Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the admission application deadline for the Ph.D. program?

Our application deadline is November 27th preceding the August for which you are seeking admission.  We admit for the fall semester only.

Do you accept applications after the November 27th deadline?

No. Applications and all supporting documents (transcripts and letters of recommendation) must be received by the November 27th deadline. 

Am I eligible for an application fee waiver?

US citizens and permanent residents are eligible if they meet certain income brackets or have participated in specific programs. You can check your eligibility on the graduate division website:

Where should transcripts be sent?

Electronic copies of transcripts should be uploaded with your admission application. If admitted into the program, you will be required to submit a hard copy of your official transcript upon your acceptance of the admission offer.

What are the test(s) required to apply to your program?

For all International Students, the TOEFL or IELTS is required, unless one of the exemptions is met.  For Fall 2024, TOEFL or IELTS tests taken before June 1, 2022, will not be accepted even if your score was reported to Berkeley.

For more information on English language testing requirements and possible exceptions please go to

Why is the GRE not required?

The department has decided that there is significant evidence that GRE scores disadvantage certain populations and benefit others. The department also believes the GRE may be a potential barrier to certain populations due to the cost associated with taking the test. The admission committee will make no assumptions if a GRE score is omitted from an application but the inclusion of a good score may improve the application of a candidate that has deficiencies in other aspects of their application. If you choose not to take the GRE or report your GRE score, this will have no negative impact on your application assessment. 

What codes should I use to report scores to UC Berkeley?

The UC Berkeley institution code for GRE and TOEFL is 4833.  Dept code to be used for the GRE is 0206 (cell/cellular biology) and the department code to use for the TOEFL is 74.

Have you received my GRE and/or TOEFL scores?

Scores are sent directly to the university and matched to your online application before being downloaded to the department. 

If you list UC Berkeley as a school to receive your scores, they will be automatically uploaded to our system. 

How do I calculate my major GPA?

Your major GPA is based upon all coursework taken for your major and includes both upper and lower division courses.  There are some on-line GPA calculators you can find with a Google search.

How many letters of recommendation should I submit?

Three online letters of recommendation are required.  It is recommended that you stay within this requirement.

My recommender cannot submit their letter online, what do I need to do?

If your recommender is not able to submit their letter online through the campus admissions program, they may send a copy directly to our department.  To expedite the review of your application they can either email or fax the letter to us. Email letters may be sent to us at and the subject line should contain the applicant name and "LOR". 

Am I required to contact the faculty prior to applying?

You are not required to contact the faculty but you might find it worthwhile to do so particularly regarding specific research questions.

Do I have to provide a list of faculty in whose research I'm interested? Why?

Yes, we ask that you provide the names of between 1-3 faculty (of ~ 90 total faculty) with whom you are interested in conducting research or performing rotations.  In choosing faculty whose research interests match your own the Chair of Admissions will be able to direct your application to the appropriate sub-committee for review; and, second, it assists the staff in arranging for appropriate faculty interviews and student hosting should you be selected for an interview visit. Please be aware that you will have an opportunity to list additional faculty should you be invited for an interview. 

Where and how do I list my research experience?

Prior research experience is a very important part of your application.  In addition to describing your research in your Statement of Purpose, please list all research experience in the Research Experience section.  You will be asked to include the Institution/Employer, Faculty Mentor/Supervisor, Position Title, Dates of Employment, and Title of Research Project.  

I want to study Neuroscience, where can I learn about my options?

Berkeley offers several PhD programs, including MCB, in which students can receive training in neuroscience and conduct neuroscience research. You can learn more about these programs here:

How can I check on the status of my application?

Due to the high volume of inquiries we receive, we may not be able to respond to each request individually.  However, if your application is missing any supporting documents, you will be notified.  Please wait one week beyond the application deadline before making inquiries to allow time for processing of all documents for all applicants.

When will I hear whether or not I'm invited for an interview visit?

Applicants invited for an interview visit will be contacted by mid-January. 

When are the recruitment visit dates?

You will have two options for virtual interviews: January 29 -30 OR February 12-13, 2024. Admitted students will be invited to an optional campus visit: March 17-19, 2024.

If I'm invited for an interview visit, when will I hear the final admission decision?

All admission decisions are finalized by mid-March following the recruitment visits.

If this information did not answer your question please feel free to contact us at

More Information on the MCB Graduate Program may be requested from:

MCB Graduate Affairs Office
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
University of California
299 Weill Hall #3200
Berkeley, CA 94720-3200
Tel. (510) 642-5252