How to Apply for a Masters or PhD
How to Apply for a Masters or PhD
Dr. Najem A. Al-Rubaiey
Department of Petroleum Technology
University of Technology
PO Box 35109
Email: [email protected]
How to apply for a PhD
If you're considering further study after your
coursework degree, it's important that you've chosen
the right degree to enable you to continue. If you'd like
to pursue a Research Higher Degree (a Masters by
Research or a PhD), your current degree needs to have
a research component of at least 25% of your fourth
year or Masters level. If you think you can only do
another degree if you secure funding, you'll need to
work doubly hard to obtain a high enough mark to be
awarded a scholarship.
How to apply for postgraduate degee:
Once you have a topic in mind, you should begin to seek a supervisor.
Checking out the staff profiles on the department website is a good way
to start before talking with a number of potential supervisors who seem
to have similar research interests. In these relatively informal chats, you
can get a sense of the personality of various staff and try to select
someone with whom you think you can work for a number of years.
Having selected a supervisor (who has agreed to supervise you in the
event that you are accepted to undertake the degree), all you need to do
We would like to encourage you to make your application to the
university on-line, that way you will receive email confirmation and
status updates tracking the progress of your application to a decision.
Please make sure you carefully read the notes for guidance which will
assist you with completion of your application.
On receipt of your application, the University’s Registry Services Office
will send an acknowledgement of receipt (email) to you and provide
you with an individual admissions reference number.
Steps for applying for a degree:
1- Choose your major
2- Get hold of a list of universities with those programs.
3- Take the GRE and, TOEFL Tests
4- Assess your chances of getting into a particular school of your interest.
You'll need to take into account the following factors:
- funding (Guarantee)
- your college GPA
- your research experience (CV)
- your citizenship status (visa)
- geographical location preferences (Traveling)
- whether you want to go into a research institute or a full university
- GRE and TOEFL scores
5- Choose the people you want to write the recommendation letters for you.
6- Write a statement of purpose (SoP) for your interest in each program.
7- Arrange for transcripts from each post-school institution attended.
8- Have the GRE and TOEFL scores reported to the appropriate department of
9- Use a Calendar program to keep track of what documents are needed, which
ones of them have been sent and which ones are pending
1- Some schools and programs are not so popular on rankings but have great grad
2- Do not hesitate to send any manuscripts under preparation to the admissions
committee, if you are lacking enough publications already.
3- Get an international credit card.
4- Often people ask the order of importance of GPA, GRE, TOEFL scores, research
experience, and reference letters in the application.
5- Take time to prepare for the GRE and try to take several practice tests.
Gaining some sort of research or work experience in the field you plan to apply to
will greatly improve your chances of admission.
6- Have a clear idea of which faculty you would like to work with in the programs
you are applying to, and indicate this on your personal statement. If possible,
contact these faculty before you apply.
7- It will help a lot if you already have an idea of what your dissertation or graduate
research will be about when you apply.
8- Most schools interview potential candidates.
9- Strong applicants usually hear from grad committees in January itself. Most
decisions are made known to the students by early March. Rarely, notifications are
made in April.
10- The last date for the candidate to make his/her decision is usually mid-April.
Things you‘ll need:
1- GRE (Graduate Record Examination) General Test Score
2- TOEFL Score
3- At least three (3) Recommendation Letters from
scientists and/or teachers who can assess your ability to
4- Your college GPA (Grade Point Average)
5- Your SoP (Statement of Purpose)
6- A research proposal if you are applying for an PhD
7- Your CV
8- A credit card (Viza or Mastercard)
9- A passport (and latter your visa status)
10- P.O. Box address and email address (gmail and yahoo)
English Language Requirements
Overseas students applying for an MSc, MPhil/PhD
degree should achieve an IELTS score of 6.0, a TOEFL
score of 553, a Computer Based TOEFL score of 217 or
an Internet TOEFL score of 81. If you are made an offer
of a place, then please note that an original
documentation is required of any language score
report in order to satisfy a language condition.
If you are unable to meet the language entry
requirement then pre-sessional English courses of five,
ten or fifteen-week duration may be available in the
University’s Centre for Language Study.
What is a GRE:
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) consists of two separate tests:
- the General Test
- and the Subject Test (Optional).
The General Test is composed of three parts:
and analytical writing
The verbal and the quantitative tests each yield a separate score
between 200-800. Scores on the analytical writing test are reported in
½-point increments along a scale of 0 to 6.
It is essential that you do well--at least 550 on each test (600+ is even
better)--to get into most doctoral programs. Master's programs are less
competitive, so lower scores (450-500 on each of the tests) are less of a
problem. You will probably have trouble being admitted into any
program with scores less than 450 on one of the tests.
