Frequently Asked Questions
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We strongly prefer that you apply electronically. This method allows us to process your application immediately upon submission. Paper applications arrive in the mail and then must be data-entered into our system. Processing time for paper applications is significantly longer than the time needed for the processing of electronic applications.
The requirements vary among programs. All candidates must submit an application form and application fee. The online application requires the candidate to include a statement of purpose, a curriculum vitae/resume, and uploaded transcripts of academic work completed to date. All applicants must have obtained a bachelor's degree or the international equivalent prior to matriculation. Additionally, the online application form will prompt the candidate to submit the names and contact information for recommenders (typically two or three), who will be sent a link to upload their letters of recommendation. Your program may also require standardized test score results, a writing sample, a portfolio, an audition, and/or an interview. Please visit your department to see specific requirements by program.
No, your chances for admission cannot be assessed without reviewing your entire file. Your statement of purpose and your letters of recommendation play a significant role in the application process.
There are no GPA or standardized test score cutoffs. Applicants are considered holistically on the basis of a number of factors.
International students, however, must meet certain English-language minimum test scores to be eligible for admission.
In most cases, previous work as an undergraduate major or as a formal minor (18 credits or more) is desirable. However, a student should always check with the department of interest concerning the suitability of previous academic work as it pertains to the degree program in question.
Students may apply directly to a PhD program after completion of their baccalaureate degree. Matriculated students who have a master's degree may apply for transfer credit (of up to one year's worth of credit). The decision to accept any credit will be made after the first semester of enrollment in the Graduate School.
No, you may only apply to one program per academic year.
Once you have submitted your complete application, you can check on the status of your application materials by logging into your account using the same credentials you used while applying. Your account will provide you with a self-service portal, which will include a materials checklist. The checklist will be updated as we receive the materials necessary to complete your application process. In addition, you are able to upload additional documentation through the self-service portal.
If you wish to authorize another person to inquire on your behalf about the status of your application, you must sign and submit an authorization form. The Graduate School will not release information about your application to anyone without your written consent.
Please be sure that you review the deadline submission date for your program of interest. It is your responsibility to apply and submit all of the required documents by the program’s deadline. If your program of interest has a rolling deadline, it is in your best interest to submit materials as early as possible, as the admission committees only review applications until the cohort is full.
Typically, applicants receive a decision approximately six to eight weeks after the program's deadline. We strive to notify applicants as soon as possible, but please note that the timeframe may vary by program. Our office cannot tell you when you will receive an admission decision. Departments are the best points of contact for this information.
While individual programs may inform applicants that they have been recommended for admission, only decisions administered by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences are considered to be official. Admission letters are sent via e-mail. We are unable to release admission decisions via phone.
Though we strongly suggest that you apply online because our electronic applications are processed more rapidly, you may apply via a paper application. The fee to apply via a paper application is $75.
Mailing Address (USPS):
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
415 South St., MS 031
Waltham, MA 02453
If you are applying to a program with a standardized test requirement, you must submit official scores from the testing agencies in order for your application to be considered complete.
You will enter your unofficial scores directly into the Test Score section of the application. You should not upload, email, or mail any copies of the score reports. The department will be able to view the scores that you have entered until your official scores arrive. Please keep in mind that there is a delay from when you order your official scores to when they are matched with your application. Overall, this process can take up to three weeks.
In the Test Score section of the application, there is a link to add new test scores. Simply click on the link, select the appropriate test, and then enter your future test date. This will allow you to submit the application without scores for that specific test.
When you take the test, enter the appropriate Brandeis institution code (see below) at the testing center. When the official scores arrive, we will be able to associate them with your application. In the interim, you can email us at email@example.com with your unofficial scores and our office can enter them into your application.
GRE: Please provide ETS with institution code 3092. No department code is necessary.
TOEFL: Please provide ETS with institution code 3261. No department code is necessary.
IELTS: Please enter your TRF number when prompted within the application so that we may verify your scores.
Miller Analogies Test: Please provide Pearson with the code 1197.
GMAT: Please provide GMAT with the code 3FD-1Z-75.
PTE Academic: This exam does not have institution codes. You will need to arrange delivery via Pearson.
No, scores from the older version of the GRE (pre-August 1, 2011) are no longer considered valid.
The required number of letters of recommendation varies among programs. Please visit your department to see specific requirements by program.
The electronic application will ask you to list the names and email addresses of your recommenders. Once you enter their contact information on your application and press “send to recommender,” your recommender will be notified via email and directed to a secure website to upload a document to your application. Once a letter has been submitted, it will be added to your application materials and marked as received on your application checklist. You will receive a confirmation email each time your recommender submits a letter online.
