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Apply as an international graduate student

Ready to apply for a graduate program at VCU? You’ve come to the right place. Follow the instructions below, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

To apply, you must complete an online application and submit the required materials outlined below.

International graduate student application

Overview

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 international 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 site 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 you must 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 course work 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.

Required materials

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

All supplemental application materials may be sent in PDF format to globalfiles@vcu.edu. Please make sure the applicant’s full name and/or VCU 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
P.O. Box 843012
Richmond, Virginia 23284-3043, U.S.A.

Write your address and full name — no initials — exactly as it appears on your passport on each letter and envelope every 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, and you may then use it on the application and all other correspondence with the university.

If an educational agent is applying on your behalf, he or she will need to submit the Educational Agent Processing Form PDF.

Personal statement

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

Academic documentation

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 and must be accompanied by 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)

Official records should be sent directly from your institution to:

Virginia Commonwealth University — International Admissions
408 West Franklin Street
P.O. Box 843012
Richmond, Virginia 23284-3043, U.S.A.

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 eligible to return to the last college or university attended. You must fill out the first section of the Immigration Transfer-In Clearance Form PDF 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 international admissions.

Proof of English proficiency

All applicants whose native language is not English must sit for the Test of English as a Foreign Language offered by the Educational Testing Service in countries throughout the world, and arrange for the testing agency to send the test results to VCU (code 5570). Students also may take the International English Language Testing System test.

The recommended minimum TOEFL score for VCU graduate admission is either 100 iBT, 600 PBT or IELTS scores of 6.5 (academic band score). 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 degrees 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 admissions process.

Additional academic requirements and regulations

Individual departments or schools have special requirements such as the Graduate Record Examination or Graduate Management Admission Test, and all require three letters of recommendation. Applicants may submit VCU School of the Arts portfolios online. Please visit the VCU Graduate School website for details on specific program requirements. The School of Social Work requires TOEFL scores and the completed Graduate Reference Form for all international applicants to the Ph.D. program.

International students on F-1 visas studying in the United States may not take any 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.

Foreign transcripts

Prospective students who have studied outside of the U.S. must provide an official WES or ECE external credential evaluation as part of the admissions 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) will be required if admitted.

Financial certification

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 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.

Application fee

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.

Deadlines

Applications must be submitted to international admissions by the individual department or school’s deadlines as stated in the Graduate School Bulletin.

Conditional admissions

Graduate programs at VCU require test scores (GRE/GMAT and TOEFL/IELTS for international students whose native language is not English) for application review. Since it can often be difficult to access testing centers abroad, many students have questions about potential conditional admissions; however this statement does not guarantee admission, just that applications will be reviewed.

The following programs are willing to review applications without test scores for possible conditional admissions. If the program you are looking to apply for is not listed below, you must have test scores to accompany your application and guarantee review.

  • 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)