MCB Funding Facts

MCB students receive the following financial support:

2020-2021 Salary:  $38,784/year or $3232/month

-Expected 2% raise every year

-Salary is same for all students, regardless of year in program or citizenship country

Tuition waiver

-All quarters

-Does not include $250 per quarter for student fees

Full benefits

-Includes medical, dental and vision

-Subsidized dependent coverage available

Support is guaranteed the entire length of the program as long as student is in good standing


MCB students receive these additional benefits

$1500 technology scholarship 

$2000 in travel funds to present at a conference


-Does MCB require the GRE?

The MCB Program does not require or accept GRE scores.  However, you are welcome to discuss your GRE scores in the application if you think it’s appropriate.

-Does MCB require a statement of purpose?

No, the MCB Program has a list of 8 questions to answer instead of asking for a statement of purpose. A list of the questions is available here:

-Does MCB require 3 letters of recommendation?  Can I send more?  Can I send fewer?

The MCB Program requires 3 letters of recommendation.  The committee will only consider 3 letters, so sending more can reduce the chance the committee reads the letters you prefer.  Applications without the required 3 letters of recommendation will only be considered at the discretion of the Admission Committee.

-Do my letters of recommendations have to be from scientists?

At least two letters should be from people who are very familiar with your scientific research experience.

-Does MCB have a GPA requirement?

MCB follows the UW Graduate School requirement of a 3.0 cumulative GPA.  MCB is a rigorous program, so applicants with a 3.5 GPA tend to do better in the program.  

-My research progress was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Will that be a problem for my application?

The MCB Admissions committee understands that COVID-19 continues to have a dramatic impact on research and active time in a lab.  They will take this into consideration when reviewing all applications.

-My grades weren’t too great my freshman year.  Is that a problem?

The MCB Admissions committee takes a holistic approach to evaluating applications.  Grades are only one part of an applicant’s full story.  The committee especially looks for an upward trajectory in a GPA, so strong grades in later years are taken into account.

-What are the requirements for an International student?

International students must meet the following requirements:

  1. At least one year of research experience in a US-based lab.
  2. Establish English proficiency in one of the following ways:
    1. A bachelor’s degree from an institution in the United States where English is the medium of instruction.
    2. 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.
    3. A test score on file at the University of Washington of at least 92 overall AND 26 on the speaking section of the TOEFL-iBT. 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.  

-How do I show that I’ve met the English language proficiency requirement?

In the “Program Information” section of the application, Question 11 allows you select one of the following:

-Official Test Scores (TOEFL/IELTS)

-U.S. Degree (Bachelors or Higher)

-Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral Degree from Specified Country on Memo 8

-Medium of Instruction Document for Undergraduate Institution

-I have an undergraduate degree and/or research experience from a lab in Australia, the Bahamas, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, Kenya, New Zealand, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago, or the United Kingdom.  Does that count as US research experience?


-I have research experience in a lab that is not in the US or listed above.  Does that count as US research experience?

Unfortunately, no.

-Does MCB Offer a Master’s Degree?

No, MCB is only a PhD program.

-Should I contact MCB faculty before I submit my application?

You do not need to contact MCB faculty before submitting your application.  We do ask you to list MCB faculty whose research interests you.

Does MCB offer an application fee waiver?

Application fee waivers are processed through the UW Graduate School and are only available for US citizens who qualify for financial need. Need is based on 70% Median Family Income (MFI) level. Current McNair Scholars and PPIA Fellows who have sent documentation to the Graduate School are also eligible.  You can request a fee waiver at the very end of the application process.  It takes some time to process the request, so submit your application at least 2 weeks before the deadline to make sure we receive it.

-If I apply MCB and another UW program, do I have to pay 2 application fees?

Yes, you will need to pay an application fee for each UW program you apply to.

-If I don’t get accepted to MCB, can you forward my application to another department?

No, due to privacy rules, we cannot forward your application.

-What is the average time to degree?

5.5 years

-What is the percentage of MCB students who get a PhD?

Over 90%

How many MCB students come back after the first year?

Almost 100%