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Defense Packet

Below are all the forms that need to be completed. You still must see your Coordinator for additional items and forms.

MSTP students - please see the MSTP office for instructions.

  1. Visit https://gradstudies.artsci.wustl.edu/guides-handbooks​​ to access:
    1. Dissertation and Thesis Template
    2. Doctoral Dissert​ation Guide
  2. Visit https://gra​dstudies.artsci.wustl.edu/forms​ to access:
    1. Dissertation Defense Committee Form​
    2. ​Survey of Earned Doctorates Form
    3. Job Survey
  3. Intent to Graduate Form - filed via WEBSTAC
  4. Defense Payroll Health Form​
  5. Graduating Student Survey

Getting Ready to Graduate
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Program Highlights
  • 2-credit spring course to help Fellows gain exposure to:
    • Strategies for success in lab research
    • Current primary literature in biology & biomedical sciences
    • Academic and research career paths
  • Spring 2023 course will feature presentations by world-renowned researchers:
    • Roy Vagelos, M.D. – Founder of Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program, Founder of DBBS, Board Chairman at Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Former President & CEO of Merck & Co.
    • David Perlmutter, M.D. – Dean of WUSTL School of Medicine & Executive Vice Chancellor of Medical Affairs
    • Carolina Lopez, Ph.D. – Professor of Molecular Microbiology & BJC Investigator
    • Lila Solnica-Krezel, Ph.D. – Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor & Head of WUSTL Department of Developmental Biology
    • David Holtzman, M.D.​ – Barbara Burton and Reuben M. Morriss III Distinguished Professor of Neurology
  • Access to cutting-edge research tools in biology and biomedical sciences.
  • Fellows will receive a $5000 stipend for living expenses during summer 2023.
  • After program completion, we encourage Fellows to:
    • Attend exclusive professional development workshops
    • Apply to become a peer mentor for the next cohort​
Vagelos URF
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Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in the Sciences (SACNAS) - WUSTL Chapter

The Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Chapter at WUSTL aims to fulfill the SACNAS organization mission of fostering the success of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in STEM. SACNAS chapters are a powerful and inclusive source of community that provides local and regional support for college students and professionals to succeed in STEM. Collectively, our chapters are the on-the-ground ambassadors behind SACNAS’ movement to achieve true diversity in STEM.

Organizations & Campus Groups- Open to All
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Young Scientist Program (YSP)

The Young Scientist Program (YSP) is dedicated to attracting pre-college students from disadvantaged backgrounds to scientific careers through activities that emphasize hands-on research and individualized contact between young people and active scientists. Each year, YSP programming reaches hundreds of K-12 students attending St. Louis Public Schools and other regional school districts. We are entirely run by volunteers from Washington University. As scientists, we hope to encourage younger individuals to pursue careers in science by sharing our enthusiasm for what we do. 

YSP is currently divided into three branches that work in concert to capture K-12 students’ interest in science early in their educational careers:

  • Teaching Teams – Teams introduce K-12 students to various scientific topics through interactive demonstrations and lessons brought directly into their classroom. Teams consist of five to ten volunteers who design and present the curricula in small groups, fostering an atmosphere where students feel comfortable asking questions. Teaching Teams currently cover topics about anatomy & physiology, chemistry, neuroscience, genetics & genomics, ecology & evolution, and physics.
  • Summer Focus – An eight-week funded summer research internship program for high school students. Each student works directly with two Washington University volunteers: a mentor and a tutor. The mentor works one-on-one with the student in a laboratory on a specific project, while the tutor supports the student throughout their research experience. Each high school student meets weekly with their tutor to review materials related to the summer project. Students also take two courses about science communication skills and preparing to apply to colleges.
  • Continuing Mentoring – A four-year mentoring program for high school students. High school freshmen who are interested and enthusiastic about STEM are paired with a mentor. Mentors visit their students twice a month in school over their high school careers. Together, mentors & mentees engage in science-related activities as well as one-on-one professional development about ACT prep, college applications and resume writing. We are currently partnered with Soldan International Studies High School and the Collegiate School of Medicine and Bioscience.

Visit our website to learn more about any of the volunteer opportunities described above, contact our program leadership, and subscribe to our mailing list!

Organizations & Campus Groups- Open to All
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Women in STEM  (WiSTEM)

Women in STEM (WiSTEM) is determined to give individuals who identify as women within DBBS and the wider Washington University visibility, a voice, and a place to feel comfortable in science, medicine, and other STEM fields. WiSTEM works to meet the needs of our members through professional development opportunities, campus and community outreach, and inclusive event programming in DBBS. Through these efforts, WiSTEM hopes to create an inclusive environment within DBBS and the wider Washington University community as a forum for the unique challenges that women-identifying trainees face both on a daily basis and on a larger scale.

