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Graduate Program

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.

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When is the application deadline?
The PhD and Thesis Masters application deadline for fall admission is December 15. Applications for the Open Choice Masters 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 PhD candidates during the first five years in our program.

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 admission?
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 Masters program and the Thesis/Research Masters program?
The Open Choice Masters Program requires 8 graduate level courses (10 courses, starting in Fall 2017); 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 Graduate Student Handbook. The historical acceptance rate for the OC MS is between 60-80%.

The Thesis Masters Program also requires 8 graduate level courses (10 courses, starting in Fall 2017), 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 of $26,650 per year to offset living expenses. This program usually takes 2-3 years to complete. There are fewer Thesis Masters program slots compared to Coursework Masters, and admission is competitive; historical acceptance rates are 2-4%.

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.