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Frequently Asked Questions

Although the answers to most of your questions may be found throughout the BBS website, below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.  The Yale Graduate School also has an extensive list of frequently asked questions related to the online application.  Please see the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Admissions FAQs website.   If you have additional questions not answered below or on the Graduate School website, please send an email to us at

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Application Process

    Is there a pre-application process?
    The BBS Program does not have a pre-application process and therefore cannot tell you in advance how competitive you will be as an applicant.
    To which BBS Track should I apply?
    You should select the Track whose scientific focus best matches your background and interests. Each Track has its own admissions committee and will be able to give your application more thorough consideration if your scientific interests match the Track's.  Please note that you may apply to only ONE Track.
    What courses are required in order to be eligible for admission to the BBS Program?
    The BBS Program does not have any specific course requirements. We look for applicants who have a strong background in the biological or physical sciences (plus additional training in computing/informatics for those who apply to the Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Track). See each Track's 'Admissions Requirements' page for more information.
    Can the $105 application fee be waived for international applicants? (or can I pay the fee after you admit me?)
    Unfortunately, the fee cannot be waived for international applicants, nor can it be paid after the admissions process has been completed. An application cannot be submitted until the application fee is paid. U.S. applicants who request a fee waiver should follow the instructions found on the Graduate School's website
    Should I send my application materials to the BBS Program or to the Yale Graduate School?
    Please upload all application materials, including transcripts, directly into your online application.  Letters of recommendation should be uploaded by the individuals who write these letters.  Do not send any paper materials to either the BBS office or the Graduate School. Please follow the instructions for application submission found on the Graduate School's website:
    Do I need to submit a writing sample?
    Although the online application mentions that applicants should submit writing samples, these instructions are intended for applicants to programs in the humanities and social sciences. BBS applicants should not submit a writing sample. (If you have already submitted a writing sample, don't worry about it. It will be placed in your file but won't be read by admissions committees.)
    How can I check the status of my application?
    The online application enables you to log into your record and check the status of receipt of recommendation letters and test scores. For more information go to the Graduate Schools Web site:

    Which exams are required to apply?
    Each BBS Track has its own GRE requirement. Depending on the Track, the GRE General Test may be required, optional, or not reviewed if submitted. Please visit for a list of each Track's GRE requirement. The Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Track and the Molecular Medicine, Pharmacology and Physiology Track allow applicants to use MCAT scores in place of the GRE. The GRE Subject Test is no longer necessary and is not included in the review of applications. The TOEFL is required of applicants who are not U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.
    What are the average GPA and GRE scores of admitted students?
    The BBS Program does not calculate or publish GPA or GRE data on our applicant pool. Our main guideline to applicants is that although a high GPA and high GRE scores are attractive to admissions committees, they do not guarantee admission. On the other hand, GPAs below 3.0 are detrimental to your application.
    What are the GRE and TOEFL score requirements?
    There are no minimum GRE score requirements. TOEFL scores must be above 100. We do not have a minimum IELTS requirement.
    Is the GRE General Test required?
    Each BBS Track has its own GRE requirement. Depending on the Track, the GRE General Test may be required, optional, or not reviewed if submitted. Please visit for a list of each Track's GRE requirement.
    Which GRE Subject test should I take?
    A GRE Subject Test is no longer necessary, and submitted scores will not be included in the review of applications.
    Is it possible to waive the TOEFL/IELTS requirement?
    The TOEFL or IELTS is required of all applicants whose native language is not English. This requirement is waived only for applicants who will have received a baccalaureate degree, prior to matriculation at Yale, from a college or university where English is the primary language of instruction.  The requirement is not waived for those who have received masters degrees or other degrees from institutions at which English is the primary language of instruction. Please visit this English language requirement chart for a useful way to help you determine whether you will need to submit TOEFL/IELTS scores.
    What is the institution code and department code for submitting GRE and TOEFL scores?
    Please use institution code 3987. You do not need a department code.
    I took the GRE several years ago. Can I submit these scores, or do I have to retake the exam?
    As long as ETS has the scores on file and can report them to us, you do not need to retake the exam.
    I took the TOEFL several years ago. Can I submit these scores, or do I have to retake the exam?
    If you took the TOEFL within the past two years, ETS should still be able to release the scores to us. If your scores can no longer be released, you will need to take the test again.
  • Interviews & Decisions

    When can I expect to receive a decision on my application?

    Each Track has a slightly different timeline in reviewing applications and making admissions decisions.  Applicants may receive a decision as early as January or as late as April. 

    When will applicants be interviewed?

    The interview schedule for 2020 is as follows:

    January 31st - February 1st: CBB, MCGD,  & MMPP Tracks

    February 7th - 8th: Neuroscience

    February 14th - 15th: Immuno & MCGD Tracks

    February 21st - 22nd: BQBS, Microbiology, & Neuroscience Tracks

    Invitations to attend our recruiting weekends will be made by phone or email beginning in early January. International applicants who are considered for admission will be interviewed by phone in February and March.

  • Funding

    What kind of financial aid is available?
    For the duration of their studies, all BBS students receive a stipend ($36,550 in 2019-20), full tuition coverage, and health insurance. Students are encouraged to apply for external funding, and those who win competitive awards such as NIH National Research Service Awards (NRSA) or NSF fellowships receive a stipend bonus of $4,000 (for a total stipend of $40,550 in 2019-20).
    Is financial support available for international students?
    All students admitted to BBS, regardless of citizenship, receive full financial support from the university. The financial resources we have available to pay for students who are neither U.S. Citizens nor U.S. Permanent Residents, however, is very limited. As a result, we are able to admit only a small percentage of our international applicant pool, and students should take this into consideration before applying to the Program.
  • Degrees Offered

    Does the BBS Program offer masters degrees?

    The BBS Program is intended only for students pursuing a doctoral degree. Computational Biology and Bioinformatics does offer a Terminal Masters degree, but this degree program is separate from and unaffiliated with BBS.