The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Graduate College Division of Academic Affairs

International Admissions

As an international applicant, you will be required to submit a few supplementary items in addition to the program admission requirements.  The steps below outline helpful information and guidance on the application process.

UPDATE ON INTERNATIONAL ADMISSIONS FROM U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT:

SEVP regulations prohibit the issuance of a Form I-20 based on conditional admission, effective July 13, 2016. University officials can only issue a Form I-20 when students have met all standards for admission for the program of study listed on the Form I-20. These standards for admission include any English proficiency requirements.

  • Step 1: Fill out a UTRGV online application

    Start your application at www.utrgv.edu/graduate/onlineapplication

    To review the admission requirements for the program of your interest visit the Graduate Programs page and select the program that you would like to apply to.  Each of our programs have different admission requirements and deadlines so be sure to start your application, as soon as possible.  The university application fee can be paid online by credit card or electronic check, within the online application.  Application fees are nonrefundable. 

    Defer Admission for an Earlier/Later Semester: Your offer of admission into a graduate program is good for up to one year. If you're not able to enroll for the initial term you applied for, you may defer to a subsequent term. To defer your application, send an email to the Graduate Admissions Specialist who processed your application and your Program Director.  After a year, you would need to re-apply.

  • Step 2: Get your academic credentials/transcripts evaluated

    You will need to get your academic credentials/transcripts evaluated by either the Foreign Credentials Service of America (FCSA) or the World Education Services (WES).  

    *Note: The Physician Assistant Studies program only accepts the World Education Services (WES) evaluation.

    You will need to send copies of your transcript(s) directly to these evaluation companies. A detailed evaluation of coursework is required in order to process your application for admission consideration. 

    Foreign Credentials Service of America (FCSA):

    www.foreigncredentials.org

    FCSA application

    World Education Services (WES)  

    Official Transcripts must be submitted before the following deadlines:

    Deadlines to submit original transcripts:
    Admitted for Fall October 1st
    Admitted for Spring March 1st
    Admitted for Summer 1 July 8th
    Deadlines to submit original transcripts (with degree conferred):
    Students graduating in Fall March 1st
    Students graduating in Spring July 8th
    Students graduating in Summer 1 August 24th
    Students graduating in Summer 2 October 15th

    Students not complying with this requirement will not be able to register for future semesters.

    Frequently asked questions:

    Do I need to submit an FCSA evaluation for my foreign undergraduate degree if I have a master's degree from an accredited U.S. university?
    If an applicant obtained a master's degree from an accredited U.S. university, the FCSA evaluation will not be required for his/her foreign undergraduate degree. However, English translation will be required for the undergraduate transcripts.

    The FCSA website lists different options for evaluation. Should I choose the General Evaluation or the Detailed Evaluation?
    A detailed evaluation of coursework is needed for all transcripts from foreign universities.

    International students from which universities are not required to send transcripts to FCSA?
    Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM)
    Universidad de Monterrey (UDEM)
    Universidad de las Américas (UDLA)

    Does the Indian 15-year degree plan meet the requirements for a master's degree?
    According to Foreign Credential Services of America, depending on the undergraduate university and the degree conferred it might be sufficient. Note: This depends on the evaluation by Foreign Credential Services of America.

    Is an evaluation of educational records necessary?
    International applicants must have their transcript(s) evaluated by either the Foreign Credentials Service of America (FCSA) or the Wold Education Services (WES)Click here for the FCSA application. Additional information is available at www.foreigncredentials.org or (512) 459-8428.  *Note: the Physician Assistant Program only accepts the WES evaluation.  

    Do I need to send original transcripts to Foreign Credentials Service of America (FCSA)?
    No. You may send copies of your transcripts to FCSA. Then you must bring the original copy of the transcript to the Graduate College and a copy will be made to be placed in the student’s file. This can be done at any point after the application is submitted or during the student’s first semester, but must be done before the student registers for the second semester.

    What documents do I have to submit to FCSA?
    To complete an academic credentials evaluation, you must submit:

    1. Completed FCSA application
    2. Photocopies of your academic documents
    3. Certified translations of the academic documents if they are not in English
      Note: All translations must be certified unless the native language is Spanish, in which case it does not need to be a certified translation.
    4. Payment—check, money order or credit/debit card.  This information should be entered on “Payment” section of the application.

    Can I submit documents to the FCSA online?
    You may send the documents electronically via fax or scanned email attachments.
    If you have questions about FCSA please contact:

    Foreign Credentials Service of America
    1910 Justin Lane
    Austin, TX 78757-2411
    Phone: (512) 459.8428
    Fax: (512) 459.4565
  • Step 3: Submit Official English Proficiency Exam Scores

    Students whose native language is not English will be expected to provide test scores for either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).  Below you will find more information on these exams, the minimum score requirements, as well as, exemptions. 

