Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Penn State Science
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Frequently Asked Questions

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Application Process

What is the application deadline for BMMB?

BMMB's application deadline is December 15, 2019. Late applications may be considered.

May I apply directly to a research lab?

Individual laboratories do not admit students. All first year students do three 5-week laboratory rotations in their first semester before they select a permanent lab.

Does the program have a prescribed format for recommendation letters?

Recommendation letters must be uploaded by the referees after the applicant enters their reference information during the online application process. 


Academic and Testing Requirements

What is the required GPA or GRE scores?

BMMB does not have specific cut-offs for GPA scores. BMMB considers the entire application before the admission decision is made. 

As of September 2018, BMMB is no longer requiring GRE scores on our application. If you have taken the GRE and would like to self-report your scores, you may do so within the application. Your scores will not be used to evaluate your application.

What transcripts should I submit?

Upload unofficial and/or scanned versions of transcripts for Bachelor’s, Master’s, Professional, and Doctorate degrees directly into the online application. The Graduate School will require all accepted students to submit official transcripts prior to enrollment at Penn State.

What are the codes for reporting TOEFL scores?
The school code is 2660, the department code is 34 for TOEFL scores.

Is the GRE or GRE Subject Test required for admission?
BMMB does not require the general GRE or the GRE subject test for admission.

Is a TOEFL score for an international student required if they are attending a US institution?
A TOEFL is required if the applicant has a conferred degree from a non-English-speaking institution.*

Does a TOEFL score expire?
The Graduate School has no expiration date for TOEFL’s.

Is there a minimum TOEFL score?
Yes. Please see the Graduate School's Requirement for TOEFL and IELTS scores for more information.

After Applying

How will I know my application has been received?

You may check the status of your application, including receipt of references, documents and test scores, by logging into your existing account in the Graduate School application.  Once there, you will find a hyperlink labeled “status” that will allow you access this information.

When will I know my application has been reviewed?

BMMB begins reviewing applications as soon as they are complete.

When are your interview weekends?

BMMB hosts two interview weekends towards the end of January/early February. 

What are the interview procedures for international applicants?
Interviews for international applicants will be conducted via phone or SKYPE. BMMB will email the applicant and set up a convenient time.

When will I be notified of admission?

Admissions decisions will be made after all interviews have been completed. Applicants will be contacted via email as soon as possible with information regarding the status of their application.

Does an applicant receive a stipend if accepted?

Yes, all applicants, domestic and international, who are accepted into the BMMB Ph.D. program will receive a monthly stipend and health insurance subsidy. In addition, their tuition will be paid by the department. Please see the funding and benefits pages for more information.