There are some graduate programs that will invite candidates for an interview as part of the selection process. If you are invited and you really want to attend this program, then be sure to accept the invitation and dress appropriately.

Preparing for the Interview

Prepare for this if it were a job interview. You will need to…

  • be able to articulate how your goals and qualifications match what this program has to offer
  • convince them that you will be an asset to their department and program.

In general, they will be asking questions about…

  • You – your goals and strengths
  • The Institution and Program - what appeals to you about it
  • The Faculty - 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

Here are some typical questions that are often asked:

(It’s is a good idea to formulate answers to these questions and then to practice your responses out loud.)

  • 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__________?

Here are some questions you might ask:

  • What are the requirements for the master’s degree, the Ph.D?
  • What is the typical program of study?
  • 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?
  • How accessible is Professor __________to the students?
  • When are comprehensive exams taken?
  • What are the requirements for the prospectus?
  • What subject matter is tested in the general examination?