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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 (or can I pay the fee after you admit me?)
    Some applicants 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 applications will not be reviewed unless the application fee is paid or a waiver is granted.
    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:
    Do I need to find a Yale faculty member who will serve as my thesis advisor prior to submitting an application?
    No. All entering students will be required to rotate through two to four labs during their first year of study before eventually selecting a thesis advisor.

    Which exams are required to apply?

    The BBS Program does not require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test or Subject Test, and submitted GRE scores will not be included in the review of an application. The TOEFL is required of all applicants whose native language is not English. See below for more details about the TOEFL requirement.

    What are the average GPA and GRE scores of admitted students?
    The BBS Program does not calculate or publish GPA data on our applicant pool. Our main guideline to applicants 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. Neither the GRE General Test nor Subject Test is required, and submitted GRE scores are not reviewed.
    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.
    Is the GRE General Test required?
    The BBS Program does not require the GRE General Test, and submitted GRE scores will not be included in the review of an application.
    Which GRE Subject test should I take?
    A GRE Subject Test is not required, 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 TOEFL scores?
    Please use institution code 3987. You do not need a 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. 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?

    Invitations to attend our recruiting weekends will be made by phone or email beginning in early January. Interview dates will be posted on this page each year.

  • Funding

    What kind of financial aid is available?
    For the duration of their studies, all BBS students receive a stipend ($40,000 in 2022-23), 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 $44,000 in 2022-23).
    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.