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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the minimum admission criteria required by Biomedical Sciences (BMS)?

We recognize that every student and every application is unique, but we set minimum GPA and exam score criteria to have a basis for determining the applications to which we give full consideration.  
  • GPA 3.0 / 4.0
  • GRE Verbal - 150; Quantitative - 150; Analytical Writing - 3.0 (3.5 for PhD candidates)
  • MCAT or DAT scores may replace GRE (1-year non-thesis MS candidates only)
  • TOEFL scores for non-native speakers of English - iBT of 79 or higher*
* ISU Graduate College has additional criteria for English testing http://apling.public.iastate.edu/eptfaq.html 
Note:  the BMS Department also considers applications from individuals holding a DVM or its equivalent.
Also note: the BMS Department accepts some students directly into the PhD program after completing their bachelor's and does not require a MS for acceptance.

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.

What types of research experience does the BMS 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


Does BMS Offer Assistantships?

Yes, to PhD students.  A Research Assistanship or Teaching Assistantship includes a stipend beginning around $1800 per month, a Tuition Scholarship covering 100% of the cost, plus paid single health insurance.  Selection is based on faculty interest in your application.

A very limited number of assistantships are available to students interested in the MS with thesis program. 

No departmental funding is available to students in the 1-year non-thesis MS program or those pursuing a concurrent DVM.


How do I apply?

Start by completing the free online Preliminary Application Form. Your information will be reviewed by the BMS Graduate Program Assistant, the Director of Graduate Education, and the faculty whose research interests you select on the application (PhD and MS with thesis candidates only). After reviewing your Preliminary Application, we will send you an email within 1-2 weeks with our recommendations regarding your application.  We offer this preliminary screening process so students whose research interests are not closely alligned with faculty interests can avoid application fees.

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

Yes. For full consideration for fall assistantships for our PhD or MS with thesis programs, applications must be completed by February 1.  Applications are accepted year round if funding is available.
The deadline to apply to the one-year non-thesis MS program for fall admission is May 1.  


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.  Fees can be found here.  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 BMS PhD and MS with thesis program. The availability of teaching assistantships in our department varies from one year to another.  There are usually two teaching vacancies, but 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 1-year non-thesis MS program will enroll up to 60 students each academic year.


How can I increase my chances of being accepted to the PhD or MS with thesis 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 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.