Frequently Asked Questions
Is there an application fee?
Yes, we charge a $25.00 application fee.
Is a GRE General or GRE Physics Subject test required for admission?
GRE General or GRE Subject Test scores are recommended if available but not required.
English is not my native language, but I am not able to take the TOEFL; will you still consider my application?
A complete application package requires the original TOEFL or IELTS test score results. Unless you are able to demonstrate clearly in some other way that you are proficient in English, we cannot consider you for admission if your native language is not English and you do not submit the results of the TOEFL.
English is not my native language but I received my undergraduate degree from an English-speaking institution. Do I still need to provide evidence of language proficiency?
No, if you received your undergraduate or master's degree from an English-speaking institution, we will waive the TOEFL/IELTS requirement.
What are the minimum TOEFL scores required for admission?
We do not have a rigorous minimum requirement for TOEFL or IELTS scores. Rather, we use the following guidelines:
- TOEFL PBT: minimum score of 600
- TOEFL iBT: minimum total score of 84, with no one sub-score less than
- Reading = 22
- Listening = 22
- Speaking = 18
- Writing = 22
- IELTS: overall band score of at least 7, with no individual band score lower than 6.5.
What is the minimum grade-point average (GPA) required for admission?
The Carnegie Mellon Physics Department sets no specific minimum GPA for admission. Decisions are based on the entire application record, including courses taken, GPA, letters of recommendation, research experience, and – for applicants whose native language is not English – the TOEFL score.
Can I be granted admission without financial aid?
We do not, in general, offer admission to our Ph.D. program without also offering financial aid. This aid is in the form of assistantships, typically teaching assistantships, but occasionally also research assistantships and fellowships, that provide both a full tuition scholarship and a monthly stipend for living expenses.
Can I receive financial aid to study only for a M.S. degree?
We do not have a M.S.-only program in Physics, as ours is primarily a Ph.D. program. We do not offer financial aid to applicants who intend to study only for the M.S. degree. We will, in some cases, consider applicants who intend to obtain only a M.S. degree, but if we do, this will be exclusively for admission without financial aid.
Do you offer admission to begin in the second semester?
We do not offer admission for study beginning in the Spring (second) semester of the academic year (typically in January). Our program of graduate courses and our offers of financial aid are based on the full academic year beginning with the Fall semester (typically at the end of August).
Are there any fellowships available?
Yes, we have a number of graduate fellowships available. More information about fellowships is found here.