UW MCB Acceptance Rate

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

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UW MCB Acceptance Rate

The University of Washington Medical Center (MCB) is a leading health care facility that has been ranked as one of the top 10 hospitals in the nation by U.S. News & World Report for three consecutive years. The MCB also has been recognized by Healthgrades as one of America’s 50 Best Hospitals for seven straight years and as one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals for four consecutive years. In addition to these prestigious achievements, it was also recently named as one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For for the ninth straight year.

As part of its mission statement, the UW Medical Center strives to be a leader in patient care and biomedical research through quality education programs designed to help students develop their potential while preparing them for future leadership roles in medicine

UW MCB Acceptance Rate - CollegeLearners.com

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

  1. Begin your application here:
    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:
  2. Prior Schools and Unofficial Transcripts
    Please report and upload transcripts from all colleges or universities you have attended.
  3. 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.
    1. Please provide a bullet-point list of the different research experiences you have had including summer research internships, academic year research, post-baccalaureate, and/or work-related experiences with a very brief description.  Please include your total years of research experience at the end of the list. (1500 character limit)
    2. Tell us about your most successful or interesting research experience and which qualities helped facilitate this. (3000 character limit)
Graduate Program
  1. Why is obtaining a PhD necessary to your future goals? (1500 character limit)
    1. What areas of molecular and cellular biology research interest you and why are you specifically drawn to the MCB Seattle Program? (1500 character limit)
    2. Describe a time that you encountered a significant event or obstacle, scientific or otherwise? How did you handle it? (3000 character limit)
    3. What do you expect to be challenging about graduate school? What strategies would you use to manage these challenges? (1500 character limit)
    4. Which MCB faculty members’ research are you most interested in and why?  This includes faculty at all our partner institutes.  MCB Faculty profiles can be found here:  https://mcb-seattle.edu/directory/faculty/ (1000 character limit)
    5. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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 homepage and sort by “Institution” for information on current faculty.  Faculty members at affiliated institutions can be listed with the UW faculty.
  4. 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.

We often receive questions about the letters of recommendation and the personal statement.  Please see the suggestions below from the CMB Program in regards to these topics or search online for helpful hints about letters of recommendation and personal statements.

Letters of Recommendation

  • Three letters are required, and all letters must be received by December 1.
  • Request letters through the online application system. You will have the chance to add a note, and we strongly recommend that you note that the strict deadline for receiving all letters of recommendation is December 1.
  • Letters should be from those who can attest to your research abilities, problem solving skills, scientific creativity, work ethic, data interpretation, maturity, etc. Ideal references would be from the faculty member/PI in whose laboratory you performed research. Letters from postdoc or graduate student mentors are not appropriate on their own, but can be used to supplement.
  • Letters from course instructors (laboratory courses or otherwise) are generally not useful, and should be avoided when possible.
  • Please keep in mind that submitting more letters than required may be detrimental to your application.

Personal Statement / Reason for Graduate Study / Statement of Purpose / CV

  • Should be about 2 pages (~1000-1200 words).
  • Persuade the admissions committee that you are an applicant who should be selected for an interview by telling them about yourself, your motivations, and how you have prepared for entering a PhD program.
  • Only include information that is relevant to your application; focus on professional and academic preparation for graduate school.
  • Describe your previous research experiences, including summer and intern positions. Focus should be on the general description of the project, its scientific/clinical relevance, and your role in it. Specific details should be avoided unless they are critical to understanding the big picture.
  • Be concise and clear about why you are applying to graduate school in CMB at UW-Madison as opposed to other programs/universities. Show the admissions committee that you understand why CMB at UW-Madison is a good fit for you. Explain your professional goals and how admission to CMB at UW-Madison will help you accomplish them.
  • Proofread your essay, share it with others, have your faculty mentors, letter of recommendation writers, and friends read it to make sure it conveys your story, and that it is free of grammatical errors. A well-written statement demonstrates attention to detail and maturity.
  • Please attach your CV to the application as well (can be uploaded into the online application separate from the personal statement).

Please note:  only fully-complete applications received by December 2 will be reviewed by the Admissions Committee.

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.
  2. If English is not your native language, you must demonstrate spoken English proficiency in one of the following ways:
    1. 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). OR
    2. 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.

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.

Apply to the Department of Molecular & Cell Biology at UC Berkeley and be a part of a collaborative, diverse, and engaged community of students and faculty. Work with leading scientists on groundbreaking research at the birthplace of immuno-oncology and CRISPR genome editing. 

The Department of Molecular and Cell Biology offers only a Ph.D. program and admits students to program only in the Fall semester.  Applications are available for submission online from September 15, 2021.  The deadline for applications is 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time (ET) on November 30th, 2021.  Late applications are not accepted. Students should complete their applications as early as possible and be sure to hit the submit button before the deadline. You will need to ensure that letters of recommendation, and other supporting documentation, reach the department no later than, Monday, November 30, 2021

The Department of Molecular and Cell Biology is particularly interested in providing educational opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds and from ethnic groups that are currently underrepresented in the biological sciences as well as military veterans and students with disabilities.  If you have DACA status, please be advised to respond “OT”  (Other Visa Type), when you are completing the application. If you would like to talk with a current student about their experiences as an underrepresented student within the program, please contact [email protected] and someone will connect you with a current student. 

