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Interviewing for PhD Programs

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Based on the quality of your application materials, you will be called for an interview if the school is interested in meeting you.

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You can contact the school and ask questions about the interview process, although the following is usually provided before the interviews.

  • Who are the interviewers
    • faculty
    • students
    • administrators of the school
  • How many are there
  • What is the school looking for in its students


Prepare for the interview.

  • Practice with faculty, other students, etc.
  • Re-read your personal statement
  • Review your research experiences so that you can discuss the research
  • Dress appropriately and comfortably


Ask questions both to inform yourself and to demonstrate an interest in the school (otherwise why go?)

  • Coursework - required and elective?
  • Rotations - why, how many?
  • Other hurdles - prelims, qualifying exams?
  • Financial aid package, how much, how long, what are the sources?
  • Teaching opportunities versus TAing to finance grad school?
  • Research opportunities?
  • Average time to degree?
  • Outcome of graduates?


Pay attention to the environment while you are there.

  • Are students and faculty readily available to meet with you when you visit?
  • Do students seem happy to be in the program/school?
  • Is the atmosphere and culture what you want/need?


Be aware that you are being evaluated the entire time you are on the campus, not just during the one-on one faculty interviews.

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