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Graduate applicants

Ready to apply for a graduate program at VCU? You’ve come to the right place. Before you get started, here’s what you need to know:

  • Applicants for admission to VCU graduate programs must hold the academic equivalent of a U.S. baccalaureate degree from an accredited university.
  • You must complete any special departmental requirements in advance, including standardized tests, and the appropriate testing agency must send your official test results to the Office of Admissions.
  • The Graduate School Bulletin provides information about VCU’s schools and their available graduate programs, including those offered through VCU health sciences schools. The Graduate Bulletin lists the type of degree awarded, terms of entry, application deadline dates, test and other admission requirements for each of these programs.
  • Program requirements and deadlines vary by department, so pay close attention to those that apply to your chosen field of study.
  • Depending on your academic history, you may be required to take additional coursework to strengthen your academic preparation for graduate study.

The admission process for international graduate students can take six to eight weeks, depending on how soon the applicant can provide the necessary materials.

In addition to the online graduate program application, applicants must also submit the following materials — all of which are required for application processing.

The applicant must provide a personal statement discussing reasons for pursuing graduate study. 

All applicants must present grades (marks) that reflect superior ability and serious effort.

Original or officially certified copies of all grade reports for all secondary and higher school studies — as well as original or officially certified copies of all academic diplomas, certificates and national or other major examination results — must be submitted in the native language along with an official English translation. Notarized copies will not be accepted.

Photographic copies or other duplications are only acceptable if the copies have been signed and sealed by the appropriate school or government official.

Your school records must include:

  • Dates of attendance at each institution
  • A complete list of courses taken and grades received at each institution, including the number of weeks and hours per week in lecture or laboratory for each course
  • Degrees and diplomas earned from each school or university, indicating class or division of diploma (if appropriate)
  • Names of examinations passed, grades received and minimum/maximum possible grades (if appropriate)

Once your application has been submitted, any other documents may be sent electronically to globalfiles@vcu.edu, or by postal mail to:

Virginia Commonwealth University — International Admissions
408 West Franklin Street
Box 843012
Richmond, Virginia 23284-3043

Students transferring from within the U.S.

If you are transferring from a university-level institution within the U.S., you must apply online and submit your secondary school records, as well as university transcripts.

Admission will be based on your U.S. records only if you have completed more than one year of full-time study.

Transfer students from within the U.S. must be in good academic standing and be eligible to return to the last college or university attended. You must fill out the first section of the Immigration Transfer in Clearance Form and comply with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services regulations.

Your U.S. school’s foreign student adviser should then complete the Immigration Transfer-In Clearance Form PDF and send it to the Office of Admissions.

All applicants whose native language is not English must sit for the Test of English as a Foreign Language, the International English Language Testing System test or the Pearson Test of English and arrange for the testing agency to send the results to VCU (code 5570).

The recommended minimum TOEFL score for VCU graduate admission is either 100 iBT, 600 PBT or IELTS scores of 6.5 (academic band score). The required PTE score is 65. In some cases, students may be admissible with scores lower than those listed above as determined by individual departments at VCU.

Under those circumstances, students may be admitted provisionally with the need for developmental English education. These students must take VCU’s English Language Placement examination and successfully complete subsequent prescribed language training at an additional expense, or submit appropriate test scores that satisfy VCU requisites for language proficiency.

Students who hold a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from an accredited college or university located in the U.S. are typically exempt from taking the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE as part of the graduate admission process.

Individual departments or schools may have special requirements such as the Graduate Record Examination or Graduate Management Admission Test.

Visit the VCU Graduate Bulletin for details on specific program requirements.

All programs require three letters of recommendation.

International students on F-1 visas studying in the United States may not take more than 25 percent of their total semester course load in any online, distance or hybrid class. For example, if an F-1 student is enrolled in 12 hours, no more than three hours may be taken in an online, distance or hybrid course.

Prospective students who have studied outside of the U.S. must provide an official course-by-course external credential evaluation as a required part of the admission process. This report should be sealed and unopened, and sent directly to the Office of Admissions.

All official transcripts and relevant credentials (e.g., diplomas and marksheets) will be required if admitted. All external credential evaluations should be no older than two years as of the official date received by the Office of Admissions.

Once credentials and/or credential evaluations are sent to VCU, they will not be returned to the prospective student or sent to a third party.

