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Admissions Requirements

Course Requirements

Because BBS students come from a variety of academic backgrounds and receive training at Yale in a wide array of disciplines, there are no common courses required of all BBS applicants. In general, successful applicants will have completed undergraduate coursework in biology, chemistry at least through organic chemistry, physics, and calculus. Each BBS Track may have more specific course requirements, which are described on the Track pages.


New as of May 1, 2019: Each BBS Track has its own Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test requirements:

Biochemistry, Quantitative Biology, Biophysics & Structural Biology: optional; scores will be reviewed if submitted 

Computational Biology & Bioinformatics: required

Immunology: not required; will not be reviewed if submitted

Microbiology: not required; will not be reviewed if submitted

Molecular Cell Biology, Genetics & Development: optional; scores will be reviewed if submitted

Molecular Medicine, Pharmacology, and Physiology: optional; scores will be reviewed if submitted

Plant Molecular Biology: optional; scores will be reviewed if submitted

Neuroscience: not required; will not be reviewed if submitted

The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) may be substituted for the GRE in special cases for Tracks which require or make the GRE scores optional. See the Admissions Requirements for individual Tracks to find out which Tracks accept the MCAT. Applicants who submit GRE scores should take the test by early December. If you cannot take the GRE until December, you do not need to wait until then to apply. You should submit your application first and then submit your GRE scores afterward. When reporting official scores to the BBS Program, please use institution code 3987; you do not need a department code.  The BBS Program does not have minimum GRE score requirements.

A GRE Subject Test is not required, and submitted scores are not reviewed. 


The TOEFL 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. Waivers are not granted for those who have received a masters degree from such an institution.  Please review this flow chart to determine whether you are required to submit TOEFL scores. If you do not need to submit the scores, there is no formal waiver process or form required.

Applicants must achieve a score of at least 600 on the paper version of the exam, 250 on the computer-based exam, and 100 on the internet-based exam. Applicants should take the test no later than November and no earlier than 24 months prior to applying to the BBS Program. Please use institution code 3987 when reporting your scores to the BBS Program; you do not need a department code.

All international students who accept offers of admission to Ph.D. programs and whose native language is not English are strongly encouraged to present acceptable scores on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) by the time of enrollment in the fall. The TOEFL and TSE are administered in the United States and abroad by the Educational Testing Service. For details and registration forms, contact the TOEFL/TSE representative in your country, or write to: TOEFL/TSE Services, Box 6151, Princeton, NJ 08541-6151.

Students who do not demonstrate sufficient proficiency in English may be retested and/or asked to take courses in English for speakers of other languages. A higher level of proficiency will be required in order for students to serve as teaching fellows.

The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores are acceptable in addition to or in lieu of TOEFL and TSE test scores. For details about this testing alternative, please visit At the time of test-taking you will want to specify Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.