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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply to the Biomedical Sciences graduate program?

Students interested in applying to our program must first complete the free online Preliminary Application Form. This form can be accessed via the main menu on our website. Your application will be reviewed by the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program Assistant and the Director of Graduate Education. After reviewing your Preliminary Application, we will send you an email notification either expressing interest in having you as a graduate student or informing you that we are not interested in having you as a student at this time.

If we are interested in considering your application further, we will invite you to formally apply for admission with the Graduate College at Iowa State University (more information about the formal application process will be given to you at that time).


What types of research experience does the Biomedical Sciences program offer?

Some of the current research areas in our department are:

  • Alzheimer's Research
  • Antibiotics
  • Cancer Research
  • Cerebellar Research
  • Endocrine Physiology
  • Glia-Neuron Signaling
  • Ion-Channels & Anthelmintic Resistance
  • Learning & Memory
  • Metabolism & Nutrition
  • Molecular Parasitology
  • Neurobiology of Pain
  • Parkinson's Disorders
  • Receptors & Signal Transduction
  • Retina Research


Is there a deadline for applying to the Biomedical Sciences department?

Yes. For full consideration for fall assistantships for our MS/PhD programs applications must be completed by February1.  For example, if you want to be admitted to the MS/PhD program in fall 2015 you must have all your paperwork submitted by February 1, 2015. Applications are accepted year round if funding is available.
The deadline to apply to the Non-Thesis Master of Science program for fall admission is May 1.  Spring admission is not offered at this time for this program.
Summer admission is not offered.


How much does it cost to apply?

Submitting a Preliminary Application Form with our program does not cost you anything. You will only be assessed an application fee when you formally apply for admission to Iowa State University. The cost for the formal application is $60 for domestic students and $100 for international students. If we invite you to apply formally with the university after reviewing your Preliminary Application, we will send you more detailed information about the application process and all associated fees.


How many graduate students are accepted to the Biomedical Sciences program each year, and are there any nationality preferences regarding admission or financial aid?

Each year 3 - 7 graduate students are admitted to the Biomedical Sciences MS/PhD program. The availability of teaching assistantships in our department varies from one year to another.  There are usually two vacancies. Research assistantships are given at the discretion of individual faculty members. Selection for admission and assistantships is based on your academic and research achievements, not upon any given nationality or personal recommendation.
The Non-Thesis MS program will enroll up to 60 students each academic year.


How can I increase my chances of being accepted to the MS/PhD program?

Admission to the Biomedical Sciences program is based primarily on your academic and research achievements. However, there are two ways for you to gain a competitive edge over other applicants. First, the sooner you turn in your application, the better chance there is that our faculty members will have enough funding to take you on as their student. Second, we recommend that you review the list of our faculty's research interests (follow the link in our website's main menu) and directly contact the faculty member with whom you believe you have the most in common.
When contacting faculty members you should first state that you have already sent your information to the BMS Graduate Program Assistant. Then you can introduce yourself, briefly describe the type of research you have done or would like to do, and attach a curriculum vitae or résumé if possible. If a faculty member believes that you share similar research interests, he or she will be more likely to take you as their student.


What are the minimum GRE and TOEFL scores required by your program?

While the GRE is required for entrance to the MS and PhD programs, we do not have a minimum score requirement. However, most of the students who are accepted into our program score above the average scores reported by the Educational Testing Service. These average scores are 150 Verbal, 150 Quantitative, and 3.0 Analytical Writing. Again, our department does not require that you surpass these average scores to be considered for our program, this information is used as a guideline for those who would like to know the estimated average GRE scores of the students in our program. We do not require applicants to take a GRE subject exam, but if you have taken one you, are welcome to send us your scores. Also, we will accept MCAT scores in place of GRE scores for applicants to the one-year non-thesis program.
The TOEFL is required for all international applicants. For the Paper Based TOEFL (PBT), the minimum requirement is 590. For the Computer Based TOEFL (CBT), a minimum score of 240 is required. For the Internet Based TOEFL (iBT), you must have a minimum score of 79. We also will accept the IELTS in place of the TOEFL; a score of 6.5 or above is required.
Applicants to the Non-Thesis Master of Science Program must submit a standardized test score as part of their application.  The Biomedical Sciences Department will accept GRE, MCAT, DAT, OAT and PCAT scores.
Our institution code 6306.  

As an international student who has graduated from a U.S. institution, do I still need to submit my TOEFL exam scores?

No. The TOEFL requirement is waived if you have earned a Bachelor's or Master's degree from a recognized United States institution or from a recognized institution in a country where English is the only official language.