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Application Frequently Asked Questions

Applications for Fall 2024 closed on December 1, 2023.

All applications submitted by the deadline of December 1 will be reviewed. Materials such as letters of recommendation can continue to be accepted for applications submitted by the deadline. Applications completed with all materials received by the deadline will be given priority for inital review.

Below is a list of frequently asked questions. Please contact us if you have questions that are not answered below or in our Application Guidelines.


Application FAQs: 

Is there an application fee?

The application fee for the Molecular Biology PHD or Biological Chemistry PHD is $55 for domestic applicants and $65 for international applicants.

  • The application fee must be paid in order to consider your application complete.
  • Application fee waiver codes are program specific and data entry errors or codes created by other programs will not be honored or credited.
  • Eligible applicants may enter a program specific application fee waiver code in the field at the bottom of the Additional Materials page.
    • Fall 2024 Domestic applicant code MBBCUTAHPHD
    • International applicant fee waiver is not available for Fall 2024 class
  • The University of Utah and the Bioscience PhD Programs cannot refund or reverse application fees paid by the applicant.
  • Faculty and departments are not able to provide or sponsor application fee waivers for international students.

To avoid confusion and delays in processing applications, you can only apply to one of the two Programs: Molecular Biology PHD or Biological Chemistry PHD and only one application fee waiver per applicant.

Please see our application instructions for details.

What is the most important factor in an application?

All portions of the application packet carry equal weight. Deficiencies in one area may be balanced by strengths in another.

The following are common components of successful applicants:

  • Meaningful research experience for which the applicant had primary responsibility
  • Strong letters of recommendation, particularly from research advisors
  • Publication record in PubMed-listed journals
  • Consistent record of academic excellence
Where do I send information?

Please upload scans of all application materials in Slate.

Do not send materials by mail to the Office of Admissions or the Bioscience Office unless instructed to do so after an offer has been made and accepted.

When is the deadline?
All applications are reviewed on this schedule for entrance in the Fall semester.
We do not admit students for Spring semester.

December 1

Deadline for domestic and international students

January - March

Interview visits for applicants residing in the US

February - March

Applicants are notified of admissions decision

April 15

Deadline for accepted applicants to accept offer


The University of Utah has an ongoing institutional commitment to the Council of Graduate Schools April 15 resolution regarding offers of financial aid associated with an offer of graduate admissions. The University of Utah is signatory to this resolution, as well as nearly 400 major graduate institutions across the nation.


More information may be found at the Council of Graduate Schools website at:

How do I upload documents to my online application?

To upload paper materials you need to scan them with a scanner/printer save them in PDF format and then upload the files in the appropriate place. If you have several pages for your transcript, for example, then you will scan each page then merge all pages in to one document and then save. You may need to reduce the file size either by reducing the document size or optimizing scanned PDF to make the document smaller. These functions can be found under the document tab of ACROBAT.

We require all applicants to upload their personal statement, CV, transcripts, and score reports when submitting the online application. If you have not uploaded these items before submitting, your application may be considered incomplete. If you have questions/concerns, please contact our office.

For application instructions please click here.

Do I need to contact faculty before applying?

You do not need to contact faculty before applying to the Program.  All offers will be made by the Admissions Committee independent of whether a faculty has an opening or not. You are more than welcome to contact faculty of interest though.

How do I log back into my online application?

You can log back in to your online application here:

If you have forgotten your password, you may request a new password with the email address and birthdate.

My recommenders have not submitted letters of recommendation. What should I do?

Three letters of recommendation must be submitted into the Slate system by your recommenders by the deadline of December 1, 2023.

You can log back into your application and send your recommenders a reminder. You can also add new recommenders and make edits to previously added recommenders. When the recommenders information is saved, an email will be sent with instructions on how to proceed with the online recommendation.

Please note that notification emails will indicate "The University of Utah Office of Admissions" as the sender and will come from If your recommenders use a spam-blocking tool, please ask them to add this email address to their list of known/safe addresses.

I have uploaded my materials and I am waiting on letters of recommendation. What should I do?

Submit your application! Once you have completed the application questions and uploaded the required documents complete the Signature and Review process. On the Review page Slate will alert you to missing or incomplete information in the various sections.

The Office of Admissions or the Bioscience Office will email during the review process if additional materials are needed.

What if I am having technical difficulties with my application?

