PhD Program Frequently Asked Questions

We've listed some of the most common questions that our prospective graduate student students ask below. But if your question isn't here, or if you need more information, please get in contact with Graduate Coordinator, Janet Gallagher.

How will my Ph.D. application be screened?

A faculty committee considers (1) undergraduate preparation (including overall GPA, GPA trajectory, and rigor of courses), (2) letters of recommendation, (3) GRE test scores, (4) personal statement, and (5) if submitted optionally, work/writing sample or professional experience. No single factor outweighs the others; rather, the committee attempts to arrive at a balanced assessment of academic and professional promise.

UCI minimum standards for graduate admission requires a college grade point average (GPA) = 3.0 (on a scale 0-4); applicants falling below the minimum standard should exhibit compensatory strengths in other areas. Typical compensatory strengths include (but are not limited to): GPA in latter years of undergraduate enrollment, relevant work or extra-curricular activity, strong letters of reference or self-statements. Exceptions to the minimum standards are rare for Ph.D. applicants

The academic and research interests of doctoral applicants should be focused (and match those of one or more specific faculty members), and independence in research is especially desirable.

What are the average GPA and GRE scores for admitted applicants?

Based on recent years: for our Ph.D. program applicants, GPA about 3.6, GRE (V+Q) over 300. Note that there is significant variation from year to year.

What are the prospects for financial support?

Resources for financial support vary in response to the size and composition of the applicant pool, legislative and campus appropriations, the state of the general economy, and other external factors.

Ph.D. students are eligible for support from a variety of sources, including fellowships and awards granted by the department, school, campus, UC system, or extramural organizations, as well as teaching and research fellowships. Non-renewable, first-year "start up" packages are awarded competitively based on application strength. Following the initial year, teaching and research assistantships form the bulk of doctoral student support. Doctoral students are encouraged (and have been successful) at seeking outside funding for their work. Review the UPPP Financial Aid page for more information. 

UCI’s campus-wide Graduate Division provides some additional  information about Funding your Graduate Education.