Admissions and Financial Support

Graduate Program

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Graduate Studies

We welcome applications from students with excellent undergraduate records in life sciences, chemistry, or the physical sciences. A strong undergraduate preparation would include coursework in physics, calculus, organic chemistry, physical chemistry, and biology. All applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general tests, and are strongly encouraged, but not required, to take an advanced test in either biology, biochemistry, mathematics, physics, or psychology. In addition, applicants whose native language is not English must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

The Biology division graduate program trains students for the degree of doctor of philosophy; students are not admitted to study for the master's degree.

The Division of Biology is especially interested in providing educational opportunities for students from ethnic groups that are underrepresented in the biological sciences.

All application materials, including GRE scores, are due by December 15.

Admissions decisions will be based on an applicant's scholastic record, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and capacity for creative and independent research. Because of Caltech's excellent reputation and training opportunities, competition for admission is very keen. Each year 12 to 15 students enter our program from a pool of at least 200 applicants.

Financial Support

Initial annual financial support, stipend and tuition, is provided by the Division through a variety of divisional funds.

We strongly encourage entering students to apply for predoctoral fellowships, such as those awarded by the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Unfortunately, financial resources to support foreign students are extremely limited. Nevertheless, each year we are able to extend support to a few exceptional candidates.

Besides tuition and stipend support, and dependent upon availability of divisional funds, graduate students in the Division of Biology and Biological Engineering can receive an allowance for research supplies. There are also separate funds to cover travel to scientific meetings. These extra sources of support are a unique aspect of the Caltech program, and enhance the ability of our students to independently develop their careers from the beginning of their PhD training.