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Frequently Asked Questions

You may have a few questions as you look through our site, or prepare to connect with us through one of our monthly webinars. We have compiled a few of our most frequently asked questions below, and have provided answers and resources that should help you on your path to completing an interdisciplinary PhD with us.

Our application details and admissions timeline can be found at

You can find our minimum requirements and supplementary information by reviewing our admissions criteria page.

Yes! All admitted students are fully funded through a Graduate Research Assistantship that covers tuition waiver, health insurance, and a generous stipend.

No. It is not required to have a supervisor or advisor prior to completing the application. You are welcome to research ongoing projects and begin the process to find an advisor before admission to the program (in fact we encourage it), but typically these relationships are formalized towards the end of your first year in the program.

Yes, the GRE test is required at this time.

The Admissions Committee is not reviewing new requests at this time.

Concerning GRE waivers, our current policy (below) can also be found among our Admissions Criteria:

  • In rare cases, the Admissions Committee may waive the GRE requirement. In lieu of GRE scores, applicants must present evidence of extensive prior graduate study and/or professional practice. If a waiver is desired, we encourage you to make your request early by emailing a one-page justification letter addressed to the committee.
  • If the request is denied, it is possible that you will not be able to schedule the GRE in time to be admitted in the current cycle. Taking the GRE is the safest option, but the Admissions Committee will consider waiver requests.

The GRE waiver is intended primarily for non-traditional students or those returning to school after a longer period of time (i.e. career professionals). GRE scores expire after 5 years, so if they were taken prior to a MS program, the Admissions Committee would likely anticipate seeing them if you apply within 2-3 years after completing a master’s degree.

You can find additional information on our admissions criteria page.

Unfortunately, we do not offer application fee waivers at this time, though it is something we are looking into. You are welcome to begin the application and wait to submit until our deadline approaches.

Yes. You can view our TOEFL scores requirements below or review the information directly through the Graduate School’s Admissions Requirements.

An applicant requesting admission to the Graduate School may be required to submit results of the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum score requirements for admission to the Graduate School are:

  • a total score of 80 on the internet-based TOEFL (iBT),
  • a 6.5 overall band score on the IELTS.

The scores will be considered valid if submitted with the application within two (2) years of the test date. An applicant may be exempted from the English Certification requirement if:

  • English is an official language in the applicant’s country of citizenship, according to standards published by the Graduate School.
    Applicant is exempted when indicating citizenship is in a country in which English is an official language.
  • English is the primary language of instruction at the institution in which the applicant received an undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree.
    Applicant submits evidence of qualifying for exemption by uploading a transcript in the online application with conferred equivalent to U.S. bachelor’s, master’s, doctorate, or professional degree from an accredited college or university where English is the language of instruction in higher education. Evidence that the language of instruction is English must appear on the transcript or the applicant will be asked to provide additional documentation.

Typically our programs are completed in 4-5 years, but timing may vary based on your prior experience. For instance, students with a Master’s degree can sometimes complete the program sooner due to needing fewer credit hours.

Bredesen Center alumni can be found in academia, industry, government, and national laboratories.