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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the application process. The Yale Graduate School Admissions Office also maintains an extensive Frequently Asked Questions website.

If you have additional questions not answered below or on the Graduate School site, please contact us at

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Application Process

    Is there a pre-application process?
    We do 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. The Track name and the curriculum are helpful indicators about which Track is optimal for you. Note that faculty may participate in multiple Tracks, and faculty participation in a given Track is not the best indicator of which Track to which you should apply.

    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?
    We do not have any specific courses required of all BBS applicants. 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). Visit our Admissions Requirements page for more details.
    Can the $105 application fee be waived (or can I pay the fee after you admit me?)
    You may be eligible for a waiver of the application fee. Eligibility requirements and the process for requesting a waiver are available on the Yale Graduate School's application website. Note that we are unable to access or review your application unless you pay the application fee or receive a fee waiver.
    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 application submission instructions available on the Graduate School's website.
    Do I need to submit a writing sample?
    Although our Graduate School application mentions that applicants should submit writing samples, these instructions are intended for applicants to programs in the humanities and social sciences. You should not submit a writing sample. (If you have already submitted a writing sample, don't worry about it. You do not need to try to delete or remove it.)
    How can I check the status of my application?
    Log into your online record to see which of your letters of recommendation, transcripts, and test scores are in your file. Please allow up to 1 week after submission of your application for test scores to show up in your record. Visit the Graduate School's Frequently Asked Questions site for more information.
    Do I need to find a Yale faculty member who will serve as my thesis advisor prior to submitting an application?
    No. We will require you to rotate through two to four labs during your first year of study to help you explore your research interests and find a thesis adviser. You will formally join your thesis adviser's lab toward the end of your first year.

    Which exams are required to apply?

    We do not require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test or Subject Test. If you submit GRE scores we will not include them in the review of your application. Our Graduate School requires a test of English proficiency (TOEFL or IELTS) if your native language is not English. See below for more details about this test requirement.

    What are the average GPA and GRE scores of admitted students?
    We do not calculate or publish GPA data on our applicant pool. Our main guideline is that although a high GPA is attractive to admissions committees, it does not guarantee admission. On the other hand, GPAs below 3.0 are detrimental to your application. We do not require GRE scores and do not include them in the review of your application if you do submit scores to Yale.
    What are the GRE and TOEFL score requirements?
    We do not require or review GRE scores. TOEFL scores must be above 100. We do not have a minimum IELTS requirement, but if you receive a score at or below a 7.5 our Graduate School will require you to complete an English language program at Yale in August prior to matriculating in the fall. Our Graduate School will send you information about the English language program if you are required to participate.
    Is the GRE General Test required?
    We do not require the GRE General Test. If you submit scores to Yale we will not include them in the review of your application.
    Which GRE Subject test should I take?
    We do not require a GRE Subject Test and do not include test scores 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 by our Graduate School only under certain circumstances. Please visit the Standardized Test FAQs page to determine whether you need to submit test scores.

    What is the institution code and department code for submitting TOEFL scores?
    Please use institution code 3987. You may use any department code.
    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. You will need to take the test again if ETS can no longer send your scores.
  • 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. Most decisions are communicated between late January and early March. Visit our Application Status page for more information.

  • Funding

    What kind of financial aid is available?
    You will receive a stipend ($49,800 in 2023-24), full tuition coverage, free health insurance for you and your family, and discounted dental insurance (beginning in fall of 2024). We also encourage you to apply for external funding. If you win a competitive award such as an NIH National Research Service Award (NRSA) or NSF fellowship you will receive a stipend bonus of $4,000 (for a total stipend of $53,800 in 2023-24).
    Is financial support available for international students?
    We provide full financial support to all matriculating students regardless of citizenship. 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 you should take this into consideration before applying.
  • Degrees Offered

    Does the BBS Program offer masters degrees?

    We admit students only for the doctoral degree and do not offer terminal masters degrees. Computational Biology and Bioinformatics does offer a Terminal Masters degree, but this degree program is separate from and unaffiliated with BBS. Please visit our Graduate School's site to learn about other degrees and degree programs available at Yale.