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Frequently Asked Questions

Graduate Students in Applied Science

What makes a complete application packet?

Domestic Students

  • Completed application form with personal statement indicating specific research area of interest.
  • Letters of recommendation from three scientists or faculty members who can attest to your character and qualifications best suited for our graduate program.
  • Official transcript (s) from your undergraduate institution(s) and any graduate study.
  • Official GRE scores – General test is required of all students. A subject test of your choice is strongly encouraged.

International Students

  • Completed application form with personal statement indicating your specific area of interest.
  • Letters of recommendation from three scientists or faculty members who can attest to your character and qualifications best suited for our graduate program.
  • Official transcript (s) from your undergraduate institution(s) and any graduate study.
  • Official GRE scores – General test is required of all students. A subject test of your choice is strongly encouraged.
  • Official TOEFL scores
  • Supplemental International Form
What are the school codes for the GRE and TOEFL?

When requesting test scores directly from GRE/TOEFL, our institution code is 5115. You can also indicate a major/department code on your request.

Do you accept the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) for International Students?

Yes, we now accept IELTS as well as TOEFL scores for International Students.

What are the application deadlines?

Fall semester (August) application deadline is 5:00 p.m. on the first Friday in February. Spring semester (January) application deadline is by 5:00 p.m. on the second Friday in October.

Do I need all of my materials before submitting my application?

No. You can submit the application, and then send in your additional materials. We will email you and remind you of the materials you are missing. When your application is complete, we will notify you as well.

Do I have to send all of my materials together?

No. While we recommend sending a complete package, you can send materials individually as you get them.

Do I need to obtain copies of all my transcripts, even if I only took one course at an institution?

Yes. Many colleges do not include grades from transfer courses on their transcripts or in their GPA calculations and grant transfer credits only if a certain grade is achieved. Also, courses taken after graduation, regardless of field, are also import factors when evaluating an application. Therefore, we need official transcripts from every institution you have attended, even if those courses are reflected on another university's transcript.

My university will not issue an official transcript to me.  What can I do?

You can instruct the college or university to send the transcript directly to us:

The College of William & Mary
Department of Applied Science
Attn: Lianne Ashburne
PO Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA  23187

(We will retain your transcript and file it with your application when it arrives.  Please let us know if your transcript may be filed under a different last name.)

Whom should I ask to write my letters of recommendation?

Recommendation letters should be completed by professors, instructors, or supervisors who can speak well on behalf of your character and abilities. If you are a student, or have recently graduated, we recommend that at least one of your recommendations come from a professor who can speak to your academic abilities.

My GPA and/or GRE are below the median. Do I still have a chance of gaining admission?

William & Mary seeks a diverse and talented student body. While your GPA and GRE are important measures of your academic achievement and potential, they are only two of many factors that influence our applicant evaluation process. We review all aspects of an applicant's file, including but not limited to your personal statement, community involvement, work experience, leadership, recommendations, course selection, etc.

Do I really have to contact an individual Applied Science professor, in addition to submitting the application?

While it is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended. The Applied Science model of graduate education is unique in that a student will ordinarily gain admission to both the department and a specific research group. The department rarely if ever admits a student without an obvious connection to one (or more) research group(s) and advisor(s). The department highly recommends that applicants contact the professor(s) of interest to arrange a telephone, in-person, or Skype interview. The interview process helps professors determine which students are best suited for their labs.

When will I be notified of an admission decision?

The amount of time varies for each applicant. An application is reviewed as soon as the file is complete, and applicants will be notified of decisions once they are finalized. Applications often go through multiple reviews, which takes more time. Please remember, no information will be given out by phone.

What are the program benefits?
  • The coursework component of each student's curriculum is highly flexible and is planned individually in consultation with the faculty advisory committee.
  • Applied Science offers laboratories at the main William and Mary campus, the Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory (Jefferson Lab), and NASA Langley.
  • The Research Assistant stipend is approximately $24,000 plus tuition and health insurance.
  • Williamsburg is located in a beautiful area with the Atlantic Ocean beaches and the Chesapeake Bay an hour's drive to the east, the Blue Ridge Mountains two and a half hours to the west, and Washington, D.C. two hours to the north.
What Research Areas of Specialization are offered?
  • Population Dynamics, Epidemic Modeling, Adaptive Networks (Professor Shaw)
  • Mathematical Aspects of Cellular Biophysics and Neuroscience (Professor Smith)
  • Neurophysiology, Motor Pattern Generation (Professor Del Negro)
  • Nondestructive Evaluation, Medical Imaging, Robotics (Professor Hinders)
  • Cultural Heritage Materials (Professor Kelley)
  • Surface Science – Solid/Liquid Interfaces, Characterization (Professor Kelley/Professor Schniepp)
  • Nanocomposites, Biomaterials, Scanning Probe Microscopy (Professor Schniepp)
  • Electronic Materials, Laser Spectroscopy (Professor Luepke)
  • Thin Films and Surface Science (Professor Outlaw)
How are classes and research balanced in the degree?

Ph.D. students enroll in specialized classes for one year and then pass a multi-part qualifying exam to attain ‘research graduate’ status. Students then conduct research full-time until writing and defending a dissertation.

Where may I find more information about student life and the Williamsburg area?

Williamsburg is a fantastic place to work and play. There is an abundance of small-town hospitality, loads of outdoor activities, and a host of big-city amenities that you might not expect to find in a relatively small Virginia town. Student life is enriched by more than 50 organizations and students participate in a wide array of co-curricular programs and activities.