How to Apply to the Ph.D. Program in the Department of Biological Sciences

Application Process

Application requirements and information about financial support are listed below. You can apply either through Rutgers-Newark ( or NJIT (here).

Our program is federated across the two universities, and all students can work with faculty, do research, and take classes on either side, regardless of where they are matriculated. That said, funding mechanisms and administrative details can differ. Therefore, we encourage you to apply to the university that houses the lab of your potential Faculty Mentor. If you are considering several options on either side, don’t worry about it too much. We will help to figure out the best option. Our Recruitment and Admissions Committee will help you through the process, and we recommend contacting any of committee members before you start the application process. The current members are:

Dr. Greg Weber, Dr. Daphne Soares, Dr. Gal Haspel, Dr. Jessica Ware

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As an applicant to the program, you are expected to meet a number of criteria, as listed below. Our Recruitment and Admissions Committee selects applicants for video and on-site interviews based on those criteria, but can make exceptions based on your strengths in other areas. Usually, you should have:

●             An undergraduate degree in biology or other pertinent area of science.

●             A strong foundation in chemistry (general and organic) and physics.

●             Completion of one year of mathematics, preferably calculus.

●             A grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better.

●             Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores in the 50th percentile or better. 

If you are an international applicant and your primary language is not English, you are required to submit your test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

To be considered for financial support, your completed application should be submitted by December 15 for admission the following Fall. Admission for the Spring semester is only considered in exceptional cases, as it will complicate your course progression. Applications should include all undergraduate and graduate transcripts, GRE scores, three letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and TOEFL scores (if applicable). Letters of recommendation or the previous work record should show some indication that research potential exists.

Financial support

As the program is to a significant degree based on faculty research endeavors, admission depends not only on prior academic performance, but also critically on available opportunities and funding in individual or collaborating laboratories, which can vary considerably from year to year. Student funding usually comes from a combination of Teaching Assistantships, University Fellowships, extramural stipends, and faculty research grants. You are strongly encouraged to contact potential mentors to discuss opportunities.

Incoming full-time matriculated students are awarded Teaching Assistantships or nominated for University Fellowships on a competitive basis by the Department Chairs, on the recommendations of the Admissions and Recruitment Committee and the Graduate Directors. Teaching Assistantships are academic or calendar year awards and are renewable on a yearly basis, usually for not longer than a total of five years. Decisions about Teaching Assistantships are made based on student qualifications, current support of students in labs of individual Graduate Faculty, and the balance of funds distribution across program tracks and research fields. Both incoming and continuing students are encouraged to apply to national, regional, and state level funding agencies to obtain grant support for their intended research.