DBBS Overview

 

How many applicants will be accepted to the program (or were accepted last year)?

DBBS receives over 1000 applications per year. We interview a little under one third of the applications received. We enroll approximately 80 positions in our entering class. The most successful applicants score at or above the 80th percentile in the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test and have grade point averages ranging from 3.3 to 4.0.

How many international students will be accepted into your program this year?

DBBS does not have a set number of international students that we accept each year. The admissions committee reviews the applications, evaluates interview comments, and selects the most qualified applicants for our program.

Each year, international students comprise approximately 30% of the entering class. Outcomes are in correlation with the quality of the applicant pool of the application year.

Do you provide campus visits?

Prospective applicants wanting to visit the campus between June and August should contact our Recruiting Department through email at DBBS-Info@email.wustl.edu. Visits during the admissions season are by invitation only.

Do you accept students during the spring semester?

We only offer enrollment for the fall semester. To obtain admission to one of the 11 graduate programs in the Division, you must apply to DBBS. Our online application is available starting in early September, and the deadline for applying is December 1st.

What type of programs does DBBS offer?

DBBS offers PhD education and research in 11 different areas of study. Please click here to visit our 11 programs webpage.

 

 Program Choices

 
 

 Application

 

What is the application deadline?

The deadline date is December 1st. We strongly recommend early submission of the application and all supporting documents.  Applications are reviewed by our Admission Committee as they become complete (i.e. receipt of all recommendation letters, transcript(s), GRE General and if required, TOEFL score reports).

What is the application fee and are fee waivers accepted?

The application fee is $45, a fraction of that at many sister institutions.

Fee waivers are granted to applicants from the following programs:
MARC, McNair, RISE, IMSD, LSAMP, PREP, PPIA, DACA students, IRT-Insitute for the Recruitment of Teachers, Target Hope, Fulbright Scholars, AmeriCorps, Vista/Peace Corps, Teach for America, Gates Millennium Scholars, Mellon Mays Graduate Initative, Ron Brown Scholars, Vietnam Education Foundation

Fee waivers are also available for:
-Washington University undergraduates
-Participants in Washington University summer bioscience research programs
-Students mentored by a DBBS Alum
-Applicants with financial need

If you think you qualify for a fee waiver, please send an email to DBBSPhDAdmissions@email.wustl.edu.

Can you apply to more than one program at a time?

Applicants complete one application but have the option to select 2 program choices of interest. The first program choice should reflect your main research interest. If you are interested in another program that DBBS offers, please select a second program choice for that area of interest.

Can I apply to the MSTP (MD, PhD) program and the PhD program at the same time?

You are able to apply to both programs.  The programs have two separate admissions processes.  You will need to submit all application materials to the appropriate program.  Test scores will not be substituted (MCAT required for the MSTP and GRE General required for the PhD).  Neither admissions processes will reflect negatively on the other.  Please let both MSTP and PhD know that you are applying to both programs - if invited for an interview, coordination between the programs could be established to make the process more efficient for you.  (Click here to access MSTP program)

Can I submit my application online before submitting my supporting documents?

You can submit your application online as long as the transcript(s) have been uploaded.  The other support documents (GRE score report, TOEFL Score Report, Recommendation letters) can be received after the application has been submitted. No documents should be mailed to DBBS.

I have very limited access to the internet, how do I complete my online application? Is there a paper copy available?

We do not offer a paper application.

Once I submit my application, can I make changes to it?

Once you submit your application to DBBS, you cannot go back and make changes to the application.

Can I review the content of my file?

Your on-line application will be available for review after it is submitted, however no changes can be made to the application. Supporting documents become the property of Washington University and cannot be borrowed, returned to the applicant, or sent to another institution or campus. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 does give the students, once admitted and enrolled, the right to inspect their records.

Can you give information about the status of my application to my parents, spouse, family member or friend?

Applicant file information is provided only to the applicant.

 

 Application Requirements

 

What are the minimum requirements for applying to DBBS?

All applicants must have a U.S. bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test is required for all applicants. Scores must be from tests taken in the last five years. The Subject test is not required. Applicants are strongly encouraged to schedule the exam early so the official scores will reach DBBS before the December 1st deadline. See “Test Scores” below for additional information. 

Applicants, whose native language is not English, must demonstrate English proficiency and are required to provide an official score report from ETS for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants who have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution where the language of instruction is English, are exempt from submitting a TOEFL score report.

Some programs have specific course requirements. Please refer to the programs' website for additional information.

