Applications to the Biophysical Sciences program are submitted through the University's grad-application web site.

Follow the link below to begin the process. This application site has changed from previous years. Please alert us to any bugs or points of confusion.

The application deadline is December 5th, 2016

The Application Web Site

The institution code for UofC is 1832 and the Department code is 0222.

Due to our inherent interdisciplinary nature, applicants to our program are frequently also interested in other programs at The University of Chicago. We urge students to contact all such programs during the application process, and we encourage students to apply to multiple programs at UChicago.  Students may consider programs in either the Biological Sciences Division or the Physical Sciences Division as appropriate.  If you have questions about which program is most appropriate, please contact the programs directly for advice (to contact Biophysical Sciences email

Application Advice

Our admissions committee considers all aspects of the application in order to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the applicant. We want to receive your most compelling argument for admission. The following elements are frequently the most important in our decisions.

  1. The Letters of Recommendation.  We are looking for scientists who will participate in and improve our scientific environment. Your letters should reflect your ability to be involved with and make a good impression on our academic colleagues. While the stature of the individual can help your case, it is more important that they indicate detailed familiarity with your abilities. We hope that your recommenders’ letters will help us to see your broad enthusiasm for scientific subjects as well as your specific intellectual merits. In the application, you are required to supply the name, institution, department, and email address of each recommender. The University will directly solicit the letters. Make sure your recommenders have been alerted beforehand. It is perfectly acceptable for you to discuss the content of the letter in advance. You will get better letters if you talk with the person about where you are applying and why you are excited about the options.

  2. Your Statement of Academic Purpose. This essay is your opportunity to show off your ability to communicate clearly. At the same time, these documents are our opportunity to understand why you want to join us and what you will contribute if you do. The substance that is most often lacking from these essays is evidence. When you make statements about yourself, back these up with examples from your life. Remember that you are setting forth an argument. If your academic history is not already cross-disciplinary then pay particular attention to demonstrating the breadth of your interests. The electronic application will only accept 2500 words (as counted by e.g. Microsoft Word). We agree that this should be sufficient. In special circumstances, we may allow supplemental discussions, by prearrangement.

  3. College Transcripts. Again, we are hoping to find the examples of your broad enthusiasm. While your Grade Point Average is important, it isn’t as telling as the choices you have made for each term’s enrollment. Feel free to elaborate on these choices in your Statement of Purpose. You are not required to send a hard copy of your official transcript as part of your application, simply upload an electronic version. Matriculating students will be required to provide official transcripts before Autumn quarter.

  4. GRE scores. High GRE scores are great. High GRE scores make it easier for us to justify choosing you to outside funding agencies. High GRE scores make it more likely that you will win competitive fellowships in the future. If your GRE scores are high, congratulations are in order. Unfortunately, GRE scores do not help us understand your reasons for wanting to join us and do not predict whether you will make positive contributions if you do. We happily look past lower scores if you (and your recommenders) do a good job of making a strong case for your admission.  We do not require a subject test. You are welcome to submit a subject exam if you feel that it illustrates your mastery of a particular scientific curriculum.

  5. Overseas students and non-US citizens: We encourage applications from overseas students and non-US citizens.  Please contact us ( for more information. Besides a few exceptional cases, we will only consider applicants who can interview in person because we view intellectual "fit" as an important criterion for selection.  Please evaluate your willingness to travel to the United States before applying.