MD Anderson Cancer Center - UTHealth
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Admissions Requirements

What factors are considered in admissions decisions?

The GSBS Admissions Committee considers the following factors in evaluating applicants for admission and financial assistance:

  • previous research experience and accomplishments including, enrollment in laboratory and research-based courses, and involvement in research projects and publications
  • expressed commitment to a career involving biomedical research
  • success in undergraduate courses in the biological and physical sciences and mathematics as evidenced in your grade point average (GPA)
  • degree of difficulty of undergraduate academic program
  • previous graduate-level study
  • honors and awards for academic achievement
  • performance on the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) for applicants to the programs in Genetic Counseling and Medical Physics, and, for international applicants, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

What is the minimum GPA required to apply?

Applicants are expected to have a grade point average of at least 3.0 on a scale of 4.0 on all undergraduate and graduate level work taken previously (particularly in the suggested prerequisite courses). For applicants offered admission to the PhD program for Fall 2018, the average GPA was 3.54.

Are GRE scores required to apply?

The General GRE exam is not required for applicants to the Biomedical Sciences PhD and MS programs. 

Applicants to the MS program in Genetic Counseling or the MS and PhD programs in Medical Physics must provide GRE scores at the time of application.

What are the minimum GRE scores required to apply?

Applicants to the Genetic Counseling and Medical Physics programs are expected to score at least in the 50th percentile on each section of the GRE. 

Will you accept MCAT scores in place of the GRE?

We do not accept the MCAT unless you are applying to the joint MD/PhD program with the UT Medical School.

What are the prerequisite courses required to apply?

Your undergraduate coursework should provide you with a strong background in the area related to your research interests. Recommended undergraduate coursework to prepare a PhD applicant for graduate studies includes basic courses in biology, physics, calculus and biochemistry.

What are the minimum TOEFL scores required for international applicants?

Applicants are expected to score at least a 95 on the internet-based TOEFL exam.  

Will you accept the IELTS instead of the TOEFL?

No, the TOEFL test is required for international applicants.

Under what circumstances may I waive the TOEFL requirement?

International applicants who have received a diploma from a university at which English is the language of instruction are not required to take the TOEFL exam. If this school is outside of an English-speaking country, evidence that indicates the language of instruction will need to be provided with your application such as a letter from the University on official letterhead.

Application

What are the application deadlines?

The deadline for the PhD program and MS programs in Genetic Counseling and Medical Physics is January 4 for all applicants. All materials, including letters of recommendation, must be received by the deadline. Early applications are encouraged. The deadline for applications to the MS degree program in Biomedical Sciences is April 1.

How long are my GRE scores valid?

For applicants to the Genetic Counseling and Medical Physics programs, GRE scores are valid five years from the date the test was taken. If scores will expire before the Fall 2019 semester, please have official scores sent from ETS to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) registrar's office using institution code 6907. No department code is necessary.

How long are my TOEFL scores valid?

TOEFL scores are valid two years from the date the test was taken. If scores will expire before the Fall 2019 semester, please have official scores sent from ETS to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) registrar's office using institution code 6907. No department code is necessary.

Are official transcripts and score reports required?

For the purpose of application review and processing, we do not require that applicants send official transcripts and/or score reports to the institution. Unofficial copies of transcripts and score reports should be uploaded online with application. 

What is the GSBS ETS institution code to send TOEFL and GRE scores?

The institution code for The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UT Health) is 6907; no department code is necessary. For the purpose of application review and processing, only unofficial scores uploaded online with the application are required. No official scores should be sent until after an offer of admission has been made.

I attended a foreign university, how should I report my grades?

Scores and grades should be translated and converted to a 4.0 scale. A transcript grade key should be included with your transcripts, if one is available.

How do I convert my GPA to a 4.0 scale?

Applicants should convert their GPA to a 4.0 scale using an online GPA calculator like the one found on the World Education Services site.

What type of payments do you accept for the application fee?

You can pay by credit or debit card through our online application system. If you do not have a credit or debit card, please contact the admissions office. 

What is your application fee waiver policy?

Please contact the Office of Admissions to request a fee waiver.

How do I check the status of my submitted application?

The GSBS Admissions Office checks each application for all required materials and will contact you if any required information is missing. Your application will not be considered complete until all required materials, including three letters of recommendation, are received. You may log into the Embark system to track receipt of your letters of recommendation. Once all materials have been received, you will receive an email from the Embark application system indicating your application has been received by GSBS.

