Frequently Asked Questions for Graduate-level Physics Degree Applicants

Before consulting this FAQ page, prospective students should have read the main information page for Graduate Program Applicants.

Because of the relatively large number of questions and answers posted below, you may want to narrow-down using the category headings, or else try searching this site using the search box found at the bottom of the navigation links on the left.

Financial Aid

Courses and Exams

Admission Requirements & Statistics

Application Deadlines

Application Process

Letters of Recommendation

International only

International only — English test

Financial Aid

What percentage of admitted applicants receive Assistantships?
100% of admitted applicants are offered an Assistantship. Normally, we do not offer admission to US or to international applicants unless we are able to provide both an Assistantship and a full tuition scholarship. This applies whether the student joins in fall (August) or in spring (January).

Will my chance of admission be improved if I indicate in my application that I don't need an Assistantship?
As explained in the previous answer, we automatically assume that every applicant needs an Assistantship. Sometimes an applicant already has a special fellowship from some organization, or has an agreement with an employer who will support the applicant's graduate education either part-time or full-time. Of course, we look very favorably on applications of this kind, and we will "go the extra mile" to help such applicants to meet our academic criteria for admission into our graduate-level physics degree programs. Applicants in this particular situation are normally not required to have taken the Physics GRE exam.

Video frame from rotating 3-D event display of a relativistic gold-gold collision   How can I know if I will receive full-time or half-time support during the summer?
Students on a Research Assistantship receive full summer support, or $24,000 over 12 months. The physics department provides every student on a Teaching Assistantship with support for 1.5 months during the 3 summer months. That means every such student gets at least $21,000 per year. In order for a first-year student to get 12 months of full support rather than the minimum of 10.5 months, he/she needs to have an individual agreement with a professor who has grant funding and whose group is seeking to recruit a new student. In this scenario, the first-year student would do introductory research half-time in this professor's group during the summer. It is up to the initiative of the individual student to arrange this, and it typically would be arranged during the spring preceding the summer term in question.

There are two additional possible ways for a first-year student to receive a total of $23,000 or $24,000 during their first 12 months at Kent; for further details, please refer to the Financial Aid & Scholarships section of our main informational page for applicants.

I am concerned about the unusually bad economic conditions right now, which might be even worse in six months or a year. If I come to your university, is there a danger that my financial aid might later be cut or cancelled?
Over 95% of the funding for our graduate program comes from the US Federal Government and from the Government of the State of Ohio.  These sources are not in any danger of disappearing completely, but in the worst-case scenario, might be frozen or even cut a few percent during a recession. If such cuts are needed, we will offer admission to fewer students in future years (we normally intend to admit roughly 10 new students each August, plus a few more in January), but we always maintain support for our enrolled graduate students and their research, regardless of the economy being good or bad.  We have had a physics graduate program since the 1960s, and the above has been true since the beginning.

Courses & Exams

What is the level of first-year graduate classes? Since I already have a Master's degree in physics, can I skip some of the first-year graduate classes?
The level of first-year graduate classes is intended for physics majors who have graduated with a BS degree from a typical US college or university. Admitted applicants who already have completed graduate-level coursework in physics and are seeking a PhD Physics degree, are invited to take our diagnostic Candidacy Exam immediately upon entering our program. Based on the results of this exam, an entering student and his/her curriculum advisor will normally tailor an appropriately shortened schedule of classes.

I have passed the PhD Qualifying/Candidacy Exam at another US university, but now I want to transfer to Kent State. Do I need to take this exam again?
Beginning in fall 2007, our department adopted a new policy whereby we will consider accepting the Candidacy Exam results from another US university on a case-by-case basis.

Admission Requirements & Statistics

Based on statistics from past years, what are my chances to be admitted?
The most common reason for applicants to be denied admission is an incomplete application. If you do not submit all the items needed for a completed application, then the Admissions Committee of the Physics Department will not receive your file from our university-wide admissions office, and then you have zero probability to be offered admission. A related problem, which affects several applicants each year, is a delay whereby the last item needed for a complete application file arrives too late. If we assume that file completion is not in doubt, then we can often provide prospective students with much better information on their admission probability than just statistics from past years — see the answer to the next question.