1- full Name
2- phone number , email and mailing address
4- Honors and Awards
5- Research experience
6- Teaching experience
9- Presentations and invited lectures
10- Professional training
11- Professional Affiliation
12- Professional services
13- Community service
15- Computer skills
How to write a statement of purpose (SoP):
If you've decided to apply for graduate studies, almost
all universities will require you to write a Statement of
This letter, usually 1-2 pages in length, can make or
break your application. Regardless of your grade point
average (GPA), work experience, test scores, or
undergraduate mastery of your potential future area of
study, your Statement of Purpose is very influential at
most institutions when determining your candidacy
How to Write a Formal Email
A formal e-mail should be written as if it is a business letter. You
should be sure whom it should be addressed to and how you plan
to communicate your clear intentions throughout the e-mail
The following are the list of steps for writing a formal e-mail.
1- Begin with the full name, title, business and email address of
the person to whom you are writing.
2- Write the actual message in a clear and concise manner. Don't
forget to check for spelling and grammatical errors once you
completed the message.
3- Check the message to make sure you included and justified all
the reasons you are writing the e-mail.
4- Fill out the To and From fields in the Email.
5- Pick a subject that will draw the attention of the reader. Do
not pick a random subject that has nothing to do with the
reasons that you are e-mailing the person. This also makes it
easier for the person to search for your e-mail if you call them in
reference to your e-mail.
Dear Professor Jim Field,
My name is Mohamed S. Ali and I am from Baghdad, Iraq. I would like to pursue
my PhD degree in Petroleum Engineering. I am currently holding an MSc degree
in Chemical Engineering from the University of Technology, Baghdad.
I have been following your work in the field of using Catalyst in Petroleum
industry and I would like to follow my research in this field.
I would like to state here that I have got a scholarship from the Iraqi Ministry of
Higher Education and Scientific Research. This scholarship covers all my study
I am writing this letter as an application to apply for a PhD in Petroleum
Engineering at your university. If you accept to be my supervisor I would
appreciate it if you could send me a letter of acceptance to carry out my PhD
course at your department starting from 1st of September.
Finally, I enclosed my CV and I am ready to send you any necessary information
Thank you for your time and consideration and looking forward to hearing from
Mohamed S. Ali
Re: Mr. Mohammed S. Ali
I have known Mr. Ali since 2003 when he graduated from the University of Technology/
Department of Chemical Engineering. He later joined the department as a colleague with an MSc
Mr. Ali is an active participant in the department where he has showed a skilful ability as well as
good lecturing performance especially in the practical side in the field of physical chemistry. As
for the potential of his ability of serving in the field of petroleum industry, I am very optimistic
toward his future and I believe he will be very successful in doing something for the department
and for the University of Technology.
I believe that the applicant has got the undergraduate and postgraduate training in chemical
engineering and therefore he has obtained relevant experience for this work and acquired the
expertise and capability to continue his work in this field. I feel confident that he will continue
to succeed in his work.
Mr. Ali is a dedicated person and has proven to be a take-charge person who is able to successfully
develop plans and implement them. He has shown excellent performance in this university and I
can attest to his perseverance and positive attitude.
It is for these reasons that I offer high recommendation for Mr. Ali without reservation. His drive
and abilities will truly be an asset to the University of Technology.
Finally, if you have any questions regarding this recommendation, please do not hesitate to
Asst. Prof. Dr. Najm A. Al-Rubaiey
Department of Petroleum Technology
University of Technology
52 Street, P.O. Box 35109
Baghdad, Republic of Iraq
Mobile: +964 7700485959
Email: [email protected] or [email protected]
Personal of Statement
I open this statement with explaining the reasons behind my application to the Fulbright
program. My reason for applying is twofold: first to expand my qualification in IT field
and second to prepare myself for a better future carrier in Iraq.
My diverse work and experiences have constantly given me a clear understanding of the
opportunities which are available to me. I have always been as a child fascinated with the
idea of becoming a successful lecturer at the University of technology. I came from a
middle class family which usually parents have less opportunities for their children to
become professors or doctors. This case has always invoked me to work hard to achieve
my goals. This was sometimes quit difficult if you know that I have to work hard with my
father in supporting our big family. I think by becoming an engineer I have reached the
stage where I achieved my family emption and also part of my objectives.
On the other side, my work at the University of Technology as a computer engineer led
me to realize the importance of this field in the facilitating of our life in Iraq. I have been
charged with the cross-function E-University Unit where we design the University's
official website, thus made the connection of the University with outside world possible
despite all the obstacles we faced. In addition, I have the honor in serving with IraqiAmerican Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I have professionally learned document
translation and worked directly with numerous coordinators and pressmen on a wide
variety of projects.
I suppose that the Fulbright program will make me one of those who will contribute to fill
the professional gap in information technology of my country. I possess a board-based
education in computer engineering but in order to attain what I am aiming for. An
international exposure coupled with the immense opportunity in the US will help me
fulfill this target.
Based on the criteria and conditions of this program and according to my area of
expertise I found myself eligible to apply.
Some useful web sites:
ETS: for TOEFL and GRE tests
World lists of Universities: