Center for Biophysics and Quantitative Biology

Graduate Admissions

Applying to the Graduate Program

WHEN TO APPLY: The application deadline for Fall 2024 is 11:00pm Central Standard Time, on DECEMBER 15, 2023. To ensure full consideration, applications must be received by the deadline.


Complete Application Form on the Graduate College online application website
Instructions are located on the Graduate College application website.
Biophysics and Quantitative Biology = 10KS5414PHD

Provide the following supporting materials electronically via the Graduate College online application:

Incomplete files will not be fully evaluated until missing items have been submitted.

Biophysics Graduate Admissions Requirements

The Biophysics Admissions Committee will evaluate the OVERALL application when considering an applicant for admission. The Committee will carefully consider an applicant's grades, exam scores, letters of recommendation, research experience, publications, research interests, and the personal statement.

The requirements below are general guidelines and are not meant to dissuade potential applicants from applying. Please keep in mind that a successful applicant can be "weak" in one area, but strong in all other areas of their application. For example, a student who may not have good grades, but excels on the GREs and has good research experience with strong letters of recommendation, could still be considered for admission.

Applicants should have a grade point average (GPA) equivalent to at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale (4.0 = A) in the last 2 years of undergraduate level study. This is equivalent to a 'B' average. Grades received in science and mathematics courses will also be closely evaluated.

When reporting GPAs, students should not convert their scores to the US 4.0 system, but should report the scores based on their home institution's grading system (e.g., 80%, 7/10).

NOTE: Effective Fall 2023, the Center for Biophysics and Quantitative Biology no longer requires GRE scores to be submitted as part of the review process.

iBT scores are required for international applicants whose native language is not English. The Biophysics Admissions Committee will consider applicants whose scores on the spoken section of the exam are at least 24 (the minimum speaking score required to teach at the University). Applicants whose speaking scores fall between 20-23 may be considered if the rest of the application is strong and English proficiency is demonstrated during a phone interview. The total score must meet the University minimum of 79. Successful applicants with a total score of less than 102 will be admitted on limited status and must sit for an English Placement Test (EPT) upon arrival in the fall. Successful applicants who score less than 24 (speaking) will be required to sit for the English Proficiency Interview (EPI).

The Test of Spoken English (TSE) is not required for admission. However, teaching assistant duties require that international students pass a similar exam with a score of 50 or higher before being allowed to teach at the University. The fact that a student has taken the TSE and received a passing score will be taken into consideration when decisions on international applicants are made.

In lieu of the TSE, the IELTS will also be accepted. Students who receive score of 8 on the spoken section of the exam would be eligible to teach. The University minimum score in any section is 6.5.

Application Fees

International applicants = $90
Domestic applicants = $70

Payment of the application fee is required and must be paid via credit card prior to the submission of the application.

If an applicant wishes to request a fee waiver, they must contact the Admissions and Records office directly. Waivers are granted only in extremely rare cases. International applicants are not eligible for waivers.


iBT TOEFL: The iBT is required of all non-native English speaking students.

There are two exceptions to the iBT requirement:

  1. Applicants who have received a Masters degree at a US institution.
  2. Applicants who have spent 2 of the last 5 years at an English-speaking institution as a full-time student. The English speaking institutions must reside in countries where English is the primary language - e.g., the United States, England, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, the English-speaking provinces of Canada.

In lieu of the iBT, the IELTS can be accepted.

Please contact the Center office if you have any questions regarding these exceptions.

Information needed by ETS to report scores to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Institution Code = 1836
Optional codes: GRE Code for Biophysics = 0222; iBT Code for Biophyics = 36

Official Transcripts

All applicants are required to upload a copy of their official transcripts* directly into the Graduate College online application program. If the transcripts are illegible, we will ask you submit them again. Send a copy of the grade legend if it appears on the reverse side of the transcript. Transcripts should include degree conferral, where appropriate.

*An official transcript is obtained directly from the institution and comes in a sealed envelope with the stamp/signature of the registrar on the transcript and the envelope. For evaluation purposes, we will accept official student transcripts, which students might not receive in a sealed envelope. Biophysics will not accept copies of web-based listings of courses available to students as official transcripts.

If you are admitted, you will be asked to provide a final, official transcript showing degree conferral. Those final transcripts must arrive in a stamped/sealed envelope either directly from the institution or from the applicant.

Letters of Recommendation

Only three (3) letters of recommendation are required for each applicant.

All recommenders are strongly encouraged to send their letters electronically via the Graduate College online application system.

If the recommender chooses not to send their letters electronically, the recommendation letter must be on the official stationery of the school or institution, bearing a masthead and watermark. Letters with mastheads printed out from a personal computer will not be accepted. The letter must have an original signature of the person writing the recommendation letter, not a rubber stamped signature or photocopy of a letter. The recommendation form accompanying the letter must also bear the original signature of the person writing the recommendation letter and their name, title, address, phone number and email address.

If applicants are unable to send the recommendation form to the person writing the letter, the recommender may submit an official letter of recommendation directly to the Biophysics office, as long as it is on official letterhead, bears an original signature, and contains all the information on the recommendation form (name, title, phone number, email and mailing address). In rare circumstances, the Biophysics office will accept an email from a recommender, with the official letter sent as an attachment (preferably in pdf form).

Declaration and Certification of Finance Form

Because we guarantee financial support for incoming students, the Declaration and Certification of Finance form is not required for international students applying to the Biophysics and Quantitative Biology program.

However, it is important to note on your application if you are going to receive financial support through a government or a private source (like Fulbright, etc). In those cases, we would supplement your stipend support to the level of other graduate students in our Program.

Field of Specialization

Field of Specialization is not required for students applying to Biophysics and Quantitative Biology.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available to Biophysics and Quantitative Biology graduate students in the form of fellowships, tuition and fee waivers, teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or traineeships.  Students who remain in good standing, and continue to make satisfactory academic progress in the program based on their annual reviews, are guaranteed support for the duration of their studies, contingent upon the availability of funds.

Students receive financial support from the Center during their first semester. After the first semester of studies, most students are supported directly by their research advisor, typically in the form of a research assistantship, which continues until graduation. In addition, all students are required to teach for one semester.

Traineeships and fellowships are awarded on a highly competitive basis. If you wish to be considered for a fellowship or training grant, completed applications must be filed by the application deadline.


Only applicants residing in the contiguous United States will be invited to the campus for on-site interviews. Applicants living outside the US will be contacted for virtual/remote interviews in March-April.

Questions about the graduate program should be directed to:

Waad Ayoub, Graduate Program Coordinator