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PhD Degree Program Admissions

Thank you for your interest in the School of Molecular Biosciences (SMB) graduate program. SMB offers excellent research facilities, the flexibility to design an individualized academic program from a wide range of research expertise, and the opportunity to choose from over 46 faculty mentors for your thesis research. Faculty in the School of Molecular Biosciences explore the cellular, molecular, and structural basis of processes essential for proper function of bacteria, archaea, and eukaryota. Students choose one of three discipline-specific tracks (Biochemistry, Microbiology, or Genetics) to ensure that their interdisciplinary training in Molecular, Cellular, and Structural Biology builds on a solid discipline-specific foundation.

Our training program has a number of distinctive features that complement and enhance our didactic programs. These include an annual retreat, weekly seminars by our students and by investigators from outside of WSU, an active student-run Molecular Biosciences Graduate Student Association, and a series of professional development workshops. These unique training features promote the importance of a life-time of scientific learning and emphasize the importance of interpersonal and professional communication and management skills.

SMB, CVM and the Graduate School are committed to providing equal opportunity in its services, programs, and employment for individuals with disabilities. Academically qualified students with disabilities are provided with access to the individualized assistance that is consistent with the student’s needs and the essential requirements of the program or course of study in which the student is enrolled. Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. Use the links on the left to learn more about our graduate Program Details, Faculty Research Areas, and Highlights. Please contact us directly at if you have questions.

Application and Admission Details


The deadline for your application to the Molecular Biosciences program is December 15th. Application to the Molecular Biosciences program includes WSU Graduate School Application, letters of recommendation, and SMB Supplemental Application. Late applications may be considered depending on space availability.

Admission Categories:

The School of Molecular Biosciences admits students into the Ph.D. program.

  • Admission to the Ph.D. program does not require a master’s degree. Students whose ultimate goal is to earn a Ph.D. are advised to apply directly to this program. A Ph.D. degree usually requires four or more years and completion of a research project which may originate with the advisor but whose final design is largely the result of the student's independent effort. A Ph.D. dissertation should comprise a body of research equivalent to at least two publishable papers, and is essential preparation for a career as an independent researcher.

Application Materials for Admission

To apply to the School of Molecular Biosciences graduate program, you will need to prepare the following materials:

All students (domestic and international):

  • Graduate School Application and $75 application fee
    Forms and instructions are available through the WSU Graduate School website. In addition the online Graduate School Application, applicants will also need to respond to two video recorded questions. A link to the questions and to record responses will be emailed to the applicant after the online Graduate School Application is submitted.
  • SMB requires the general GRE
  • SMB requires three letters of recommendation
    Please follow the “on line” application with the Graduate School to have your letters of recommendation submitted on line.
  • Transcripts from domestic students should be sent directly to the WSU Graduate School.

International Students:

  • Transcripts from Applicants who attended school outside the United States or Canada must submit: Transcripts, mark sheets, grade reports, or examination results, along with degree certificates from all higher education institutions attended outside the United States or Canada. When sending official transcripts from schools located in non-English-speaking countries, have each institution submit both the English translation plus an original language record.
  • WSU requires TOFEL scores

For international applicants who have not earned a previous degree from a US institution, within the last two years of your expected admission date, a TOFEL score of at least 100 (internet based exam) is required.

Recommended Undergraduate Preparation

The minimum admission requirement stipulated by the Graduate School is a 3.0 cumulative grade point average (on a 4.0 scale) or equivalent of graded undergraduate work from a recognized college or university. A 3.0 grade point average or greater is required for any coursework from a recognized graduate school. The basic background for graduate study in molecular biosciences is usually provided by an undergraduate degree in biology, biochemistry, cell biology, chemistry, genetics, microbiology, and related fields. The following undergraduate courses are specifically recommended: six semesters of a combination of general biology, microbiology, cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry courses, including some laboratory coursework; two semesters of general/inorganic chemistry and at least one semester of organic chemistry, which should include a laboratory component; two semesters of physics; and one semester of calculus and statistics.

Students who lack any component of these minimum course requirements will be asked to remedy their deficiency or demonstrate competency in these areas to the Graduate Affairs Committee.

Admission Decision and Financial Support

The priority deadline by which all application materials for admission must be received is no later than December 15th. Applications received after this date will be reviewed on a space available basis. Only completed application files will be reviewed by the Graduate Recruiting Committee when they convene. The committee will contact the applicant as soon as possible, usually in December or January, if an invitation to interview will be offered. Interviews will occur during the Graduate Student Visitation Weekend, usually scheduled in February. If you would like to check the status of your application, please contact us by email at or call (509)-335-4566.

WSU adheres to the acceptance policy of the Council of Graduate Schools. If a student accepts an offer of admission before April 15th and subsequently desires to withdraw his/her acceptance, the student must submit their resignation of appointment, in writing, before April 15th. An acceptance of admission, either given or left in force after April 15th, commits the student to not accept another offer of admission without first obtaining a written release from the institution whose admission offer he/she had previously accepted.

Admission offers from the School of Molecular Biosciences include competitive financial support, in the form of either a teaching assistantship (TA, teaching support in an undergraduate course with a time commitment of approximately 20 hrs/week) or a research assistantship (RA). TA and RA support includes a stipend, payment of tuition and comprehensive health insurance.

International applicants who are offered admission may be asked to submit evidence of full financial support. If certification of outside support is necessary, the Graduate School will inform applicants of required procedures in the letter of admission. Additional certification must be provided for any dependents who will accompany the student.