Applying to Graduate School

3. Application Timeline

If you plan to go to graduate school right after graduating from Yale-NUS, follow this general timeline for the application process. Note that Ph.D. programme applications are usually due from November to January, while Master’s – from December to March. Schools in the UK and Japan (among others) may have different timelines. Individual programme websites will give you the most up-to-date information.

Use the Graduate School Application and Funding Spreadsheet template to help you with the planning.

Year 3 Semester 1Decide on a field of graduate study
Research schools and programmes
Talk to faculty, academic advisor, CIPE advisors and graduate students about programmes
Make a list of standardised test and coursework prerequisites, and application deadlines
Take challenging courses relevant to your chosen field of graduate study, and do your best in them
Year 3 Semester 2Take challenging courses relevant to your chosen field of graduate study, and do your very best in them (Year 3 Sem 2 is your last chance to raise your CAP before applying)
Register for standardised exams (GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT, TOEFL)
Continue to research schools and programmes
Research funding options available through the schools, government and organisations (incl. academic fellowships)
Meet with the CIPE fellowships advisor if you are considering academic fellowships
Ask potential recommenders if they would be willing to recommend you. Meet them to discuss the content of the letter
Year 3 Mid-year Break (May-July)Finalise your school list
Prepare for and take standardised tests
Begin drafting your personal statements
Begin to craft, polish and compile portfolio pieces/writing samples, if applicable
Engage in a summer activity relevant to your graduate school plans (research, internship, etc.)
Start to prepare fellowship applications (if applying for academic fellowships)
Year 4 Early Semester 1 (August-September)Prepare an application spreadsheet with the required materials and deadlines for all your schools
Update your CV/resume
Register in each school's online application system and fill out the personal information questions
Work on fellowship applications (if applying for fellowships)
Year 4 Late Semester 1 (October-December)Last chance to take standardised tests
Obtain transcripts from EduRec (unofficial) or NUS Registrar's Office (official)
Finalise personal statements
Request letters of recommendation. Send recommenders materials for context: your CV/resume, personal statement, a great paper you wrote for their class
Obtain all recommendation letters and send thank-you notes to recommenders
Complete and submit applications
Apply for funding (assistantships, scholarships, fellowships). Note: There is usually a separate application deadline for financial aid and for assistantships.
Start to prepare for interviews (if applicable)
Year 4 Semester 2Send your Year 4 Sem 1 transcript to the schools
Send in additional materials (only if requested)
Review and discuss application results with your advisors, faculty and family
Negotiate for additional funding from the school, if needed
Inform your recommenders about outcomes and thank them (handwritten notes are best)
Accept your chosen offer of admission by the stated deadline
Politely decline other offers, thank the schools for the opportunity and express interest to cross paths in the future (don’t burn any bridges!)