There are some graduate programs that invite candidates for an interview as part of the selection process. Be sure to prepare for the interview and to dress appropriately.

Preparing for the Interview

Prepare for the graduate school interview the same as you would prepare for a job interview.  At the interview, you should be able to:

  • Explain your goals and qualifications and how they match the graduate program
  • Convince the interviewer that you will be an asset to their department and program

General questions that the interviewer may ask you may include:

  • Your goals and strengths
  • The Institution and Program and what appeals to you about it
  • The Faculty and your awareness of what they are currently doing in the field

They will expect you to have questions as well. Your questions will demonstrate your interest in the program, your analytical and inquisitive mind, and of course your personality and interpersonal skills.

Sample Interview Questions

It’s a good idea to formulate answers to sample questions and practice your responses out loud.

Typical questions that are often asked at interviews: 

  • What are your career goals?
  • Why do you want a graduate degree in ________?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses as a student?
  • Why would you be an asset to our department?
  • What kind of teaching or research experience have you had to date?
  • Why should we accept you into this program?
  • What makes you a good candidate?
  • What appeals to you about our program?
  • What other institutions have you applied to for admission?
  • Tell me about the research project you were involved in with Professor__________?

Questions that you might want to ask the interviewer:

  • What kind of teaching assistantships or research assistantships are available?
  • How long does it typically take someone to complete this program?
  • I’ve read articles written by ________, _________, and ______. To what extent are students involved in assisting them with these research projects?
  • When are comprehensive exams taken and what is included?