Graduate Program Admissions Procedures

Important information about graduate admissions during COVID-19

Due to complications of COVID-19, the HDFS graduate program is waiving the GRE requirement for the December 15, 2021 application deadline. Applicants may provide GRE scores on an optional basis. Applicants are now required to submit a writing sample that reflects their ability to think critically and systematically about a social, behavioral, interpersonal, or policy-related issue. The writing sample should be a document you wrote alone or took the lead in writing. Examples include but are not limited to: an honor’s thesis; a critical review of literature in a topical area, or a manuscript published, accepted for publication, or submitted for publication.

Application Deadline

December 15 for enrollment the following Fall

Who should apply?

We are looking for diverse, curious, intelligent, and highly motivated students with strong academic records. Students with degrees in behavioral or social sciences, family and consumer sciences, or education are especially encouraged to apply, as are students with involvement in the Ronald E. McNair or SROP undergraduate research opportunities. The minimum grade-point average for admission is 3.0 (A = 4.0). As a guideline, doctoral applicant GRE scores should be above 156 for the verbal reasoning test, above 146 for the quantitative test, and above 4.5 for analytical writing, though the Admissions Committee may admit candidates below these scores if the student demonstrates compelling strengths in other areas. GRE scores should be no more than 2 years old. In addition to academic potential, we carefully assess the match between applicant interests and career goals and the focus of our program and its faculty.

We encourage applications from potential M.D./Ph.D. students (Medical Scholars) and, in these cases, will accept MCAT scores in lieu of the GRE. 

Please note that we have a "full time student" department culture and thus do not enroll part-time students or encourage outside employment during the program. As you will see below, we provide excellent financial support to our full-time students.

How do I apply?

The graduate application process begins with the completion of an online application form. Instructions and further information on applying are available at the Graduate College.

If you are ready to apply, go to the application form

What is the deadline?

All applications for fall enrollment are due by December 15.

Late applications are not accepted, and we do not allow mid-year enrollment.

How do I apply for financial aid?

All applicants are considered for fellowship and assistantship support (both teaching assistants and research assistants). There is no separate application process for these awards.

The fellowship and assistantship support that we provide is completely separate from state and federal financial aid. If you are interested in grant or loan opportunities, visit the Office of Student Financial Aid.

Where do I send my application?

The application process for graduate school at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is online.

What happens if my application is incomplete?

Incomplete applications will not be considered for admission.

Where do I find a complete list of instructions for applying?

Here are a complete list of instructions

Where do I send letters of reference?

All letters are managed through the online application process. The easiest way to do this is to have an email address for the people writing letters and enter this information as a part of your application process.

Where do I send my transcripts?

You must list on your online application each institution of post-secondary education from which you have earned credit. You must also submit your transcript / academic record (and diplomas or certificates of degrees if your degree is awarded and not listed on your transcript) for each of these institutions.

Transcripts / academic records (and diplomas or certificates of degrees if your degree is awarded and not listed on your transcript) must be uploaded directly to the online application. English translations should also be uploaded if the credentials are not in English.

Official Academic Credentials

All credentials uploaded to the online application are considered unofficial. You will only be asked to submit official or attested credentials (transcripts, academic records, diplomas, certificates of degrees, etc.) in a sealed envelope, with a certification stamp across the seal if you are admitted. These must be submitted during your first term of enrollment at the University of Illinois.

More about transcripts

How do I submit my GRE scores?

Contact the Educational Testing Service (ETS) to send official test scores to the University of Illinois. Our institution code is 1836 and program code is 4602.

Does HDFS need a personal statement?

Yes, we ask that you answer three questions:

  1. What are your research interests and professional goals?
  2. Identify one or two faculty members in the Department and explain how their work fit with your interests. Include the faculty names.
  3. How did you learn about our program?

There is no page limit on personal statements, but typically this statement is 3-4 pages long.

Here is a list of faculty interests and sample publications.

Are international students required to provide visa and financial information?

Yes, all international applicants are required to demonstrate that they have adequate financial resources to cover the cost of their education while in the United States. Official financial documentation is required as part of the application process in order for visa eligibility documents (I-20 or DS-2019) to the U.S. to be issued.

Are international students required to demonstrate English Language proficiency?

Yes, international applicants from non-English-speaking countries must demonstrate English language proficiency (TOEFL Internet-based test score of 103 or higher).

See Graduate School information on English Language Proficiency for further information

Is there an application fee?

Yes, there is a non-refundable application fee. The amount of the fee is determined by your citizenship and/or visa. Generally, the fee is $70.00 for domestic students and $90.00 for international students, but here are more precise instructions about qualifications for these rates and fee waiver instructions.

Who can I contact about this program?

You can contact the Graduate Program Director, Brian Ogolsky at 217-244-1199 or by email at

How are applications evaluated?

The Director of Graduate Programs chairs the Admissions Committee. She or he is responsible for overseeing and coordinating general inquiries from applicants, making certain that applications are available for review by faculty, and for communicating with applicants whom the committee decides to admit.

The Director of Graduate Programs assigns at least 3 faculty reviewers to each application. All faculty members are allowed to review all admission files at their discretion. However, assigned reviewers are responsible for assessing academic quality and the applicant’s fit with the program. They then communicate their assessment of each applicant to the Director of Graduate Programs

An offer of admission will only be made if:

  1. The applicant meets our stated academic potential standards
  2. At least one faculty member wants to advise the student
  3. The applicant’s research interests and career goals are a good fit for their chosen program
  4. Faculty and/or HDFS have the money to provide funding at our standard level