PhD Application Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for the Biology PhD program?
Visit the NYU GSAS Application Resource Center. Be sure to scroll down for more FAQ's.

Should I call the Department to see if you received everything? 

No, instead please refer to the Supporting Materials Tracking System (SMTS) to see if GSAS has received and recorded the supporting materials for your application. If you are having technical issues, email and they will reply within 24-48 hours.
Will my application be considered if my GRE or TOEFL scores are received after the deadline?

Yes, all applications will be considered although complete applications are easier for us to evaluate.

Then what happens?

The Admissions Committee reviews applications in late December and students to be interviewed are notified at the end of December / early January. We have 2, two-day Recruitment & Interview events in January and February, where applicants get a chance to meet the faculty and our current PhD students, tour our newly-renovated Department, see the amazing facilities and experience downtown life in Greenwich Village. We also conduct interviews with students from overseas by phone or via an NYU faculty member traveling to that area.

How do I apply to a lab?
You apply to our program, not to a specific lab. You may have a specific lab or a few labs in mind when you apply, but all applications are read by the Admissions Committee to decide who to interview. It is a good idea to have several possible mentors in mind when you apply since all students spend 8-9 weeks in 3 different labs (rotations) during their first year before picking a mentor for their PhD studies.

Are there minimum GPA, GRE and GRE TOEFL scores?
We do not have specific cut-offs – instead we look at your whole application, including GPA, GREs, your personal statement, research experience and recommendation letters. The Graduate School recommends a minimum of 100 on the TOEFL Internet test or 600 for the paper-based test and we like this score to be considerably higher.

What do you look for in an applicant?

Many things!
  • A good fit: Are you interested in the Biology that we study here?
  • Commitment to research: Do you have research experience? A PhD requires commitment, patience and hard work – do you know what you are getting into?
  • A strong academic background: Do you have good GPAs, GREs and are you well- grounded in Biology?
Do you fund international students?
All of our PhD students (domestic and international) receive a stipend. They are supported by a combination of MacCracken fellowship funds and research funds from their mentor.

How many students apply and how many do you admit? How many are international students?
We receive about 250 applications each year and we have been aiming for a class of 12 students. Each year the number of international students varies, but sometimes as many as half of our students are from overseas.

Do you admit in Spring?

No. Our deadline is December 1st to start in the program the following Fall.

What are the differences between the Center for Genomics & Systems Biology, the Center for Developmental Genetics and the Biology Department? Where should I apply?

These are two of the major areas of concentration within the Biology Department and many faculty are in both Centers. All students apply to the Biology Department.

What is the difference between the Biology Department and the Center for Neural Science?
These are 2 separate Departments at NYU with separate PhD programs. Although some faculty have joint appointments in both Departments, you should look carefully to see which Professors you are likely to want to work with and where they have their primary appointment. Some of the Biology Department Professors with strong interests in Neurobiology are Justin Blau, Richard Borowsky, Claude Desplan, Esteban Mazzoni, and Dan Tranchina.

Should I apply to NYU Biology or the Sackler program?

Again these are separate PhD programs – Biology is at the downtown campus, while the Sackler program is based at NYU’s School of Medicine. Many Biology and Medical School faculty are in the Developmental Genetics (DG) program, co-teach a course together to students from both locations and run an NIH Training grant together. Students entering this track in Biology can spend 1 rotation at the Medical School, but we find it usually works best if students from Biology stay in Biology for their PhD. So which program should you choose? The program where the faculty’s interests are closest to your own interests.