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Below we offer some commonly asked questions by students interested in our program.  Additionally, graduate students in our program have made a series of videos on this YouTube channel to help prospective students with frequently asked questions (please see the bottom of this page for specific video links).


I don’t have a BS in Biology.  Can I still apply?
Yes, you may apply – a BS in Biology is not a prerequisite for our program, though we do require that you have the equivalent of a US bachelor's degree.  Should you be accepted, your Temporary Committee may have you take additional classes  to ensure your foundational knowledge is consistent with the expectations of our program.

Do I need a Masters degree to apply to the PhD program?
No, you do not need a masters degree.  Many of our students do not have masters degrees.

Do you require that I take the GRE?
No, we do not require you to send GRE scores as part of your application package.

What are your minimum GPA requirement? 
The Biology department does not impose any requirements beyond those of the Graduate School, which is a 3.0 GPA. However, if an applicant is deemed admissible by the admissions committee, a petition could be submitted to waive the minimum GPA requirement. 

I am an international student, do you have a minimum TOEFL score requirement?
We require that you meet the Graduate School minimum score of 80 on the TOEFL iBT test.  More information on the TOEFL requirement, and if you are exempt from needing to submit TOEFL scores can be found here.

Should I take the GRE Biology subject test?
We do not require that you take the GRE Biology subject test.  In fairness to all applicants, we will not review the scores of this test if you choose to submit them.

When is the application due?  When will I find out if I’m accepted?
Applications are due on December 1.  We only enroll new students in the Autumn Quarter of each year.  Should the faculty find your qualifications a match for our program, you will be invited to an interview weekend in January-February.  Admissions decisions are made by early March.

What does your application require?
There are six application materials required: unofficial transcripts, CV, Holistic Statement (2 pages), contact information for 3 references, list of 3 faculty of interest, and TOEFL scores (optional). The application fee is $85.

Do you offer application fee waivers?
Yes, application fee waivers are available through the Graduate School.  The department does not have any waivers to give directly to applicants.

How do I apply?
All applications are submitted electronically through the Graduate School.

How much does your program cost?
Our department values your research and scholarship, and will ensure you are funded (tuition, stipend, insurance) for the first five years of your studies through a variety of assistantships, fellowships, and scholarships.  You are responsible for student fees (around $248 per quarter), in addition to any additional fees incurred.

Do you offer a Master in Science degree?
No, we do not offer a MS program.

May I apply to other graduate programs at the UW at the same time?
Yes, you may apply to as many other programs as you would like.  The UW may charge a separate application fee.

Should I contact faculty before I apply?
Yes!  Contacting faculty before you apply demonstrates your interest in their research, and helps you determine whether their lab/the UW’s program is a good fit for your research interests.

Where can I learn about what the faculty are researching?
You can visit our Faculty Research Directory.  Each faculty member has a brief outline of their research interests in their profile.

Do you have any required courses?
Yes, there are minimal required courses.  See our Program Requirements for more information on class selection.

Is teaching required in your program?
Yes, each PhD student is required to hold a Teaching Assistant appointment for at least two quarters during their academic career.

Do you offer lab rotations for new students?
Yes, students must complete 3-4 rotations in their first year.  For more information on this, please see our Lab Assignment/Rotations page.

Do you accept international students every year?
Yes, as we evaluate all of our applicants based on their academic merits and research interests.

Do you have additional questions?
Contact the Graduate Program Manager at


Video Links:


Date last changed Jul 26th, 2021 @ 16:07:39 PDT