As one of the premier research universities in the United States and the world, we value our international students' contribution to our dynamic, innovative, collaborative research environment. We believe you will find we have much to offer in return. Read the Dean's message to the CU Boulder community regarding the executive order.
Your application to conduct your graduate studies at CU Boulder will be considered after all application materials have been received. Please allow plenty of time to complete this process prior to the application deadlines. These deadlines are when all materials, including your letters of reference, should be received. We recommend beginning the application process early and allowing plenty of time to complete the process.
The Graduate School at CU Boulder has established minimum standards for admission.
Qualified students may be recommended for admission to regular degree status by approved programs of the Graduate School provided they meet the following criteria. Individual graduate departments may have additional or more restrictive standards by which they evaluate graduate applicants. Be sure to visit the admissions pages of the programs that you are interested in for a full list of program specific application requirements.
While you may complete your online application in multiple sessions, we recommend that you gather as much of these materials as possible prior to beginning your application.
The CU Boulder college code for the TOEFL is 4841. IELTS does not send scores electronically; therefore, you should upload a scan of your score report within the application.
Visit the English Proficiency Requirements page for more detailed information on test requirements.
I am a first name user; my family name does not appear on my passport. OR I am a family name user; no ‘first’ name appears on my passport. How should I indicate this on the application?
In both cases, you should enter a period “.” for your first/given name, and the entirety of your name into the “family/last” name field. We follow the SEVIS Name Standards in doing so. If you registered for a test (SAT, ACT, TOEFL, IELTS, etc.) under a different variation of your name, please provide us with your registration information by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Does CU Boulder accept graduate international applications and materials from third-party organizations or individuals?
CU Boulder does not accept applications or materials from third party organizations or individuals. Academic documents must be submitted via approved official sources. There are a few exceptions to this, which include (but may not be limited to) IIE, Fulbright, and certain branches of overseas governments.
Do you offer conditional admission?
At this point we do not offer conditional admission. Some departments do not require you to provide TOEFL or IELTS results as part of the application process, but if you are offered admission you need to have achieved the necessary level of English proficiency (as measured by those tests) before we would be able to finalize your admission. If you are offered admission but have not yet met the English proficiency requirement, you may continue to take the tests and submit results as your attempt to get the necessary score. If you’re not able to obtain such with sufficient time to finalize your admission before a term, you can request an admission deferral from your department while you practice your English and re-take the test.
If you are offered admission before demonstrating your English proficiency, you are not automatically enrolled in a language program for such. We do have an excellent International English Center at CU, and they could help you study to achieve the necessary score. However they are their own program, with their own admission criteria, tuition, and schedule, and they issue their own I-20s (for English study). If you are interested in studying English at the IEC, you should contact them directly: http://www.colorado.edu/iec/.
Please note that we do not accept completion of an English language program as “proof of English proficiency.” Only scores from a TOEFL or IELTS test (when allowed by the department) will satisfy this requirement.
What is a transcript?
A transcript is a year-by-year academic record which should include ALL post-secondary academic work completed to date, including courses appearing as transfer credit on other transcripts, credits earned in study abroad programs, and courses taken for college credit while in high school.
What is the difference between an official and an unofficial transcript?
Do I need to provide an unofficial transcript from every post-secondary institution I have attended?
We require one copy of the scanned unofficial transcript from each undergraduate and graduate institution you attended to be uploaded in the application for admission. This includes community colleges, summer sessions, and extension programs. While credits from one institution may appear on the transcript of a second institution, transcripts must be submitted from each institution, regardless of the length of attendance, and whether or not courses were completed. Failure to list and submit transcripts from all institutions previously attended is considered to be a violation of academic ethics and may result in the cancellation of your admission or dismissal from the university.
Do I need a translation of my transcript?
If documents are written in a language other than English, complete and official English translations must be uploaded together WITH the original language records. Each transcript (mark sheet) should contain a complete record of studies at the institution from which it is issued (i.e., the subjects taken and grades/marks earned in each subject), as well as any legend. We will not accept grade reports.
Please do NOT upload your institution syllabi with your transcript(s) or mark sheet(s).
