Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I find an application for admission?

All applicants to the Basic & Biomedical Sciences division are required to apply electronically. The link can be found here,

When can I begin my studies?

Because of the sequential nature of the academic coursework, students are only able to begin studies in the Fall semester.

What standardized tests are required?

All applicants are required to submit results from the GRE General Test. Results from GRE Subjects Tests are neither required nor recommended, but will be considered if submitted. 

What kind of financial support is available?

All applicants made admission offers to the Basic & Biomedical Sciences division are offered financial support which includes an annual stipend, waiver of tuition and fees, and health, dental and disability coverage.

What is the school’s institutional code for sending GRE and TOEFL scores? Is there a department code?

The institutional code for UMass Medical School is 3936. There is no department code needed for applications to the Basic & Biomedical Sciences division.

What is the application fee and how do I pay it?

The application fee is $80. The fee can be paid by credit card or electronic check.

Is there a TOEFL minimum?

Applicants whose native language or language of educational instruction is not English are required to take the TOEFL or the IELTS exam. While not strict cutoffs, applicants who present scores above 100 on the online TOEFL exam or 6.5 on the IELTS will be given preferential consideration.

Is there a school recommendation form that recommenders have to use?

Recommenders must use the online recommendation form contained within the online application.  

Is there a GPA or GRE cutoff?

There is no specific GPA cutoff. Recent entering classes to the Basic & Biomedical Sciences division have averaged about a 3.4 GPA. The Admissions Committee puts significant weight on science coursework as opposed to other disciplines. Similarly, there is no specific cutoff for GRE scores. Recent entering classes have had combined verbal and quantitative scores around 315. Analytical writing averages have been approximately 4.0.

Is it necessary for me to be in touch with a faculty member whose research I am interested in?

No. All decisions on invitations to the Recruiting Weekends and subsequent admission offers are made by the Admissions Committee. You are welcome to be in contact with individual faculty members if you have specific questions about their work, but it will not factor into your admissions decision.

I took the GREs several years ago. Why aren't my scores acceptable?

Scores must be less than 5 years old. If the scores are more than five years old, ETS will not release the scores, therefore you will be required to re-take the exam unless the requirement for GRE scores may be waived (see above). 

How many applications do you typically receive from international students and how many international students enroll each year?

We typically receive between 225-300 international applications each year and make around 35 offers of admission. In the past few years, we have had students enroll who are citizens of China, India, Korea, Turkey, Brazil, Philippines, and other countries. We make no attempt to enroll a specific number from any specific country.

How many applications do you typically receive each year, how many are admitted, and how many enroll?

For the past several years, the Basic & Biomedical Sciences Division has received between 475 and 600 applications annually. We look to make between 150-160 offers in order to enroll a class of 60-70 students.

How long does it take to complete the program?

As a doctoral program, there are not a specific number of credits that students need to accumulate for graduation. Instead, students are able to graduate once they have produced significant scientific discovery that warrants the creation of a written thesis and this has been approved by a Thesis Research Advisory Committee. The average time to graduation is between 5-6 years and most graduates have earned first author publication designation on two submitted articles in prestigious journals.

How can I track the status of my application?

After creating an Apply Yourself account and submitting the online application, you are able to log in to your account and view your application status.

How are applications evaluated?

Applications for admission are reviewed by an Admission Committee consisting of faculty members, the Dean, and the Associate Dean. Particular emphasis is put on the academic science background and research experience of candidates. Recommendations and a personal statement give the committee a greater opportunity to learn more about an applicant’s background and their motivation for doctoral studies. The required GRE General Test provides a common benchmark for applicants.

Do you have an interview program?

For U.S. Citizens, U.S. Permanent Residents, and international students living within the U.S. on a visa at the time of the programs, the Graduate School hosts two Recruiting Weekends in January and February in order for applicants to be interviewed by faculty and to have an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the people, research, facilities and location of the Graduate School.

Invitations to participate in the program are made by the Graduate School and are generally extended between the middle of December and the end of January.

Invited applicants who choose not to accept the invitation to visit during an Invited Applicant Program nor arrange for a mutually agreed upon alternate visit date will automatically have their applications withdrawn.

Applicants outside of the U.S. may be interviewed by phone by faculty members at the discretion of the Admissions Committee.

Can I work while enrolled in the program?

Because of the tremendous commitment required to excel in doctoral studies and the financial support provided by the Graduate School, it is expected that enrolled students will devote their full energies toward their academic and research work. Occasionally, there are opportunities for enrolled students (though not international students because of visa restrictions) to work up to 10 hours weekly in a job on campus.

Can I pursue part-time study?

There is no program of part-time study available in the Basic & Biomedical Sciences division.


December 15, 2014
(For Fall 2015)


January 22-24, 2015
February 5-7, 2015



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