the rest of my information? --Letters of recommendation must be submitted electronically. Instructions are provided at the Graduate School’s electronic application website. Letters of recommendation not submitted electronically will not be processed.

If my recommenders cannot submit their recommendations online, is it ok for them to mail the paper letters directly to your department? --No, we are no longer able to accept paper letters of recommendation. All letters of recommendation must be submitted online using the Graduate School application system.

Have you received my application materials? --You can check the status of your application through your MyUW account. If any items are missing from your application, they will be listed there. Please remember we are only able to evaluate applications that are fully complete by December 15.

I have submitted all of the necessary materials to your department and the Graduate School. When should I expect to hear from you? --Application materials are processed during the month of January. Review and evaluation of applications takes place during February and March. We will notify you as soon as a final decision has been made. Letters are sent to those students who have been made an offer of admission as well as those who have been denied admission in the first round. If you do not receive either an offer letter or a denial letter, you are on the waiting list for a possible second round of offers. Our waiting list is not ranked. The decision on whether or not to make second-round offers is made based on the April 15 response deadline.

Is your office open during Christmas break? --Our office is closed on December 24, December 25, December 31, and January 1. If one of these days falls on a Sunday, we are also closed the following Monday.

Can I apply for Spring admission? --Domestic students can apply for the Spring semester, but there is no guarantee that Spring admission will be offered. Most often, the financial support available to graduate students has already been allocated to those students who began their program in the Fall semester. We do not accept international student applications for the Spring semester because participation in the mandatory 6-week orientation program is available only during the summer.

I am an international student who wants to begin my graduate studies in the Fall, but your website says I should apply for the Summer. Can you explain? --All international students who wish to begin their program in the Fall are required to participate in and register for the Summer Orientation Program for International Students. The Graduate School only allows for admission to one term at a time. Therefore, you have to be admitted to the Summer Session instead of the Fall.   

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