I think I satisfy the minimum requirements listed on your website, but I am not sure. Can you review my CV and tell me if my chances to be admitted with aid are high or low?
Yes, we will try do this. If you provide a CV or a brief e-mailed summary of your grades and available test scores, any special distinctions/awards, a mention of your research experience (if any), you can request a specific estimate of your chances to be offered admission. In some cases, we can give a prospective applicant a reasonably clear answer immediately, based on an e-mail inquiry to: PhysGPC@kent.edu

Of course, if relevant information is missing or if the strength of your application so far appears similar to that of many other applicants, then it is difficult to give you a definite answer.

What minimum scores do you require the Physics GRE?
We highly recommend the Subject (Physics) GRE test, but we have not established any definite minimum score. When interpreting an applicant's Physics GRE score, we take many factors into account, e.g., what courses he or she has completed by the date of the test, when and where the courses were taken, etc.

Now it is too late to take the Physics GRE. Can I send instead the results from my physics Master's Entrance Exam?
Although we would not consider this a substitute for the Physics GRE, it is useful to send us the information about your percentile rank on this type of exam.

I got a bad score on my first GRE attempt. If I try again, will you average my score over both attempts?
We don't average. Generally, we assume that your best score represents your true ability.

Video Frame from protein folding / unfolding calculation by Prof. Portman's group   I will finish my degree in May, but since I need to apply in January, my transcript will be incomplete. Is this a problem?
No, it is not a problem. Send your incomplete transcript. If you are offered admission, and if your in-progress degree is a requirement for admission, then you will be required to later send your final transcript showing your completed degree, or alternatively, you may bring that final transcript with you when you come to Kent to enroll.

My undergraduate degree is not in physics, but now I am very interested in one of the research areas of the Kent State Physics Department. Can I be admitted to your PhD Physics program?
We will consider applications from prospective students whose background and training are in an area other than Physics, such as Physical Chemistry, Material Science, or certain branches of Engineering. If your transcript shows that you have taken most of the core physics courses typically taken by Physics Majors, then there should be no problem. If your transcript shows that several of the relevant core courses are missing, but you have been exposed to that material in some other way and if you have gotten reasonable scores on the Physics (Subject) GRE, again we would encourage you to submit an application.

Is there a recommended CV format? What am I expected to write about in my "Statement of Goals"?
You have a lot of discretion here. It is entirely your choice when deciding the format of your CV. At minimum, we recommend that you list all third-level institutions you have attended, your degrees, your Grade Point Average or overall percent marks from each university, and any academic awards or honors you have obtained. If you have taken any entrance exam in physics or a physics-related subject, you should mention your rank on that exam. Briefly summarize any physics or physics-related research projects in which you have participated. If you are an international student, it is a good idea to give your scores on any standard English Proficiency test you have taken.

Regarding your Statement of Goals (which can be submitted either as part of the online application forms, or can be sent later as an e-mail attachment, or can even be sent as a hardcopy along with your transcript) applicants often discuss topics and answer questions such as the following:

  • Why are you interested in physics?
  • Why are you interested in a PhD from Kent State University?
  • What areas of physics research most attract you, and why?
  • What exposure have you had to the areas of physics research you prefer?
  • What career direction do you plan to follow after completing your degree?

If you have broad interests within physics, and still have an open mind about which area of research you would like to pursue, this is often viewed by our Admission Committee as a positive attribute, and certainly does not put your application at a disadvantage.

The above are just examples, and you may address somewhat different issues if you wish. There is no expectation about the minimum or maximum length of your CV or your Statement of Goals.

