Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of common questions and concerns voiced by prospective and current students. For additional information, please contact the TAM program office at tam@unc.edu.


Q. How many applications do you receive each year and how many of those applicants are accepted?
A. We generally receive 70-80 applications each year. We make every effort to cap the class size at 20.

Q. What type of GPA and GRE scores are the TAM admissions committee looking for?
A. The average GPA for our accepted applicants is about a 3.5. Accepted applicants generally score in the 50th percentile or above on the Verbal and Quantitative portions of the GRE. We do not consider the written portion score. Non-US nationals sometimes (understandably) have lower GRE scores. These are average scores for past admission; however, the committee also looks at other important factors such as foreign-language ability, letters of recommendation, work and academic experiences, and the balance of students at the various European sites.

Q. I have been out of school for some time and I am not in contact with my professors. Who should I get to write my letters of recommendation, and who should complete my language evaluation?
A. While it is certainly possible to ask an employer or supervisor for a letter of recommendation, the admissions committee does prefer to see letters from your professors. We would like to get a sense of your work as a student. For the language evaluation, you might try contacting a language professor or instructor at a local college or university.

Q. How do I decide which degree option I should pursue?
A. This depends on two issues: your language abilities and your career goals. You receive your degree from the institution to which you submit your thesis, and you must be prepared to write your thesis in the language of the institution awarding your degree.

The M.A. offered at Bath and the M.A. offered at UNC are officially-established degree qualifications at their universities and within the traditional education systems of their respective countries' educational structures. The 'Trans-Atlantic Masters' degrees offered at Berlin, Sciences Po, and Siena are masters degrees created specifically for the TAM program and are formally approved by their university governing boards. The advantages of TAM's innovative international approach to graduate education are directly related to the interests of a potential employer or future graduate program. TAM’s track I produces graduates who have demonstrated functional, active foreign language skills and an advanced knowledge of national and international politics and culture in the transatlantic sphere. The degree-track you choose will ultimately depend equally on your language abilities before you start the program and your employment plans afterwards.

If you feel that you are more interested in TAM track II’s social-policy focus, you will pursue either UNC’s MA in Political Science, Concentration European Governance, the Master in Political and Social Sciences from UPF in Barcelona, or the MA from the University of Bremen.

Q. What types of careers do graduates pursue?
A. TAM graduates have gone on to careers with governmental agencies, NGOs, think tanks, universities, and international businesses. Such institutions include DIA, DOD, NATO, the European Commission, the European External Action Service, The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), The Council on Foreign Relations, The Atlantic Council, The Arc of the US, Amazon, Google, and Lufthansa. Some graduates have opted to pursue further graduate study in PhD programs, law or business schools.

Q. What types of documents/visas will I need as a student studying in another country?
A. All students in the TAM program will need to consider visa issues and begin to make arrangements well in advance. Students who are not permanent residents of the United States will need to acquire a student visa (F1) in advance of the fall semester at UNC, which usually starts at the end of August. Students who are not permanent residents of an EU country will need to arrange their student visas for the appropriate European country (countries) early in the fall semester after they have passed their language screening at UNC (if TAM I) and/or over the summer (if TAM I or TAM II).

The UNC office of the Trans-Atlantic Master's program will advise and assist you when possible, but ultimately it will be necessary for you to take full responsibility for acquiring your visa documents. You will need to contact the embassies/consulates of each country in which you intend to study and ask for the necessary requirements and paperwork. In general, you will have to provide documentation in the following areas: (1) Financial resources (2) Health insurance & Immunizations (3) Proof of admission to an academic program; (4) Police record / FBI background check. For the details of each country's requirements, again, you must contact the consulate directly. Once you begin the TAM program, you will receive copies of an admission letter addressed "To whom it may concern," which outlines your proposed course of study. You will need this letter at virtually every step of the visa process.

Immediately after admission, students who are not legal residents of the United States will need to begin the application process for the F1 visa which will allow them to study at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The Financial Certificate for International Applicants should be accompanied by:

  • 3 original letters of guarantee from all scholarship sources
  • 3 original letters of financial guarantee from any relatives providing financial support
  • 3 original bank statements for the student's and/or relatives' bank account showing financial resources which will be used during the year in which you are enrolled.

All documents must be originals, in English, in US dollars, in triplicate.
If these items are completed correctly, the UNC International Center will produce an "I-20" for you. You must take this I-20 to a US embassy or consulate when applying for your student visa. You cannot enter the United States to begin the TAM program on any other visa. Before your arrival in the United States, you will also need to arrange health insurance for the length of your stay in the United States and provide documentation of that health insurance to the TAM office at UNC-Chapel Hill.
Students who are US citizens should not arrange visas or purchase tickets for travel to the sites of their European modules until they have passed language screening in the fall semester at UNC.

Q. What kinds of backgrounds are typical for incoming students?
Most TAM students have undergraduate degrees in either political science, history, sociology, international relations, or one of the languages of the consortium universities. One-third to one-half of the students admitted have previous work experience, often with international businesses or programs. Work-experience is not required, however, and students from undergraduate majors not mentioned here are encouraged to contact the TAM office with further questions. tam@unc.edu.

Q. Regarding foreign-language skills and program requirements, what if I only speak English? What if I speak another language but it is not a consortium language?
A. You are certainly welcome to apply to the program even if you only speak English; however, the committee does prefer to accept applicants with foreign-language skills. If you speak a language other than Italian, Spanish, French or German, the committee will take that skill into account and consider you for an all-English-language track.

Q. Is it possible to take language courses in the fall to prepare for the specialist and thesis modules?
A. No, the intensive TAM course work does not leave time for language classes. Students are expected to be prepared for university-level coursework at all sites indicated in their study program by the time the Core Module begins.

Q. Could you please tell me about funding opportunities, scholarships, and / or TA- / RA-ships?
A. US citizens or permanent residents may wish to consider applying for the FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) award. Please see the "Program Fees and Financial Aid" page on this site and the questions and answers below for more information about the FLAS opportunity. In the past, students have also applied for Fulbright grants and DAAD funding. TAM is able to offer some small merit-based tuition remissions (in 500-1000 dollar amounts); however, no TA or RA positions are available to TAM students. Most US students fund their TAM program of study by way of federal and private loans.

Q. How does the FLAS grant work? Since I am applying for an academic year grant, if I am awarded the grant, would I actually be taking language classes, or is this intended to cover only TAM classes?
A. If awarded a FLAS for TAM track I, you would take a language class during your fall semester at UNC and during the Specialist Module I (SMI) at your first European site; you would also undertake SMI coursework in the target language while overseas. As a TAM track II student with FLAS funding, you would take language classes for both semesters at UNC.

Q. Do I need to have someone complete a separate language evaluation for FLAS, or will the one I submitted for TAM suffice?
A. You can use the same language evaluation, but you need to make a copy or have it filled out twice since the FLAS application goes to a separate office.

Q. Seeing as I have not yet been admitted to the TAM program, how detailed does the description of my research project need to be for the FLAS application?
A. You can merge the research and personal statements and talk about how you hope to use both the language and TAM training in your future career. Note that for FLAS awards, priority is given to those planning a career in US Government service.

Q. Is it preferred that letters of recommendation come from certain types of "advisors" as opposed to others (professors, as opposed to professional resources) for the FLAS application?
A. Letters for FLAS should address both your abilities as a student as well as your ability/need/aptitude for language study. If possible, these letters should address the relevance of your language choice and TAM program to your future career. This is not always something you or the letter-writer will know about, but it is a very useful add-on if available.

Q. On the section of the FLAS application where it asks me to list the language course in which I intend to enroll and what area studies courses I will take, I am not sure what to put. Should I pick courses from the TAM and UNC-CH websites?
A. Yes, you should list the courses you will be taking in TAM--they are all pre-qualified as FLAS area studies courses. In addition you should identify an appropriate level language class from that department's web site (Romance Languages or German). If you can't find the directory of classes on-line, then that's fine. Instead, simply mention what level language class you would enroll in. If you get the award, Sarah will work with you to find an appropriate level class. For now don't worry about scheduling. If you get the award, Sarah will work with you to find an appropriate language class that doesn't conflict with the TAM required classes.

Q. How can I receive more information about the TAM program?
A. If you have any further questions about TAM, please feel free to contact Sarah Hutchison, TAM Associate Director at the Center for European Studies, CB# 3449, Chapel Hill NC 27599, or call at 919-962-4507.

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