Frequently Asked Questions
Thank you for your interest in the Biology Department at Tufts
University. Deciding on the right graduate program for you is a big
decision. We understand that there are many issues to consider and
you will have a plethora of questions as you navigate through the
application process. In order to help facilitate your journey, below
we have complied a list of some of the commonly asked questions
regarding admissions into our graduate program. Additional
information may be found on the
Office of Graduate Admissions website.
If you don't see the answer to your specific questions,
please send us an email.
Other helpful links:
When is the application deadline?
The Ph.D. and Thesis M.S. application deadline for fall admission is December 15. Applications for the
Open Choice M.S. program are
accepted on a rolling basis to the fall, spring or summer semester.
We will look forward to receiving your application.
What level of financial support is provided to graduate students?
Full-time Biology Department doctoral and thesis research masters
graduate students in good standing typically receive full tuition
scholarships and monthly living stipends to cover their expenses
(2015-2016 rates are: $30,750 per yr. for Ph.D. candidates and
$26,150 for thesis masters candidates). The mandatory health
services fee and total student health insurance costs are also
covered for Ph.D. candidates during the first five years in our
What criteria are used to evaluate applicants?
The Department of Biology's Graduate Admissions Committee examines
ALL aspects of a candidate's application before making their final
decisions. Each applicant is considered individually; this involves
many factors including academic history, research experience,
recommendations, GRE scores, and TOEFL scores (international
applicants only). The Committee examines applications on a rolling
basis. Therefore, we strongly suggest that you get your application
submitted as early in the process as possible.
What is the minimum TOEFL requirement?
International applicants must achieve a minimum TOEFL score of 90 or
above on the internet-based exam for the TOEFL. If an applicant
received a degree from an institution where instruction was
conducted in English, the TOEFL requirement is waived.
Is the GRE required?
The GRE general test is required of all applicants. The biology or
biochemistry subject test is recommended, but not required.
What is the minimum GRE requirement?
Typically, applicants with GRE scores below the 50th percentile are
not considered for admission unless there are special circumstances.
Can I send you a photocopy of my GRE/TOEFL scores in the mail, by
email, or fax?
No, photocopies, faxes or emailed attachments of scores are not
considered official. The scores must come directly from ETS.
Is there a minimum GPA required?
A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required and most students admitted to the
program have a GPA well over 3.0. However, extensive laboratory
experience might warrant an exception to this rule.
I completed my undergraduate degree 10 years ago and wasn't a
great student back then. Is there any way I would be considered for
Sure. We understand that often it takes a bit of "life experience"
before applicants decide to apply to graduate school. The type of
activities you have participated in recently (e.g., taking graduate
level courses through an extension/night program, working in
biotech, teaching high school) are all aspects of an application
that will be carefully reviewed during the admission process.
Are international students welcome in your programs?
International students are welcome and receive the same financial
package as US citizens.
How many international students are accepted each year?
We do not set a specific number of International Students that it
will admit each year, but instead consider the applications of all
applicants to select those who are the best qualified. About 25% of
our students come from countries outside the United States.
What is the difference between the Open Choice M.S. program and
the Thesis M.S. program?
The Open Choice M.S. program requires ten
(10) graduate-level courses; no research is required. It can be done on a part-time
basis. Scholarships are available for this program.
Current tuition charges can be found in the
Student Handbook. The historical acceptance rate for the OC-MS is ~50-60%.
It is possible to do 1-2 semesters of biological research as part of the 10-course requirement,
subject to space and acceptance into a faculty lab (either within the Biology department,
or in other approved labs). This opportunity is not guaranteed ahead of time, and can be
arranged only after at least three courses in the program are completed with grades at or above a B- (B minus).
The Thesis M.S. program also requires ten (10)
graduate-level courses, including research and the defense of a thesis.
This must be done full time only. A full tuition scholarship is available,
as well as a stipend to offset living expenses. This program usually takes
2-3 years to complete. There are fewer Thesis M.S. program slots compared
to Open Choice M.S., and admission is competitive; historical acceptance
rates are 2-4%. Because Th-MS students do not do rotations, the vast majority
of students are accepted because of matching research interests to a particular
laboratory in the Biology department. Thus, you are highly encouraged to identify
a potential faculty mentor on your application, contact the appropriate faculty
member to ask if they are accepting Th-MS students, and explain your targeted
research topic in your personal essay.
For both programs, no admission offers are made until the completed application
is reviewed by the admissions committee.
What are some examples of the work your graduates end up doing?
Many of our Ph.D. graduates go on to postdoctoral fellowships in
their field, usually at prestigious labs and universities. Careers
are varied: some enter academia and become professors at research
and teaching institutions, others teach at undergraduate colleges,
and others are employed in the biotechnology industry or for
non-profit environmental organizations. A number of recent graduates
are also employed by government agencies such as NSF, the Mass
Division of Fisheries and Wildlife and the Massachusetts Natural
Heritage Program. Students in our masters' programs have taught at
private high schools, worked in law firms, pharmaceutical companies,
biotech companies and startups, and environmental consulting
companies. More examples can be found on the individual web pages of
some faculty and from the Tufts Career Center, which supports Tufts
graduate students in their career search by sponsoring career fairs,
workshops, networking events, and individual consultations.
Can my application fee be waived?
The application fee is required except for applicants currently
enrolled in a Tufts degree or certificate program (except GCAP
students), McNair Scholars, Project 1000, Leadership Alliance or IRT
applicants. To have the application fee waived, select this option
in the Preliminary Questions section and send an official document
from the specific program stating the applicant is a current student
or member of one of the programs listed above.
How do I check the status of my application?
Once your application has been submitted using the SLATE online
system you will receive an email from the Tufts Application
Management System (TAMS). This email will provide you with a
username and password to log onto TAMS. Once you receive the email
from TAMS please allow up to 48 hours for your application materials
to be updated.