How important is research experience? I expect to have a paper about my research published, but it is not ready yet. How important is this publication?
It is an advantage for applicants to have research experience, and this is one factor among many that we take into account in admission decisions. However, research experience is not a requirement. Regarding publications and other measures of research quality and productivity, these depend a lot on your supervisor and on other factors that are often beyond the control of student researchers. Therefore, we do not attach a lot of importance to whether a paper about your research has been published yet.

The physics website says that a "student with an academic record not truly representative of his/her present ability is also welcome to apply and submit additional supporting information". More specifically, what does this mean?
It may happen that a prospective student has a relatively poor overall GPA due to low grades during the early stages of his/her undergraduate work, or during some other specific time interval. We are willing to overlook such an episode if an explanation is provided, and if mitigating evidence can be found in the applicant's file. This is part of why we say that each application is given "individual attention".

How many new students will you admit next year? How many new international students will you admit?
We plan to admit about 10 new students in August each year. We will admit a smaller number in January each year. Averaged over the past several years, roughly half our new enrollees have been international students.

Application Deadlines

How strict is the deadline for submission of online application forms?
For reasons explained in the next two answers, the date by which application forms need to be submitted is not subject to a strict deadline. Each year, some students begin their applications after the recommended date, and still are in time to receive full consideration. Note, however that the reverse can happen, i.e., a prospective student begins his/her application by the recommended date, but unforeseen delays or problems result in their completed application arriving at the Physics Department too late to be considered for the desired semester. To guarantee that the latter situation does not arise, students should begin their applications earlier than the recommended date and should monitor the status of their application by logging in from time to time and being prompt and proactive in taking corrective action if the needed documents do not show up as being received within the normal time schedule.

Is there any advantage if I submit my application well before the recommended date?
The short answer is yes. The most important date is when your application file is certified by our central university-wide admissions office as being complete, at which point your electronic file is forwarded to the Physics Admissions Committee for review. This date determines whether your application can receive full consideration for the semester to which you applied. If your file is too late when it arrives at the Physics Department, we will offer you the opportunity to transfer your application to the following semester (most frequently, this means transferring from August to the following January).

For Fall (August) applications, we recommend submission of online application forms sooner than the end of January. This normally, but not always, leads to a completed file in early March or sooner. International applicants in particular should allow extra time for possible problems with transcripts being in the wrong format, missing letters of recommendation, or delays in arrival of TOEFL or IELTS score reports. Also, our Office of International Affairs is typically swamped with documents in January, February and March, and it takes extra time to investigate any problems that might arise during these months.

In most years, applications that are complete by early to mid-March will receive full consideration. In some years, we have a second round of reviews of applications and a second round of offers after mid-April, and if this second round happens, applications that missed the first round are considered. Otherwise, late applications cannot be considered for August admission, and must wait at least until Spring applicants are reviewed.

For all of the above reasons, we strong recommend getting started on your application early, and doing so is the easiest way to possibly giving yourself an advantage over other applicants.

I am just about to fill out my online application forms, and the recommended date has already passed. How can I speed-up my application and make sure that I receive full consideration?
If you are just a week or two later than the recommended date, one or more of the following steps could help you to make up for lost time and speed-up completion of your application file:

  • Make sure that your 9-digit ID number accompanies all documents (you are not required to do this, but it reduces the chance of one of your documents ending up in another applicant's file).
  • Send your hardcopy transcript by express mail or by a delivery service (FedEx, etc.)
  • Avoid requesting a waiver of your application fee.
  • (For International applicants: pay the extra charge for expedited delivery of official score reports for English Proficiency).

Application Process

What is the advantage of using the Online Application?
Images related to Liquid Crystal research by Prof. Kumar's group The online system is faster, and is more convenient for nearly all applicants. The first step of the online application is for you to create a Login ID and a password (in the form of a 6-digit PIN code). Once you have done this, you can login any time and enter information. This avoids the need to enter all information in a single session.

Within a few working days after you finish filling-out the online application forms and have submitted them, you will receive an e-mail acknowledgement, which also issues you your 9-digit ID number. Using this 9-digit ID, you can login to check the status of your application file, and the website will let you know when each of the needed documents has been received (see this example). The online system also sends you automatic e-mail reminders every couple of weeks to inform you of what expected documents are still missing.