How can I resend the link to my recommender to submit my letter of recommendation?

Each recommender should receive an email from Embark Online asking him/her to complete an online recommendation for the applicant. If the recommender has not received the email, please log in to your Embark account and select Recommenders from the left-hand menu and click the paper airplane icon to resend. If the letter writer still does not receive the email, you can try deleting the recommender and re-registering them in the system. Further support is provided by the online application vendor, Embark, by contacting them directly via email at Embark support.

How can I track my letters of recommendation?

Log in to your Embark account and select Recommenders from the left-hand menu. The status column will have one of three statuses:

  • Invited – An email has been sent to the email address of your recommender requesting a letter on your behalf with a link to submit a recommendation.
  • Opened – Your recommender has clicked the link to open the recommendation form.
  • Submitted – A letter of recommendation has been submitted on your behalf.

Admissions Interviews and Enrollment

Do you require interviews?

Yes, personal interviews are arranged at the discretion of the Admissions Committee prior to a final admissions decision for PhD and SMS applicants. International applicants residing outside of the US at the time of interviews will be extended an invitation to interview via Skype. Dates for Spring 2019 interviews are listed on the Important Dates section of the website.

Do you admit new students every semester?

Applications are reviewed once a year for admission with enrollment in the Fall semester only.

Do I need to select a faculty advisor at the time of application?

Applicants are not required to select a faculty advisor at the time of application. PhD students complete three tutorial research rotations before joining a lab in their second year of study.

If I have a master's degree, will I need to start over?

If you have obtained an MS degree from GSBS, courses you have taken for your MS program may be applied to your PhD degree. However, research you performed as an MS student cannot be used in your PhD dissertation. It is possible to use your MS work as the basis for your PhD work.

Students who have obtained an MS degree from another school are strongly encouraged to take our core course, Foundations of Biomedical Research, to satisfy the GSBS breadth requirement. Requests to waive the requirement on the basis of previous graduate-level coursework must be approved by the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs. Prior research may not be utilized in your PhD dissertation, but your MS work may be used as the basis for your PhD dissertation.

Can I transfer into your graduate school from the graduate school I currently attend?

No, we do not accept transfer students. You will need to apply for our degree programs in order to be considered for admission. 

Do you have a part-time PhD Program?

No, we do not offer a part time-Ph.D. program. 

Funding

How can I get an assistantship?

All PhD students receive a graduate research assistantship. PhD students receive GSBS funding to cover their assistantship. For the 2018-19 academic year, the GSBS assistantship includes a $32,000 per annum stipend, payment of the student's tuition and fees and health insurance coverage. After the GSBS funded assistantship ends, students are paid by their faculty mentor. More information may be found by visiting the GSBS Finance website.

How can I get an assistantship if I am seeking a MS degree?

Students admitted to our MS degree program are not guaranteed an assistantship and should prepare to be self-funded throughout their education. Students can find a faculty member who is willing to support them financially through their education. It is the responsibility of the student to find a funding source. Students may ask for a faculty member to cover their tuition, fees and provide a stipend of up to $32,000 per annum.  

Is the stipend enough to cover my living expenses?

Based on nation-wide comparisons, the stipend offered by GSBS is very competitive. The cost of living in Houston is one of the lowest in the US. Thus, it is certainly possible to live on this stipend. Most of our current students find that they are able to pay for an apartment, groceries and car insurance without needing to take out loans.

Are international students guaranteed full financial support?

We offer financial support to all PhD students who are admitted to GSBS. This award includes a yearly stipend of $32,000. In addition, tuition, fees and health benefits are covered.

Non-Degree Applicants

May I enroll in a GSBS course without being admitted to a degree program?

  • Employees of TMC institutions may enroll in one course per semester with the approval of the course instructor and the approval of their workplace supervisor. More information can be found on the Employee Registration Information webpage.
  • Other qualified individuals who hold a bachelor's degree in science, who have a demonstrated interest in a career in research, and who wish to take courses at the graduate level without enrolling in an MS or PhD degree program may be admitted to the GSBS as non-degree students. Applications for non-degree study are due two months prior to the start of the semester and are considered for fall, summer and spring. Please use the online application form to apply. More information can be found on the Non-Degree Webpage.

Diversity

GSBS strives to recruit and admit students across all socially, culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds. For more information on the diverse student population at GSBS click here

Contact Us

I have reviewed this FAQ and still have questions

Please email the GSBS Office of Admissions at GSBS.Admissions@uth.tmc.edu.