Organizations & Campus Groups - Graduate Students
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Timeline
​October 15, 2022: Application opens for 2023 cohort
November 14, 2022: Deadline to apply
Early January 2023: Notification of admission decision
Spring 2023: Participation in 2-credit course (BIOL 2121)
Summer 2023: Conduct lab research with faculty mentor​
Vagelos URF
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Eligibility
  • Open to current freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and non-graduating seniors at WUSTL. Seniors graduating before the end of the program are not eligible. Students from other institutions are not eligible.
  • Genuine interest in biology or biomedical sciences research
    • No previous research experience required
  • Applicants should also possess the following characteristics:
    • Academic excellence
    • Collaborative mindset
    • Professional demeanor
    • Dedication to service
    • Leadership potential
  • Must be eligible to work in the United States over the summer
  • Students from underrepresented populations strongly encouraged to apply
Vagelos URF
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Application Requirements
Application link will become available on October 15th, 2022. Until then, we recommend that you prepare by reviewing the following application requirements:
  • Unofficial college transcript(s)
  • Indicate whether you have chosen a lab already (not required)
  • Acknowledge commitment to Spring 2023 course:
    • 2 credit hours
    • Every Tuesday, 4-6pm
    • Attendance is mandatory
  • Short essay prompts (200-word limit each):
    • Briefly describe any previous experience you have in a research environment.
    • Briefly describe your motivation for applying to the Vagelos Fellows program. What do you wish to accomplish with this experience?
    • What excites you most about participating in the Vagelos Fellows program?
    • What are your career aspirations and how do you think this experience will better prepare you for those goals?
Vagelos URF
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Application
All applicants must have a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution.

The application consists of:
 
  • Contact Information
  • Demographics
  • DBBS Program Choice
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Academic history
  • Test Scores 
    • GRE (not required, but optional for some programs)
    • TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo (if applicable)
  • Two essays 
  • 10 word  undergrad research description & 10 word description of graduate research interest
  • Listing of Major Courses
  • Work and Research Experience
  • Awards/Honors
  • Publication list (if any)

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.

All application materials sent to us by the applicant become the property of the Roy and Diana Vagelos Division of Biology and Biological Sciences at Washington University and cannot be returned to the applicant or forwarded to another school/department.

Students are admitted to DBBS only for the fall semester. Please note that neither DBBS nor its component departments accept students for a Master's degree.​

PhD Application Instructions
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Courses

Courses generally require from two to five semesters; usually consisting of four to seven courses in areas fundamental to the student’s Program. The typical student takes two or three courses in the first semester of graduate study and one or two courses in each of the next two or three semesters; most often completing by the end of the second year. Students are expected to maintain a "B" average in graduate courses. (See individual Program of Study sections for the specific course requirements of each PhD training program).

Graduate Course of Study
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Transcripts
  • Prior to submitting your application, you are required to upload unofficial transcript(s) in PDF format from each institution attended. Transcript must have your name, the institution name, and be translated to English when necessary. 
  • 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 final transcript noting degree confirmation from each degree granting institution you have attended.
  • ​We 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.
  • DBBS reserves the right to rescind any offer of admission if discrepancies are found between your uploaded transcript and the official transcript.
PhD Application Instructions
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Courses/ GPA

Choosing Courses

General requirements include several courses in biology, general and organic chemistry (3-6 semesters), calculus, and physics (1 to 2 semesters each). Some programs require specific courses. The Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology program give preference to applicants that have completed one semester of physical chemistry or an equivalent course. The program in Computational & Systems Biology prefers that applicants have taken courses in algorithms and statistics as well as programming (i.e. C++). See program websites for additional information.


Students earning degrees in fields such as chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, or engineering and who have an interest in the intersection of their own discipline and biology are encouraged to apply to our programs. In programs such as Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology or Computational & Systems Biology, a background in physics or computer science is extremely useful.

GPA

The Division does not set minimum grade point average (GPA) requirements. We ask that GPAs be reported for each school attended on a 4.0 scale. Applicants are also required to submit an unofficial transcript from each college/university attended. The committee reviews these transcripts, taking into consideration the range of courses taken, overall course load, and grades in specific courses. Successful applicants usually have GPAs in both science and non-science courses in the range of 3.2 – 4.0.

Admissions- What Makes An App Strong?
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Deferral Request

An applicant admitted to the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences may request to defer admission for one year. Admitted candidates should submit a request for deferral to the DBBS Director of Admissions. The request should provide a general statement regarding the reason for the deferral. Deferred applicants are expected to contact the Division by April 1st to confirm their admittance for the following fall.​

PhD Application Instructions
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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.


Admissions- FAQ INTERVIEWS AND DECISIONS
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International Applicants

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.​

PhD Application Instructions
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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.

Admissions- FAQ STIPEND, FELLOWSHIP AND VISA ASSISTANCE
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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.

Admissions FAQ- DBBS Overview
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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.

Admissions FAQ- DBBS Overview
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Do you accept students during the spring semester?

We only offer enrollment for the fall semester.

Admissions FAQ- DBBS Overview
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Re-Applying Applicants

Applicants who have previously applied must submit a new application.

PhD Application Instructions
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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. 

Admissions FAQ- DBBS Overview
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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)

Admissions- FAQ APPLICATION
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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.

Admissions- FAQ APPLICATION
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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.

Admissions- FAQ What if I still have other questions that are not covered by the topics above? Who do I contact?
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Where do I find information on the different Fellowships offered?

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

Admissions- FAQ STIPEND, FELLOWSHIP AND VISA ASSISTANCE
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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.

Admissions- FAQ STIPEND, FELLOWSHIP AND VISA ASSISTANCE
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Where can I find information on the different Pathways DBBS offers?

For more information on our Interdisciplinary Research Pathways, please click here.

Admissions- FAQ STIPEND, FELLOWSHIP AND VISA ASSISTANCE
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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.

Admissions- FAQ INTERVIEWS AND DECISIONS
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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.

Admissions- FAQ INTERVIEWS AND DECISIONS
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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.

Admissions- FAQ INTERVIEWS AND DECISIONS
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