How do I get a PIN number for the Online Application?
The first time you visit the Online Application webpage, you choose a PIN number for yourself.

Originally I applied for a certain semester, but now instead I want to be considered for admission in the following semester. What do I need to do?
You need only send e-mail to PhysGPC@kent.edu and request the transfer of your application to the next semester.

May I submit photocopies or scanned copies of my transcript or of my GRE or TOEFL scores?
University rules require official hardcopy transcripts to be sent by postal mail. You must send us copies directly issued by your university.

University rules also require TOEFL scores to be sent directly to us from ETS. Please be aware that it can take 4 to 6 weeks for delivery of scores from ETS to us. If international students use IELTS for their English test, Kent State University may be able to use the IELTS download service to verify your IELTS score, which can save time. See our main Applicant Information Page for specific instructions.

If the date is after mid-February and if your application is mostly complete and the main missing item is GRE (or TOEFL for foreign applicants), then the Admissions Committee of the Kent State physics department wants to be informed of your scores as soon as you know them.

When instructing ETS about sending scores directly to Kent State, what Department Code and Institution Code should I use?

The Department Code you specify should not matter, but if you are forced to pick something, use 0808. The Institution Code for Kent State University is 1367 (to minimize the chance of a mistake, if possible select by name rather than number).

I wish to submit my application without the fee, in case the Physics Dept might pay it, but the Online Application system still prompts me to pay the fee by credit card.
Make sure that all pages associated with the online application have been filled-out (but you may leave blank any boxes that do not have a red star indicating required information). Also, be sure to click on the "Application is Complete" button in order to enter your application into our system. You are allowed to submit your application without paying beforehand; payment can follow at a later time. To bypass the page where you are prompted to pay, just click the button that says "sign out". If you get an error message after clicking the "sign out" button, that does not mean that your application has a problem. If you see a message saying:
This web application is complete but has not yet been processed
this verifies that you have correctly submitted your online application forms.

Nuclear physics experiment e154 at SLAC (Petratos/Katramatou)   I need to use the paper-based application method, and I have been granted a waiver of the application fee. Do I need to enclose a note to indicate that fact?
It is a good idea to do this. Note that if you submit an application for a graduate-level physics degree program on paper forms and request a waiver of the application fee via a letter included with your application (instead of by e-mail), then your request will generally not be seen by the physics department, and in that case, your waiver request cannot be considered.

I submitted an application some time ago that was complete in all respects except the fee was not paid. The online system still shows that my fee was not paid. What has happened?
The Physics Dept has not finished the evaluation of applications, or your application has not yet been ranked amongst those that academically warrant admission. That can change as time goes on. If we get to the stage where your application is considered to warrant admission on academic grounds, we will pay the fee and inform you.

What is the procedure to apply to two separate departments at Kent State University?
You begin the online application by choosing your login ID and PIN.  You should use the same login ID and PIN for both applications.  Submit one, then go back, and you will have the option to submit a second application to the second department.  Two separate fees must be paid.   Supporting documents need to be sent only once.  However, supporting documents must be accompanied by a note to specify that you are applying to both programs.

Where should US Citizen & Residents send their documents?
After you fill-out the online forms, you need to send various documents to complete your application. Your official transcripts (from each school where 9 semester-hours or more were earned) should be mailed to:

Research and Graduate Studies, Office of Graduate Services
116 Cartwright Hall
Kent State University
P.O. Box 5190
Kent, OH 44242-0001

Phone: 330 672 2661

Other documents (including Statement of Goals, CV, Letters of Recommendation) may be sent to GradApps@kent.edu as e-mail attachments, or can be included in the same envelope with your transcripts if you prefer.

International applicants should use different addresses, as given below.

