Along with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a lot of international students are now pursuing Ph.Ds. at American universities because the programs are comprehensive and structured, and encourage a lot of independent research. Apart from world-class facilities, well-equipped research labs, and qualified professors, American universities also offer funding opportunities to deserving candidates which makes it easier for international students to pursue Ph.D. in America.
To pursue a Ph.D. program in any American university, students must have a minimum of 16 years of education, which means, they must have completed their bachelor’s degree at the least. Students can also apply for a combined program for MS and Ph.D. In order to qualify for a Ph.D. students should have a high score in the GRE (320+) and sometimes, in the subject GRE along with a GPA of 8.5 or above in their undergraduate program. If the master’s has been done from the USA, the GPA has to be 3.5 and above.
However, below are a few things you need to keep in mind and start preparing well in advance if you are planning to pursue a Ph.D. in a top American university:
Choose your research topic well in advance: Narrowing down your research topic in advance will help you a great deal in making an informed decision. Study the topics, and see which topic would be viable for a Ph.D. project. Choose your program accordingly.
Research your Ph.D. guide: When it comes to a Ph.D., a good research guide is far more important than a good university. Hence, study the research work performed by professors from various universities, get in touch with them, and see if you can get approval from them for supervising your work. For Ph.D. programs, it is always beneficial to first narrow down the right research guide and then finalize the university.
Lookout for funding opportunities: Pursuing a Ph.D. in America can be very expensive and hence it is recommended to first look at universities that offer funding opportunities, scholarships, and research/ teaching assistantships and make your Ph.D. tuition affordable.
Finalize the universities: Once you decide your research topic, supervisor, and funding opportunities, shortlist your universities and start the application process.
A majority of German universities require you to have completed 16 years of formal education (i.e. 12+4), i.e. a four-year Bachelor’s degree before going for MS. This is applicable to all students with a technical background in Engineering, Pharmacy, Architecture, and so on. For other fields like Arts, Management, and Computer Science, students are required to complete 17 years of education (i.e. 12+3+2).
German universities have a very high cut-off percentage. Hence, you need to have a minimum of 70% to 75% in your degree course or an equivalent CGPA of 7.5 to 8.5.
If you are planning to pursue an MS in Business Management, Finance, and Business Analytics, you are required to have relevant work experience of a minimum of 1 to 3 years.
2. Qualifying examinations
TOEFL or IELTS: English Language Proficiency Test scores are mandatory for programs taught in English. A minimum band score of 6.5 to 7 in IELTS or a score of 85+ in TOEFL is required by a majority of German universities. At Dilip Oaks Academy, we offer TOEFL and IELTS coaching along with rigorous practice sessions and mock tests. (hyperlink underlined words)
GRE: a majority of German universities do not require GRE scores. However, some of the top universities, known as TU-9 universities, do require a GRE score. We recommend that you take the GRE if you aim to get into one of the TU-9 universities. Our GRE Coaching will enable you to thoroughly prepare for the GRE. (hyperlink underlined words)
German Language: Some programs taught in English may require German Language proficiency certified up to the A1 or A2 level. Some universities may even require proficiency certified up to the B1 level.
We also offer Admission Counseling through which we provide guidance on the selection of universities, application essays, and visa counseling.
Along with bachelor’s and master’s degrees, a lot of international students are now keen on pursuing PhD at American universities because the programs are comprehensive and structured, and encourage a lot of independent research. Apart from world class facilities, well- equipped research labs and qualified professors, American universities also offer funding opportunities to deserving candidates which makes it easier for international students to pursue PhD in America. American universities have a global standing and they lead in innovation. This provides numerous job opportunities to PhD degree holders in academia, research institutes, government, and private research agencies all across the world.
However, in order to apply for PhD in top-notch American universities and reap maximum benefits of these programs, students must fulfill certain eligibility requirements and follow certain steps as given below:
Bachelor’s/Master’s degree: To pursue a PhD program in any American university, students must have a minimum of 16 years of education, which means, they must have completed their bachelor’s degree at the least. Many students also apply after their master’s degree, either in India or in the USA. Students can also apply for a combined program for MS and PhD.
Good scores in qualifying examinations: In order to qualify for a PhD, students should have a high score in the GRE (320+) and sometimes, in the subject GRE.
Good academic record: In order to pursue PhD at a top American university, students should have a consistently high academic record throughout the bachelor’s program (75% and above/GPA of 8.5 and above). If the master’s has been done from the USA, the GPA has to be 3.5 and above.
Research aptitude and work experience: Students who have a strong research aptitude, who have undertaken seminars and paper presentations, and who have relevant work experience are usually preferred. At Dilip Oak’s Academy, one of our students, who had a 70% academic record in Computer Engineering, four years of work experience, and who presented three papers in international forum including Italy and USA, received full funding for PhD in Computer Architecture from Georgia Tech, Ohio State, and Yale University.
