Admission Requirements & Deadlines

The deadline for fall admission is December 1. There is no spring admission. We encourage applicants who are interested in the program to complete their application and have all credentials, including letters of recommendation uploaded before this date if possible. The application for Fall 2018 is available online in August 2017.

The success of the Graduate Field is dependent on the quality of the graduate students enrolled. We therefore take great care in the selection of potential students: a committee of five faculty read and evaluate all applications. Candidates to our program come from many academic backgrounds; however, matriculating students commonly will have majored in one of the many areas of biology, chemistry or physics. Ideally they will also have prior research experience. Rather than relying on inflexible admissions criteria, we are searching for applicants who we believe can flourish in the program.

Top domestic candidates will be invited for an on-campus interview and applicants outside the United States may be offered Skype interviews (see On Campus Recruiting Weekends). Final admission decision will be made after the interviews.

Tuition, fees and funding for incoming graduate students in the Field of Biophysics are usually borne by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through a Training Grant in Molecular Biophysics. Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents are eligible for NIH support. Individual fellowships and research and teaching assistantships are also available.

Application Requirements: Applicants are judged on both academic credentials (GPAs, GRE scores), the statement of purpose and especially on letters of recommendation. The following items are required by the Biophysics program:

  • Current transcripts for all colleges attended should be uploaded into the application (Note: Official transcripts are not required at time of application).
  • Official GRE scores: Scores should be sent from ETS to Cornell University, university code #2098 (department code is not required). We highly encourage applicants to self-report scores if they are known; the admissions committee can use these scores for evaluation prior to receipt of official scores.
  • Three (3) letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) for applicants whose native language is not English. This is a university requirement and the Graduate School has set minimum scores for each section of the test: Reading - 20; Writing - 20; Listening - 15; Speaking - 22. To be considered for admission, an applicant must receive at least the minimum score on each individual section of the test. Those taking the IELTS tests must score 7.0 or higher. Official scores should be sent from ETS to Cornell University, university code #2098 (department code is not required). Applicants should self-report their scores in the application if possible; these scores can be used for evaluation prior to the official scores being received.
    (Please note: The Graduate School will continue to accept scores for Paper-based (550 minimum) version of the test taken within two years of the date the student submits an application for admission).
  • Advanced Subject Test (generally in the areas of Physics, Chemistry or Biochemistry, Molecular & Cell Biology) is highly recommended to assist the Admissions Committee in assessing the applicant's background knowledge but is not required.

Diversity & Inclusion

The Field of Biophysics is committed to ensuring equal opportunities in an inclusive and supportive work environment. The Field actively encourages and solicits applications from highly qualified and diverse applicants of any race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or gender identity. We are committed to the equality of educational opportunity and success for all students, including students with disabilities, who are encouraged to apply. To this end, we have established a partnership with the Cornell University Student Disability Services Office.