Letters of Recommendation

What are the allowed ways for Letters of Recommendation to be sent to Kent State University?
You need to request your recommenders to send us their letters. They may send letters electronically or they may send hardcopy letters to the same address where you send your transcript. Acceptable formats include .pdf or .doc or .rtf attachments, or the letter can be just plain text in the body of an e-mail from your recommender. Most of the time, letters come to us directly from recommenders, but sometimes an applicant gathers hardcopy letters and sends them, for example, in the same envelope as transcripts. This way is less common but is permitted under our rules.

At two-week intervals, you will receive an automatic e-mail reminder to let you know if any expected documents are still missing, and if one of your expected letters is missing, you will be notified which one. You may also login with your ID and PIN to check this status at any time.

To what e-mail address should e-letters of recommendation be sent?
GradApps@kent.edu for US citizens and residents, and IntlAdm@kent.edu for international applicants. If the 9-digit ID number of the applicant is known, it is a good idea (but not essential) to include that information in the message accompanying the e-letter.

What is the physics department's policy on use of the Kent State Letter of Recommendation form?
If your recommender plans to send a paper letter, he/she is free to add this form or not, whichever is preferred by you and/or the recommender. Recommenders who send an e-letter rarely include the form. However, please note that we request your recommenders not to send the form as a substitute for a letter.

Is there any advantage if I send more than three Letters of Recommendation?
Normally three letters are enough.  Sometimes one recommender writes a very short letter without much meaningful information.  In that situation, an extra letter can be helpful.  Also, one person may forget to write or might be very slow; in that situation, it is a good idea to ask four people to write.

International Only

How soon can I come if I apply immediately and I am accepted?
International applications are initially processed by our university-wide Office of International Affairs.  When all the required documents have been received and the application file is complete, it is forwarded to the Admissions Committee of the physics department for a decision on admission.  Most admitted PhD students start in our program at the beginning of the Fall semester each year (August).  Students who begin in August typically have submitted their application documents around January that year.

Diagram of bent Liquid Crystal molecule, as revealed through X-ray studies by Prof. Kumar   I have looked over the Kent State Physics website, and I'm very interested in the research done by Prof. X. I would like to apply immediately to begin PhD research in Prof. X's group. Is this possible?
This is a variation on the second most common e-mailed question from international students. Please refer to our separate page just for this particular question and its answer.

All the documents needed for admission are attached to this e-mail that I am sending to the Physics Department. Do I need to do anything else to apply for the advertised PhD Studentship?
This is a variation on the most common e-mailed question from international students. Please refer to our separate page just for this particular question and its answer.

The university where I did my bachelor's degree does not use GPA, and does not convert our marks into equivalent GPA. Is this a problem?
No, it is not a problem. Our Office of International Affairs is very knowledgeable about grading and assessment at universities around the world. You do not need to convert your marks to equivalent GPA. Just send your official English-language transcript to us, and we will assess your record according to the normal standards used by most US universities to calculate equivalent GPA for your country/university.

Is my 3-year B.Sc. degree accepted as equivalent to a Bachelors degree from a US university?
Three-year B.Sc. degrees from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and from certain Canadian institutions are not accepted by the State of Ohio as equivalent, and an applicant holding one of these B.Sc. degrees is required to also have a Master's degree in order to qualify for graduate admission.

The Kent State Office of International Affairs says that my transcript has a "consolidated mark sheet" and it cannot be accepted. What does this mean?
Kent State University has a rule that so-called “consolidated mark sheets” are not accepted.  The consolidated format is a condensed summary format, from which some information may be removed, and many US universities do not accept this format.  Consolidation normally removes Fails, Repeated Courses and Withdrawals from the record.  US universities never use consolidation when issuing transcripts.  The reason for the rule is that if consolidated mark sheets were accepted, it could give the affected international students an unfair advantage in GPA comparisons with US students and with international students from universities that issue transcripts in the normal format.  

