Applying to BMS

The Biomedical Sciences (BMS) Graduate Program trains students studying for the Ph.D. degree. A master's degree program is not offered. Ph.D. students are admitted once each year for fall quarter matriculation.

The online application for Fall 2020 is now CLOSED! Application for Fall 2021 will open Sept. 1, 2020.


Applications are accepted for admission in the Fall quarter only.

All application materials including the online application, GRE general test (if electing to submit scores), TOEFL or IELTS for international students only, transcripts and letters of recommendation must be received by the application deadline of December 1, 11:59 p.m., PST.

For Fall 2020: We recommend that the required GRE general test should be taken no later than October 2019 to ensure timely delivery of test scores by the deadline.

Starting Your Application to BMS

The BMS program is diverse in its faculty, the nature of their scientific interests and the experimental approaches they apply in their research. In light of this diversity, we expect and encourage applications from students with varied undergraduate training and research experiences. Interest in experimental biology and the themes represented in the program are obvious overarching requirements for admission. Successful applicants are also typically distinguished by their strong academic records (typically grade point averages of 3.2 or higher) and by prior exposure to scientific research. Such research experience might include undergraduate thesis projects, laboratory internships, technician positions or summer research programs in university or corporate laboratories (e.g., the UCSF Summer Research Training Program). An account of such exposure is one of the key components of a successful application to the program.

The minimum requirement for application to the BMS program is a baccalaureate degree; a master's degree is not a prerequisite for admission. There are no specific course requirements for admission, but courses in biology, molecular biology, chemistry, physics, biochemistry, computation, or related fields represent typical and highly appropriate preparation.

To apply to the program, complete the online application and arrange for at least three letters of recommendation to be submitted on your behalf. Scores from the GRE general test are OPTIONAL (TOEFL scores for foreign applicants are required) and an official transcript from all institutes of higher learning attended are also required.

You may apply to only one UCSF graduate program in an academic year. It is therefore important to consider which program suits your interests and apply to only that program. Listed below are other graduate programs at UCSF with whom we share faculty, along with a link to their respective websites. Each graduate program maintains its own admissions procedure.

Biological & Medical Informatics (BMI)
Biophysics Program
Chemistry & Chemical Biology Program (CCB)
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology (DSCB)
Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)
Neuroscience Program
Pharmaceutical Sciences & Pharmacogenomics (PSPG)
Tetrad Graduate Program(includes PhD programs in Cell Biology, Genetics and Biochemistry)
UCSF/UCB Joint Graduate Group in Bioengineering

There is sometimes confusion between BMS and other UCSF programs due to overlapping research areas. However, BMS is a distinct program that maintains a separate curriculum and separate admission process. If you are unsure which program may be right for you, we encourage you to review the curriculum pages on each program's respective website (linked above) to help you in your decision-making. Also see our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.

UCSF is committed to ensuring access to graduate education for all students. If you are an applicant with a disability, please visit our Resources page for more information on how we can accommodate you to have the best possible experience at UCSF.


BMS does not require GRE General test scores for admission into the program.  Submission of GRE scores are OPTIONAL.  

If you plan to submit GRE scores for Fall 2020 admission, we recommend that the GRE General test should be taken no later than October 2019 to ensure delivery by the December 1st deadline.

GRE Codes: For purposes of requesting that your scores be sent to us, the institutional code for UCSF is 4840. Department code 0299 may be used, but is not required since we match your scores to your application using your registration number and name.

TOEFL: International applicants are required to take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). Please use code 4840, department code 45. The TOEFL will be waived for applicants who have earned a baccalaureate degree at an institution where the language of instruction is English.

We will accept an IELTS score in lieu of the TOEFL. Test results may be sent to:

UCSF Graduate Division
University of California, San Francisco
1675 Owens St., Suite 310
Campus Box 0523
San Francisco, CA 94143-0523

Funding and Fellowships

All students, including international students, admitted to the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program are guaranteed a stipend to cover living expenses, plus payment of tuition, fees, and health insurance.

To make the available funds go as far as possible, all students who are admitted will be considered for fellowships administered by the Graduate Division on this campus, a major source of support for incoming students.

In addition, students are encouraged to apply for support from other sources, such as the National Science Foundation and Ford Foundation predoctoral fellowships. Information about extramural support can be found on the Graduate Division website. If outside fellowship support is not obtained, or if partial awards are made, other money available to the program will be used to supplement the awards up to the guaranteed level of support.