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Frequently Asked Questions for Graduate Admissions

Do I have to complete two applications: one for the department and one for the university?

No, you have to submit only one application to the University of Tennessee Graduate School. The BCMB department no longer directly receives applications, and only one single application should be directly submitted online to the Graduate School.

What is the application deadline for fall admission?

To receive full consideration, it is highly recommended that US and international students complete their applications before December 1. In selected situations we will consider applications after this deadline. However, for international students the graduate-school application deadline for fall admission is February 1 and no applications will be accepted after this date.

Do you accept applications for spring admission?

No. Our graduate students generally come in the fall semester, and courses are designed based on fall admission.

How are the applications reviewed?

A graduate admission committee, comprised of at least five faculty members, reviews all applications (domestic and international) and ranks applicants on a competitive basis. Please note that decisions are made by the committee, and that the chair of the graduate admission committee does not make decisions on applications.

Is undergraduate research experience important?

Yes, many of our most successful graduate students also have gathered experience and demonstrated productivity as undergraduate research participants for at least one semester. The graduate admission committee therefore pays a special attention to the research experience of our applicants. We strongly encourage you to include such information in your application package. Please also state your career goal and the reasons why you would like to pursue graduate degrees at BCMB, UTK.

How many applications do you receive each year? How many positions are offered?

On average, we receive about 150 applications and eight to ten graduate students are accepted per year. Those accepted are the most competitive applicants, regardless of whether they are domestic or international applicants.

Are scholarships or financial aid available?

All accepted students receive financial support, either in the form of a graduate teaching assistantship (GTA) or graduate research assistantship (GRA). The department also provides tuition and health insurance. Students are responsible for some fees each semester.

Is the GRE test required?

No.  The GRE test scores are optional and may be included in your application.

International applicants: What are the minimum TOEFL/ iBT (internet-based) scores? What are the minimum IELTS scores?

This is set by the graduate school. The most up-to-date information is at their website on the page with admissions requirements.

International applicants: What are the documents and information required specifically for international applicants?

The graduate admissions for international student website has a guide that can be consulted for further information here

What are the GRE/TOEFL codes that I should use?

For purposes of reporting GRE and TOEFL scores, the institutional code for the University of Tennessee is 1843.  A departmental code is NOT required.

Can the department cover my application fee?

When requested, application fee waivers will be considered by the Department Head and the admission committee. Factors may include outstanding applicants with a financial need and/or individuals from underrepresented groups in biological sciences.