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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 on our start your application page.

You can find our minimum requirements and supplementary information by reviewing our start your application page.

Yes! All admitted students are fully funded through a Graduate Assistantship that covers tuition waiver, health insurance, and a stipend ranging from $28,000-$30,000.

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.

The GRE is optional, but highly encouraged and recommended. In lieu of extensive research or work experience, our Admissions Committee has found that GRE scores allow for consistent review across a broad spectrum of academic backgrounds and can strengthen candidate standings.

Important Notes:

  1. Applications without GRE scores should provide clear evidence of substantial grad school (more than just working on or even finishing a Master’s degree) or deep​ professional experience.  Professional experience that is largely administrative or lacking technical depth is not persuasive.
  2. The committee faces challenges when they aren’t that familiar with an undergraduate institution, as is the case with most schools outside of the US.  The committee encourages students who have studied overseas to include GRE scores with their program applications to insure most thorough understanding of your strengths.

We have a limited number of Application Fee Waivers available. To be eligible for an application fee waiver review, you must have a submitted application along with all required material (resume, statement of intent, etc.). When everything is submitted, please send an email to to let us know your application is ready for consideration.

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.