Exactly which transcripts are needed? Do I need to send transcripts from my college?
Transcripts are needed from each third-level institution you have attended. Confusion sometimes arises from the very different meaning of the word "college" in US and British/Commonwealth English. In US usage, "college" is always a third-level institution, where a student takes courses that count towards a bachelor's degree, whereas "college" can refer to a secondary-level school in other countries. Getting back to the question, transcripts are needed from any third-level institution where you took courses that counted towards your bachelor's degree, and if you pursued further study after your B.Sc., transcripts for that work also need to be submitted. A transcript for your secondary-level studies is not needed.

Visualization related to model simulation of a nuclear collision  What are the guidelines for filling out the Financial Information Worksheet?
Kent State University requires this worksheet ( see link to pdf form near the end of this page) mostly because departments outside the sciences sometimes offer admission without much financial aid. Since our Physics Department offers everyone who is admitted an Assistantship and a full tuition scholarship, the worksheet numbers are not so important for our applicants. However, you still need to submit this form and a bank statement. Original documents are not needed, and you may submit e-mail attachments. If you wish, you may print the Financial Information Worksheet and fill-out the form by hand.

Applicants should demonstrate that they have (or can borrow) enough to pay for their travel to come to Kent, Ohio. When new students arrive, they receive $500 almost immediately and then their first assistantship payment comes on September 15. Applicants should demonstrate that they have sufficient financial resources to handle this situation.

I have already filled-out the online application, and I mailed my hardcopy documents a couple of weeks ago. Have you received my documents?
The easiest way for the Physics Graduate Coordinator to check this question is to look in a summary report that is normally several days old. In contrast, the information you yourself can get when you login with your 9-digit ID (see this example) is fully up-to-date. If you have checked this and found that your documents do not show up, you need to wait and check later. Your documents may already have arrived here in Kent, but perhaps have not yet been scanned and entered into our university-wide database of applicants. See also the answers to the next two questions.

I sent my hardcopy transcript by a courier service and I have proof of receipt by Kent State University. However, your Office of International Affairs e-mailed me several days later and said that certain documents, including my transcript, are still needed. Do I need to send my transcript again?
No, you don't need to send it again. The e-mail you received from our Office of International Affairs (OIA) is an automatic reminder that goes out about every two weeks.  This e-mail reminder is based on what was in our electronic database shortly before the message went out.  It takes time for paper documents to be scanned and entered into our online database, and even with all OIA staff working overtime, a backlog can build up at the busiest time of the year (January to March). Be assured that this type of delay does not mean that any of your documents have been lost. Please wait a week or so, and then login and check again, as explained in the previous answer.

I sent my documents a few weeks ago, but they do not show up when I login. What can I do now to make sure that my application will be completed?
First of all, if you are concerned about your TOEFL score report, please keep in mind that ETS takes 4 to 6 weeks to deliver official score reports to universities.

All international applications for all departments at Kent State University are handled initially by our Office of International Affairs (OIA). The Physics Department cannot take any official action on your application until OIA sends us your electronic file after verifying that it is complete. If you have a problem related to missing documents, your first step should be to contact OIA using the guidelines below.

OIA receives a very large volume of e-mails every day. To maximize the chance that you will receive prompt assistance, you must supply all the information needed. The question above does not contain nearly enough information for an OIA staff member to help you. Please make sure to include the following, whenever relevant and possible:

  • Your 9-digit ID number;
  • An exact explanation of what document(s) are missing;
  • The date when each missing document was sent;
  • The name of the sender of each missing document (this might be you, or it might be a Professor who directly sent a recommendation letter);
  • If the above refers to an e-mail attachment, also give the e-mail address of the sender;
  • The address to which the missing document(s) were sent;
  • If the missing document(s) were not sent by e-mail, state the method used to send them;
  • Be sure to include the full thread of past e-mail communications at the bottom of any new message.

The Physics Department might be able to help you as a last resort if you have already tried several times and are still unable to solve a problem using the guidelines above. Include all prior e-mails if you need our assistance.

Do I need to pay taxes on the Assistantship? If so, how much?
The answer is maybe, as explained below.  US tax rules can be quite complicated, and this webpage cannot offer formal tax advice. Information given here might be incomplete or out-of-date. The Kent State Office of International Affairs has staff who can assist new students with tax questions.

