Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply? 

The "Application Components & Deadlines" page lists the deadlines and provides a link to a pdf that contains further detailed information on the application process.  Use the "Apply Online" link in the menu to access the online application.  

What transcripts are required? 

Unofficial transcripts for all institutions attended for prior undergraduate or graduate degree work should be uploaded for the initial application following the application instructions.  Applicants selected for further consideration by the Admissions Committee will be required to submit official transcripts. Those applicants will usually be notified in February but may be notified at a later date. Official transcripts must be requested from the appropriate institution’s Registrar.  International students must submit English translations of their transcripts.

What is the minimum GPA required for admission to the graduate program?
For regular admission, the School of Marine Science requires a minimum GPA of 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0).  Applicants who do not meet the minima may be considered for provisional admission.  The Admissions Committee reviews all submitted materials to determine the potential for success in a marine science career.
Are GRE scores required for admissions?

The School of Marine Science at VIMS is not requiring or accepting GRE scores for Fall 2021 applications.

Are there additional requirements for international students? 

International applicants whose native language is not English must submit a TOEFL or IELTS score.  A minimum TOEFL score of 94 or a score of 7 on the IELTS is recommended for admission.  An exception to this rule is the international student who has earned an undergraduate degree at a North American university. 

What ETS code should I use for the TOEFL exam? 

The institution code for TOEFL scores is 5115.

Why do you recommend that I take the TOEFL or IELTS before December? 

Typically, test score reports arrive 2-3 weeks after the test date.  During the December holidays, the scores may take even longer to arrive.  Physical exam scores delivered by mail will be uploaded by SMS staff as they are received.  The deadline for receipt of test scores is January 6th.

Do I need to submit all of the admissions materials at one time? 

Applicants can log in to the admissions system to work on the online application and upload documents until the January 6th deadline. 

Is the deadline for the letters of recommendation the same as the application deadline?

Yes, the letters of recommendation have the same deadline as the application.  It is highly recommended that applicants complete the section of the SMS application identifying their referees by the end of November so that their referees have sufficient time to submit letters of recommendation.  We are aware that many faculty travel or conduct fieldwork during the December-January break and it may be difficult for them to send a letter during that time.

Can I apply for direct admittance to the Ph.D. program if I don't have an M.S. degree? 

Applicants who have not completed a Master’s degree in marine science or a closely allied field may apply to the M.S. program or select the M.S. program bypass option on the application.  Students without a Master’s who wish to bypass to the doctoral program must submit a formal application to bypass in the second year of their program.  Applicants who hold or are completing a Master’s in marine science or a closely allied field may apply for direct admission to the Ph.D program.

How competitive is the admission process?

Over the past 5 years, we admitted 15% - 20% of applicants.