Application Requirements

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Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

English Language Proficiency

Fee Waivers

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

Some degree programs in the Physical Sciences Division require Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores. It is recommended that you take the test well in advance of your program's application deadline if you plan to submit scores. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) institutional code for the University of Chicago is 1832.

GRE scores are valid only if the exam was taken within five years prior to the application deadline. No program in the Physical Sciences Division requires a minimum GRE score for admission. Applicants should self-report their GRE scores in the application so that their dossiers may be reviewed while the official scores are en route. For information on GRE requirements, please see the admissions sections on the websites of our academic programs.

English Language Proficiency

Applicants to the graduate schools and divisions of the University of Chicago who do not meet the criteria here must submit proof of English language proficiency. This policy applies to all graduate programs; the score level required for admission varies by program. Please see the Acceptable Tests section below for required minimum scores in the Physical Sciences Division. Only the TOEFL iBT or IELTS Academic tests are accepted as proof of proficiency.

Frequently Asked Questions (click FAQs)  

Waiver Criteria

English has been a primary language of communication and schooling for you since childhood; or you were enrolled for at least one academic year in full-time status in a course of study at an accredited English-medium post-secondary institution in one of the following countries or territories within the past ten years: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, the United States.

Education in English-medium institutions in other countries or territories does not qualify for the exemption.

Please Note: high school or secondary school does not qualify an applicant for exemption; nor do part-time or research-based programs that did not involve full time coursework in English.

Acceptable Tests

In order to meet the proof of proficiency requirement, students may submit either:

  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) internet-based test (iBT) or
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic  – Note: applicants are required to take the Academic Reading/Writing test within IELTS, not the General Training Reading/Writing test.
  • Any other proficiency tests, exams, equivalent coursework, certificate/certifications, endorsement from faculty, and/or other measurement other than the TOEFL or IELTS are not accepted.

Required Minimum Scores

Program Minimum TOEFL Score Minimum IELTS Score
Applied Data Science (MS) 102 total 7.0 overall
Masters Program in Computer Science (MS) 100 total 7.0 overall
All other PSD Programs 90 total 7.0 overall


TOEFL or IELTS score reports are valid for two years and scores will be considered expired if the test was taken more than two years prior to the application deadline. Photocopies or PDFs of TOEFL or IELTS Score Reports will not be considered valid or accepted in lieu of an official score report.

Where to send test scores


If you are taking the TOEFL, request the scores to be sent to the University of Chicago. The institutional code is as follows:

  • University of Chicago: 1832


University of Chicago downloads IELTS scores that have been transmitted to our e-download account. Please contact your test center and request that your scores be sent to the following IELTS e-download account:

University of Chicago – Graduate Enrollment
970 East 58th Street, Third Floor
Chicago, IL 60637

The University does not accept paper IELTS test report forms.

Application Fee Waivers

Generally, an application fee of $90 is required and non-refundable. Applicants may qualify for specific fee waivers. 

In order to request an application fee waiver, you must first submit an application. Once an application is submitted, your application status portal will display the option to request a fee waiver by filling out a short form and providing documentation, if required. If you are applying to one of the schools or divisions which allows multiple applications, you will need to ensure you are on the status page of the correct application; a separate waiver request must be submitted for each application.

Application fees are non-refundable. If you intend to submit a fee waiver request, do not pay the application fee until you receive a decision about your request. If you pay the application fee, and later have your waiver request approved, the fee will not be refunded.

Fee Waiver Categories and General Eligibility Criteria 

A. University of Chicago degree program students and alumni

This waiver category is available in most programs to any applicant who has received or expects to receive a degree from another UChicago program.

B. Current or recent participants in qualifying programs

This waiver category is available if you have participated in one of the following:

  • AmeriCorps/Vista
  • Currently serving or honorably discharged members of the U.S. armed forces or uniformed services (active duty or reserves)
  • Fulbright Scholars
  • Gates Millennium Scholars
  • National GEM Consortium
  • Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers
  • Leadership Alliance
  • McNair Scholars
  • Mellon Mays
  • Peace Corps
  • Teach for America

Additionally, participants in Physical Sciences Division summer programs and REUs are eligible for this fee waiver category if they participated in: 

  • Center for Data and Computing Summer Lab
  • Computer Science Summer Research Fellowship Program
  • Mathematics REU
  • PKU-UChicago Chemistry Summer Research Program
  • Summer Undergraduate Mathematics and Statistics Accelerator (SUMSA)

C. Current undergraduates receiving need-based aid from a U.S. institution

To qualify for this waiver, if offered by the program, you must be currently enrolled as an undergraduate in a U.S. college or university and must provide documentation that you are receiving need-based financial aid.

D. Valid fee waiver codes received from an authorized representative of the University of Chicago

Codes will be reviewed to ensure that they are valid and were sent to you by an authorized representative. Programs may only accept their own codes, not those issued by other departments of the University. Do not contact faculty or staff to request codes.

E. Financial Hardship

The Physical Sciences Division provides fee waivers for Ph.D. program applicants (including international students) and domestic students with financial hardship applying to M.S. programs. 

You must upload a brief statement which explains the financial hardship and explains how you plan to fund your graduate studies. If you are applying for or hold external funding, you may submit a copy of your award letter, or include in your statement the name(s) of the funds you are applying for and the date(s) on which you expect to receive notification.

Please note: Financial hardship application fee waivers are not available to international students applying to M.S. programs.

F. Other waiver categories

Application fee waivers are available for students who have graduated or plan to graduate from a post-secondary minority-serving institutions (Historically Black College or University, Hispanic-Serving Institution, Tribal College or University, Asian American and Pacific Islander Serving Institution, etc.). Institutions included on either the list maintained by the U.S. Department of Education or the current list published by the Rutgers University Center for MSIs qualify. 

Other Considerations

  • International students must provide documentation of available funds as part of the request process for a student visa.
  • Applicants to funded programs, including PhDs, should be aware that the first stipend disbursal typically takes place near, or after, the beginning of their first quarter.
  • FAFSA-eligible applicants planning to use student loans to fund a significant portion of their program should be aware that their first student loan disbursal will take place approximately ten days before the start of their first quarter.