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Applying for a PhD

Before you apply...

We are happy you are considering applying to UIC's PhD program, which is housed at the Learning Sciences Research Institute! Before you start your application, please take the following into consideration:

→ It is a PhD-only program. We do not currently offer an MA.

→ It is a full-time program.  Most classes are held during the day.

→ The program best suits students who have some professional experience in a related field or an advanced degree.

Deadlines Heading link

Please note UIC accepts applications for the PhD program only for the fall semester.

UIC’s application deadline for the fullest consideration of eligibility for fellowships is December 15.

The general deadline for US domestic students is April 15.

The general deadline for international students is February 15.

Required Materials Heading link

The Application for Graduate Study is to be completed on-line. The application fee can be paid on-line with a credit card only at the time of the submission of your application. You will be asked to upload the following:

  • Personal statement: This should be 3 to 5 pages in length, typed, and double-spaced. Please describe your reasons for wanting to pursue a doctorate in learning sciences. Include any relevant information about your background, and give some idea of what you would be interested in studying if accepted to the program. This does not mean you have to specify the exact direction of your future research. Your research questions will inevitably change as you gain expertise as a graduate student — we are asking for a general sense of your future direction.
  • Three letters of recommendation: You will be asked to provide the names and email addresses of three references who have agreed to submit letters on your behalf. A request for a letter of recommendation will then be sent to your designated recommenders. The application system will track requests that have been sent and letters that have been received. Letters must be written by professors or employers who can accurately comment on your academic and research ability. All letters must be signed and typed on institutional letterhead.
  • Test Scores
    • GRE: Request through ETS, using code 1851. We do not have a minimum score requirement. Since it sometimes takes two months for the official GRE scores to reach us, you can help us by uploading a photocopy of your unofficial test reports with your application.
    • English Language Competency tests: (International students only) The minimum TOEFL score required by the University of Illinois at Chicago is 550 for the computer-based test. For the TOEFL iBT test, a minimum total score of 80 is required with minimum sub-scores as follows: Writing 21; Speaking 20; Listening 17; Reading 19. Note that the total score has been set higher than the sum of the sub-scores. For the IELTS test, a minimum total score of 6.5 is required with the following minimum sub-scores: Listening 6.0; Writing 6.0; Reading 6.0; Speaking 6.0. For the PTE-Academic, a minimum total score of 54 is required with the following minimum sub-scores: Listening 47; Writing 56; Reading 51; Speaking 53. *Please note that the TOEFL or IELTS or PTE examinations are not required for students who have completed at least two academic years of full-time study in a country where English is the native language and in a school where English is the language of instruction within five years of the proposed date of enrollment at UIC.
  • Transcripts and Proof of Degree: Credentials (transcripts, academic records, diplomas, certificates of degrees, etc.) must be uploaded directly to the online application. English translations should also be uploaded if the credentials are not in English. All credentials uploaded to the online application are considered unofficial. If you are admitted, you will be asked to submit official credentials in a sealed envelope, with a certification stamp across the seal. Please do not send these official documents until we request them from you.

Application Process Heading link

  • For External Applicants

    • Go to the UIC Graduate College online application page.
    • Select “PHD Learning Sciences” from the dropdown list of programs.
    • Create an account or log in to your account. As a result of this step, you will be issued an identification number (UIN). Please note your number for future reference.
    • Follow the instructions, uploading required materials.
  • For UIC Transfer Applicants

    You do not need to fill out another internal UIC application.

    • Have your current department send us a copy of your original application, including test scores and transcripts. You can also send us new copies of your test scores and transcripts.
    • Send a copy of your “University of Illinois Academic History,” available on your UIC web page. This has records from the courses you have completed in your current program.
    • Please write a new personal statement that includes your research goals and your reasons for switching to Learning Sciences.


    Send all materials to:

    Dr. Minjun Ryu, Director of Graduate Studies

    If you are accepted to our program, you will need to complete additional paperwork.

    Here is a link to the Graduate College site about changing graduate programs:

    Look for the section titled “Change of Graduate Program or Degree-Sought for Current Graduate Students”

  • For International Applicants

    Your application should follow guidelines for external applicants. In addition:

    • Upload your TOEFL or IELTS scores. See information about language proficiency testing above.
    • Be sure to inform yourself about necessary visas and other requirements on this page:
    • Please note that, when you have been admitted to LSRI, you will be asked to send an International Student Declaration and Certification of Finances form.

Start Your Application