What test scores are required and when do I need to take them?

You are required to submit the GRE general test (current within 5 years), and if applicable, the TOEFL test (current within 2 years). It is strongly recommended that you complete all testing within four to six weeks prior to the deadline of December 1st. It takes approximately 15 days to receive test scores on the computer based tests and six weeks to receive the scores on the paper based tests.

Note to International Applicants:
Please verify that your TOEFL score report has been sent to us no later than December 1st. It is strongly recommended that you complete testing four to six weeks prior to the application deadline to allow sufficient time to receive the official test score.

Is the GRE Subject Test recommended?

Subject tests in biology, chemistry or another area related to the proposed study are optional. Please note that the University will consider only scores from tests taken within the last five years.

 

 Transfer and Reapply Applications

 

If I am transferring from another Ph.D. program, what do I need to do?

Students currently in a graduate program wishing to transfer to Washington University must submit transcripts from the current graduate institution and a letter of recommendation from the current Research Mentor. You must begin a new application with DBBS and mark Transfer Student on the application when prompted.

If I am re-applying to your program, what do I need to do?

You must submit a new application and mark Re-Apply on the application when prompted.

 

 Supporting Documents

 

Should I request ETS to send official GRE and TOEFL scores (if applicable) before I begin/submit the on-line application?

Yes. We encourage early submission of official GRE general exam, and TOEFL (if applicable) scores. It is better to have the official scores sent to us as soon as possible, but no later than the December 1 deadline date.

 

 Test Scores

 

What test scores are required?

GRE general and the TOEFL test (if applicable) are the only required tests.

What are the GRE or TOEFL Institution and Department codes for reporting test scores to be sent to DBBS?

GRE General
Institution Code - 6929
Department Code - 0299
(Department code is located under Natural Sciences/Biological Sciences. We are listed last, after Zoology)
 
GRE-ETS
P.O. Box 6000
Princeton, NJ 08541-6000
Website: www.gre.org
Phone: 1-866-473-4373
 
TOEFL
Institution Code - 6929
Department Code - 045
 
Educational Testing Services
P.O. Box 6151
Princeton, NJ 08541-6151
Website : www.toefl.org
Phone: 1-800-468-6335

When do I take the tests?

It is strongly recommended that you complete all testing within four to six weeks before you begin your application. It takes approximately 15 days to receive the test scores on the computer based tests, and about six weeks to receive scores on the paper based testing.

Note to International Applicants:
Please make sure that your official TOEFL score has been sent by ETS no later than the December 1st deadline. Please list your scores on your application.

My GRE/TOEFL test are not recent, will you still accept them?

For the GRE general testing, the University will only consider scores from test taken within the last five (5) years.

For the TOEFL test, the University will only consider scores from test taken within the last two (2) years.

Is the GRE Subject test required?

The Subject test is not required.

Are there any test substitution such as MCAT, IELTS?

We do not substitute any other tests for the required GRE general and TOEFL (if applicable) tests.

I am an international student, how do I know if I am exempt from the TOEFL test?

Applicants, whose native language is not English, must demonstrate English proficiency and are required to provide an official score report from ETS for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants who have earned an undergraduate or graduate degree from an institution where the language of instruction is English, are exempt from submitting a TOEFL score report.

Can I get a waiver for my TOEFL test?

We do not issue any waivers for a TOEFL test score report.

What are the minimum test scores required?

Typically the most successful applicants score at or above the 80th percentile in the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test. Successful international applicants tend to score 250 (Computer-Based Test), 100 (Internet-Based Test) or higher on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Examination. However, outstanding recommendations and higher quality research experience may make up for lower test scores, so do not let lower scores discourage you from applying.

 

 Transcripts

 

My transcripts are not in English. Will you accept a translation of my transcript through a service center such as WES or ECE?

Yes, we do accept translations of transcripts by services. Please be aware that translations alone are not acceptable and the translations must bear an original ink signature and seal. The original transcript in the original language and the English translation must also be uploaded as one document in the application.  Put the English translation first, followed by the transcript in the original language.
EdUSA Logo.pdf

EducationUSA centers are the U.S. State Department‘s network of over 400 advising centers in 170 countries designed to assist local students find the appropriate college or university in the United States. We encourage you to visit your local center for information on selecting the U.S. college or university that meets your needs, understanding and preparing for the required admissions tests, assistance in the admission process, advice on finding financial aid for your studies, preparation for the student visa process, and pre-departure orientations.

