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 provide a copy of their passport or visa document and 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, 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.

To ensure maximum benefit from academic study at VCU, all non-native English-speaking applicants, regardless of immigration status, must provide evidence of English language proficiency before enrollment.

English waiver:

  • Completion of a degree (bachelor's or higher) from a university or college within the U.S., Canada, UK or Australia.
  • Completion of six semester hours of college-level English composition with a grade of C or better (excluding ESL classes) from a U.S. university or college.
  • Residing in the U.S. for 10 years or more (domestic applicants).

Examinations and test scores: VCU's testing code is 5570

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): The best TOEFL score is accepted and all scores making up the MBT score should be submitted. Scores are valid for two years.

  • 80 IBT for graduates (some graduate programs may require a higher score)
  • 8.5 TOEFL Essential

International English Language Testing System (IELTS): Scores are valid for two years.

  • 6.5 for graduates (some graduate programs may require a higher score)

Pearson Test of English: Scores are valid for two years.

  • 65 for graduates

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.

VCU recognizes professional evaluators who are members of the following organizations. Please use the links below to select an evaluator to evaluate your transcript. Please ensure that you request a course-by-course type of evaluation:

The applicant must provide proof of adequate funds to live and study full time at VCU by submitting an  I-20 DS Request Form - 2021-2022  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 $70 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 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.

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.F.A. 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.

Application instructions

The instructions on this page are for international applicants, including non-immigrants who are currently residing outside of the U.S. and plan to come on an F1 or J1 visa and non-immigrants currently residing in the U.S. under a visa. If you are a domestic applicant, to include U.S. citizens, permanent residents, refugees/asylees and undocumented students, please visit the graduate admissions website.

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