Prospective Students

Why choose UK?

  • Active research groups with state-of-the-art instrumentation

  • Full assistantships (which include a stipend, tuition scholarship, and health insurance) offered to all new students admitted to the PhD program

  • Interaction with alumni in academia, industry, and other fields who continue to be involved with the Department

  • Opportunity to meet world-renowned scientists at weekly seminars and annual events like the Naff Symposium

  • Located in Lexington, Kentucky--a great place to live, centrally located, that has a relatively low cost of living

How do I apply?

Eligibility criteria

Our admissions committee uses some unofficial lower score limits when evaluating applications.  These are not set in stone, and therefore, a score lower than one of these limits does not automatically disqualify an application if other parts of the application are strong. Other important parts of the application include recommendation letters or publications, research/teaching experience, or examples of problem-solving abilities.

The unofficial lower limits are:

  • GPA: 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • GRE V: 146 (old GRE scoring: 400)
  • GRE Q: 144 (old GRE scoring: 500)
  • GRE A: 3.5
  • TOEFL* (each section): 20 or IELTS* (each section): 6.5

*If you are unsure whether TOEFL/IELTS scores are required for your application, please contact our Graduate School Admissions Officer, Maureen Barker (

 The minimums listed above are used by department's Admission Committee.  However, the Graduate School at UK also has required minimums including an undergraduate GPA of 2.75 and a 3.00 for any graduate work.  Please visit their admissions page for more information.

Application process

The application process is managed entirely by the University of Kentucky Graduate School via an online system called ApplyYourself.  All materials should be submitted through this web application, which can be accessed here.  The materials you need to assemble for application are as follows:

  1. GRE Scores (Use code 1837 only (ETS's code for the University of Kentucky) to submit a score report directly to the Graduate School.)
  2. TOEFL/IETLS Scores (if an international student)
  3. Transcripts from current and prior institutions (Unofficial documents are acceptable for the application.  Admitted students are required to provide official documents.)
  4. Personal statement that includes your research interests (include names of faculty at UK)
  5. Three letters of reference, to be uploaded by the letter writers

If you are unsure whether TOEFL/IETLS scores are required for your application, please contact our Graduate School Admissions Officer, Maureen Barker (

It is possible to upload additional information to the ApplyYourself website like writing samples. However, that information is not required, and it is not reviewed by our Admissions Committee.

To request an application fee waiver, please send your GPA, GRE scores and percentiles, and a summary of your previous research and/or work experience to the Director of Graduate Recruiting ( prior to submitting the application. 


Fall Applicants: Primary consideration will be given to applications received by January 15th. While applications may be considered after that time, most admissions decisions are made by the end of March.

Spring Applicants: We no longer accept Spring applications; however, we are able to defer an application for Spring admission on a case-by-case basis.


Contact us

If you have questions about our program, or if would like to schedule a campus visit, please email the Director of Graduate Recruiting at

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