Application Process

Online Application Process and Accompanying Requirements

Interested students must apply online using CollegeNet.   Once you have created your account, you can then begin your online application to the Biology Graduate Group.  You can enter your information in stages, at your own pace.   When it is completed and you are satisfied with the accuracy, you simply submit it electronically. The online instructions will walk you through the procedure.

The advantages to using the online system are numerous. Applicants may access their application any number of times until submission. Once the application has been submitted, applicants will be able to check the status themselves and note the receipt of supporting documentation, thus avoiding costly long-distance calls.

The application consists of three sections: Personal History, Academic History, and Personal Statement. An applicant's resume or CV must also be included as part of the application.  

The personal statement should be approximately 3-5 pages in length, single space, and include statements on why you are applying to the Biology Graduate Program at Penn, your research experiences, your academic objectives 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.  

Please also indicate which lab(s) you are interest in joining should you be accepted to the Program. We also encourage prospective students to contact the supervisors of these labs and to discuss possible ideas for rotation and research projects.

Accompanying Requirements

In addition to the application forms (Personal History, Academic History and Personal Statement), the following materials are also required.

Transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies - Unofficial transcripts must be submitted online during the application process.  If accepted and matriculated, the student will then be required to submit official transcripts to the Graduate Division of Arts and Sciences that will become part of their academic file at Penn.

Three letters of recommendation, one of which should be from a scientist with whom the applicant has worked - Recommendation letters must be 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) - The GRE scores are obtained by a download 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 correct Institution Code (2926) and Department Code (0203).

In rare cases, there can be difficulties with the download from the ETS system. One reason for this situation is the result of discrepancies with name, date of birth and/or Social Security number. In order to circumvent this problem, it is recommended that the applicant submit a copy of their test scores to the Biology Graduate Office, either by mail or electronically as a PDF document. Having this unofficial copy on record will allow a review of the file by the Admissions Committee.

An advanced test in either Biology, Biochemistry, or Molecular Biology is not required, but may also be submitted if it is available.

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

As with the GRE scores, it is recommended that the applicant submit a copy of the scores report to the Biology Graduate Office, either by mail or electronically as a PDF document. An unofficial copy of the ETS scores is helpful in making sure the file is complete and ready for review by the Admissions Committee.

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 on a timely basis - by the deadline of December 15, 2017.