Some countries have a Tax Treaty with the US which may allow their citizens to earn money in the US without US Federal Tax for a certain period of years; see this link or other internet resources for further details about the individual treaties.

If your home country does not have a favorable Tax Treaty with the US, then you are generally liable for US Federal Taxes.  The rate of tax depends on many factors.  If you have an accompanying family to support, your tax could be zero or very small.  If you are single, you can still deduct various amounts from your income (this is one of the not-so-simple issues), and then you might pay 15% US Federal Tax on the remainder of your income.  Because of the deductions, your total tax can be considerably less than 15% of your total income.  Many more details can be found on the internet.

Where should international applicants send their documents?
After you fill-out the online forms, you need to send various documents to complete your application. An official hardcopy of your transcripts should be mailed to:

Office of Global Education
Kent State University
106 Van Campen Hall
625 Loop Rd
Kent OH 44242
USA
phone: +1 330 672 7980

You may use postal mail or a package delivery company.

Other documents (including Statement of Goals, CV, Letters of Recommendation) may be sent to IntlAdm@kent.edu as e-mail attachments, or can be included in the same envelope with your transcripts if you prefer. Refer to these instructions regarding sending proof of your English proficiency.

International Only — English Test

I took my English test some years ago. Do I need to take it again?
At the time of your application, if more than two years have passed since you took your English test, your score is officially expired and the testing organization will no longer verify your score or send it directly to our university. This applies to both TOEFL and IELTS. In this situation, you are required to re-take the test. However, see also the answer to the next question.

I am a foreign applicant, but by next summer I will have completed my Master's degree at a university in the US. Do I still need to take a test of English?
If you will have completed two or more years of study at a university in the US or in another English-speaking country at the time of your requested enrollment at Kent State University, then you are exempt from the requirement to take a test of English. If you will have completed a Master's Degree from a university in the US or in another English-speaking country, even if the duration of your Master's study is under two years, you are also exempt from the requirement to take a test of English.

Liquid Crystalline material under a polarizing microscope, courtesy of Prof. Jim Gleeson   I have tried to register for the next TOEFL exam. The earliest date I can get a seat might be too late for me to apply for Fall admission, since Kent State will not receive my score until several weeks after the test date. What can I do?
Our first round of offers for fall semester admission is normally finished by the beginning of April. We sometimes have a second round of offers that continues until sometime in May. If your TOEFL score (or any other item required for a complete file) arrives too late, you will still be considered, but your chance of Fall Semester admission is reduced. It might be advantageous for you to consider IELTS instead of TOEFL. Check the IELTS website and select your country from the pull-down menu. Results from that test might be available to us at an earlier date.

I sent my official transcript and a photocopy of my IELTS score report in the same envelope. Now when I check online, I see that Kent State has received my transcript but not my IELTS score. What has happened?

This is normal. Your IELTS score will not show up in our online system until your score report has been officially verified by IELTS.  Our Office of International Affairs will try to do this, but it is not an instant process.  If your score report is verified successfully, then it will later show up online as received; otherwise, our Office of International Affairs will write e-mail to you to explain what is needed to verify your score.

Can you consider my application before I take the English exam, or before the score is sent to your university? If accepted, I will make sure that all needed items are submitted.
In order to be considered as a normal category of applicant and to be eligible for financial aid, you must have already demonstrated English Proficiency. International applications are initially received by our Office of International Affairs. If an essential required item is missing (TOEFL / IELTS or any other requirement), the file for that applicant remains on hold in the Office of International Affairs, and is never sent to the Physics Department for consideration by our Admissions Committee. Nearly every university in the US applies a rule similar to this.

If you have full financial support from your home country but have not yet demonstrated English Proficiency, it is sometimes the case that your home country will support you to study English at a US university for a semester or two before you transfer to a graduate program in your major subject. If this is your situation, please contact us for more details about your options.

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