Application Process

Online Application Process and Accompanying Requirements

Students apply to the Biology Graduate Group online using CollegeNet. The online instructions will walk you through the procedure. You may access your application any number of times until submission. After submission, you will be able to check the status and note the receipt of supporting documentation.

The application consists of personal information, academic background, a personal statement, a resume or cv, and recommendation letters.

All candidates applying to the Biology program in the School of Arts and Sciences are asked to address the following prompts in their personal statement:

  • Please describe how your background and academic experiences have influenced your decision to pursue a graduate degree and led you to apply to Penn. Your essay should detail your specific research interests and intellectual goals within Biology. Please provide information about your educational trajectory, intellectual curiosity and academic ambitions.
  • If you have overcome adversity and/or experienced limited access to resources or opportunities in your field of study, please feel free to share how that has affected the course of your education. We are interested in your lived experiences and how your particular perspective might contribute to the inclusive and dynamic learning community that Penn values and strives to create.
  • Please indicate which lab(s) at Penn you are interested in joining and why you are interested in them. We strongly encourage you to contact these faculty members before submitting your application to determine whether they are accepting new students and to discuss ideas for possible research projects.

Accompanying Requirements

The following materials are also required:

Transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies - Unofficial transcripts are submitted online during the application process. If accepted and matriculated, official transcripts are submitted to the Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences and will become part of the student's academic file at Penn.

Three letters of recommendation, one of which should be from a scientist with whom the applicant has worked - Recommendation letters are submitted online through the CollegeNet system. If a recommender does not wish to submit a letter online, please contact the Graduate Coordinator for assistance.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) - The Biology Graduate Group does not require or accept GRE scores

For International students - One of the following Language Tests is required*:

TOEFL (Institution Code: 2926; Department Code: 74)

Test of Spoken English or TSE (Institution Code: 2926; Department Code: 35) 

IELTS - International English Language Testing System

It is recommended that the applicant also submit a copy of the scores report to the Biology Graduate Office by e-mail. 

TOEFL information and testing schedule can be found at the TOEFL ETS website.

*International candidates who attend a college or university where English is the language of instruction do not need to submit a language score. The requirement will be waived when your application is submitted.

Please note that it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all requirements are received by the application deadline.