Information for International Students

Professors Xinran Zhang and Jeff Urbach

Interested in coming to Washington DC for your Ph.D. at Georgetown University?

Like most universities in the United States, students do not usually choose a Ph.D. project or Ph.D. supervisor until after they arrive. Students attend a year of coursework and then commence small research rotations to get exposure to different areas of expertise. Students with clear research interests or advanced (Masters) standing are encouraged to begin research as soon as they can. Please consult the research interests of our faculty.

You may be surprised at how rapidly you feel at home here! Georgetown University offers a vibrant international community in one of the most international of cities in the United States. The complete application requirements are described on our Graduate School Information Page. Specific details for our international applicants are provided below.

Students with International Masters Degrees

Many foreign universities offer an extended undergraduate program that earns a Masters degree. Those students whose masters degree contains coursework equivalent to our first-year Ph.D. coursework may be able to enter the program with advanced standing. Transfer credits are determined on a case-by-case basis. These countries have Masters programs at some universities that can qualify for advanced standing:

European Countries:

Austria Belgium
Czech Republic Denmark
Finland France
Germany Italy
Luxembourg Netherlands
Norway Poland
Portugal Spain
Sweden Switzerland
United Kingdom

Asian Countries

Japan India
Iran* Singapore
South Korea Taiwan

* For example Sharif, IASBS (Zanjan), Isfahan, Tehran U.

North America


Grade requirements

The Graduate School requires a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better for applicants (this corresponds to a 2.1 Degree in the UK, 2.0 in Germany, and 14/20 in France). Masters students should have higher marks (i.e. a GPA of 3.5 in the USA, a First Class degree in the UK, 14/20 in France, 2.0/1.5 in Germany, Laurea Magistrale with 100+ in Italy).

For comparison, the highest US classification is typically an A, or a 4.0, while the next highest classification is typically a B, which is 3.0.

Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

Please see Application Requirements Page for More Info.

You must take the general Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Make sure you take the exam in time for the application deadline, which is usually late December. The general GRE is offered in most countries at different times. (Detailed information about the test) This exam tests your written, logical, and mathematical abilities and is required for almost all US Ph.D. programs, regardless of the subject.

In addition to the general GRE, we require the Physics Subject GRE. This exam tests your knowledge of the subject. The Physics exam is infrequent, we advise you to take the Physics GRE no later than September or October of the year before the application deadline. If you are unable to take the physics subject exam prior to the application deadline, please contact us to discuss your options.

TOEFL (new window) and IELTS (new window) Examination

Students from non-English speaking countries must demonstrate their proficiency in English by taking either the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam. The minimum required TOEFL score is 600 (paper) or 100 (iBT). For the IELTS, the minimum required score is 7.5. These requirements are stricter than those of the graduate school. GRE scores are valid for 5 years from the date of the test, while TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for 2 years from the date of the test. The requirement is waived for students with a degree from an English-speaking institution.

Financial Support

Students who are admitted to the Ph.D. program will have financial support (for both living expenses and tuition) as either a Teaching Assistant (typically at the beginning of the Ph.D.) or as a Research Assistant.

Application Deadline

Applications will be given full consideration if received by January 15th (the academic year starts in August). If you learn about the program postdeadline, contact us for your options.