Contact Diane Colf (Graduate Field Coordinator) for more specific information when applying to BMCB.
The BMCB program takes great care in the selection of potential students. A committee of five faculty reads and evaluates all applications. Candidates come from many academic backgrounds; however, matriculating students commonly will have majored in one of the many areas of biology, chemistry or physics. There are no set standards; rather we are searching for applicants who we believe can flourish in the program. Applicants are judged on academic credentials (GPAs, GRE scores), the statement of purpose, and especially on letters of recommendation. Prior research experience is considered particularly useful.
Applicants should supply the following items:
- Current transcripts for all colleges attended
- GRE Aptitude tests and Advanced Subject Test (generally in the areas of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Chemistry, or Biology; see NOTE below) * 3 letters of recommendation
- TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) for applicants whose native language is not English. The official TOEFL score should be reported to Cornell from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). In September 2005, ETS provided a new Internet-based Test (iBT) version of the TOEFL. This new version will test all four language skills important for effective communication: writing, listening, reading, and speaking. Each section has its own score, and the Graduate School has set the following minimum scores for admissions: Writing:20, Listening:15, Reading:20, Speaking:22. The Graduate School will continue to accept scores for Computer Based (cBT) (213 minimum) and Paper Based (550 minimum) versions of the TOEFL that were taken within two years of the date the student submitted the application for admission. Please note that the cBT and Paper-based tests are being phased out by Educational Testing Service. ETS will send results directly to the Graduate School so long as the applicant indicates Cornell's institutional code on the exam. (Cornell's institutional code for all versions of the TOEFL is 2098).
- NOTE : Applicants who demonstrate mastery of relevant subjects by means of high grades in upper level courses do not need to have an Advanced Subject GRE test score. However, a strong advanced GRE score provides an advantage in the admissions process.
There are no minimum requirements for admission; each application is evaluated as a whole. However, North American students with a grade point average below B are rarely admitted. The median undergraduate grade point average for accepted students is about 3.5. Similarly, Verbal GRE scores below 500, or combined verbal and quantitative GRE scores below 1200, usually preclude admission unless there is substantial evidence of potential for academic excellence (for example, superb grades or outstanding research productivity). The deadline for receipt of applications, for fall admission in the subsequent year, is December 15. (There is no spring admission.) The BMCB admissions committee meets weekly starting in early January to evaluate completed applications. The applications from US citizens and permanent residents are considered first. About one third of these applicants are invited, at our expense, to interview on one of the designated weekends (Thursday evening through Saturday evening) in February or March. During the visits, we describe the BMCB program, and students talk with individual faculty and with current students, examine the research facilities, and explore the excellent quality of living that Cornell University and Ithaca offer.
Applications from international students are screened by the admissions committee starting in February. International applicants who reside in North American may also be invited for an interview. All entering students in the Field of BMCB, including international students, are guaranteed full financial support for the duration of their graduate studies (average time to completion of the PhD is about 5.7 years), contingent on satisfactory progress. Support includes tuition payment to Cornell, a stipend of $26,667 (academic year 2007-08), and health insurance. The University provides a very limited number of special Cornell Fellowships to help attract outstanding students. In addition, applicants are encouraged to apply for national fellowships, such as those offered by the National Science Foundation. The Field of BMCB actively seeks individuals from underrepresented ethnic groups.
Questions regarding graduate study and life at Cornell should be addressed to the following individual at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853. Additional information, including downloadable application forms and on-line interactive applications can be found at the websites listed below.
Graduate Field Assistant
Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics
107 Biotechnology Building
Ithaca, NY 14853-2703