Admission to UNM and the Program

Optical Science and Engineering (OSE)
University of New Mexico
1313 Goddard, SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106 (USA)
Attn: Doris Williams, OSE Program Advisor


SemesterDomestic with TA/GADomestic without TA/GAInternational
FallJanuary 26th (New Extension for Fall 2024May 1stJanuary 26th (New Extension for Fall 2024)
SpringAugust 1stOctober 1stAugust 1st

Required Documents

Application Form: To apply to OSE online, select Interdisciplinary Programs and then choose Optical Science and Engineering (OSE/OPEN). The major code for Optical Science and Engineering is: OPEN

The online application allows you to do the following:

  • Fill out the UNM online application
  • Make Letters of Recommendation Request (At least three references are required)
  • Upload Letter of Intent/Personal Statement 
  • Upload Resume/CV
  • Upload Transcripts
  • Upload Information on Request for a GA/TA

Domestic and International Applicants:Apply online here

Application Fee: Non-refundable application fee made payable to the University of New Mexico. The application fee can be paid by personal check, International Postal Money Order, Travelers Check(s), or by a certified Check drawn on a US bank. Applications will not be reviewed until the fee is received. You may also pay online through the online admissions process.

Application Fee Waiver: You can contact the OSE program and request consideration for a waiver of the application fee.  Please send an email to requesting a fee waiver. Kindly, send this email before you have submitted your application. IMPORTANT: The OSE Application Fee Waivers are only for OSE applicants who are applying to the program and if accepted, matriculate into the OSE program. The OSE Fee Waiver is NOT for other academic programs at UNM including other STEM programs such as ECE, Physics and Astronomy, NSME, Computer Science, etc.  Please contact those other programs directly and request an application fee waiver.

IMPORTANT: No changes to your application through the online system are allowed once you enter your digital signature on the application and click the SUBMIT button.

Before you submit your application, be sure these required components are included in your application. All materials must be received before the committee will review the packet.

Letter of Intent: 

In one single-spaced page (2 pages double spaced), please share the following:

  • Your interest and past experience in Optics. Please include any personal publication papers or citations
  • Your goals and aspirations while pursuing your advanced degree
  • List several OSE-affiliated faculty whose research especially interests you
  • Where you see yourself working in five years after graduation

Transcripts/Academic Records:

One copy of your academic record from each college and university that you have attended is required. All documents submitted in support of your application must be official and must bear the original seal, stamp, or signature of the institution's designated administrator. If the documents are in a language other than English, an official certified English translation must be submitted along with each original record. For the review process, the OSE Program will allow unofficial transcripts to be submitted during the evaluation process; however, if accepted, admission into the program will only be conditional until the official transcripts are received. It is important that all students answer and comply with all records requests made by UNM International Admissions Office (GEO) and the UNM Admissions Office.

GRE: The General GRE 

The Institution Code Is: 4845.

For Fall 2024 admission, General GRE test and Physics GRE subject test scores are optional. You may submit your scores if you wish, but it will not hurt your application if you do not submit your GRE scores.

  • Physics GRE score
  • General GRE scores

English Proficiency: If English is not your first language, you must take either the TOEFL, the IELTS, Duolingo English Test or Cambridge CPE or CAE. The minimum score on the TOEFL is at least 530 ( 213 on the computerized test, or 79 on the Internet-based test). The minimum score for the IELTS is 6.5; and for the Cambridge CPE or CAE is a C. The minimum score for the Duolingo English Test is 105. Official test results must be sent directly to the University of New Mexico. International students seeking graduate teaching assistantships, and whose native language is not English, may also be required to submit an acceptable score on the Test of Spoken English. Students who have received a bachelor's or graduate degree from an accredited institution in the United States, English-speaking Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, or New Zealand are exempt from submitting TOEFL scores. The Institution Code Is: 4845.

To report your scores, please follow the instructions below: 

  • For the TOEFL exam, please request that ETS send your official scores to UNM (school code: 4845)
  • For the IELTS exam, a Test Report Form may be uploaded to this eform- (The scores will be verified with IELTS) 
  • For the Duolingo English Test exam, please request that Duolingo send your official score to UNM
  • For information about exemptions to this requirement, please see our website

For more information on English Proficiency, please visit the Center for English Language and American Culture (CELAC).

Living and housing expenses:
There are a number of options to choose from:

The cost of living in Albuquerque has historically been below the US national average. See UNM's estimates.