DBBS Overview


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

DBBS receives around 1200 applications per year. We interview a little under one third of the applications received. We enroll approximately 100 students in our entering class. 

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.

Historically, international students comprise approximately 30% - 35% 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 Group via 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.




What is the application deadline?

The deadline date is December 1st @ 11:59 PST. We strongly recommend early submission of the application and all supporting documents.  Applications are reviewed by our Admission Committee as they become complete.

What is the application fee and are fee waivers accepted?

DBBS application fee:
$20 for applications submitted on or before October 31st.
$45 for applications submitted on or after November 1st.

Fee waivers are granted to applicants from the following programs:
MARC, McNair, RISE, IMSD, LSAMP, BP-ENDURE, PREP, BUILD, 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 two 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 not required or optional for some of the PhD programs).  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 learn more about the 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 supporting documents; Recommendation letters and GRE or ELP exam score reports (if applicable) can be received after the application has been submitted.

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 by logging back into your ApplyWeb account​ and clicking on your "Activity Log". The status of supporting documents is generally updated on a daily basis.

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.


 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.

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

You must submit a new application and answer Yes to the question, "Have you previously applied to a program at Washington University?"


 Test Scores


What test scores are required?

If applicable, the only required tests are GRE general and for English Proficiency we accept TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo.

When do I take the tests?

It is strongly recommended that you complete all testing (if applicable) 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.

How to send GRE or ELP test scores to DBBS?

Where to Send Scores:

Official GRE Scores: Washington University in St. Louis - School code 6929.​

English Language Proficiency Exams:

Official TOEFL Scores: Washington University in St. Louis - School code 6929

Official IELTS Scores:
Washington University in St. Louis
Graduate Admisions
1 Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

Official Duolingo Scores:
Washington University in St. Louis
DBBS PhD Admissions
660 S. Euclid Avenue
MSC 8226-04-13
St. Louis, MO 63110
United States​

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 scores for the programs that accept them, and ELP scores (if applicable). It is better to have the official scores sent to us as soon as possible, but no later than the December 1 deadline date.

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

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

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

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

The English proficiency testing requirement may be waived for applicants who meet any of the below criteria:

 •    You have completed an undergraduate or master’s degree in the U.S. and completed the entire program while in the U.S.

•    Is a citizen of Australia, Cameroon, Commonwealth Caribbean nations, Ghana, India, Ireland, Kenya, Liberia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Singapore, Uganda, the United Kingdom, or Zimbabwe.

•    Has completed a minimum of three years of documented study in a university-level academic program in the United States or one of the countries listed above.

•    Has completed a minimum of three years of documented study in an English-medium academic program in Canada, Hong Kong, or South Africa.

Please note that the English proficiency testing requirement is only waived for immigration if criteria in bullets above are met.

What are the minimum test scores required?

When required the most successful applicants typically score at or above the 75th percentile in the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test. Successful international applicants tend to score 100 or higher on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Examination; 7.5 or higher on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS); or 125 on the Duolingo English Test.  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.




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.

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 submit an official copy of my transcripts with my application?

  • No, we will review your application with an unofficial transript.
  • Prior to submitting your application, you are required to upload one copy of your scanned transcript from each institution you have attended.
  • Transcripts must be in English, or be accompanied by notarized translations.​
  • The transcript must be issued by the institution either through the Registrar’s Office or a Student Web Portal.
  • 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 and final transcript from each degree granting institution you have attended.
  • 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. To convert:

    GPA/max. score X 4 = reported score to us (rounded to the nearest 0.1)
    For example:
              On a 100 point scale: 92/100 = .92 X 4 = 3.7
              On a 5 point scale: 3.9/5 = 0.78 X 4 = 3.1




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

    DBBS requires that the applicant respond to specific essay prompts. 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 three letters of recommendation?

    No. The admissions platform only allows for the submission of three letters of recommendation. We do not accept additional letter of recommendations that are submitted outside the application system.

    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. After you have entered your recommenders information, they will receive an email inviting them to submit their letter of recommendation.

    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 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 DBBSPhDAdmissions@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 the CollegeNet Applyweb​ group.

    How do I change or substitute one of my recommenders?

    You may make changes to your recommenders by logging into your ApplyWeb​ account.

    How do I resend the recommendation email to my recommender?

    Information regarding resending the recommendation letter request can be found by logging into your ApplyWeb​ account.​


     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 by logging back into your ApplyWeb account​ and clicking on your "Activity Log". The status of supporting documents is generally updated on a daily basis.​

    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


    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.

    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 U.S. and Canada?

    Many of the programs within the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences conduct virtual 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 requesting the deferral to the DBBS Director of Admissions. The letter should provide a general statement regarding the reason for the deferral. Deferred applicants are expected to contact the Division in early April to confirm their admittance for the following fall.


     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 Interdisciplinary Research Pathways, please click here.

    I am an international student residing outside the U.S. 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. 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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