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Application Guidelines

Applications for Fall 2024 applications closed on December 1, 2023. Fall 2025 application will open in the Fall. 

Online Application

Please review all of the application instructions below and Frequently Asked Questions before applying.

Please be aware you will be leaving the University of Utah Bioscience Graduate Programs site and going to the online application system: Slate at Your information is transmitted through a secure server.

First-Time Users will need to "Create an Account" and register to begin your application process. Please make sure to save your login information to get back into your application. 

Existing Users  will click "Start New Application" and select 2024 Graduate Application.

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 for Fall 2024.  See our Program Comparison page for more details.

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
  • 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.

Submit your application once you have completed the application questions and uploaded the required documents. On the Review page Slate has some automatic alerts for missing or incomplete information in the various sections. The Office of Admissions and the Bioscience Office will review submitted applications and notify you by email if additional information is needed. Letters of recommendation are received separately.

Contact us if you have additional questions. Please note that we only admit in the Fall.

Application Checklist

The GRE will no longer be required or accepted.

✓ Online Application
✓ Transcripts
✓ Curriculum Vitae (CV)
✓ Research Statement
✓ Letters of Recommendation
✓ TOEFL/IELTS/DUOLINGO Score (international students only)

Competitive applicants should have a science background and research experience.

All portions of the application packet carry equal weight.  However, shortcomings in one area of the application may be balanced by strengths in another. Meaningful research experience for which the applicant had primary responsibility is one of the best ways to strengthen an application.

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

Documents Required

When uploading your documents DO NOT upload items that are not requested (i.e. awards, certificates, publications, etc.).
This information should be listed in your uploaded CV. If you have additional items that you feel are important to your admission you could mention it in your Research Statement.

Slate Online Application

Link to Slate Application Platform:

This application alone often enables us to identify the most promising applicants, and should be submitted as early as possible with all of the required documents uploaded and three (3) letters of recommendation have been received. This system is for US and International applicants.

After you create your account enter your personal information. Carefully answer all citizenship and residency questions.

Under Academic Program select either "Biological Chemistry PHD" or "Molecular Biology PHD". The Entry Term and Year is "Fall 2024".  Students should identify the Program that best accommodates their research interests and provides the most appropriate core curriculum. Some of the most important similarities and differences between the MB and BC Programs are highlighted in our detailed Program Comparison page. Please be aware that you can only apply to the Programs a total of three times.

List ten (10) faculty members whose research is of interest to you. Select in order of preference. See the Bioscience Faculty Index. Although these choices are not binding for rotations or thesis study this information helps guide the Admissions Committee and can be used as first choice to schedule virtual or in person interviews.

To upload paper materials you need to scan them with a scanner/printer, save them in .pdf file 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 can reduce document size or optimize scanned .pdf file to make the document smaller. These functions can be found under the document tab of Adobe Acrobat. Do not attempt to upload a document that is password-protected or that contains macros.



In the Academic History section of the Slate application, please upload .pdf copies of ALL of your official transcripts from each college or university attended (college/university level only). This includes transcripts from the original institution prior to transfer of credits to another institution, such as community college classes transferred to a university will require two separate uploads.

Please scan official transcripts. Internal review and auditing report formats that do not display an insignia or header from your institution are not sufficient. Each transcript must contain the following information:
  • Name of student
  • Name of institution
  • All semesters of enrollment
  • Course numbers and names
  • Credit hours
  • Awarded grades

These transcripts will be used as working copies during the admissions evaluation process.

Transcripts mailed to the Office of Admissions will not be uploaded to the application on your behalf.


Curriculum Vitae (CV)

In the “Additional Materials” section in the Slate application upload a .pdf copy your CV in the CV/Resume field. A sample CV can be viewed here.


Research Statement

In the “Additional Materials” section of the Slate application, a research statement (2-3 pages) should be uploaded. It should be articulate and give evidence of a strong commitment to research. Please include the following information:

  1. A description of your present academic interests and long-range career goals
  2. A summary of previous experience including laboratory research
  3. Reasons for applying to the program
  4. A description of your scientific interests and a list of faculty whose research interests are compatible with your own. (Although it is not essential to have specific research interests at this point, it is important that students admitted to the Program have several potential research advisors. Details about participating faculty can be found here).


Research Experience

Enter the number of months of full-time research experience in the “Additional Materials” section. Research months or Person months is an important metric to demonstrate research experience. 

Part-time research experience should be converted into full months. Please visit the link below on how to calculate part time effort in to full time person months. 

How to Convert Percent Effort into Person Months


Three Letters of Recommendation

In the “Recommendations” section, please add the contact information for three (3) letters of recommendation writers. Add people familiar with your research potential. Three (3) letters of recommendation are required, but up to four (4) may be submitted. The letters must be on letterhead, have a valid signature, and be submitted through the Slate Recommendation system.

Your recommenders must submit your letters of recommendation by the December 1 deadline. 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.

We recommend adding the deadline of December 1 in the personal note section at the bottom when you add a recommendation provider. You can log back into your application and resend the recommender notification. You can also add new recommenders and make some edits to previously added recommender provider information.


TOEFL/IELTS/DUOLINGO Score (International Students Only)

International students should send in official English-language proficiency scores via a TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo exam. 
  • 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.
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.

If necessary, the Bioscience PhD Program Office will provide a Letter of Support for an 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.

Admissions Criteria

Admission decisions are based on the following factors (not necessarily listed in order of importance):

Educational Background

Applicants should have some undergraduate training in biochemistry, genetics, cell biology, or biology. Students with strong chemistry, physics or mathematics backgrounds are encouraged to apply even if they have not had extensive coursework in molecular biology. Deficiencies in basic undergraduate courses can be remedied in the first year of graduate school. 

Undergraduate Performance

Ideally, the undergraduate record should demonstrate consistent academic excellence. However, the most important aspect of undergraduate transcripts is evidence of ability to perform well in science courses, particularly those stressing quantitative skills.

Research Experience

Many successful applicants have several months of independent laboratory experience indicative of an informed commitment to a research career. These applicants focus on meaningful, hypothesis-driven research experience for which they had primary responsibility.

Research months or Person months is an important metric to demonstrate research experience. Please visit the link below on how to calculate part time effort in to full time person months. 

How to Convert Percent Effort into Person Months

Summer research programs, such as the University of Utah SPUR Program, are ways for applicants to increase and strenthen research experience and provide opportunities for strong letters of recommendation from research advisors.


Strong statements of support from persons in a position to evaluate the applicant's potential for success as a graduate student have significant impact on admissions decisions. Letters from research advisors are particularly important.

Research Statement

The most compelling research statements demonstrate the applicant’s commitment to research and quality of past research experiences.

TOEFL/IELTS/Duolingo Scores

International students must demonstrate English proficiency through one of criteria listed at International Graduate Students English Proficiency.

Application Timetable

December 1 Deadline for Domestic and International Students
January - March Interview visits for applicants residing in the U.S.
February - March Applicants are notified of Admissions decision
April 15 Deadline for accepted applicant 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: 

Last Updated: 4/9/24