Click on the Education USA logo for more information.

I participated in an Education Abroad program. Will I need a transcript from this school?

You only need to upload a transcript from the EAP school abroad if your home institution did not include your courses and grades on the transcript.

Do I need to mail an official copy of my transcripts?

  • Prior to submitting your application, you are required to upload one copy of your scanned transcript from each institution you have attended.  Please include the transcript key (that is typically located on the back page of the official transcript).
  • The transcript must be issued by the Registrar’s Office (a copy issued to the student is fine).  The uploaded transcript should not be printed from the University’s web site. 
  • The process of uploading transcripts is intended to eliminate the need for you to mail your transcripts, as DBBS will review your application based on your uploaded transcripts.
  • Scan the transcript at high resolution and verify each page can be read before uploading it.  Upload the transcript from each institution as a single document. Each individual university transcript must be uploaded as one file and not page by page. 
  • Official transcripts are not required for the review process. If you are offered admission and accept the offer you are then required to submit an official sealed transcript from each university you have attended. We ask that you not send us any material in the mail unless asked to do so.
  • Transcripts must be in English, or be accompanied by notarized translations.
  • All matriculating students will be requested to send an official final transcript to DBBS before matriculation to:
    Washington University
    Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences
    Attn: Ph.D. Admissions
    Campus Box 8226
    660 S. Euclid Ave.
    St. Louis, MO 63110
  • DBBS reserves the right to rescind any offer of admission if discrepancies are found between your uploaded transcript and the official transcript.

    How do I calculate my GPA since it is not on a 4.0 scale?

    You will need to convert the GPA a 4.0 scale. Take the GPA calculated by your institution, multiply it by 4, and then divide by the institution scale.

    For example:
              100 point GPA scale; institution calculated GPA 89
              89 x 4=356/100=3.56
              3.56 is the GPA on a 4.0 scale

     

     Essays

     

    Can I submit a personal statement, CV or publication in place of one or both required essay questions?

    DBBS requires that the applicant answer the specific essay questions listed. The Admissions Committee evaluates a number of characteristics in order to assess a candidate's ability to benefit from and contribute to their selected program. These include academic ability, research experience, leadership, teamwork, communication skills, and other personal qualities. The essays are an opportunity to help the Committee relate to the applicant's distinctive values, motivation, and perspectives and obtain as much information as possible about their previous research experience. DBBS requests that you do not include additional materials like CVs, publications, or certificates with the application.​

     

     Letters of Recommendation

     

    May I submit more than 3 letters of recommendation?

    The Admissions Committee will not review more than 3 letters of recommendation. If we receive more than 3 letters of recommendation, only those listed on your application will be reviewed.

    Can you send me the recommendation form?

    The recommendation forms are electronic and sent directly to your recommenders email address through our on-line application system. When you have entered your recommenders information, you will need to send each recommendation email individually. You will not be allowed to continue the application if all of your recommendation emails have not been sent.

    My recommender(s) have not received the email prompting them to the on-line recommendation form. What do I do?

    The most common issue is that the email from our on-line application system is being stopped by a SPAM filter or filters that your school or recommenders are running. Please ask your recommenders to check the mailbox that contains SPAM. If your recommender uses a SPAM blocking tool, please be sure to have them add our email address to their known/safe addresses. Also please verify that the email address you submitted to us is the correct email address for your recommender. If the email address needs to be corrected, please login to your application and make the necessary changes.

    Can I submit my application before the recommendation letters have been received?

    Please submit as soon as you finish the application. The Recommendation letters and official GRE/TOEFL reports can be received after the application has been submitted.

    Where do I or my recommenders send letters of recommendation that cannot be submitted on-line?

    We strongly encourage all applicants to ask their recommenders to submit their letters of recommendation on-line, as it expedites the review process. If your recommenders are unable to do so the recommender needs to contact us at DBBSPhDApplication@email.wustl.edu.

    May my recommenders send their letters by email or fax?

    We do not accept letters of recommendation that are sent to us via Fax, Email or any attachment within the email. If your recommender is having problems with the on-line system, please have your recommender contact us at DBBSPhDApplication@email.wustl.edu.

    How do I change or substitute one of my recommenders?

    You may make changes to the recommenders while logged into the application.

    My recommender does not have any email service. What do I do?

    If your recommender does not have access to any email system, please have your recommender call us toll free at 1-800-852-9074 (or locally at 314-362-3365). 

    How do I resend the recommendation email to my recommender?

