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Academic Programs / Graduate Program / PHD Program / Frequently Asked Questions about Applying

Frequently Asked Questions about Applying


Is the GRE required for applying to the GWS doctoral program?


The GRE is not required for applicants to the GWS doctoral program.


Can the program be completed virtually / online?


No.  The GWS doctoral program is designed to be completed in person. 


Can I start the program in the spring semester?


No.  There is one admissions cycle per year, with a December 1st application deadline.  All admitted students must matriculate in the fall semester.


Is a Master’s degree required to apply to the doctoral program?


No.  Although most students in the doctoral program have already completed a Master’s degree, we do accept some students directly from undergraduate programs. 


Is the Graduate Certificate a precursor to the doctoral program?


No.  The Graduate Certificate in GWS is separate from the doctoral program.  Most students complete the Graduate Certificate at the same time as a graduate degree (either Master’s or PhD) in another department at the University of Kentucky.  However, individuals also may complete the Graduate Certificate as a stand-alone graduate program (e.g., to enhance employment credentials).


Can I apply to pursue a Master’s degree in GWS?


Our program does not offer a stand-alone Master’s.  Students who are admitted to the doctoral program directly from an undergraduate program will be awarded a Master’s degree following successful completion of qualifying exams.


I’m concerned about costs.  What do assistantships cover?


Most GWS students are supported by teaching assistantships.  Teaching assistantships cover tuition and health insurance and provide a stipend for living expenses.  In some cases, students are able to have research assistantships that provide the same coverage.  Teaching and research assistantships involve approximately 20 hours of work per week.  We encourage students to apply for fellowships that cover tuition, health insurance, and living expenses while allowing students to focus on their own scholarship.


I am an international student, and I have questions about the application process.


The International Center at the University of Kentucky has a webpage with information for prospective international students.  Staff at the International Center can help answer questions about visas, finances, and more.  You also can chat with a UK ambassador student. 


Can you waive the application fee?


If you are a McNair Scholar or a U.S. veteran, the Graduate School will waive your application fee.  Unfortunately, we are not able to waive the application fee in other cases.