    TOEFL Minimum Scores

    • 550 Paper-Based
    • 79 Internet-Based

    IELTS Minimum Score

    • 6.5

    Exemptions

    • Exempt Countries:
      • American Samoa
      • Australia
      • Bahamas
      • Barbados
      • Belize
      • Canada (except Quebec)
      • Dominica
      • Grenada
      • Grand Cayman
      • Guyana
      • Ireland
      • Jamaica
      • Liberia
      • New Zealand
      • Sierra Leone
      • Trinidad/Tobago
      • United Kingdom
      • U.S.Pacific Trust
      • United States (other than Puerto Rico)
    • Other Exemptions:
    • Students who have recently and successfully completed at least 30 credit hours of university level academic studies in one of the countries listed.
    • Lifetime residents of Australia, Canada (other than Quebec), New Zealand, United Kingdom, or the United States (other than Puerto Rico).
    • Students who have completed the Advanced Level of the Intensive Program from the English Language Institute (ELI) at UTRGV may submit their certificate of completion with their application.

    Important Information

    • Only test scores that are received directly from Educational Testing Services (ETS) or from the UTRGV Testing Center are acceptable for admission purposes. Since it normally takes 8-10 weeks for test results to arrive at UTRGV from the ETS, you should plan to take the tests well in advance of the appropriate application deadline to insure that scores will arrive on time.
    • UTRGV will not accept residual TOEFL scores from exams taken at another institution.
    • Test scores are only valid for 2 years.  If you took either of these exams more than two years ago you will need to retake it.
    • The test bulletin of information and registration forms, for these exams are usually available at American embassies and consulates, offices of the United States Information Agency, or online at www.ets.org.
    The institution code to forward your scores to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley is 6570.
  • Step 4: Submit Official Standardized Test Scores

    Test requirements such as the GRE and GMAT are program specific requirements that may or may not be required for the program you are applying to. Review the Graduate Programs page for details.

    Request that official test scores from the testing agency to be sent to the UTRGV Graduate College.  Below are the UTRGV school codes for the GRE and the GMAT exams.

    GRE- 6570
    GMAT- 9P3

    GRE Additional Information

    The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills.  Scores are valid for five years after taking the exam.  For more information or to register to take the GRE exam visit the Educational Testing Service website at www.ets.org/gre.

    GMAT Additional Information

    The Graduate Management Admission Test is a standardized assessment, delivered in English, that helps business schools assess the qualifications of applicants for advanced study in business and management.  For more information or to register to take this GMAT exam visit the Graduate Management Admission Council website at www.mba.com.

  • Step 5: Submit Financial Documentation

    In accordance with immigration regulations, all international students are required to submit documentation showing sufficient funds (minimum of $23,578 for non-Mexican Nationals and for Mexican Nationals with an approved Mexican Tuition Waiver a minimum of $14,823) subject to change to cover all expenses (living and academic) for the first year of study.  

    • Documentation must be in the form of letters from the bank or of statements showing specific dollar amounts available. These documents are not valid unless dated within three months of the date of acceptance.
    • If funds are from a source other than the applicant or their immediate family, the sponsor must submit a letter of support, state the amount of funding pledged, and attach copies of recent bank statements. (Affidavit of Financial Support for F-1 Students Form)

    These documents are not valid unless dated within three months of the date of acceptance.

    • If you have been offered a scholarship you will need to provide documentation and dollar amount of the scholarship.
    • If you have been offered an assistantship by the university you will need to provide documentation and dollar amount of the assistantship.
    • Mexican nationals may also apply for the Mexican Tuition Waiver and provide all financial documentation that it requires.

    If you have additional questions regarding this requirement, contact the International Admissions and Student Services Office at:

    Brownsville Campus: Edinburg Campus:
    International Admissions and Student Services
    MAIN Bldg. 1.308
    One West University Blvd.
    Brownsville, TX 78520
    Phone: 956-882-7092
    Email: international@utrgv.edu
    Fax: 956-882-6817
    Hours of Operations: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
    International Admissions and Student Services
    STAC Bldg. 3.128
    1201 West University Dr.
    Edinburg, TX 78539
    Phone 956-6652922
    Email: international@utrgv.edu
    Fax: 956-665-2281
    Hours of Operations: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Step 6: Submit Immigration Documents

    You must submit a current copy of your valid passport to ensure that the spelling of your name is consistent on all immigration and university documents.