View the professional evaluators recognized at VCU. 

Educational Credential Evaluators Inc. (ECE)
P.O. Box 92970
Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53202-0970
Phone: (414) 289-3400
Fax: (414) 289-3411
Website: www.ece.org
***ECE is recommended for undergraduate engineering and School of Nursing.

World Education Services (WES)
P.O. Box 5087
Bowling Green Station
New York, New York 10274-5087
Phone: (212) 966-6311
Fax: (212) 739-6100
Website: www.wes.org
***WES is not recommended for high school transcripts.

SpanTran Evaluation Services
2400 Augusta Drive, Suite 451
Houston, Texas 77057
Phone: (713) 266-8805
Fax: (713) 789-6022
Email: apps@spantran.com
Website: www.spantran.com
***SpanTran provides translation services as well.

Academic Evaluation Services Inc.
5620 East Fowler Ave., Suite E
Tampa, Florida 33617
Phone: (813) 374-2020
Fax: (813) 374-2023
Website: http://aes-edu.org

Academic Credentials Evaluations Institute Inc.
P.O. Box 6908
Beverly Hills, California 90212
Phone: (310) 275-3530
Fax: (310) 275-3528
Website: www.acei1.com

Foreign Credits Inc.
29 E. Madiosn St., Suite 1005
Chicago, IL 60602
Phone: (312) 724-4216
Website: www.foreigncredits.com
***Foreign Credits Inc. provides translation services as well.

The applicant must provide proof of adequate funds to live and study full time at VCU by submitting an I-20 DS-2019 Request Form 2016-2017 accompanied by an original bank verification letter.

The U.S. government requires this certification before VCU can issue the appropriate U.S. government forms necessary for obtaining a visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate. The immigration officials at the U.S. port of entry also may request it.

You are required to certify that funds are available for the first year of study at VCU. In addition, you are expected to provide evidence that all money necessary for your travel, educational expenses and personal needs will be provided for the entire period of enrollment at VCU.

Because of the rising cost of living in the U.S. and variations in individual spending habits, the university cannot predict individual expenses exactly. Approximate annual expenses are listed below.

The amount that must be certified on your financial statement is shown for a nine-month program of study as a single student. For each dependent that may be coming to VCU with you, we require an additional $5,000 per dependent on the bank statement. Information on dependents must be clearly indicated on the completed financial statement.

For complete and official information about university costs, please contact VCU Student Accounting.

A $65 state-required application fee must accompany all applications. The application fee is nonrefundable and must be submitted online using a credit card.

Applications may not be processed if submitted without a fee.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to use the online application to upload and submit these materials (personal statements, resumes and letters of recommendation). The online application allows links to be sent to people you wish to provide recommendations on your behalf.

All supplemental application materials may be sent in PDF format to globalfiles@vcu.edu. Please make sure the applicant’s full name and/or Virginia Commonwealth University ID number are included in the text of the email.

Supplemental materials may also be mailed to:

Virginia Commonwealth University — International Admissions
408 West Franklin Street
Box 843012
Richmond, Virginia 23284-3043

Correspondence instructions

  • Write your address and full name — no initials — exactly as it appears on your passport on every letter and envelope each time you correspond with VCU.
  • Use the same order of names for all documents, test scores, etc.
  • If you have a U.S. Social Security number, include it on your application and use it on all correspondence with the university. If you do not have a U.S. Social Security number, a student identification number will be assigned for use on your application and all other correspondence with VCU.

If an educational agent is applying on your behalf, they will need to submit the Educational Agent Processing Agreement form.

Graduate programs at Virginia Commonwealth University require test scores (GRE/GMAT and TOEFL/IELTS for international students whose native language is not English) for application review.

Since it can be difficult to access testing centers abroad, many students have questions about potential conditional admissions.

The following programs are willing to review applications without test scores for potential conditional admissions; the review does not guarantee conditional admissions:

  • Engineering (all programs except biomedical engineering)
  • Forensic science
  • History
  • Interior design (M.S. program only)
  • Mathematical sciences with concentrations in operations research and statistics (M.S. program only)

If the program you are interested in is not listed, test scores must accompany your application to guarantee that it will be reviewed.

My education here has broadened my horizons. I see and think about my surroundings differently now.

Samina Iqbal
Ph.D. in art history
Class of 2016