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PhD Admission Requirements in USA 2018-2019

phd admission requirements in usa

Why Would You Want to Get a PhD?

Meeting all of the PhD admission requirement in USA is not going to be easy. Nor is getting a place. Universities are highly selective and will want to know that you are going to be able to get your research completed to a high standard before they will even consider you. If you look at a sample SoP for PhD admission and all of the other required documents you will see that the standards expected are very high indeed. The acceptance rates will, of course, depend on the university that you apply to and the particular subject area in which you will want to conduct your research. According to Prepscholar the acceptance rates for some of the top schools are:

  • Cornell: 16.4% for Computer science
  • Harvard: 10.7% Business
  • MIT: 13%
  • Princeton: 11% Humanities
  • Yale: 14% Engineering

However, there are many benefits to getting a PhD degree:

  • You prove that you are a true expert in your chosen field.
  • Some roles will actually require you to hold a PhD before you can apply.
  • You will develop research and analysis skills of the highest level and will be able to apply them in other areas of your life and work.
  • You will increase your own confidence and ability to work in other fields.
  • You can use the title “Dr.”

The Disadvantages of Gaining a PhD

Of course getting a PhD is not all roses, it is a time consuming and difficult process often eating up several years of your life. So you need to think about all of the following:

  • People you know may already be well on their way up the promotions ladder before you even get to graduate.
  • You will have missed out on a full-time income during your research and it may take several years before you start to catch up.
  • Studying for a PhD can cost a lot of money, according to Study.com some 2/3 of students will receive some form of funding. However full costs can be upwards of $36,600.
  • You may become fixated purely on your area of study due to the length of time you work with it.
  • A PhD may not actually help you with finding employment unless you are aiming at research work.

phd admission requirements in usa for top universities

How to Find and Apply to PhD Programs in the US

Before you actually apply to any PhD program you will have some work to do. You will need to be able to identify your own research interests before you get started. Often these will follow on from your masters work or from some work experience that you have. You need to think carefully about what you will want to research prior to applying so that you can identify those programs that can actually support the research that you want to do.

Once you have identified your research area it is time to review the specific programs that are out there to see which will offer support in your specific field. You will however often need to go further than this. You will be expected to be able to identify a potential supervisor for the work that you want to do. At times this may even require you to take the time to visit and discuss your needs even before you apply. Not only will this help you to find the right program it also helps to clearly register your interest and show that you are proactive in getting what you want.

mit phd admission 2018-19 personal statement

You will also want to look at funding opportunities that are offered that will help support you while you are conducting your research. For many students at this level, it is vital that they find some form of funding to support their work. Once all of this is done it is time to actually start making your applications to the programs that you have identified. Each program will have their own individual application process and this should be followed with care. Typically application requirements will cover all of the following documents:

  • Transcripts and academic record
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose
  • Research proposal
  • Resume or CV
  • English language testing

You may also have to undertake an entrance exam and you will almost certainly have to sit through an interview.

PhD Admission Requirement in USA Top Universities and Colleges

Whether you are looking for physics PhD programs or want to research within psychology you will always want to get your degree from the most prestigious university that you can find. Where you get your degree can have a significant impact on how well it is received. The following are some of the other universities you can apply to:


Admissions are made from September to December in the year prior to the one in which you wish to start your studies. Admissions are for the fall and there is no spring admission. They will not accept admissions for a second PhD that is in the same field as your first. In general, all accepted PhD students will have their research fully funded. The following are the requirements for admission:

  • Application fee of $90
  • Resume or CV
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • GRE or GMAT test results
  • TOEFL or IELTS for non-English speakers
  • Statement of academic purpose

Princeton statement of academic purpose. Maximum length is 1000 words and you should aim to ensure that your statement is unique and attention grabbing while answering the following:

  • Why you want to study in your field at graduate school and what your subject is.
  • What experience you have in your chosen field.
  • What you will do with the degree you earn once you have received it.


The university offers more than 100 different areas of study for graduate students and is one of the most highly ranked places for many of them. The university is also known as a place that values diversity and will go out of its way to accept those from areas that are under-represented. The following are their admission requirements:

  • Application fee of $105
  • Transcripts
  • GRE or GMAT results
  • TOEFL and IELTS for those who English is not their first language
  • 2 or 3 letters of recommendation (depends on the subject area)
  • Statement of Purpose

Cornell statement of purpose. The objective of the statement of purpose is to ensure that the reviewers will better understand your specific objectives and if you will be a good match for the program. It must be just 1 or 2 pages in length and should be written in an easy to read font. Always check the specific department that you are applying to as some will require that you answer a specific question in your statement. In general however they want to know:

  • What are your reasons for studying a PhD?
  • What are your specific academic interests?
  • How do your academic interests relate to your future professional goals?


The deadline for applications to the different PhD programs at Yale is December the 15th and you must make sure that you submit all of your information prior to then. They operate through their Graduate School of Arts and Sciences as well as an additional 12 other schools that you will be able to apply to directly. In general, their application requirements are:

  • Application fee of $105
  • Transcripts
  • GMAT or GRE test results
  • TOEFL, IELTS or ETS test results for those applying from non-English speaking countries
  • 2 or 3 letters of recommendation
  • Statement of purpose

Yale statement of purpose. The following is the prompt that the university provides you:

“Your personal statement of purpose will aid the admissions committee in evaluating your application. Please compose a succinct statement of 500-1,000 words concerning your past work, your preparation for the intended field of study, your academic plans for graduate study at Yale, and your subsequent career objectives.”

