Application Requirements

A completed application includes the following:

  • Personal information section
  • At least 3 letters of recommendation (can be submitted online)
  • TOEFL or IELTS scores (see below)
  • Transcripts from all colleges/universities attended (uploaded via the online application). Admitted students will need to provide official copies of all transcripts prior to matriculation.
  • Statement of academic purpose

Your statement should discuss your academic and career objectives, the fields in which you plan to study and your particular research interests. Beyond what is apparent from your transcripts, you should describe your preparation for your proposed program of study, including research projects in which you have participated. 

Your statement is an important part of your application. It should be clear, concise and well crafted. This is your chance to go beyond your grades and to demonstrate your creativity, determination, and other qualities that you bring to your studies. You should also describe why you see the University of Chicago as a good match for helping you achieve your goals. 


The Department will not be accepting GRE scores for the 2022 application cycle, due to COVID-19. Please do not include GRE scores anywhere in your application materials. At this time, no decision has been made regarding whether GRE scores will be required in following years.

For more information on the GRE, please see their site.

English Language Requirement

Applicants who do not meet the waiver criteria here must submit proof of English language proficiency through official TOEFL or IELTS score reports. For more information, please refer to UChicago GRAD.

The minimum required scores on the TOEFL are Listening 22+, Reading 24+, Speaking 25+, Writing 24+.  To send your TOEFL scores to the Department, please use institution code 1832 and department code 71.

The minimum required IELTS score is 7 in each section and a 7 overall.

For more information on the TOEFL, please see their site.
For more information on the IELTS, please see their site.

Application Fee Waiver

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.

The Physical Sciences Division provides fee waivers for applicants with financial hardship. 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 may 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