Frequently Asked Questions

How many students and who are typically enrolled?

The Field enrolls about 15-20 PhD students per year.  Successful applicants come from a wide variety of backgrounds – from small liberal arts colleges to Ivy League universities; some straight from their undergraduate program, others from an MS program, still others from related jobs in industry. Matriculating students commonly will have majored in one of the many areas of biology, chemistry or physics.

Do you accept international students?

Yes!  We strike to maintain a balance of about 75% United States citizens / permanent residents and 25% international students in each matriculating class.

What makes a competitive applicant?

We are searching for applicants who we believe can flourish in the program.  The selection committee pays particular attention to strong prior experience in research and academic performance.

North American students with a grade point average below B are rarely admitted. The median undergraduate grade point average of admitted students is about 3.5. Similarly, verbal GRE scores below 153 (or combined verbal and quantitative GRE scores below 308-310) usually preclude admission, unless there is substantial evidence of potential for academic excellence (for example, superb grades or outstanding research productivity).

Are there particular criteria that the Admission Committee look for?

Each application is evaluated as a whole rather than on just one aspect of the package. Applicants are judged on academic credentials (GPA, GRE scores), their statement of purpose and, especially, on letters of recommendation. Prior research experience and strong recommendation letters from research mentors are considered to be particularly important.

What do students typically accomplish before graduation?

The average BMCB student will have co-authored at least two publications in top journals by the time they finish their Ph.D.  The minimal requirement for graduation is that the student needs to have contributed substantially to at least one major published or submitted paper.

What do students typically do after graduation?

A large majority of BMCB students go on to post-doctoral positions in top labs around the country/world. From there the career paths diverge: Some become faculty at major research universities or small teaching colleges, some become researchers at pharmaceutical or biotech companies, some take positions at research institutes like the NIH, some become science writers, and some use their training in jobs in law or business or policy.

Do students get guidance on career options?

Our students are encouraged to explore a variety of career paths based on their individual goals and missions. Career Development mini-courses and workshops are held regularly to provide opportunities for career explorations.