Ensure that you cover every point that is raised within the prompt and give equal values to each within your writing if you want to be considered.

help with admission requirements for stanford phd

Johns Hopkins

The university is able to offer you PhD studies through 9 separate schools of study. The different schools between them offer some 180 different programs of study for graduate students. The admission requirements for the university are specific to each school but in general, will expect you to provide:

  • Application fee of $75
  • Transcripts
  • 2 or 3 letters of recommendation
  • GRE test results
  • TOEFL or IELTS results
  • Statement of purpose

Johns Hopkins statement of purpose. The statement of purpose should be no longer than 2 pages in length and must be able to answer the following areas:

  • Your reasons for pursuing your field or research.
  • What research experience you have in your field.
  • Your specific end goals once you have completed your degree.

Always carefully check the expectations of the specific school and program that you are applying to and reflect that within your writing.


This long-established university offers applicants the choice of 13 graduate and professional schools at which you can pursue your studies. All applications must be completed by the 1st of January in the year in which you hope to study. As with most universities, you will need to check with the specific school and program for their requirements but the general requirements are as follows:

  • Application fee $100
  • Transcripts
  • Letters of recommendation: Minimum of 2, maximum of 5
  • GMAT or GRE testing results
  • TOEFL or IELTS results
  • Resume or CV
  • Application essay

Columbia statement of purpose. Your statement of academic purpose can be no longer than 1000 words and should reflect what the specific program that you are applying to is looking for. Always look at the specific school and program for guidance. The following are the areas that you should seek to cover:

  • Why you are pursuing the specific subject area that you are applying to.
  • What research experience you bring to the program.
  • How the research relates to your own future career goals.

help with caltech phd admission requirements

Statement of Purpose Writing Requirements

Whether you are writing a statement of purpose for PhD in finance or any other subject you will always need to carefully review the expectations of the program that you are applying to. Every university and each program will have very specific expectations about what you should be covering and how that information should be presented. Failing to follow their guidance will simply cause them to disregard your application.

The following are the different expectations for your statement of purpose for PhD in engineering or any other field within the different universities that we have been reviewing here:

MIT statement of purpose. As part of your MIT PhD admission 2018-19, you will be expected to provide the committee with a statement of purpose. This should be 1 to 2 pages in length single-spaced so will be a maximum of around 1000 words. The following are the areas that you should be covering within your statement:

  • What are your specific research interests
  • How did you get interested in your topic area
  • What is your relevant research experience
  • What are your career goals and how does this degree support them
  • What about this program helps support your goals
  • What do you bring to the program

As with any SoP, do not simply regurgitate your resume or repeat other information. Your statement must be attention grabbing and show who you are as a person.

Stanford statement of purpose. The admission requirements for Stanford PhD programs will require you to provide a statement of purpose that is no more than 2 pages in length. It should be written in English using an easy to read 11 or 12 point font. It should address the following three questions:

  • Why are you applying to this specific program and what preparations have you made?
  • What are your research interests?
  • What are your future career plans and any other information that will help the committee evaluate your suitability for PhD studies?

help with harvard phd admission requirements

Harvard statement of purpose. Harvard PhD admission requirements for your statement of purpose do vary considerably between the different schools and the programs within each. So it is vital that you carefully review the specifics of the program that you are applying to. For instance, the different programs in the School of Public Health call for statements that vary from 600 words to 1250 and the School of Education require no more than 1500 words. While the questions may vary between programs they are generally asking:

  • Why are you interested in your field of study?
  • What have you already undertaken in the way of research and other preparation?
  • What makes you an ideal applicant for the program?
  • What are your future goals and how does this degree relate to them?

Caltech statement of purpose. The Caltech PhD admission requirements will expect you to provide a statement of purpose that answers the following:

“Provide a brief statement of your scientific and professional interests and objectives. Include a description of your past accomplishments that are not evident from the examination of other documents submitted. Report, if applicable, on any research in progress. The statement must be written by the applicant in English. It must not be written in another language and translated for the applicant by another person. “

Remember that your statement must be a completely new view of who you are rather than a rehash of what is already provided within the other documents that you provide.

University of Chicago statement of purpose. No matter which of the different graduate schools you apply to, the University of Chicago PhD admission requirements will expect you to provide a statement of purpose. This should be between 1 to 3 pages in length single-spaced. As with most other universities, you must always check the specific expectations of the program that you are applying to. They will expect your statement to explain:

  • What your specific research interests are.
  • What experience you already have with conducting research.
  • What has attracted you to this specific program?
  • What you will contribute.
  • How this relates to your own future career goals.

How Can We Help You with Your PhD Admissions in the US?

We offer you a full range of writing and editing support through our team of highly skilled experts. Each has many years of experience with supporting applicants to the top universities and fully understands what works. They know what each university expects to see and how to craft a statement that will make your application truly stand out from the crowd, even if it’s a theology statement of purpose. They have excellent English language skills and will be able to help you to craft the most impressive statement through one on one communication. The writing is always totally unique to you and will be targeted carefully to the application that you are making to maximize your chance of success.

Meet the PhD admission requirements in USA and submit a statement of purpose that will impress with the support of our highly skilled specialists.