For the following countries, only the English language transcript is required:
Bangladesh, British Commonwealth countries, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, Jordan University of Science & Technology, Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Sudan, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey (for any university if the student’s major is taught in English), United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
For all other countries, all records should be submitted in the native language with original stamps. All credentials written in languages other than English must be accompanied by a literal certified English translation. Some examples are:
How do you evaluate my transcript? Should I convert my GPA for you?
We have trained and experienced professional staff in our office who evaluate your records, including converting your GPA as required. There’s no need to try to do this yourself.
Other schools are requiring me to have my credentials evaluated by a third party. If that third party sends you their evaluation and my transcripts, would that count as official or unofficial?
It count as unofficial, and we would be willing to use those documents for the application process.
What kind of translation should I get, and where can I get it?
You will need to get a literal, certified (or official) English translation. It should not be interpretive, nor should it try to convert the original grades into US-style grades. A certified (or official) translation will be different depending on what is considered an official translation in your country. In some countries, official translations are only issued by the school. In other countries, official government translators issue official translations. Some countries do not offer translations through a government network, and the student must find a private translation service to issue the translation. We also suggest that you to visit or consult EducationUSA: http://www.educationusa.info/students.php to see if this organization in your country offers translations, or can refer you to a service. We do not accept documents from a notary public as official, they may be used for the unofficial copy.
My school will only issue one official transcript. If I have it translated it will be opened and therefore not official. What do I do?
If you are offered admission, you will be required to submit official transcripts before you will be allowed to enroll. Official transcripts are those that bear the facsimile signature of the registrar and seal of the issuing institution. The official transcript will be compared to the document you upload. Any alterations or omission of information on the unofficial transcripts submitted to the University of Colorado Boulder could be grounds for cancellation of your application and/or the withdrawal of the offer of admission.
Do I need to submit my diploma showing the award of my degree?
If you have completed a degree program and you have received a diploma, you must submit the diploma. Where English is not the native language, you must submit the diplomas in both English and the native language. If you submit only the English language diploma, it will result in processing delays. Submitting the separate diploma is especially important if you have completed your degree in China or India. The Provisional Degree Certificate from an Indian University is also acceptable in lieu of a final diploma.
You can view the form and requirements at http://www.colorado.edu/GraduateSchool/academics/_docs/transfercredit.pd... This process begins in the department to which you are admitted. Credit may not be transferred until you have completed, at the CU Boulder Graduate School, at least six credits of graduate level coursework as a degree-seeking student on the CU Boulder campus with a 3.0 GPA. Transferred credits do not reduce the residence requirement but may reduce the amount of work to be done in formal courses.
Who is an international student?
We distinguish international from domestic students based on their immigration status—that is, whether they will be attending CU on a valid visa. Anyone who plans to study at CU while on a valid visa of any sort is considered an international student.
I’ve applied for permanent residency, but haven’t yet gotten it. Am I a domestic or international student?
If you (or your family) have a receipt for the submission of your I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence) form, you should indicate “permanent resident” on the application, even if your permanent residency has yet to be granted. You would be considered a domestic applicant. If your application for permanent residency is later denied please let us know immediately at email@example.com.
I’m a dependent of a current visa holder. Am I allowed to study at CU? Do I still need to meet the English proficiency requirement? Do I still need to complete the financial statement?
Generally dependents of most visa types are allowed to apply for and enter full time study at our university—common examples are E-2, L-2, H-4, and A-2 visa holders. However if you have one of these visas now, you should note that most dependent children age out of their visa status when they turn 21. Therefore, before you turn 21, you would need to change your status to that of a student. This can be done either by exiting the US, applying for and obtaining a new visa in order to re-enter in that status and continue your studies; or by applying for a change of status within the USA. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details if this might apply to you. Two exceptions are worth noting—neither F-2 nor B-2 dependents can be full time students. Those dependents can take a class or two in a non-degree seeking capacity if it is “incidental” to their visa, and if they enroll for “vocational or recreational” purposes. Those students would need to work with the Office of Continuing Education in order to take a course: http://conted.colorado.edu/. Students on dependent visas do not need to demonstrate funding in order to finalize their admission if they remain in that dependent visa status, but if they do not qualify for an exemption for English proficiency they do need to demonstrate such based on a TOEFL or IELTS result: English Proficiency Requirements
Do you require proof of my citizenship and visa type?
