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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 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.

Yes, the GRE test is required at this time.

Yes. The deadline to request a waiver is October 31.

Applicants seeking a waiver must have a completed application on file (including all required materials) and it must meet our minimum admissions criteria.

If a waiver is desired and the application is complete, we encourage you to email by October 31 for your next steps.

We will not be reviewing GRE waiver requests made after October 31.

Important Note:

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.

We have a limited number of Application Fee Waivers available. The first 100 applications that include all required application materials and meet minimum requirements will be considered for waivers (see Admissions Criteria).

Applications must be fully ready to submit. To insure that your application gets reviewed for an application fee waiver in a timely manner, please email to notify us that 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.