    • Once approved for admission the International Admissions and Student Services Office will issue an I-20 which you will need to take to the nearest U.S. Consulate and apply for a student visa (detailed instructions will be included with the I-20).
    • For students who plan to attend on a visa status other than F-1 or F-3 student status, proof of that status is required. Include copies of all immigration documents.
    • If you have applied for U.S. Residency but have not yet received it you must attach copies of immigration documents.
    • If you are in the U.S. but currently have no legal status (undocumented) please note so on the application. Please contact us as you may qualify for in-state tuition based on Texas Senate Bill 1528.
    • Information and documents needed to obtain a student visa will be sent to you once you have been accepted to UTRGV. 

    If you have additional questions regarding this requirement, contact the International Admissions and Student Services Office at:

    Brownsville Campus: Edinburg Campus:
    International Admissions and Student Services
    MAIN Bldg. 1.308
    One West University Blvd.
    Brownsville, TX 78520
    Phone: 956-882-7092
    Email: international@utrgv.edu
    Fax: 956-882-6817
    Hours of Operations: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
    International Admissions and Student Services
    STAC Bldg. 3.128
    1201 West University Dr.
    Edinburg, TX 78539
    Phone 956-6652922
    Email: international@utrgv.edu
    Fax: 956-665-2281
    Hours of Operations: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Step 7: Additional Attendance University Requirements

    You will be required to submit the following items if you fall into the criteria listed below.  Please read carefully to see if any of these items apply to you.

    Meningitis Vaccination Policy

    All new students under the age of 22 must provide certified proof from a health practitioner that they have received a valid bacterial meningitis vaccination or booster within the last five years. Students must submit their proof of vaccination or a booster at least 10 days prior to the first day of class for the intended term of enrollment.  

    Students who meet one of the following four specific exceptions permitted by the law do not have to provide proof of the vaccination:

    • New students who are twenty-two years of age or older on first day of the semester
    • New students who are enrolled only in on-line or distance classes
    • New students who provide a medical excuse that states that the vaccination would be harmful to the student’s health
    • New students who provide documentation of a moral or conscientious objection to the vaccine by using a form promulgated by the Texas Department of State Services. Please click here to learn more about the vaccine exemption for reasons of conscience.

    *A student is considered a “new” student if they are enrolling for the first time at UTRGV or, if they have previously been enrolled at UTRGV and are now enrolling in a new undergraduate or graduate program at UTRGV.

    Graduate students who do not meet the exceptions listed above will need to provide proof of vaccination to the Graduate College. In order to enroll, the vaccination must have been taken 10 days before the start of the semester. A registration hold will be placed on all graduate students that do not meet the exceptions. This hold will be removed once the Graduate College has received the required proof of the immunization.

    Graduate students that are required to provide proof of the vaccination should submit copies of their immunization records, either in person or by postal mail, to:

    The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
    Graduate College
    Marialice Shary Shivers Bldg. 1.158
    1201 W. University Drive
    Edinburg, Texas 78541-2999

    Students may also email copies of their vaccination to the admissions staff. Refer to the staff contact page to determine the admissions staff responsible for your graduate program.

    To find the vaccine, check with your:

    • UTRGV Student Health Services
    • Family doctor
    • Local public health department

    Medical Insurance

    The Board of Regents of the UT-System schools requires that all international students* be billed medical insurance every semester. The minimum coverage is: Major Medical-$50,000, Medical Evacuation-$7,500. Waivers may be requested if you have proof of your own insurance that is equal to or exceeds these minimums, and that will cover you while in the U.S.

    • Mexican citizens may have medical insurance waived because of the proximity to the border.

    If you have additional questions regarding this requirement, contact the International Admissions and Student Services Office at:

    Brownsville Campus: Edinburg Campus:
    International Admissions and Student Services
    MAIN Bldg. 1.308
    One West University Blvd.
    Brownsville, TX 78520
    Phone: 956-882-7092
    Email: international@utrgv.edu
    Fax: 956-882-6817
    Hours of Operations: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
    International Admissions and Student Services
    STAC Bldg. 3.128
    1201 West University Dr.
    Edinburg, TX 78539
    Phone 956-6652922
    Email: international@utrgv.edu
    Fax: 956-665-2281
    Hours of Operations: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
  • Step 8: After Applying

    After applying and submitting all additional requirements, please allow about 5 business days for the Graduate College to receive and process your application. After the Graduate College has processed your application, an Admissions Specialist will send your application over to the program where they will review and make a decision on your application.  The timeframe for a decision on your application will vary from program to program.  

    To check on your application status, click on the link below:

    Check Application Status

    Be sure to also take some time and fill out the UTRGV Scholarship Application and contact your Program Director if you are interested in applying for an assistantship.