We do not require these, but misrepresenting them on your application would be considered a violation of the honor code, and you could therefore be denied or have your admission offer rescinded. Please note that when admitted, International Student and Scholar Services will ask to see a copy of your passport and I-94 for their records.
Who can I bring with me as a dependent?
Dependents are limited to your immediate family, which is defined as your spouse and children. Parents, grandparents, siblings, nieces, and nephews cannot be dependents.
In order for our office to generate an I-20 for you, you need to complete the online application, submit all required materials, be reviewed for and offered admission by the department to which you are applying, and meet all immigration regulations (which include proof of English proficiency and proof of funding). Our office by law cannot issue I-20s until all of these things have been done.
When do I need to provide my financial statement?
You do not need to provide the financial statement in order for us to determine if you are academically eligible for admission. However you would need to provide this document before we could finalize your admission and issue you the necessary immigration forms. [/expand}
Does my GPA qualify me to be considered for a TA or RA?
These offers are made by the departments based on their internal process and needs, and so we would have no way of knowing whether you would be awarded one. If you have questions about whether your academic history will qualify you for a RA or TA you should review the department’s website, where they will most often have information about what it takes to be considered for such.
My department has offered me a Teaching or Research Assistantship. Do I need to complete the financial statement?
When your department makes such an offer they send us a copy of the letter. We immediately review it to determine whether enough has been offered to meet the immigration regulation to provide proof of funding for your studies here. If the offer is sufficient for this purpose there is no reason to complete and submit the financial statement. If it is not sufficient, an international admissions officer will send you an email stating how much more needs to be demonstrated in order to satisfy that immigration regulation. In that case please complete and submit the form to indicate where your additional funding will be coming from.
How do you arrive at the estimate for living expenses?
The Office of Financial Aid publishes a Cost of Attendance Budget every year and estimates the rates of room and board, medical, and personal costs.
I looked up tuition rates and they appear lower than what’s on the financial statement. Can I only demonstrate tuition for the program to which I’ve applied?
No. We require the baseline rate which appears on the financial statement. At this time we are unable to issue I-20s that are customized to each student’s situation.
I looked up tuition rates and they appear higher than what’s on the financial statement. Will I only have to pay what it asks me to show on the financial statement?
The financial statement is an estimate only. It does not matter if the financial statement’s estimate is lower than the actual tuition—you will still be responsible for the full and actual tuition. Similarly, the figures for living expenses and books and supplies are also estimates—if your expenses go over the estimates they are your responsibility.
If I live off campus do I still need to demonstrate living expenses funding?
Yes. While the estimate for living expenses is based on rates for living in campus housing, you should expect to pay at least a similar amount (if not more) if you’ll be living off campus. So the living expenses line is an estimate for either on or off campus living. If you have family that lives nearby, and if you plan on living with them and getting your meals from them, we can reduce the amount on the financial statement by the living expenses estimate, if they’ll write a letter stating that this is the case.
I will be exclusively buying and renting used text books and my program doesn’t require many extra supplies. Can you reduce the “Books and supplies” costs on the financial statement? I can’t imagine spending nearly $2000 on books in a year…
No. Of course it’s common sense to try and find used books for your studies, but they are not always available. New textbooks can cost several hundred dollars each, and lab fees for certain courses can run similarly high. This estimate is based on Office of Financial Aid assessments, and in our experience, is accurate. So please do be ready to spend at least this much (if not more) if necessary.
My spouse will be looking for a job as soon as they arrive. Can I thereby avoid demonstrating additional funding for them?
No. Holders of some dependent visas are not authorized to work in the US, so they may be ineligible to hold a job. Also, a possible future job is not evidence of current ability to pay. Therefore you must demonstrate the full amount required.
I can meet the immigration regulation to provide proof of funding based on personal or family funds, but I’m hoping to get a Teaching or Research Assistantship (TA or RA), or a student loan, or to find outside scholarships. If I provide proof of person or family funds in order to satisfy the regulation, am I or my family obligated to pay if other funding becomes available?
No. While your family or sponsor is stating that they will support you in your studies when they complete the “Affidavit of Support” on the second page of the financial statement, if additional sources of funding become available they are not obligated to pay anyway. If you won’t find out about such TAs, RAs, scholarships, or loans until a later date, we would suggest submitting the financial statement with your family or sponsor’s demonstration of funding. If your funding source changes, we must be notified so we can issue a new I-20.
I was admitted but the source of funding as stated on my I-20 has changed. Should I get a new I-20 to reflect this? What if I already have my F-1 visa?
Yes, you should get a new I-20 to reflect the funding change. Please let us know this information immediately so we update it in the SEVIS system. If you already have your F1 visa, and there is no time to get the new I-20 to you, you can use the current I-20 to enter the U.S.A. Immigration officials have access to that database, so you should bring the new financial documentation reflecting the funding change with you when you travel, in case they ask for it. Of course we’ll be happy to provide a letter from our office noting the change of funding as well.
If there is time to get a new I-20 to you, we can mail it to you so you have it with you before you travel. Whenever any information that appears on your I-20 changes, please let us know immediately at email@example.com
I’ve been admitted, and I’m trying to pay the SEVIS fee online. Can you send me a scan of my I-20? The SEVIS site asking for information from it...
Federal regulations prevent us from scanning and emailing or faxing this document to you. However if you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org we’ll be happy to provide you with the information from your I-20 necessary to go online and pay the SEVIS fee.
The major that appears on my I-20 is not the exact name of the major/department to which I was admitted. Is this an error?
Not all majors at CU have their exact names in the federal (US government) SEVIS system, so there’s a chance that the major on your I-20 will not match your major at our school. This is not an issue—visa officers understand that the names of majors may be different from your I-20 and admission letter. It is also OK if your major name appears to be cut off, as the full name will appear in your SEVIS record. If these differences apply to you there is no error on your I-20, and therefore nothing to be fixed.
I received the I-20 but there’s an error on it. What should I do?
It will depend on the kind of error. Your name and birth date need to match your passport exactly (except for accents in your name) so if there are errors there, they will need to be changed. (For this purpose it’s a good idea to review your personal information in your MyCUBoulder account, as your I-20 information will be pulled directly from that data.) If your major name appears incorrect, please first check our response to the previous question. If there still appears to be an error in your major name that will need to be corrected. Sub-fields of study will not appear on the I-20.
If the name of your sponsor is completely wrong that will need to be corrected. If the difference is a matter of spelling, and if the spelling is correct within two or three characters, we’ve found that a letter from our office is sufficient for visa officers who might notice the difference, and the form therefore does not need to be corrected. Lastly, if the form is not signed in blue ink we’ll need to send you another. Please communicate any issues with your I-20 to email@example.com.
I provided a bank statement that demonstrated more funding than what’s required, but my I-20 only shows my sponsor has the minimum amount necessary. Can you change the form to reflect the full amount demonstrated on the bank statement?
The immigration regulation you are satisfying when providing a bank statement is for “proof of funding”. As long as you provide a statement which shows at least the minimum amount, there’s no need to state exactly how much was there. We therefore only state that we received evidence that your sponsor or family has sufficient funding as we require—which is the amount on the financial statement. You’ll need to independently prove to your visa officer that this amount exists, so be sure to bring these statements with you to your visa appointment. They will then see exactly how much funding was demonstrated. We will not change I-20s to reflect the total we saw in your bank statements.
My I-20 lists 36 months as the duration of the master’s program or 78 months as the duration of the doctorate program. I thought the master’s degree program was only 2 years and the doctorate program was only 5.5 years. Why is my I-20 different?
We always ask for the most amount of time possible on our I-20s per F-1 visa regulations. Many students do complete the master’s degree in 2 years and the doctorate degree in 5.5 years, but some take longer, and some pursue ‘optional practical training’ (an internship or job allowed under F-1 regulations) after the end of their studies. We have found it easiest to ask for the most time we can at the start of your studies here, rather than having to petition SEVIS to extend your program if you take longer than the expected number of years, or if you get an opportunity to stay in the US for a job or internship after you graduate. Due to the volume of I-20s generated, we cannot change the length of study for particular students.
International students may verify their employment eligibility and restrictions through International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).
Teaching and Research Assistantships
The main form of funding through CU-Boulder for international graduate students is from the department to which you are applying. Many departments provide graduate students with teaching or research assistantships. These appointments provide a salary and tuition waiver, as well as a partial insurance benefit. To find out more about assistantships opportunities, you must contact the department to which you are applying. You may also find more information about funding on the department’s website.
Some departments offer support in the form of graduate fellowships. Check with the department to which you are applying to see what opportunities may exist.
Departments may provide students with funding through training grants, providing graduate students the opportunity to work closely and collaboratively with mentors and other graduate students on specific, long-term research projects. Primarily science, engineering, and social science departments offer this type of grant. Students should consult directly with their home department to find out what opportunities are available in this area.
Financial aid is defined in part as U.S. government assistance for U.S. citizens and permanent residents. If you are neither of those you will not qualify for it. You should check with your own government as to whether they offer financial aid, scholarships or grants to students studying abroad, but you would need to secure that support independently.
Educational loans from U.S. banks are generally not extendable to non-citizens and non-permanent residents, because they are considered part of financial aid, as they are backed by the U.S. government. These types of educational loans may be available in your country, but you would need to seek out that support independently.
International students can sometimes secure small jobs around campus, but it’s important to note that these types of positions would never be enough to pay for tuition and room and board. CU-Boulder's Student Employment Office posts an average of 600 part-time, on-campus and off-campus jobs for students on myCUinfo. Many domestic U.S. graduate students who qualify for federal financial aid also qualify for federal work-study awards. Call the Student Employment Office to find out at 303-492-7349 or stop by Regent 205.
Additional funding may be sought from national, international, industrial, or foundation sources. A partial list of such sources is available on the Graduate School website. Other avenues to learn about these opportunities include career counseling offices and directories of funding sources such as the Annual Register of Grant Support and the Grants Register in university libraries.
eduPASS (external website)
You are a Transfer Undergraduate Applicant if you have enrolled at another college or university since graduation from secondary school, but have not completed a bachelor's degree. Preparatory years do not count as university-level work. Admissions Criteria for Undergraduate Transfers
Countries with secondary school programs routinely ending prior to 12 years will be reviewed on an individual basis. For applicants to a graduate program (master's or doctorate), the Office of Admissions will complete a credential evaluation of any degree completed by the student and forward it to the department to which the student is applying. Regardless of whether or not the Office of Admissions considers the degree to be equivalent to a U.S. four-year bachelor degree, the department will not be prevented from reviewing the application. If a department wishes to admit a student with a three-year degree that is not considered equivalent to a U.S. four-year degree, a provisional admission is required. The standard Graduate School provisional admission process must be followed. Australia, Bologna Process countries, Canada, India, Israel, South Africa, and Sri Lanka are just some of the countries that have three-year degrees that may be evaluated as not equivalent to a U.S. four-year degree.
The DSO at your current school must complete the rest of the form and fax or email it to us. Information on how to complete this form is on the form itself. On the SEVIS release date, your record will appear in our Transfer In list in the SEVIS database. We can issue the transfer-pending I-20 only on or after this date, but not before the date. If your record does not appear on or after the SEVIS release date, check with the DSO at your current school to make sure that your record was released to the University of Colorado – Boulder. Sometimes it is mistakenly transferred to the International English Center at CU Boulder. On the SEVIS release date, and if your record appears in our Transfer In list, we will issue a transfer-pending I-20. If your current F-1 visa is not expiring, you can travel in and out of the US with that visa and your transfer pending I-20 from CU Boulder. If your current F-1 visa is expiring, you can use the CU Boulder transfer pending I-20 to apply for a new visa without having to repay the SEVIS fee (other visa fees may still apply). If you are not leaving the US before starting your CU Boulder program this semester, it may be easiest for us to hold on to your I-20 until you arrive in Boulder. You can pick up your transfer pending I-20 from our front desk in Regent Hall room 125. When you arrive on the CU Boulder campus you must check in with International Student and Scholar Services. To do so, go to their website and sign up online for an appointment at http://checkincuboulder.eventbrite.com/