Application Process

Online Application Process and Accompanying Requirements

Students apply to the Biology Graduate Group online using CollegeNet. The online instructions will walk you through the procedure. You may access your application any number of times until submission. After submission, you will be able to check the status and note the receipt of supporting documentation.

The application consists of personal information, academic background, a personal statement, a resume or cv, and recommendation letters. The personal statement (typically ~3 pages, single spaced) should explain why you are applying to the Biology Graduate Program at Penn, your research experiences and research interests, and career goals.  You can also provide additional information about your academic record or life experiences that you feel would be helpful to the Admissions Committee in learning about you as a person. In addition, the personal statement should indicate which lab(s) at Penn you are interested in joining and why you are interested in them. We strongly encourage you to contact these faculty members before submitting your application to determine whether they are accepting new students and to discuss ideas for possible research projects.

Accompanying Requirements

The following materials are also required:

Transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies - Unofficial transcripts are submitted online during the application process. If accepted and matriculated, official transcripts are submitted to the Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences and will become part of the student's academic file at Penn.

Three letters of recommendation, one of which should be from a scientist with whom the applicant has worked - Recommendation letters are submitted online through the CollegeNet system. If a recommender does not wish to submit a letter online, please contact the Graduate Coordinator for assistance.

Results of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) - Beginning 2018, the Graduate Record Examination is not required for admission to the Biology graduate program.

 If you have taken the GRE and wish to report the results, scores can be downloaded from ETS into the CollegeNet system. For this download to occur, the applicant must select the University of Pennsylvania as a recipient of the test scores using the Institution Code (2926) and Department Code (0203). Because there are occasionally difficulties with downloading from the ETS system, it is recommended that applicants also submit a copy of their test scores to the Biology Graduate Office by e-mail. 

GRE information and testing schedule can be found at Educational Testing Services (ETS) website.

For International students - One of the following Language Tests:

TOEFL (Institution Code: 2926; Department Code: 74)

Test of Spoken English or TSE (Institution Code: 2926; Department Code: 35) 

IELTS - International English Language Testing System

It is recommended that the applicant also submit a copy of the scores report to the Biology Graduate Office by e-mail. 

TOEFL information and testing schedule can be found at the TOEFL ETS website.

Please note that it is the applicant's responsibility to ensure that all requirements are received by the application deadline.