In most cases, you will have the ability to request that a reminder email be sent to any of your recommenders who have not yet submitted their letters. You may request this yourself via your self-service portal by selecting the "recommendations page" link found under your Application Checklist.
In most cases, you are able to send a reminder email to your recommender through your self-service portal. Click on the “recommendations page” link and then “edit” and you have the option to send a reminder to your recommender.
Please be aware that if your recommender does not see the email in their inbox, it could be due to spam-blocking software being used to filter messages. If any of your recommenders report that they have not received the email, they may try disabling the software or looking in their spam folders.
Alternatively, you are welcome to have your recommender email their letter as a PDF or Doc attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. The email will need to be sent from their professional email address as listed on your application. Our office will then attach the letter to your application.
You are welcome to email our office at email@example.com for detailed instructions on correcting the email address.
Yes, although electronic submission is strongly preferred and the submission of hard-copy letters may delay the processing of your application. You or your recommender can submit a signed letter on official letterhead with the recommender's signature over the envelope seal to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at:
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
MS 031 Brandeis University
415 South Street,
Waltham, MA 02454
Yes, you are required to upload your transcripts to the Educational Record page of your application in order for it to be considered complete. You may upload your institution’s print or web version of your transcript. The transcripts that you upload are not considered official. Many institutions allow students and alumni to access their grade report online; these reports are sufficient for application file review. Please note that transcripts must be in English or be accompanied by an English translation.
Please follow these guidelines when uploading your transcripts:
Upload each transcript individually if you have attended more than one institution.
If your transcript is double sided, please include both sides and be sure to include the transcript legend.
Make sure that your upload is legible and clearly identifies the school from which the transcript originated.
If the scanned file is too large, first make a photocopy (experiment with different settings until you find one that results in the smallest file size), then scan the photocopy.
Make certain that its size is less then 2000kb (2 MB). For best results, scan at the lowest DPI in black and white or grayscale that results in a legible document.
Please note that if you upload a password protected PDF, the admissions committee will not be able to view it in the system. You will need to print it, scan it, and upload it for it to be visible.
Yes. All transcripts must be in English, or you must also upload a certified English translation of the transcript.
No, official copies of your transcripts are only required if you are admitted and have confirmed your intention to enroll. Transcripts mailed to our office prior to an acceptance of an offer of admission will be destroyed.
Please follow these suggestions if you are having trouble uploading your transcript(s):
Make sure that you are scanning your transcripts one school at a time and not all of your transcripts as one large document. The document size must be less than 2000kb (2MB).
Scan at a lower DPI (try using under 300 DPI) only if the transcript is still legible.
If the scanned file is still too large, try making a photocopy to adjust the size and then scan the photocopy.
You should upload transcripts for all institutions where you enrolled in post-secondary coursework with the exception of those where the courses and/or credits are listed on another institution's transcript that you are uploading (e.g., study abroad coursework credits that transferred to your bachelor's transcript). Remember, you only need to submit official copies of your transcripts after you are admitted and decide to enroll.
No transcripts uploaded to your application are considered official. Definitions of official transcripts can be found on your Applicant Status Page.
All incoming students must submit official post-secondary transcript(s) – including the final undergraduate transcript indicating successful completion of a bachelor’s degree – prior to their first semester.
The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences reserves the right to revoke admission of anyone who does not provide official transcripts.
The statement of purpose should be one to three pages, unless otherwise directed by your program of interest. It should clearly state your reasons for applying to graduate school and your specific interests in the graduate program at Brandeis. You should consult your program of interest for specific details on statement of purpose contents. Please remember to include your name and proposed program on all pages of the statement. The statement must be submitted electronically when you complete the application for admission online.
The documents should be uploaded to your application. Do not email us or mail to us a copy of your documents. All documents mailed during the application process—with the exception of official score reports and official letters of recommendation—will be destroyed.
Writing sample requirements vary by department. Please visit your program of interest to see specific requirements by program. If you are unable to upload documents in PDF format, you may also use .doc, .docx, and .rtf. Other file types may be unreadable. You may upload a writing sample during the application process (if your program requires it) or after submission via the self-service portal.
You may specify a URL where your score file or audio file is located (i.e., on YouTube or Vimeo), but you must make sure that the link is active and as specific as possible so that your work may be easily reviewed without searching a website.
Application fees can be paid by electronic check or credit card (Mastercard, Visa, Discover, and American Express). You will be prompted to pay the fee upon application submission. If you submit a paper application, then our office will notify you regarding when to make a payment.
See Application Fees for information about application fee waivers.
Your application will not be reviewed for admission until the fee is received or waived. There will be an alert on your self-service portal if your application fee payment is outstanding. This alert will contain a link that will take you to the payment page.