We always recommend saving, closing your browser, and logging back in to the Slate system. You can log back in to your online application here:

If you have forgotten your password, you may request a new password with the email address and birthdate.

If that does not resolve the difficultly please contact us with specific information about the problem.


Test Scores & Transcripts FAQs: 

What is the institution & department code?

The institution and department code for the University of Utah is 4853. Please allow several days for processing.

What are the average TOEFL & GPA scores, & Research Months?

Over the past five years, the students who enrolled in our programs had the following averages:

TOEFL: 109 iBT score
GPA: 3.51
Research Months: 20 Full time person months

Please note that these are averages and are not minimum requirements. When making a decision, we review the entire application not just test scores and GPA.

How do I calculate percent effort or Part Time Research into Research Months or person months?

Person months is the metric for expressing the effort you devote to a specific project in the lab. Person months or research months are an important metric to demonstrate prior research experience.

Please visit the link below on how to calculate person months and part time effort in to full time research months.   

How Do You Convert Percent Effort into Person Months?

Over the past few years the incoming class had an average of 20 Full time research months .

What are your minimum score requirements?

The University policy states that applicants must have a bachelor's degree from a regionally-accredited U.S. college or university or equivalent, at least a 3.0 or higher undergraduate weighted mean GPA on a 4.0 scale, and international students must have an iBT/TOEFL 80 or higher,  IELTS 6.5 or higher, or Duolingo 105 or higher. (Minimum score requirements are subject to change).

TOEFL/IELTS/DUOLINGO requirements and waivers?

Please visit this site for more information about requirements and waivers:

University policy states that applicants must have one of the following :

Please note that class instruction in English does not meet this requirement. Typical English proficiency waivers are:

 - An associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree from a regionally-accredited U.S. college or university completed within two years of admittance

- A bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree from a regionally-accredited or ministry of education approved college or university within the past two years from one of the approved countries.

Applicants whose first language is not English must submit the TOEFL, IELTS or DUOLINGO examination for consideration or satisfy requirements that waive the English proficiency requirement. The University Office of Admissions determines exceptions to the English proficiency requirements.

If necessary, the Bioscience PhD Program Office will provide a Letter of Support for a English Proficiency Petition for students who have already received and accepted an offer from the Admissions Committee.  Please do not contact individual faculty to request a Letter of Support.

Do I need to send in official test scores?

The University of Utah requires official test scores to be sent into the Office of Admissions. Please see below on how to send your test scores.

  • The TOEFL Institution code is 4853. Please allow several days for processing official scores.
  • IELTS: Please contact your testing center to have the score sent directly to the University of Utah.
  • DUOLINGO: Please log into your duolingo account, select the "Send Results" button next to your test results, and select the University of Utah as the receiving institution.
Can I upload in test scores after the deadline?
The Office of Admissions will continue to add official scores to applications as they receive them, regardless of the deadline. Now, applications that are complete by the deadline, including current TOEFL, IELTS or a Duolingo scores, will be given priority and reviewed first.
Do you accept in-progress transcripts?

We do accept applications from students where the final degree is still in progress. Please be sure to submit your application before the December 1 deadline with all other required materials and available transcripts in progress. Your final transcripts showing the awarded degree will be required next fall during matriculation if an offer is made and accepted.

Do I need to send in official transcripts?

You do not need to send official transcripts to the University until an offer is made and accepted. You will have to upload a copy of your transcripts with your application for the internal review. Please note that the transcripts must display your name, an insignia or header from your institution, and be in English.

International Students: Do I need a WES/GPA evaluation?

The Office of Admissions does not require a WES evaluation. The Office of Admissions will complete a thorough evaluation of your transcript to determine the exact US equivalence of your academic history, and they will update your application as appropriate.


Program FAQs: 

How many students do you accept every year?

Between our two programs, we receive ~ 600 applications each year, and typically accept ~20% of those applicants.

We aim for a combined class size of 55-60.

How long does it take to get a PhD?

It takes, on average, 6 years.

What are financial benefits?
  • Fellowship / living stipend of $35,000 for the 2023-2024 academic year; expected to rise to $37,000 for the 2024-2025 academic year
  • $1,000 starting allocation
  • Health Insurance
  • Full Tuition Coverage

This financial support is for all accepted students, regardless of citizenship.


Last Updated: 3/11/24