If you are looking for information about the program, please visit the program information section of our website or watch the video below for an overview. 


Application Information

Application Deadlines & Information
Graduate Application for Admission & FellowshipNovember 30
TOEFL and GRE ScoresNovember 30
Institution Code4833

Admission is based on an evaluation by a departmental committee comprised of faculty and senior graduate students. The Admissions Committee employs a holistic approach to assessing the merits of each application. This means that we review all facets of an application in order to determine a candidate’s overall potential and fit with our program, weighing many factors including the applicant’s undergraduate scholastic record, prior performance in laboratory research, letters of recommendation, and GRE scores if submitted.In particular, the Statement of Purpose and Personal Statement are very important aspects of your application. Please see below for advice on how to write these statements. Review begins as soon as an applicant’s file is complete and early applications are encouraged.

Admission is based not only on the online application but also upon faculty interviews.  The Admissions Committee will invite selected applicants to participate in virtual recruitment interviews on January 30 -February 1 or February 13- 15, 2022.  Faculty evaluations of interviews are used by the Admissions Committee to make final admission recommendations to the Graduate Division. Offers of admission are made from late February through mid-March, 2022.

Strong undergraduate preparation for this program would include at least one year each of:

  • calculus, physics, and general biology
  • two to three semesters of chemistry (general, organic and physical chemistry)
  • additional advanced coursework in such areas as biochemistry, biophysics, cell biology, genetics, microbiology, molecular biology, immunology and/or neurobiology
  • experience of working in a research laboratory while an undergraduate 

Letters of recommendation should be from persons who have supervised your research or academic work and who can evaluate your intellectual ability, creativity, leadership potential and promise for productive scholarship.  If lab supervision was provided by a postdoc or graduate student, the letter should carry the signature of the faculty member in charge of the research project.  Letters of recommendation should be submitted online. 

Graduate Program

Statement of Purpose and the Personal Statement

These statements are a very important part of your application as they provide the admissions committee with detailed information about your potential as a scientist. Please see general information about the Statement of Purpose and the Personal Statement provided by the Graduate Division.

Here is some more specific advice for the MCB Ph.D. program:

Committee members will be reading hundreds of these statements. Therefore, please focus on what makes you unique and interesting. Show us that you are creative, diverse, curious and passionate about science. Discussion of experiences that are common to many people (e.g., interest in science at a young age, loss of loved ones), while impactful events, do not provide insight into an applicant’s potential if discussed generically. Focusing on the specifics (e.g. of a disease, an event in your life that led to a particular insight, etc.) should be done in a fashion that relays the uniqueness of a candidate and their creative perspective.

The Statement of Purpose is a detailed summary (1-2 pages maximum) of your research experience and overall scientific preparation for a research Ph.D. Include your overall research interests and goals and why UC Berkeley and our department would be a good intellectual fit. A mere chronological listing of multiple research experiences is not as helpful as a narrative account of these experiences that explain their trajectory: how did your research experiences help you grow as a scientist and how have they now led to your decision to go to graduate school at Berkeley? When discussing your prior research, do not merely describe what you did or what techniques you employed; instead, explain the motivation behind your research, what question you are asking, why it is broadly interesting, why you took the approach you did, and/or what questions they now raise and how you would follow up on your work. Be specific and show that you are intellectually engaged with your science and can communicate it to a broad audience. Research experience is valuable because it helps the committee see that you understand what you are signing up for in your Ph.D.; so show us you understand what it takes to succeed in graduate school. Publications are always helpful, but certainly not a requirement. We are well aware that authorship on a paper sometimes reflects only a minimal contribution, or that major contributions are not always published prior to your application being submitted. Therefore, if you are an author on a paper that is published or in preparation, let us know; but more importantly, and regardless of the publication status of your research, tell us what your specific contributions were and how they supported the overall story presented in the paper.

The Personal Statement (1-2 pages maximum) should describe how your personal background shaped your interests and decision to pursue a graduate degree. Include any familial, educational, cultural, economic or social experiences that have affected your decisions to pursue a career in scientific research. If there are weaknesses in your academic record, this is an opportunity to explain them. Describe your leadership skills, interests, and how you might contribute to social or cultural diversity in the biological sciences. Note that perseverance and determination are important characteristics required to succeed in graduate school. Therefore, the committee not only evaluates your accomplishments but also measures these accomplishments against what you had to overcome to achieve them. We recognize that not everyone has had major difficulties to overcome, so don’t feel obliged to exaggerate. Instead, you can discuss how you have seen the struggles of others and how this and/or other factors motivate you as a scientist. At the end of the day, the committee is looking for future scientific colleagues. So, provide us with evidence that you are interactive, engaging and that you will contribute to a diverse and stimulating environment at Berkeley.

Strategy: Institute of Biomedical Science | Eastside Primetimers

Exam Requirements

The department has decided to make the submission of GRE score both for the general and subject-specific exam optional. However, we will still consider GRE scores if they are submitted, and such scores may be helpful for students with gaps or weaknesses in their prior academic records. If you choose not to take the GRE or report your GRE score, this will have no negative impact on your application assessment.

