MA Deadline and Application for Fall 2023
The priority deadline for Fall 2023 MA in MCBB applications is January 15, 2023 at 11:59pm EST*
*For full consideration for the MA program, applications should be received by January 15th; late applications may also be considered until May 15, 2023 if space in the cohort permits. Please note that we will be recruiting directly into labs for Fall 2023; we recommend contacting faculty of interest prior to applying.
Generally the Program does not accept new students for the spring semester.
PhD Deadline and Application for Fall 2023
The deadline for Fall 2023 PhD in MCBB applications is December 5, 2022 at 11:59pm EST
Generally the Program does not accept new students for the spring semester.
Curious about specific program statistics? Check out the MCBB PhD Profile to view data on application and admissions; enrollment; career outcomes; and more!
MA & PhD Application Requirements
- Three recommendations – We consider letters of recommendation a very important part of your application. Letters from individuals who can address the applicant’s research experience and aptitude are particularly valued for those applying for the PhD or the MA with research thesis.
- Personal statement/statement of purpose – A thoughtful personal statement is important and should include information on your motivation for attending graduate school. Those applying for the PhD or the MA with research thesis should also include any research interests and any prior research experience.
- Curriculum Vitae
- Additional requirements for international students – Information for international students on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and other requirements is available on the International Student Applicant page. Due to COVID-19, we are also accepting Duolingo test scores as well as TOEFL Home Edition scores for Fall 2023 admission; more information is available in the FAQ below.
3 Reasons to Apply
1. Enjoy the Unique Advantages of an Interdisciplinary Program
MCBB students learn concepts in cross-disciplinary molecular science from leading researchers and teachers while taking part in world-class research that seeks to advance modern knowledge. Our students gain experience in interdisciplinary approaches to research and science, ensuring career advancement upon completion of the Program.
2. Benefit From Our World-Class Facilities
In general, MCBB students use the resources in the department in which the student’s advisor is housed. Students may be provided access to training and research facilities such as the Biology, Physics, and Engineering Research Buildings; the Biological Science Center; the Center for Advanced Biotechnology; the Center for Integrated Life Sciences & Engineering; the Life Sciences and Engineering Building; the Metcalf Center for Science and Engineering; Sargent College of Allied Health & Rehabilitative Sciences; and the Science and Engineering Library. You’ll find teaching and research laboratories at these facilities, as well as departmental common facilities including the Biomedical Data-Acquisition Lab; the Cognitive Neuroimaging Center; the Laboratory Animal Care Facility; the Proteomics and Imaging Core Facility; the Stable Isotope Laboratory; the Electronics Facility; and the Super-Computer Facility.
3. Experience the Advantages of Boston
MCBB students experience the unique advantages of obtaining an education in Boston—a hub for the scientific and medical community. Students collaborate on research with the world’s top scientific and medical minds, have access to outstanding professional development events, and network with local professionals from both academia and industry. Many graduates of our programs choose to stay in the Boston area, providing a rich base of local alumni available for events, networking, and mentoring.
Frequently Asked Questions
Please review the below FAQ for MA & PhD applicants. Applicants can also visit the GRS Academic Admissions page and the GRS Online Bulletin for more details on admission procedures and requirements.
When does the application become available?
Applications for the upcoming fall admissions period become available in early September each year.
What are the application deadlines?
Application deadlines for Fall 2023 admission are December 5, 2022 at 11:59pm EST for the PhD program and January 15, 2023 at 11:59pm EST (priority)/May 15, 2023 at 11:59pm EST (final) for the MA program. Note: For full consideration for the MA program, applications must be received by January 15th. Late MA applications may also be considered if space in the cohort permits.
Do you accept international students?
Yes, we welcome applications from all over the world.
What are the application requirements?
Transcripts; Three recommendations – We consider letters of recommendation a very important part of your application. Letters from individuals who can address the applicant’s research experience and aptitude are particularly valued for those applying for the PhD or the MS with research thesis; Personal statement/statement of purpose – A thoughtful personal statement is important and should include information on your motivation for attending graduate school. Those applying for the PhD or the MS with research thesis should also include any research interests and any prior research experience; Curriculum Vitae; Additional requirements for international students – Information for international students on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and other requirements is available on the GRS Academic Admissions page and on the International Student Applicant page.
Is there a minimum GPA for admission?
The MCBB Program does not have a minimum GPA for admission. We consider the full application when reviewing applicants.
Is the GRE required for admission?
No, the GRE is not required. However, if you feel that your scores will strengthen your application, you are welcome to submit them. The admissions committee fully recognizes that there are many components to your application and that GRE scores have a limited scope of predictive power in the evaluation of a candidate for their long-term success as a student.
Are there minimum scores for the TOEFL or IELTS?
Yes, the minimum scores are strictly enforced by the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. Your most recent test scores will be used to determine if you have met the English proficiency requirements. You cannot combine sections from different test dates and you must meet the minimum score for every section of the test to be considered for admission. The minimum score requirements for the TOEFL are below:
paper-based test: 550
Reading section – 21
Listening section – 21
Speaking section – 21
Writing section – 21
In addition to the TOEFL, the IELTS is also accepted as proof of English proficiency. The band score of 7.0 is required for admission.
Please note that we do not accept the TOEFL “MyBest” scores.
