Application Process

International Application Due Date: Tuesday, November 1, 2022, 11:59pm PST

Domestic Application Due Date: Thursday, December 1, 2022, 11:59pm PST

The MCB application portal will open on Monday, August 1, 2022 to accept applications for Autumn 2023 enrollment.

MCB Seattle recruits students who wish to pursue a long-term career in biological research and education in academia, industry, or policy. We holistically consider many aspects of our applicants including prior research experience, the level of enthusiasm and motivation for graduate training, and the strength of the letters of recommendation for research.  We also consider undergraduate transcripts, activities beyond scholarship, and the ability to discuss research and future goals during an interview.  Applicants must have received a baccalaureate degree or higher at the time of matriculation; degrees emphasizing biology, physical or natural sciences, and mathematics are preferred.

COVID-19 and Research Progress

We recognize that responses to the COVID-19 pandemic may have affected in-person experiments and progress on research projects.  Our Admissions Committee will take these impacts into account when reviewing each application to the MCB Program.

GRE Scores Not Required

Please note that the MCB Program does not require GRE scores.

Application Instructions

Apply online for admission to the Graduate School and the MCB Program with the UW Graduate School application.

This application process ensures you will meet the application requirements for both the UW Graduate School and the MCB Program. Through the online application, you must submit the following:

  1. Prior Schools and Unofficial Transcripts: Please report and upload transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended.
  2. Short Answer Questions: Please provide answers to the following questions.  Your answers will help us understand who you are as a scientist, your motivation and your enthusiasm for research.  Please provide answers to the following questions and stay within the indicated character limits, which include spaces.  We recommend you save your answers and return to the question section for review before submitting your application as word processing programs may calculate character count differently than this application.
    • Please provide a bullet-point list of your different research experiences including summer research internships, academic year research, post-baccalaureate, and/or work-related experiences.  For each experience, include a very brief description and include  the Institution, Department, lab  head name, and project title. For international applicants:  MCB requires international applicants to have at least one year of experience in a U.S.-based lab.  If you do not meet this requirement but feel you have equivalent experience, please describe in detail how your experience is applicable. (1500 character limit)
    • What is your total amount of full-time research experience?  Full-time is considered 100% effort for at least 40 hours per week.  Please state your experience in months and/or years.  (100 character limit).
    • What is your total amount of part-time research experience? Part-time is considered anything less than 100% effort.  Please state your experience in months and/or years with the effort of percentage and hours per week.  For example: 9 months at 25% (10 hours/week)  (100 character limit).
    • Tell us about your most successful or interesting research experience and which qualities helped facilitate this. (3000 character limit)
    • Why is obtaining a PhD necessary to your future goals? (1500 character limit)
    • What areas of molecular and cellular biology research interest you and why are you specifically drawn to the MCB Seattle Program? (1500 character limit)
    • Describe a time that you encountered a significant event or obstacle, scientific or otherwise? How did you handle it? (3000 character limit)
    • What do you expect to be challenging about graduate school? What strategies would you use to manage these challenges? (1500 character limit)
    • Which MCB faculty members’ research are you most interested in and why?  This includes faculty at all our partner institutes.  Faculty profiles can be found on the MCB faculty directory. (1000 character limit)
    • Is there any information pertinent to your application that you would like to add that was not covered in the previous questions? (1500 character limit)
  3. Letters of Recommendation: The MCB Program requires three letters of recommendation.  These letters should give us a sense of who you are as a scientist.  At least two letters should be from people who are very familiar with your research experience.  These letters should speak to your potential and promise as an experimental biologist.  Through the online application, you will designate people you’d like to submit a recommendation on your behalf.  The Graduate School will email them with a recommendation form to complete and submit electronically.  You will be notified if someone you designate declines. Although the online application process will accept up to five designations, please only submit three letters of recommendation unless special considerations are needed. The MCB Program only accepts online recommendations.
  4. MCB Faculty List: List six faculty members at the UW and six at Fred Hutch who you would like to meet if invited to interview with the MCB Program. You may want to visit the MCB Faculty directory and sort by “Institution” for information on current faculty.  Faculty members at partner institutions can be listed with the UW faculty.
  5. Resume or CV: We are particularly interested in your broader impacts.  Your resume or CV is an excellent place to highlight aspects of your experience beyond the lab.

Recruitment Interviews

Selected applicants will be invited to interview with us in January and February.

Additional information about the format of the interviews will be available soon.

International Applications

International students must meet the following requirements:

  1. Completed one year of research in a US-based lab.  If you do not meet this requirement but feel you have equivalent experience, please describe it in Question 1 of the MCB application.
  2. If English is not your native language, you must demonstrate spoken English proficiency in one of the following ways:
    • Hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States, or hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom, where English is the medium of instruction. While enrolled at the degree-granting school, the student must be in residence on campus. (Note: A master’s degree does not satisfy this requirement).
    • Demonstrate spoken English proficiency with a TOEFL-iBT test score on file at the University of Washington of at least 92 overall AND 26 on the speaking section. The UW institution code to submit the TOEFL-iBT is 4854.PLEASE NOTE:  This TOEFL-iBT overall score is higher than the Graduate School requirement and the speaking score matches the Graduate School Teaching Assistant requirement.  The UW institution code is 4854; you do not need a department code.

Cost of Study

The MCB Program offers a 12-month competitive salary, paid tuition, and health insurance, which includes medical, dental and vision benefits. Students with satisfactory academic progress are guaranteed funding for the duration of study.

Applying to Other UW Programs

Admission to the MCB Graduate Program is highly competitive.  If you are very interested in pursuing graduate studies in Seattle and the University of Washington, we suggest you also apply to the other biomedical departments at the University of Washington that have graduate programs:  Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Biology, Genome Sciences, Immunology, Microbiology, the Neurosciences program, Pathobiology, Pathology, Pharmacology, and Biophysics Structure & Design.  You will have to a separate fee for each application.

Concurrent MCB PhD and Epidemiology MS Application

Applicants interested in the concurrent MCB PhD/Epidemiology MS program should submit separate applications to each program by the appropriate deadline.  Please also select “EPI” as one of your faculty member choices in the “MCB Faculty List” portion of the application.

Have more questions? Take a look at our Admission FAQ

Other Resources

For more information, visit: