Section IV: Student Admission

Basic Graduate School policies are stated in the Graduate School Handbook.

Application Procedures
Because of the structure of the initial year of coursework, applications are generally accepted for Autumn Semester admission only.  However, at the discretion of the GSC, exceptions may be granted.  For example, students are encouraged to investigate Summer Semester admission, since this will permit them to become familiar with the Program and the University.  During Summer Semester, students perform a research rotation while receiving the standard program stipend as well as tuition and fee waivers.  On average the Program accepts 20-25 students per year. 

MCDB's deadline for submission of complete applications is December 1st for International Students and December 15th for Domestic Students.  However, to be nominated for University Fellowships, complete applications must be received by November 30th for International students, and December 15th for Domestic students.  See Section X (Financial Support), for more information.

Application must be made on-line through Graduate Admissions.  Supporting application materials required by Graduate Admissions must be submitted directly to the Graduate Admissions Office. Applicants must submit:

  • Transcripts covering all undergraduate and graduate academic work undertaken prior to application
  • Statement of intent (which should include a cogent discussion of previous research experience)
  • Three letters of recommendation on the standard form provided by Graduate Admissions
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores (international applicants)

A non-refundable application fee is required by the University at the time of application or the application will not be forwarded to the Admissions Office.

The Statement of Intent should give background information concerning the factors which have stimulated the applicant's interest in science in general, and particularly in the MCDB disciplines.  Information about undergraduate or graduate research experiences is especially important and should be included.  The candidate should also indicate specific areas of specialization that most interest them as a possible focus for doctoral research.

International students whose first language is not English and who have not received a degree from a U.S. university must submit evidence of adequate training in the use of English.  Scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB) must be submitted for this purpose.  Students are required to submit a TOEFL score exceeding 550 (paper-based), or 213 (computer-based), or 79 (internet-based) to be eligible for admission and financial support.  MCDB prefers scores exceeding 96 internet-based, 243 Computer-based, or 600 paper-based.  Students are also strongly encouraged to submit scores from the Test of Spoken English and the Test of Written English.

Requests for waiver of admission requirements generally will not be considered. 

All requirements listed above are in addition to general Graduate School requirements as stated in the Graduate School Handbook.

Entrance Requirements
In general, an undergraduate GPA of 3.00 or greater, with fundamental training equivalent to an undergraduate major in the biological sciences, is required for regular admission. It is highly recommended that the applicant have at least one course each in biochemistry, molecular biology, and cell biology.  Courses in developmental biology and genetics are also recommended.  In addition, the student should have pre-requisite courses in physics, mathematics (including some calculus), and chemistry (at least through organic chemistry).  Previous research experience is highly desirable. Applicants who have inadequacies with respect to these requirements, but who possess an otherwise promising record, may be granted conditional admission, with conditions as specified by the GSC.

Academic Unit Transfer
Students may apply for a transfer from another Ohio State University academic unit by completing the Request for Transfer of Academic Unit, available from the Graduate School.  The GSC requires:

  • A letter from the student, stating his/her reasons for transferring
  • Copies of the student's original application materials submitted to their original unit
  • Current letters of reference
  • Information concerning the student's performance while enrolled in Graduate School.

Transfer students must meet the same entrance requirements as other incoming students. 

If the GSC approves the transfer, it will specify which previously completed courses (if any) will count toward the graduate degree in MCDB.


Rev:  September 2016