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How to Apply for Doctoral Programs

    • 1). Research potential schools and take the practice Graduate Readiness Exam (GRE). According to the Princeton Review, this should begin in May of the year before one graduates from the undergraduate institution or master's program.

      Some doctoral programs do not require a master's degree, but this is dependent on the field of study. People who enter directly into a doctoral program usually can earn a "Master's in Passing" degree halfway through their doctoral program.

    • 2). Take the GRE and begin writing a statement of purpose. According to the Princeton Review, these should take place in August.

    • 3). Finalize a list of prospective schools and look for one or two professors at each intuition with similar research interests. These professors are going to be prospective professors that one will work with, so it is important to familiarize oneself with their research. According to the Princeton Review, this should occur in September.

    • 4). Contact appropriate persons to ask if they would be willing to write letters of recommendation. Make it easy for them by supplying them with a package of documents, including a resume or curriculum vitae, personal statement and, most important of all, ample time. According to the Princeton Review, this should occur in October.

    • 5). Request official transcripts to be sent to prospective schools. This request can usually be made through the university registrar's office or a similar office. According to the Princeton Review, this should occur in October.

    • 6). Completely fill out all applications to each school and attach with all supplemental material (such as personal statements and research proposals) and submit to each school. Keep a copy of each complete application for record purposes. Many schools and departments have different due dates, so it is important to contact each school for specific deadlines. The Princeton Review suggests that most schools have an application deadline of December.

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