Steps to follow:
Choose your research topic well in advance: Narrowing down your research topic in advance will help you a great deal in making an informed decision. Study the topics, and see which topic would be viable for a PhD project. Choose your program accordingly.
Research your PhD guide: When it comes to PhD, a good research guide is far more important than a good university. Hence, study the research work performed by professors from various universities, get in touch with them, and see if you can get approval from them for supervising your work. For PhD programs, it is always beneficial to first narrow down the right research guide and then finalize the university.
Lookout for funding opportunities: Pursuing PhD in America can be very expensive and hence it is recommended to first look at universities that offer funding opportunities, scholarships, and research/ teaching assistantships and make your PhD tuition affordable.
Finalize the universities: Once you decide your research topic, supervisor, and funding opportunities, shortlist your universities and start the application process.
For more guidance on university selection and admission process, enroll for our expert admission counseling today!
If you are applying for admission in fall 2016 the clock has begun to tick. So, don’t delay. Review this Application Timeline for Fall 2016 immediately and get to work.
Review your goals for your MS in US and choose some specific areas in which you would like to specialize.
Begin preparation for the GRE/TOEFL tests
Register for the GRE and TOEFL examinations – if you are targeting the top 10 or 15 universities, you should take these examinations preferably by September 2015. If you are targeting other universities, you may take these exams by 20 December 2015 so you can meet the deadlines of universities which are in December 2015.
Register for the Subject GRE – important for doctoral programs in pure sciences and biological sciences in top schools.
Note: the exam is held once in a year in November, however, seats usually get filled up by August.
Make a preliminary list of about 30 universities which meet your requirements considering:
Arrange for 10-13 sets of transcripts in sealed covers from your college or university – some universities insist on university transcripts/university attested mark sheets
Choose your recommenders (generally 3 recommendations are required, at least one of which should be from the educational institute last attended) and give them the necessary details – resume, copies of your mark sheets etc.
Whether courses of your choice are offered in the Fall semester
Cost of education
Make your final shortlist of 8-10 universities.
Complete your Statement of Purpose (SOP) and resume
Request the ETS to forward your GRE and TOEFL scores to the universities you are applying to, specifying the correct codes for the universities/departments you are applying to.
Note: some universities require certain documents to be sent to the department you are applying to.
Complete online application process and send the required documents by courier
This completes the application process; however there are further steps to be taken:
Track the status of your application on your status page of the university’s website. Though universities generally communicate decisions or requirements by either e-mail or post, it often happens that the only source of information is your status page.
If there are any deficiencies in your applications (missing documents, non-receipt of GRE or TOEFL scores, recommendations etc.) immediately correct the deficiencies.
When you receive an offer letter from the universities (or when your status page shows that you have been given admission) email your acceptance(This is very important especially when you are offered funding)
When you have accepted the university’s offer of admission and the documentation formalities are complete, the university will send you the 1-20, an immigration document, which is essential for obtaining a visa.
When you receive the I-20, check that it is correct in all respects:
Your name and date of birth should be exactly as in your passport
Your course and course duration should be correctly specified
The financial sources indicated should exceed the costs etc.
Prepare the visa documentation
Study the visa application formalities specified on the websites of the applicable US Consulate and the VFS (Visa Facilitation Services)
Apply for a visa interview date – you can apply for a visa interview 120 days before the joining date mentioned on your I-20.
For further details on the F-1 visa see our previous blog on the subject.
Note: Dilip Oak’s Academy organizes a ‘Pre-departure Orientation’ in June-end every year for students who have been admitted to the fall semester. In the Orientation, Mr. Dilip Oak covers matters such as:
the student (F1) visa
airport formalities (port of entry/immigration procedures)
medical checkups & immunizations
initial formalities in the university
accommodation (on- & off – campus)
financial and other formalities for the first semester of studies
Keep a look out for our announcement of the Orientation. The announcement will appear on this blog sometime in June.
In this blog we wanted to go over a few hurdles that may lead to a rejection or delay in your admission application process.
Although a lot of students are unaware of this, it is a very common problem faced by around six out of ten students at the time of application. The name on passport, college/university mark sheets, degree certificate and GRE & TOEFL scorecards should be the same. It is crucial there aren’t any spelling mistakes in your name, middle name name and surname.
At times the surname is different, especially in cases of students with South-Indian names. Make sure the name matches on all-important documents. In case it doesn’t, make sure to get it changed before you begin the application process.
YEAR DOWN & BACKLOGS
You may have backlogs and year down during your Bachelor’s/Master’s degree. It is important that you not only mention this but also justify the reasons behind your backlogs and year-downs in your statement of purpose.
ACADEMIC GAP DUE TO OTHER FACTORS
In some cases an academic gap may occur due to reasons such as an accident or health conditions. This should be mentioned very clearly in the SOP or else it may work against you.