Due to COVID-19, we are also accepting Duolingo test scores as well as TOEFL Home Edition scores for Fall 2023 admission. Duolingo scores must be a minimum of 105; please select “Boston University Graduate and Professional Programs.” TOEFL Home Edition scores have the same requirements outlined above.
Can the TOEFL or IELTS be waived?
The TOEFL or IELTS requirement is waived if you meet any of the criteria listed on the GRS website; see “English Proficiency Requirement”.
Do I have to submit all of the required documents by the application deadline?
All applications must be complete by the deadline; any application materials received after the deadline may not be reviewed by the Program.
Are application fee waivers available?
Applicants who would like to request an application fee waiver must follow the fee waiver instructions on the GRS website. Note that you must be a US citizen or a US permanent resident in order to be eligible to apply for a fee waiver. Non-US citizens are not eligible to apply for a fee waiver through GRS.
In exceptional circumstances, applicants who are non-US citizens may be granted a Program fee waiver; please fill out the MCBB fee waiver request form to be considered.
It is past the application deadline. Can I still apply?
- PhD applicants: Generally, we do not accept applications for submission after the deadline has passed.
- MA applicants: For full consideration, applications must be received by January 15th. Late applications may also be considered if space in the cohort permits.
Please contact the Graduate Program Specialist to find out if your application can still be submitted.
Do you offer spring admission?
Generally, the Program does not accept new students for the spring semester.
Are there any pre-requisites or any courses that I should take before applying? What kind of degree(s) do I need to have?
Applicants to the MA or PhD programs must have completed a bachelor’s degree. An MA degree is not needed to apply to our PhD program. You do not need a specific degree, but you do need to have a strong background in organic and inorganic chemistry; cell biology and/or genetics; physics; and calculus. Statistics would also be useful. Prior research experience will also make your application more competitive.
Some BU courses may be available for non-degree students if you would like to take courses before applying. Please contact the Graduate Program Specialist for more information.
Students who apply to our PhD program with a master’s degree may have an opportunity to transfer credits towards the program. Admission into the program is competitive and we favor applications with both strong academic records and a demonstrated aptitude for research.
Do I need to contact faculty prior to submitting my application?
Yes, it is recommended that you contact one or more faculty with whom you might wish to work. The Program requires laboratory rotations during which students can explore their interests, but it is often useful to contact a faculty member. We do not provide a list of faculty members who are currently seeking graduate students.
Where can I find more information about the research opportunities that are available to MCBB graduate students?
Please review our faculty profiles for information on individual research.
Can I schedule a visit to the BU campus?
Yes, prospective applicants can contact the Graduate Program Specialist or any faculty member with whom they may wish to work to schedule a time to visit. The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences does not offer tours of the campus however, prospective students can sign-up for tours with undergraduate admissions.
How long will it take before I receive a decision on my applications?
- PhD applicants: Selected applicants currently in the continental US will be invited to visit the campus for “Recruitment Weekend” in late February for individual interviews with faculty and to learn more about Boston University, the surrounding area, and to meet with many of the faculty and current students within the program. Admission decisions are usually sent out the week following this visit to campus (early March). Selected applicants outside the continental US and internationally may be contacted in early March for Skype Interviews with faculty members and can expect to receive admission decisions in mid-March.
- MA applicants: Admissions decisions are usually sent out in mid-March.
How many applicants are admitted into the program?
Admission rates vary each year. However, you may view the MCBB PhD Profile to view data on application and admissions; enrollment; career outcomes; and more!
What is the cost of attendance? Do you offer financial aid?
Tuition and mandatory fees for the current academic year can be found on the GRS website.
The MCBB Program guarantees support for five years for all PhD students, contingent on satisfactory performance in the program. This includes tuition, a stipend, and health insurance. You can learn more about the different fellowships that are offered on the GRS website.
The MCBB Program does not guarantee financial support for MA students. Some resources are available on the GRS website for MA students seeking financial aid.
How long does it take to earn a graduate degree in MCBB?
MA students must complete the degree within three years, though most of our students complete this within 2 years. PhD students must complete the degree within seven years, though most of our students complete this within 5-6 years.
How many credits can be transferred in towards my degree? Will this shorten the time to degree?
MA students can transfer a maximum of 8 credits from other universities. PhD students can transfer a maximum of 32 credits. Your coursework would be reviewed by faculty to determine what is appropriate to transfer based on the program and what credits you would still need to take moving forward. This could certainly decrease the time to degree, but PhD and MA with research thesis students would still need to complete research credits and the length of time for completion can be different depending on the research projects that you take on and the progress of your dissertation/thesis. More information about the transfer of credit policy can be found online.
What classes will I need to take?
Will I be required to teach?
The PhD program requires a minimum of two semesters of teaching during a student’s graduate career. During the first semester of teaching, students are required to enroll in our first-year seminar course, GRS MB 697 A Bridge to Knowledge. The course provides guidance and training on pedagogy and other aspects of graduate school.
MA students are not required to teach but there are sometimes opportunities for MA students to teach if interested.
Can I take classes part time?
It is possible to take classes part time if you are in the master’s program or if you want to take a class or two before officially enrolling in the program. However, we do not offer evening courses, so if you have a full time job and are interested in taking one or two courses, this may not be a good fit for you. The PhD program is a full time program.
For additional information, please contact:
Graduate Program Specialist