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Graduate Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to your graduate program?

The Official Graduate School Application is located here: https://gradschool.utk.edu/admissions/

My official transcripts are costly and/or difficult to obtain. Do I have to submit official transcripts?

For application review, a scanned PDF of your transcript is acceptable. If you are accepted into the program, official transcripts from the colleges you attended will be required as a condition of admittance.

Do I have to have my transcripts translated into English?

It is difficult for the committee to assess your transcripts if they are not translated, so translation will be necessary.

Where do I apply for GTA/GRA assistantships?

At this time, all admitted Microbiology Graduate Students are automatically assigned a GTA/GRA in their offer letters. Application is not required.  

Do students receive a stipend?

Admitted students on GTA/GRA assistantships receive a monthly stipend, a tuition waiver and health care coverage. Students are responsible for all other university fees.  We do not admit students without support.

I applied weeks ago, and want to know the status of my application.

The Microbiology Graduate Admissions Committee does not begin reviewing applications until after December 1. After December 1, all applications are reviewed, then decisions are made based on funding and space availability. Given the number of applications and the amount of material they contain, this can take some time.  Decisions on all applications are usually complete by April 15. You will receive a letter when decisions are complete. Please keep in mind that the Admissions Committee cannot evaluate your application if it is incomplete. 

When is the deadline to apply?

The priority deadline for Microbiology is December 1st of each year. The Graduate Admissions Committee begins reviewing applications at that time. The University of Tennessee has “rolling” admissions, so applications received after December 1 are still reviewed.

Do I need to contact the faculty I wish to work with prior to making application?

No, it is not necessary to contact faculty prior to making application. We ask that you identify faculty members that you might want to work with based on their research.  This is not necessary, but helps the committee better understand your interests.  You do not have to make contact with them to put their name down.  However, if you are applying because of a specific faculty member it might be prudent to contact them to ask whether there will be specific opportunities in their group.

How competitive is my application?

Because a new pool of applicants applies each year, and applicants are being evaluated based on the current pool, it is not possible to answer such questions ahead of the official process. The main review criteria are student GPA and performance in science courses, reference letters, and research experience. However, all other aspects of the application are considered as well, and taken into consideration as decisions are made.

What classes do I have to take in this program?

Due to the nature of research, your degree is going to be tailored to your scientific interests. Your first semester all students are required to take certain courses, and complete lab rotations to identify the lab they will be working with the remainder of the program. For more information about the structure of the program, the most current Graduate Student Handbook is available online here: micro.utk.edu/docs/Graduate Student Handbook.pdf

What GRE scores do I need to get into the program? Do I have to submit my GRE scores? The Graduate School Application asks for GRE scores, I’m confused.

The Microbiology Admissions Committee has decided that GRE scores should be optional. The Graduate School Application is a general application to the school and will ask this question. If you do not wish to provide it, simply skip the question. It is not required by Microbiology.

(International Students) What TOEFL or IELTS scores are required?

Satisfactory TOEFL or IELTS scores are required. For example, for the internet test, applicants with a minimum combined TOEFL score of 92, and a minimum score of 20 for each individual section will be given priority. For IELTS, a 6.5 overall band score is required.

What code should I use for UT on the IELTS and other standardized tests?

The UT code is 1843.

When is the deadline for Spring admission?

Spring admissions are rare and admission is based on a space becoming available. It is more productive to apply for Fall admission as the vast majority of students are admitted in the Fall. The priority deadline for Fall is December 1.

Can you waive my application fee?

Currently, at this time, there are no grant or scholarship monies available to cover the costs to the university of waiving application fees and no waivers are available.

What is the status of my application?

You may call our office at (865) 974-3441 or email microbiology@utk.edu to inquire about your application status.  Keep in mind that the Admissions Committee cannot evaluate your application before all required materials are submitted to both our department as well as the Graduate School.

How will I know the committee's decision?

Once the departmental admissions committee has reviewed your application materials and made a decision, you will be notified in writing.

What is the admission deadline?

Priority consideration is given to applications received by December 1 for the fall semester.  We accept applications year-round. 

How long do you keep test scores without an application?

Test scores that are received without a current application are kept for a period of 6 months. After 6 months, test scores without current applications are destroyed.

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