Admissions Criteria

Application Information

Deadline: December 1, 2017 at 8:59 pm PST (for Fall 2018 admission)

  • The Department reviews application for admission to our graduate program once a year. We accept applications for fall only.
  • The online application will be available early September.
  • The completed application must be submitted online and fee paid by the deadline. We accept on-line applications only.

Admissions Criteria

Initiating contact with faculty members; coursework; GRE general scores; letters of recommendation; degree of preparedness for graduate school; and your statement of purpose are all important factors in our review of your application.

Contact IB Faculty

It is required that you list on your application at least one faculty member in our department whose research is of interest to you. It is highly recommended that you contact them to discuss your interest in working with them. This contact is the first step in broadly defining areas of potential research focus and should be elaborated on in your statement of purpose. You'll find a list of our faculty members and their research interests.

Bachelor's Degree

Students admitted to the program typically have a bachelor's degree in one of the life sciences or physical sciences. However, promising students with other academic backgrounds are encouraged to apply if they have a undergraduate grounding in biology.

Grade Point Average (GPA)

Upper division or graduate GPA of 3.4 or higher is preferred. A minimum GPA of 3.0 (courses taken after the first two years) is required by the Graduate Division.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and TOEFL

All applicants must take the GRE general test; GRE subject test in biology or subject tests in other relevant disciplines highly recommended, but not required. No minimum GRE scores required for consideration. We will accept GRE scores taken within the last five years.  Older scores will be considered on a case by case basis. GRE Institution Code: 4833; Department Code: 0203.

For international students from countries in which the official language is not English, results of the TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language) are required. TOEFL exams taken before June 1, 2014 will not be accepted even if your score was reported to Berkeley.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation from faculty or other persons who have known you in an academic or research capacity. 

Statement of Purpose

Describe your aptitude and motivation for graduate study in your area of specialization, including your preparation for this field of study, your academic plans or research interests in your chosen area of study, and your future career goals. Please be specific about why UC Berkeley would be a good intellectual fit for you.

The statement should reflect serious intent, focus, maturity, motivation, and the ability to organize and articulate your thoughts on complex subjects.

There is no page limit restrictions although statements are typically one to two pages in length.

Personal History Statement

Please note that the Personal History Statement should not duplicate the Statement of Purpose.

Describe how your personal background informs your decision to pursue a graduate degree. Please include information on how you have overcome barriers to access opportunities in higher education, evidence of how you have come to understand the barriers faced by others, evidence of your academic service to advance equitable access to higher education for women, racial minorities, and individuals from other groups that have been historically underrepresented in higher education, evidence of your research focusing on underserved populations or related issues of inequality, or evidence of your leadership among such groups.

Research Experience

Research experience is preferred. It helps to define interest and focus, and proven success with research is a positive indicator for success in the program.