    You can resend the recommendation letter request while logged into the application.

     

     Application Status

     

    How will I know if you have received all my supporting documents?

    You may verify the status of all supporting materials on-line within your application. The status of supporting documents is generally updated on a daily basis, however during peak season it may take several days. If after December 15th your status page shows missing documents, please contact us at DBBSPhDAdmissions@email.wustl.edu.

    Can I review the content of my file?

    Your on-line application will be available for review after it is submitted however no changes can be made to the application. Supporting documents become the property of Washington University and cannot be borrowed, returned to applicant, or sent to another institution or campus. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 does give students once admitted and enrolled the right to inspect their records.

    Can you give information about the status of my application to my parents, spouse, family member or friend?

    Applicant file information is provided only to the applicant.

     

     Interviews and Decisions

     

    Do you provide campus visits?

    Prospective applicants wanting to visit the campus between June and October should contact the DBBS Recruitment Group via email at DBBS-Recruitment@email.wustl.eduVisits during December through March are by invitation only.

    When will I know the decision regarding my application?

    A formal notice of the admission decision is sent to each applicant as soon as possible after the application and completed records are received and the Admissions Committee has made its recommendations. Most invitations for interviews are made between January and mid February. Those applicants that were interviewed will be notified of a final decision around mid-March.

    I meet all of the requirements for Admission, why am I not being offered an interview?

    DBBS receives many strong applications and not all can be offered an interview. Admissions decisions are based on the quality of the applicant's academic degrees and record, essay questions, letters of recommendation from professors or others who are familiar with the applicant's academic work, performance in aptitude and achievement tests, relevant work experience, preparation in proposed field of study, and on the appropriateness of the applicant's goals to the graduate program and of the applicants research interest to those of its faculty.

    It is late in the application season, and I still have not heard of any decisions regarding my application. What should I do?

    If by mid-March you have not received a letter from us regarding a decision about your application, please send us an email at DBBSPhDAdmissions@email.wustl.edu.

    I was not accepted for an interview. Are you able to tell me my strengths and weaknesses so that I may improve and re-apply next year?

    All applicants are evaluated on a complex set of factors including their academic background, research experience, letters of recommendation, maturity, and potential as a scientist. Because the decision for admission is based on such a complex weighing of factors we cannot provide you with a specific reason or a detailed explanation regarding why you were not accepted for admittance to DBBS. The fact is that we cannot admit all the qualified applicants and we have to make difficult choices each year.

    Do you offer video interviews for applicants residing outside the US and Canada?

    Many of the programs within the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences conduct Skype interviews for applicants residing outside the US and Canada.

    Can I defer my admission to DBBS?

    An applicant admitted to the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences may request to defer admission for one year. Admitted candidates should submit a letter or e-mail to request the deferral. The letter should provide a general statement regarding the reason for the deferral (i.e. year in Peace Corps, personal reasons, etc.). The Program Director must approve all requests for deferral. Deferred applicants are expected to contact the Division in early January to confirm their admittance for the following fall.

    DBBS has also partnered with Teach for America. Those who are admitted to DBBS and choose to join Teach For America are granted a two-year deferral.

     

     Stipend, Fellowship and Visa Assistance

     

    Where do I find information about the stipend and different types of financial support?

    For more information about the current stipend and different financial opportunities DBBS offers, please click here.

    Where do I find information on the different Fellowships offered?

    For more information on the different types of fellowships offered, please click here.

    Where can I find information on the different Pathways DBBS offers?

    For more information on our Special Emphasis Pathways, please click here.

    I am an international student residing outside the US. Do you assist with obtaining Visas so that I may come to St. Louis for a personal Interview?

    The procedures you must follow to apply for your visa and the length of time required to process the application vary from Consulate to Consulate. You should contact the nearest U.S. Consulate as soon as possible to request information about visa application procedures and requirements. If you are invited for an interview, an official letter is sent to the current address that is listed on your application. Applicants are required to pay for travel costs but may receive reimbursement for portion of costs if you have the appropriate Visa. You will need to bring your original passport, visa (You will need a business visa (B1) or a waiver of visa for business (WB)) and I-94 for documentation for reimbursement. You will NOT be reimbursed for your airfare if you have a different type of visa per the United States Tax Department.

     

     Other Questions

     

    What if I still have other questions that are not covered by the topics above? Who do I contact?

    If you have any other questions or concerns that are not addressed, you may send us an email at DBBSPhDAdmissions@email.wustl.edu.

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