ADMISSION TO THE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES PH.D. PROGRAM
Thank you for your interest in our graduate program. There are two mechanisms to enter our department for studies toward the Ph.D.:
1. You can apply directly to the Department of Biological Sciences. If accepted, you will complete 2-3 rotations with faculty in our department. This is a good option if you have a strong interest in one or several labs in our department and prefer a small, focused environment with maximum coursework flexibility. For additional information, please click here. In your statement of interest, please indicate which laboratories (from the list of primary training faculty ) particularly interest you.
2. Alternatively, you can enter the department of Biological Sciences at the end of the first year after applying through the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP). The IGP is a first-year admission program that includes 11 different departments and programs concentrating on the Biomedical Sciences. The Biological Sciences department is a member of the IGP program (the only department that is housed in Arts and Science, rather than the medical school). If you are accepted to the IGP program, you complete 4 rotations during the first year while taking coursework with the other IGP students (a large, overview course in the fall and smaller, focused courses in the spring). The rotations can be completed with anyone affiliated with the 11 different departments and programs (more than 200 faculty total). At the end of the first year, you join a lab and also join a specific graduate program to which that PI belongs (e.g. Biological Sciences).
To obtain information about one or both tracks or for answers to any questions you may have, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Katherine Friedman.
APPLICATION PROCESS, APPLICATION FEE AND WAIVER
To apply, please click here. You can apply to two different programs at Vanderbilt (e.g. Biological Sciences and IGP). To apply for both, you will need to complete two separate application forms on or before December 1, 2017.
For more information about the application process, including application fee and waiver, click here.
Our doctoral program encourages applications from all highly qualified students, including international applicants. The number of international students we admit varies each year depending on the applicant pool and the specific needs of the faculty. For more information about applying to Vanderbilt for graduate school as an international student, click here. To apply, a test of English proficiency is required unless the student has received a degree from an English-speaking university. We prefer the TOEFL test, but will accept IELTS scores as well. TOEFL scores in the mid-90s or above are preferred. Please click here for more information.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When do the letters of recommendation need to be received?
Please encourage referees to submit letters as soon as possible since applications will not be reviewed until all letters of recommendation are received.
I have not taken or do not have my GRE scores yet. Can I still apply?
Although you can enter unofficial GRE scores on the application site, full consideration of your application requires that Vanderbilt receive official scores. Please plan test dates accordingly. The subject test is not required. The Vanderbilt Institution Code is 1871. A department code is not necessary.
How are applicants evaluated?
Applicants to our graduate program are evaluated on the totality of their scholarly achievements, including previous research experience as well as GPA and test scores.
What is the minimum GPA/GRE?
Graduate School minimums for GPA are 3.0 overall undergraduate GPA and GPA in major. There are no Graduate School minimums for GRE scores. For perspective, typical mean scores for students entering the Biological Sciences graduate program are verbal GREs in the 156-160 range, quantitative GREs in the 151-159 range, and GPAs of 3.2-3.8. However, many other factors, including demonstrated research abilities and recommendations are important in the admissions process.