Application Process: Timeline for MS/Ph.D in United States


Hello everyone. You need to follow a particular timeline if you want to file an application for US universities in fall semester. Start the process before about the 12 months of enrollment.

June- July:

  •   Start preparing for tests like TOEFL and GRE.
  •   Book a suitable date for these tests. It’s a crucial step as most of the dates are booked during these months.
  •   Check your passport’s status. If your passport is close to the expiry date or has expired then apply for renewing as soon as possible. The test centers won’t take your test without an active passport. .


  •   You can submit your score reports to 4 universities for free. It can save you 150-180 USD, so select any 4 universities before you go for the test.
  •   Take the tests (TOEFL and GRE).
  •   Keep your teachers informed about your planning for MS. This may help you to get a better LOR (Letter of Recommendation).
  •   Prepare a Statement of Purpose.
  •   You must be ready with your financial documents as few universities demands for the financial documents.



  •   Select 3 -4 professors who know you well and request them for the Letter of Recommendation for you.
  •   Find the universities that offer programs of your interest.
  •   If there’s a professor who is performing the research in the field of your interest, email him about your interest in working with him. This may help you to get an assistantship.
  •   Apply for transcripts.



  •   Prepare a rough list of around 15 universities and start gathering their application details by filling their online forms.
  •   Confirm your LORs.
  •   Get your SOPs refined conferring to the programs that you have chosen.
  •   Prepare a final list of universities. Usually it must consist of 7-8 universities.
  •   Submit your online application and also send the packets of application.
  •   Report the TOEFL and GRE scores.
  •   Some of the Universities may demand for the online recommendations. You must request your professor for the same.



  • Find out if your application packet is delivered to the university by a follow up with university.
  • You may forget to attach some documents. Thus you need to check if the university requires some other documents.


 Note on Application Process:

 The above timeline is just a rough sketch for your information. It is alright if you are about two months late from the above schedule.

Don’t be too late if you want to apply for funding as the universities stop accepting the application for funding after December.

If you want to apply for spring semester, just equipoise the timeline by 6 months.

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