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Ph.D. Program


Mayo Clinic Ph.D. students studying in library

Admission requirements for the Ph.D. Program include a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university, a strong background in the basic sciences, and prior research experience.

Prerequisites and technical standards


All Ph.D. Program candidates must fulfill the following requirements for eligibility:

  • A baccalaureate degree, preferably in the biological or physical sciences, must be obtained from an accredited institution. A cumulative GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale is necessary. Certification of the degree is required.
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is optional.

Undergraduate coursework expectations:

  • Applicants are expected to have completed one year of coursework with demonstrated competence (B average or above) in biology, chemistry, physics and calculus.
  • Additional coursework in biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology and physiology is encouraged.
  • Applicants for the Biomedical Engineering and Physiology Track are encouraged to have courses in quantitative science and engineering (such as signal processing, computer science, instrumentation).

Note that undergraduate courses are not available at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Technical standards

The following nonacademic criteria (technical standards) are required for all students, with or without reasonable accommodation, to participate in the graduate education program:

  • Able to participate actively in all aspects of laboratory experimentation. Observation and information acquisition requires functional auditory and somatic sensation.
  • Able to communicate your discoveries to the scientific community in English. Required communication skills include speaking, reading and writing. If English is not your native language, the TOEFL exam is one of six ways to demonstrate English language proficiency. See the English Language Proficiency Attestation Form for more details. If submitting TOEFL (must be within three years of application), use School Code 6444 and Department Code 30 Other.
  • Have sufficient motor function to perform lab experiments.
  • Able to measure, calculate, reason, analyze and synthesize.

Application materials

A complete application includes:

  • Online application (applications only accepted between Sept. 1 and Dec. 1)
  • A personal statement
  • Transcripts of courses from each college or university attended
  • At least three letters of recommendations (including letters from research mentors)
  • If you choose to submit a GRE score report — use School Code 6444 and Department Code 0299 Other

The application fee is $50. The most qualified applicants are invited to interview. Mayo Clinic welcomes applications from diverse learners.

Application timeline

Completed applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis and due by Dec. 1.

Admissions process month-by-month

  • Review of completed applications
  • Selected applicants invited to an interview weekend
  • Final decisions on invitations to interview
  • Phone interviews conducted for students outside North America
  • First interview weekend
  • Final telephone interviews conducted
  • Second interview weekend
  • Appointment offers begin to go out
March through April
  • Appointment offers finalized
  • New student welcome packet sent to students with forms required to start
  • New student orientation
  • Required courses begin in July
  • Students encouraged to start their first lab rotation by early July, after orientation

Frequently asked questions (and answers)

I only have interest in applying to one track. Do I have to select a second track interest?

No. You don’t need to select a secondary interest.

I am an international applicant and would like to apply to the Clinical and Translational Science Track. Am I eligible to apply?

The Clinical and Translational Science Track has special eligibility requirements. For further information, contact that track.

What information should I include in my personal statement?

Use this outline to prepare your personal statement:

  • List your prior research experience in chronological order, indicating the role you played in each project. Include copies of abstracts and manuscripts published or in press. (Note: Upload your manuscript or abstract documents in the section provided.)
  • Indicate which has been your most satisfying research project and why it was satisfying to you.
  • Summarize your current scientific interests and career goals.
  • Specifically answer the question, "Why do you want to be a biomedical scientist?"

Your personal statement should be two to four pages if single-spaced or three to five pages if double-spaced.

I have a resume or CV (or both) that I would like to include with my application. Where do I add this to my application?

In the online application, there is an area called Resume/CV. You may upload your documents there.

Are official transcripts needed for my application?

No. Unofficial transcripts are requested for your application. Upload transcripts in the area provided in the online application.

May my recommenders send you a hard copy of the letter rather than use the online system?

No. All letters must be submitted via the online application.

May I submit letters of recommendation through other online tools?

No. All letters must be submitted via the online application.

I have been out of school for several years, and there is no one left who can write an academic recommendation for me. May my employer write one?

The purpose of submitting letters of recommendation is to give the admissions faculty an indication of your ability to do scholarly research. It’s recommended that current or former professors in your major-field courses and previous research area be asked by you to submit your recommendations, as they would have the best idea of your research potential.

What if I want to send more than the required number (three) of letters of recommendation?

Three letters of recommendation are required, though you may submit a fourth letter.

Will you consider a copy of my GRE score for application review?

Yes. Although the GRE score is optional, you can upload a copy in the area provided in the application.

I am a foreign student. Is a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) required, or are there exceptions?

Proof of English language proficiency is an application requirement for the Ph.D. Program that must be satisfied in one of six ways — TOEFL is only one of them. See exceptions on the English Language Proficiency Attestation Form; this must be completed and uploaded with any required documentation as noted.

Additional clarifications on exceptions include:

  • Diploma received from an English-speaking institution. If an undergraduate or graduate degree was earned from an accredited institution where the language of instruction is English and the country language is English (for example, U.S., Canada or U.K.), you do not need to submit a TOEFL score.
  • In process of completing a degree from an English-speaking institution. If you are in the process of earning a degree from an institution where the primary language of instruction is English and that is in an English-speaking country, such as Canada or the U.K., and will have two or more years of instruction, you do not need to submit a TOEFL score. However, you must earn the degree before you enroll at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Will you consider a copy of my TOEFL score for application review?

Yes. For application review, you can upload a copy of your scores. Should you receive an appointment, you will be required to submit an official score sent directly from the Educational Testing Service to Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Scores will need to be current.

I have publication(s) and would like to include them with my application for review. How can I submit them?

Upload the first two pages of each publication, which should contain the abstract and introduction section. Should the admissions committee like additional information regarding your publication, you will be contacted directly. Be sure the name of the publication and your name are listed.

I have poster presentation award certificates. How can I include them for consideration?

Combine any poster presentation award certificate information with your publication document and upload it as one document. If the document is too large to upload, condense the information in a Word document in outline format.

If I meet the required deadlines, when can I expect to receive a decision?

Please exercise patience while waiting for your admission decision. You will be notified via email about the status of your application as it becomes confirmed.