ISSUANCE OF TRANSCRIPTS
You are supposed to send college/university transcripts at the time of application. Apply to the college/university well in advance because some institutions take up to two months to issue transcripts, which in turn may delay your application process.
GRE & TOEFL SCORE REPORTING
ETS takes time to report official scores to the universities. Hence once you have a final list of universities that you are applying to, have your official scores sent immediately to these universities. In case the US University doesn’t receive the official scores in time, your application shall be placed on hold.
ONLINE SUBMISSION OF RECOMMENDATION LETTERS
Most US universities require online recommendation letters. Your recommender will have to upload the letter online or send it from his official e-mail. You should inform your recommenders about this so that they are prepared for it.
The bank solvency/statement is a crucial document at the time of application. This document has to be submitted either at the time of or before issue of I20 form, depending on the university requirement.
– What are transcripts?
– When should I register for the GRE test?
– Where can I find university deadlines?
– From whom do I need to take recommendation letters?
The list of questions that come up when you are applying to American universities is endless. Most probably you won’t know where to look for solutions or, whom to ask for the answers. That’s where the next of our great free application tools comes in – the DOA ONLINE Q&A FORUM.
On the Q&A Forum (click screenshot below for enlarged view) you can:
ask any questions you have regarding the application process for American universities
get answers and expert advice from the academy (look for answers by the admin!)
get valuable tips and insights from other registered users – since they have gone through the same situations and problems, their advice is often the best: no one understands your situation better than those traveling on the same path!
consult the vast database of questions and answers already on the Q&A forum.
This post brings together a list of must-see links to our most important posts on ‘Admissions to American Universities’. The links are arranged under different headings:
university deadlines (spring 2014, fall 2014)
selecting which semester to join
step-by-step explanations of the application process
tips on the F1 visa and on preparing your Statement of Purpose
and several others.
This is important information. Don’t miss out on it!
Deadlines for Application
Did you know that there is no standard deadline for application for American universities? Deadlines for fall range from November of the previous year all the way up to August of the year in which you will join your university. Deadlines for spring range from June of the previous year to Jan of the year of joining. Your planning of the application process depends on the deadline for the most important university you are applying for. Check out the deadlines for your university through the links below.
Spring– 107 universities accepting students in spring (2014). Remember to check out the timeline for applying for spring (available December onward).
Note: to find out what universities to apply to check out a list of the top 220 American universities at online.dilipoakacademy.com – look for ‘university information’ under the ‘applications’ button. You will find the following information:
departments and courses
documents required for application
the university website URL
For more information on these useful online services see:
Our first post in this series on the free application tools available on online.dilipoakacademy.com was on the University Info feature. This is a great tool that simplifies the admission process for you by making available one website key facts about the top 220 universities – most importantly, the departments and courses available there. One of the other important things that the University Info feature makes available, however, is a standard university checklist.
What are University Checklists and Where Can I Get Them?
The university checklists we are talking about here, are lists of the standard documents required by all universities. Our University Info feature provides the standard checklists for each of the top 220 American universities that it covers. When you select a university from our University Info feature, you can access the standard checklist for the university by clicking the checklist button (see screenshot below – right-click it to enlarge it).
Why is the University Checklist Feature Important?
The reason we have the University Checklist feature is to make sure that you do not forget to send any of the required documents. Sending your documents and application packet before the deadline is crucial for the following reasons:
Forgetting to send even a single document can cause long and inconvenient delays in your application process.
You may also end up spending a lot of money to send the additional documents by courier
In fact, you may even lose out on getting admission to a good college or university.
Fill up the form and submit the form in person at the transcripts department – this is located on university campus. Do not forget to carry original mark sheets if required for verification. In case you are asked to submit mark sheets, submit photocopies not originals.
Pay the required fees immediately at Bank of Maharashtra counter located on the university campus. Continue reading →
Some universities accept only university transcripts; others accept college transcripts or even an attested mark sheet. Some universities require you to submit 2 transcripts. It is very important that you read the American university requirements carefully before applying. Make sure you do not send them the wrong document type as it will delay the admission process.
These are issued by the university your college is affiliated to e.g. M.I.T. College in Pune is affiliated to Pune University. If you are a student of that college and the American university you are applying to requires university transcripts, you should get transcripts from Pune University.
The transcript is an official summary of your academic performance and progress to date. It is one of the key documents you have to submit when you are applying for admission to a doctoral or master’s program of studies in an American college or university (the others are the statement of purpose, recommendation letters, a resume and of course your GRE and TOEFL scores). In order for the transcript to be acceptable to American universities as an official document, it must conform to the following specifications – it should be:
printed on the university or college letterhead
signed by the appropriate college or university authorities i.e. the college principal or registrar or the university registrar
in the format required by American universities (not in the ordinary mark sheet format usually provided by Indian colleges and universities)