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International Applicants

Application to the Department of Entomology is now handled online through the Graduate College at the University of Illinois. Below you will find information regarding application, followed by a link to the Graduate College online application site. We suggest that you print this page out in order to have a list of all the necessary application materials.

These guidelines for admission of foreign students apply only to those applicants who are sponsored by government or international agencies and who intend to return to their country of origin on completion of their degree. In particular, employees in existing programs of teaching or research, who are specially selected for further training in the U.S., and who have positions to return to in their country of origin, will be admitted under these guidelines.

In general, students applying for graduate study in this department under the above circumstances will be evaluated under a set of admissions criteria considerably modified from those applied to U.S. students, and designed to increase the probability of entry to this department. These modified admissions standards are necessary because of our difficulty in translating foreign university records and test scores into a meaningful evaluation of a foreign student, coupled with the obligation this department feels toward training outstanding students who have been selected in other countries for advanced academic studies in the U.S. Once the student is admitted to this department, exactly the same courses and standards will be required as of all other graduate students in the department, and the same degrees will be obtained.

The guidelines are designed to protect the student in particular, but also the sponsoring agency, against possible waste of time and money, with the accompanying disappointment and even loss of status. Students who are inadequately prepared for study in this department should realize this before admission, not after a semester or more.

Application Requirements

  1. Application forms plus statement about sponsoring agency.

  2. $90 application fee. This cannot be waived.

  3. Graduate appointment application.

  4. Three letters of reference - preferably at least one letter should be from a person familiar with the U.S. university system of education. Letters should carefully evaluate student's professional qualities and probability of success in further studies. Ability to communicate in English in the technical language of sciences should be assessed.

  5. TOEFL (Test of English as a foreign language) results. The minimum score set by the Graduate College is 550 (paper-based test), 213 (computer-based test), 79 (internet-based test). The department will occasionally accept students with these scores, although we feel that a score of 610 (paper-based test), 253 (computer-based test), or 102 (internet-based test) gives a better indication of adequate ability in English. (See notes below on proficiency in English.) Students who have attended an English speaking institution for at least two years are exempt from this requirement.

  6. GRE Scores (Graduate Record Examination) - (verbal, quantitative, analytical and advanced biology) are required, if student resides within 50 miles (80 km) of a testing center. No minimum scores are set for admission, but the scores will be used for advising purposes to provide early information for the student and this department on possible strengths and weaknesses in academic training.

  7. Transcripts of your academic record - (and diplomas or certificates of degrees if your degree is awarded and not listed on your transcript) along with English translations if the credentials are not in English. Please note that you do not have to have an official transcript sent by your institution at this time. Uploading a scanned copy is sufficient for now. We only require your institution to send us an official, sealed transcript or a secure electronic version if you are accepted into the program.

  8. Statement from the sponsoring agency that financial and other support will be provided for a term sufficient to complete a M.S. or Ph.D. degree program (see notes below and length of program). Also, if a contractual agreement with the student has been made, it should be so stated and described.

Proficiency in English Language

Inadequate preparation in the English language will jeopardize the whole academic program of a student. The technical English of the physical and biological sciences, in written and oral forms, must be used daily. The TOEFL does not assess this ability adequately so that the students with high scores may still have difficulty with English. Therefore, it is essential that referees comment on the ability of students in technical English.

On arrival on this campus an admitted student will be given a proficiency test in scientific English. On the basis of this test, the student may be advised to enter immediately into advanced courses relevant to training in entomology. Alternatively, if proficiency is poor, the student may be advised to delay advanced studies. (Good grades in advanced courses cannot be achieved without competence in English.) The University offers remedial courses.

If a student does not gain a TOEFL score of 580 (paper-based test) or more, then he/she may enroll in an intensive English course at a U.S. university, including this university, and the TOEFL may be taken again after completing the course. This course work does not exempt a student from the proficiency test in scientific English on arrival in this department, or further course work for remedial purposes. No student can be admitted to the Graduate College or this department until an adequate TOEFL score has been achieved.

Proficiency in Biological Sciences

All new graduate students in this department take, in their first week, a proficiency examination in the biological sciences which covers the areas of cellular and molecular biology, plant and animal physiology, genetics, ecology, taxonomy and evolution. The standard requirement is that of a general biology text such as would be used in a majors biology course. If serious deficiencies in these subjects exist, then course work lasting one or two semesters, may be prescribed before advanced studies are initiated.

While no formal course work in entomology is required, there also is an entomology prescription exam. If serious deficiencies are found, students may be required to take an introductory entomology course to provide a basic entomological basis of knowledge.

Length of Program

A master's degree program will normall take at least 1.5 years (3 semesters and 1 summer). A doctor's degree program will normally take at least 4 years (8 semesters and 3 summers). If English or biological sciences courses must be taken before advanced studies, then these times would increase by one or two semesters. Therefore, the sponsoring agency should be prepared to support a student for 2.5 years for an M.S. and 5 years for a Ph.D., and this should be stated in a letter from the sponsoring agency.

It must be emphasized that in all cases the length of the program shall depend on the department's discretion, based on the preparedness of the student on entry, and his/her progress in research.

Research Experience

The department will encourage students and their advisors to establish thesis research programs that are relevant to the country of origin of the student. If at all possible, part of the research should be carried out in that country. For this purpose the department urges the sponsoring agency to include funds to permit some research in the student's country of origin, and a visit by the student's advisor. Such funding is desirable for two important reasons: 1. The student will be able to integrate new information and techniques with a research situation which he/she will face as a professional. 2. Research in the U.S. can be made more relevant to future research when both advisor and student are familiar with field and laboratory conditions in the country of origin.

In addition, students usually benefit considerably if some research funds are made available to them for such things as special supplies, small pieces of equipment, and part-time assistance in sampling or rearing insects.

Application Deadlines

The deadline for Fall Term Admission is December 1 of the previous year.

If you are a FOREIGN STUDENT residing outside the USA, try to submit your application as early in the year as you can, because it usually takes several months after admission to obtain the documents necessary for entry into the USA.


ONLINE applications are now being accepted. Click HERE to go to the Graduate College online application information. You can download a version to submit a paper copy if you wish.