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 below 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
Analytics (MS) 102 total 7.0 overall
Computer Science (PhD) 100 total 7.0 overall
Geophysical Sciences (PhD) Listening: 22+, Reading 24+, Speaking 25+, Writing 24+ 7.0 overall, no less than 7.0 on each section
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. 

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Your application fee will be waived if you meet one of the following criteria

  • You are a University of Chicago student or alumnus.
  • You are a Fulbright Scholar.
  • You are currently serving in or are a veteran of the U.S. Military.
  • You have successfully completed and submitted a BTAA Free App request.
  • You have participated in one of the following programs:  AmeriCorps/Vista, Gates Millennium Scholars, National GEM Consortium, Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers, Leadership Alliance, McNair Scholars, Mellon Mays, Peace Corps, Project 1000, Teach for America.

If you meet one of the above criteria, check the appropriate box in the application and provide documentation when/if required.

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. These students will have the option to indicate which institution they are attending or have attended after they submit their application through a link on their application status page.

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. If you would like to request a fee waiver, please complete and submit your application first. You will then be able to access the fee waiver request form. Please note that you will be required to provide documentation of your hardship. This can include:

  • A copy of your most recent FAFSA application
  • A letter from your Financial Aid office confirming you have been awarded need-based aid
  • Documentation that you have received a Pell Grant
  • Documentation of public assistance that is less than one year old

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