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BMMB Graduate Program

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BMMB evaluates applicants for admission holistically, meaning that we consider an applicant’s combination of personal accomplishments, letters of recommendation, answers to our questions, and academic record in making our admissions decisions. GREs are no longer accepted as part of the application. Our admissions committee will consider the significant disruptions and challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic when reviewing applicants’ academic transcripts, and other application materials as part of our ongoing practice of performing individualized, holistic reviews of each applicant. 

As we review applications in future admissions cycles, we will respect decisions made by individual students and/or by their academic institutions with regard to the enrollment in or adoption of Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory, Pass/No Record, Credit/No Credit, Pass/Fail and other similar grading options during the COVID-19 pandemic disruptions. Applicants are invited to describe their individual experiences during the pandemic to provide context to inform the application review process. We also encourage students to include any research or internship opportunities, experiences abroad, or presentations/conferences that you were accepted into but were cancelled due to the pandemic. We strive to form future graduate student cohorts composed of intellectually strong, diverse, and resilient individuals who will make the most of their graduate education opportunities at Penn State. 

The Graduate School does require non-English speakers to take the TOEFL or IELTS examination and are aware that there may be challenges associated with taking and submitting examination scores. Please make us aware of any challenges that you face in meeting this Graduate School requirement.  

How to Apply



Submissions from domestic and international applicants with a bachelor's degree or higher in a relevant field will be considered.


Program Specific Questions

BMMB does not require a personal statement. Instead the program has designed program specific questions within the application that must be completed for you to submit your application.

  • Describe one or more research experiences you have had (in class, in a research lab, at work, etc.), including the scientific questions you were addressing and what you learned.
  • What are your current research interests and why is that field/area attractive to you? (if you are interested in particular research groups in BMMB, this is a good place to mention it.)
  • Briefly describe a personal or an academic obstacle you have overcome or a challenge you have met. What impact did it have on your life and/or what did you learn about yourself?
  • Socially diverse groups do better science, are more productive and innovative, and make better decisions. How would you support or contribute to diversity and inclusion in the BMMB program?
  • Please describe any other qualifications, interests, outreach or experiences that you would like us to know about. (This is a chance to tell us anything that you think is relevant that we didn't ask!)
  • Why did you choose to apply to Penn State and BMMB?


Required Documents

  • Three recommendation letters. At least one letter from a research adviser(s) is recommended. Please note that recommendation letters are to be submitted by the referees (not by the applicant), and that the letters must be received for the application to be considered complete.
  • Curriculum Vitae/Resume - Upload unofficial and/or scanned versions of transcripts for all institutions attended directly into the online application. The Graduate School will require all accepted students to submit official transcripts prior to enrollment at Penn State.


Test Scores

  • BMMB no longer evaluates GRE scores for admission to our graduate program. If you have taken the GREs and would like to submit your scores, you may self-report your score within the application. 
  • International applicants (with some exceptions) are required to take the TOEFL (Test Of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and submit the results of the test with the application for admission. Our institution/school code is 2660, departmental code is 34.


Application Review

Applications to the program are reviewed by the BMMB Graduate Recruiting Committee. All materials must be received before the application can be evaluated. BMMB’s application deadline is December 9, 2022.  Following review of the applications, prospective students will be contacted about scheduling an in-person interview at Penn State for applicants currently living in North America or by video conferencing for applicants living outside of North America. Scheduling and additional information for these weekends is provided at the time of invitation. Decisions on offers of admission will be made after interviews. Applicants will be contacted as soon as possible to inform them of their status.

You may check the status of your application by visiting The Graduate School's website.