Frequently Asked Questions
What degree will I earn?
ILS is a portal to multiple PhD graduate programs at UGA; applicants interested in an MSc degree should apply directly to individual departments affiliated with ILS. After a semester of research experiences and coursework under ILS, you select a thesis advisor and become affiliated with your advisor’s home graduate program from which you ultimately receive your PhD degree. See here for the list of graduate programs that are available to you
How will I be supported during and after the first year?
ILS students receive full funding for the first semester with no teaching obligation. Funding in future semesters may be in the form of a research assistantship (RA), teaching assistantship (TA), intramural or extramural fellowship, or a combination of these funding mechanisms. RA support is typically the main mechanism; over 80% of ILS faculty have grant support in any given year. Stipend support in years 2 through 5 is guaranteed at the standard level of the graduate program chosen for thesis research. Tuition is remitted for all ILS students in Year 1, and this continues for the duration of the degree program as long as the student is supported by RA or TA.
Can the application fee be waived?
Fee waivers are granted by the UGA Graduate School, so requests should be made directly to them. Waivers generally require that the applicant has been associated with a particular training program, including certain international student exchange programs. Programs that qualify for a fee waiver can be found here.
What are the primary measures considered for admission / Is the GRE required?
ILS takes a holistic approach to reviewing each application. We primarily evaluate candidates on several measures: academic performance (i.e. GPA, especially in the sciences), interest in training within existing research strengths at our institution, research experience / potential as indicated through letters of recommendation, and interview performance. ILS does not require the submission of GRE scores as part of the application package, this information could however be submitted as a supplemental application material. Our current position is that strong GRE performance can often help applicants whose GPA is lower than average, which can occur when personal situations impact academic performance (e.g. bad 1st year of college; working through college; unexpected personal tragedies; etc.).
How do I compare to other candidates?
Applicants admitted into ILS are identified using a variety of criteria. There is no single basis for comparison. Over the past several years, however, admitted candidates have had the following academic credentials (average; range):
GPA (4.0 scale): 3.65; 2.82-4.00
TOEFL Total Score: 104; 90 – 119
TOEFL Speak Test: 24.3; 20 – 30
What will happen if my application materials are submitted late?
Incomplete applications could be at a competitive disadvantage. Thus, all application information should be submitted on or before the application deadline.
Are international students eligible for the ILS program?
ILS is open to all international students holding degrees from accredited undergraduate institutions as long as country-specific academic credentials and requirements are met. The University of Georgia, however, sets overall minimum requirements for English proficiency. Applicants completing at least least one year at a U.S. academic institution may request to have the English proficiency requirement waived. Applicants residing in countries where English is not the primary language must demonstrate English proficiency. Such applicants will benefit from having a TOEFL Speak Test score of 22 or higher or an IELTS Speaking test score of 6.5 or higher. Applicants with lower Speak Test scores can be admitted, especially when the applicant demonstrates outstanding ability in another area (e.g. research, experience, etc.), but students must enroll in English-proficiency courses during their first year of study. Applicants with questions or concerns regarding their language proficiency requirement and/or scores should contact the UGA Graduate School Admissions Office.
What happens if I am not selected for the ILS program?
ILS receives more applications from highly qualified candidates than it can support. Thus, ILS often refers applications to other graduate programs, including those not affiliated with ILS. Referrals are based on applicant interests (faculty and research) as stated on the ILS Background and Interest form. If your referred application is pursued by a particular program, that program will contact you directly to determine whether you wish to be formally considered as an applicant to the program and to provide you with additional details. Applicants may also contact individual faculty members to determine whether there is an option for direct admission, which means that the student immediately joins a lab and does not rotate. In many cases, direct admits benefit by being able to take ILS coursework, with exception of the rotation course. Applicant referrals and direct admission can occur after the April 15th match deadline. Ultimately, unsuccessful applicants are formally rejected in mid-May.
Will I be expected to teach?
Development of instructional skills is an important part of your graduate education and training. While there are no teaching requirements for the first semester of the ILS program, your home department may have a teaching requirement and your advisor may require you to serve as a teaching assistant at some time during your graduate program. This is a question that should be explored with all potential advisors.
Who will be on my graduate advisory committee?
In most departments, the graduate advisory committee is composed of faculty from both within and outside of the home department. In consultation with your advisor, you will select committee members who can best assist you with your graduate training and research. Committee members need not be participating members of the ILS program.