Applicants whose native language is not English, and who have not received a degree from an English language institution, are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) receiving a minimum score of 570 for the paper test, 233 for the Computer Based Test (CBT) or 90 on the Internet-based test (IBT). You are not required to take the TOEFL if at the time of application you meet at least one of the following: 

  • you have already completed at least one year of full-time academic course work with grades of B or better at a U.S. university
  • Have a basic degree from a recognized institution in a country where the official language is English.
  • Have completed a basic or advanced degree at an institution, in the United States or a United States institution abroad, where the language of instruction is English and the institution is accredited by one of the United States’ regional accrediting agencies.
2021 Entering Class Profile
 Total Matriculated          49
 Students from underrepresented racial/ethnic backgrounds37%
 International Students16%
 California Residents47%
 Average Age25 (range: 20-37)
University Of Washington (UW) Acceptance Rate 2021/2025 Admission

Frequently Asked Questions

When is the admission application deadline for the Ph.D. program?

Our application deadline is November 30th preceding the August for which you are seeking admission.  We admit for the fall semester only.

Do you accept applications after the November 30th deadline?

No. Applications and all supporting documents (transcripts and letters of recommendation) must be received by the November 30th deadline. 

Where should transcripts be sent?

Electronic copies of transcripts should be uploaded with your admission application. If admitted into the program, you will be required to submit a hard copy of your official transcript upon your acceptance of the admission offer.

What are the test(s) required to apply to your program?

For all International Students, the TOEFL or IELTS is required, unless one of the above exemptions is met.  For Fall 2022, TOEFL or IELTS tests taken before June 1, 2020, will not be accepted even if your score was reported to Berkeley.

For more information on English language testing requirements and possible exceptions please go to http://www.grad.berkeley.edu/admissions/admis_require.shtml#4_2

Why is the GRE not required?

The department has decided that there is significant evidence that GRE scores disadvantage certain populations and benefit others. The department also believes the GRE may be a potential barrier to certain populations due to the cost associated with taking the test. The admission committee will make no assumptions if a GRE score is omitted from an application but the inclusion of a good score may improve the application of a candidate that has deficiencies in other aspects of their application. If you choose not to take the GRE or report your GRE score, this will have no negative impact on your application assessment. 

What codes should I use to report scores to UC Berkeley?

The UC Berkeley institution code for GRE and TOEFL is 4833.  Dept code to be used for the GRE is 0206 (cell/cellular biology) and the department code to use for the TOEFL is 74.

Have you received my GRE and/or TOEFL scores?

Scores are sent directly to the university and matched to your online application before being downloaded to the department. 

If you list UC Berkeley as a school to receive your scores, they will be automatically uploaded to our system. 

How do I calculate my major GPA?

Your major GPA is based upon all coursework taken for your major and includes both upper and lower division courses.  There are some on-line GPA calculators you can find with a Google search.

How many letters of recommendation should I submit?

Three online letters of recommendation are required.  It is recommended that you stay within this requirement.

My recommender cannot submit their letter online, what do I need to do?

If your recommender is not able to submit their letter online through the campus admissions program, they may send a copy directly to our department.  To expedite the review of your application they can either email or fax the letter to us. Email letters may be sent to us at [email protected] and the subject line should contain the applicant name and “LOR”. 

Am I required to contact the faculty prior to applying?

You are not required to contact the faculty but you might find it worthwhile to do so particularly regarding specific research questions.

Do I have to provide a list of faculty in whose research I’m interested? Why?

Yes, we ask that you provide the names of between 1-3 faculty (of ~ 90 total faculty) with whom you are interested in conducting research or performing rotations.  In choosing faculty whose research interests match your own the Chair of Admissions will be able to direct your application to the appropriate sub-committee for review; and, second, it assists the staff in arranging for appropriate faculty interviews and student hosting should you be selected for an interview visit. Please be aware that you will have an opportunity to list additional faculty should you be invited for an interview. 

Where and how do I list my research experience?

Prior research experience is a very important part of your application.  In addition to describing your research in your Statement of Purpose, please list all research experience in the Research Experience section.  You will be asked to include the Institution/Employer, Faculty Mentor/Supervisor, Position Title, Dates of Employment, and Title of Research Project.  

I want to study Neuroscience, where can I learn about my options?

Berkeley offers several PhD programs, including MCB, in which students can receive training in neuroscience and conduct neuroscience research. You can learn more about these programs here: 

How can I check on the status of my application?

Due to the high volume of inquiries we receive, we may not be able to respond to each request individually.  However, if your application is missing any supporting documents, you will be notified.  Please wait one week beyond the application deadline before making inquiries to allow time for processing of all documents for all applicants.

When will I hear whether or not I’m invited for an interview visit?

Applicants invited for an interview visit will be contacted by mid-January. 

When are the recruitment visit dates?

The recruitment dates are January 30- February 1 or February 13-15, 2022. 

If I’m invited for an interview visit, when will I hear the final admission decision?

All admission decisions are finalized by mid-March following the recruitment visits.

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