Application FAQs and Admission Criteria

Fall 2017 Funding is available

For Fall 2017 admission, the deadline for application is February 1. All application materials should be received by that time, as well.

To apply to the BCB Program, please:

  • notify the BCB Program Coordinator of your intention to apply.
  • email a resume including GRE scores, and TOEFL or IELTS score, for international applicants
  • also provide a listing of relevant coursework to show your academic preparation for a BCB degree program. Information on prerequisite and background coursework for our degree program is here.
  • fill out the on-line Iowa State University application here. An application fee will be requested upon submission of your application: $60 for U.S. students and $100 for International students.

Please Note: Your on-line application cannot be seen by the BCB program until the application fee is paid and so it is important to email the BCB program about your interest in applying and to attach a resume which includes your research outcomes, scores and background coursework.

Application materials for ISU's on-line application include: 

  • Three letters of recommendation (ISU application system will use the email addresses you provide to send them instructions)
  • Transcripts (upload a copy of official transcripts to the ISU application system)
  • Statement of Purpose (with a limit of 500 words)
  • GRE Scores (no department code necessary; Iowa State University's code is 6306)
  • TOEFL score from ETS (required for international students who do not have a degree from a U.S. college or university)

Iowa State University (ISU) application instructions are very helpful. Here are links to them:

U.S. Graduate Students
International Graduate Students

Admission Criteria

A limited number of student positions are available in the BCB program. In an effort to admit the best-qualified candidates with the greatest potential for success, our Admissions Committee considers many factors in evaluating applications for admission. These include previous academic training (courses taken and grades received), quality of schools attended, statement of professional goals, research experience and publications, and letters of recommendation, as well as GRE and TOEFL scores. We especially encourage applications from women and minorities.

Admission to the BCB program is highly competitive. The raw GRE scores of PhD applicants admitted typically have averaged 160 (older test: 770) for the Quantitative portion, 155 (older test: 590) for the Verbal portion and 4.5 in the Analytical Writing portion; TOEFL scores for admitted international applicants have averaged approximately 110 for the internet based exam; 620 for the paper based and 260 for the computer based.

We invite and encourage prospective applicants to review the admission criteria outlined below for assistance in determining whether to apply.

Degree Objective and Timeline. The Bioinformatics and Computational Biology graduate program is designed to provide doctoral (Ph.D.) level training. The coursework, research and thesis required for the Ph.D. degree typically can be completed in five years. In special circumstances (such as when a student has a prior Ph.D. degree), students may be admitted as M.S. candidates.

Undergraduate Work. A four-year university degree (the equivalent of a bachelor's degree) is required. Successful applicants typically have an undergraduate degree in molecular biology, computer science, mathematics, statistics, physics or a closely related discipline. Strong computational, mathematical or statistical training is desirable. However, all exceptionally well-qualified applicants who present strong evidence of research potential will be considered for admission.

A description of prerequisite and background coursework which prepare students for our program is located here.  Information on our curriculum is described here.  Information on the main components of our training program is here.  First-year students in this program typically do take some prerequisite and background courses.

Academic Performance. Applicants should have a cumulative undergraduate grade point average (GPA) comparable to at least a "B+" average or 3.30 out of a possible 4.00, and rank in the top quartile (25 percent) of their graduating class. Strong performance in relevant science, computer and math courses is especially valued.

Examinations. The general Graduate Records Examination (GRE) is required (requirement waived for applicants who hold a Ph.D.). See average scores of past applicants above. Subject GREs are not required. International applicants must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). See average scores of past applicants above.

 

BCB Program admission specifics

Application Deadline
February 1 is the deadline for application to the BCB Graduate Program at Iowa State University. All application materials are also due by this date. Waivers of this deadline may be possible.

Phd Degree Program
We strongly prefer to admit students directly into the Ph.D. program. Successful applicants to our M.S. degree program usually are those already at ISU pursuing a PhD in another discipline.

Fall Admission
Spring admission is possible when funding is available. Contact the BCB Program Coordinator for more information about Spring admission. Fall semester is the recommended starting point for most applicants to the Graduate Program. The coursework flows more smoothly for most students from the fall semester on. The program offers an extensive orientation program in the Fall semester.

 

Application Specifics

Application Deadline
February 1 is the deadline for application to the BCB Graduate Program at Iowa State University. All application materials are also due by this date. Waivers of this deadline may be possible.

GRE and TOEFL (for international students) scores
ISU must receive official reports of your GRE and TOEFL (for international students) from ETS. Have ETS send those to Iowa State University's Graduate Admission Office.

What are the TOEFL and GRE Codes for your University and Program?

    Institution Code = 6306 (for both GRE and TOEFL)
    No Program codes are necessary.
 

Do you require a GRE Subject Test?
We recommend subject tests, but do not require them. We require that applicants take the General Graduate Record Examination.

What does the statement of purpose include?
You will file your statement of purpose within the on-line application itself. You might want to include the following in it: What do you intend to do with a PhD in BCB? Why are you interested in our particular graduate program? Whose research in the BCB Program interests you? These are the kinds of questions one might like to address in this statement.

It is important to be concise and precise in your admission materials to best represent your research abilities and interests. If you have published the results of your research in a scientific journal, be sure to highlight that information in your resume. You may also upload an additional document which speaks about your research accomplishments, if you wish.

No Application Fee Waiver is available
As you consider an application to our program, please email the BCB Program Coordinator so we are aware of your interest.  Along with your email, please provide a resume which includes your GRE and TOEFL (international students) scores.  A listing of relevant coursework would also be appreciated.

For Fall 2017 admission, the BCB Program requires applicants to complete Iowa State University's on-line application. Upon submission, an application fee of $60 for US applicants and $100 for International applicants is required.  Until an application fee is paid, the BCB program cannot see any of an applicant's materials.

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