Application Procedures


The graduate training Program in Biomedical Science and Engineering (PBSE) crosses traditional departmental boundaries and provides students with diverse research opportunities. Rather than applying to a department, prospective students apply directly to the PBSE, indicating interest in one of four training tracks:

Each track features unique coursework and research opportunities, while also offering courses and seminars that overlap with other tracks.  This approach facilitates interaction and collaboration, exposing students to the diverse research that occurs daily across disciplines at UCSC.

PBSE is a Ph.D. granting program only.  Students interested in masters degree programs should go to departmental links at the bottom of this page.


  • Only on-line applications are accepted.
  • Applications to PBSE must be received by DECEMBER 1st for acceptance in the subsequent fall. 
  • The completed application must be accompanied by a non-refundable $105 fee ($125 for international students). If you are a U.S. citizen with financial need, you may request a fee waiver (this waiver request must be received at least 5 days prior to the application).
  • On page 8 of the application, PBSE applicants select one of four PBSE training tracks (BMEB, CB3MICRO, or MCD).


  • Undergraduate record: overall GPA and grades in relevant courses
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores: Applicants MUST take the GRE General Test. Subject tests in Biology, Biochemistry, or Cellular and Molecular Biology are recommended for the MCDB track. Subject tests in Biochemistry or Chemistry are recommended for the CB3 track.   The GRE exam should be taken sufficiently early so that results are available for review. UCSC's school code for the exam is 4860.
  • Letters of recommendation: Three letters in electronic format only
  • Previous research/work experience: While not required, most successful candidates have acquired some laboratory or research experience, either during their undergraduate career or while working in industry.
  • Research interests: Research interests, as put forth in the applicant's personal statement, are evaluated for their relevance to the PBSE program and selected training track.
  • Personal Interviews: Based on the above criteria, applicants will be invited to visit UCSC for personal interviews with faculty members and current graduate students. Transportation and other costs of the interview process are covered by the program.


Admission offers are sent from mid-February through March. To be formally admitted, the Graduate Studies Office must receive a written acceptance letter by April 15th.


The MCD Biology graduate program places a high value on the presence of scholars from diverse nations and cultures, and actively solicits applications from foreign applicants. However, due to limited financial resources, we can only make a small number of offers to non-U.S. residents. Foreign applicants from countries where English is not the primary language MUST take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). A minimal score of 550 (on the paper-based test), 220 (on the computer-based test) or 83 (on the internet-based test) is required. TOEFL scores are good for two years from the test date.

Students with disabilities, including learning disabilities, are welcome to apply.


It is possible, though uncommon, to transfer from another Ph.D. program to the PBSE graduate program. Course or rotation requirement waivers are made on a case by case basis.


  • General information about UCSC graduate admissions and support can be found at the UCSC Division of Graduate Studies website.
  • For Email questions about applications, contact the Graduate Admissions Office, or call 831-459-4975
  • For specific research questions, contact relevant PBSE faculty members directly.

PBSE is a Ph.D. granting program only. Information about masters degree programs in related areas can be found at the following links:

Bioinformatics MS
Chemistry MS
Computer Engineering MS

Computer Science MS
Environmental Toxicology, M.S.
Molecular, Cell, & Developmental Biology M.A.

NIH UCSC's Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences and Engineering is supported by training grants from the National Institute of General Medical Science and the National Human Genome Research Institute.