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Specific Program Overview and Requirements

Prospective students should have a four-year degree that includes significant training in the biological and/or medical sciences, as well as some exposure to chemistry, physics, and college-level mathematics. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is no longer required.  The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (institution code: 2948) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a mandatory requirement of applicants whose primary language is not English.

Continuation in the Cell Biology of Disease Graduate Program requires successful completion of first-year courses, the choice of a host laboratory that will provide strong mentoring and educational support, and a desire to pursue thesis research that has a strong tie to human health and disease.  By their fifth semester of enrollment, all Cell Biology of Disease students must undertake a written and oral Qualifying Examination.  Successful completion of the Qualifying Exam will earn the student a Master’s Degree and the opportunity to pursue their thesis studies for the remainder of their time in the program.  Upon successful completion of all program requirements, especially their independent research project and written and oral Thesis Defense, students will be awarded a PhD in Pathology.

PhD program applicants may submit only one application per admissions year but may request to transfer an application to a different program at any point in the application process.


Applicants must have earned a U.S. baccalaureate degree or its equivalent from a college, university, or technical school of acceptable standing. Students in their final year of undergraduate study may be admitted on the condition that their bachelor's degrees are awarded before they matriculate. Evidence of the earned degree is required prior to matriculation in the form of an official transcript noting degree conferral.

Application Requirements for PhD Programs

It is expected that all application materials (with the exception of official score reports) be scanned and uploaded to your online application. Please note that the University of Rochester reserves the right to verify the accuracy of all transcripts and test scores, and to require submission of official documentation at any point in the admissions review process.

  1. Create an online Admissions Application
  2. Statement of Purpose
  3. Uploaded copy of transcript(s) to online application.
    Please do not mail a hard copy at this time.
  4. 3 Letters of Recommendation
  5. GRE scores are optional and submission is at the discretion of the applicant.  Applicants may submit their GRE scores if they believe it will add to their application.  Not submitting a GRE will not be held against the applicant.  Please review the following guidelines:

    1. If the applicant is NOT submitting scores please disregard the GRE submission question on the application.
    2.  Applicants choosing to submit GRE scores, scans of official score reports for GREs taken within 5 years of the original test date will be accepted with the original application (SMD School Code: 2948).
  6. Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency. Applicants are required to provide official scores that are within 2 years of the original test date. Official TOEFL (SMD school code: 2948, SOPHAS application code: 5688) or IELTS Scores

    For applicants whose native language is not English.

    The following test types are acceptable:

  7. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)iBT or ITP Plus
  8. International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
  9. DuoLingo

The following programs require a writing sample: Epidemiology and Health Services Research and Policy. Otherwise, research papers, publications and other original works, as well as resumes and CVs may also be submitted for consideration, but are not required.

It is expected that all application materials (with the exception of official score reports) be scanned and uploaded to your online application. Please do not include secondary school documentation, financial documentation, etc., as these are not utilized during the admissions process.

PhD Application Timeline

For Admission to Fall Semester

  • By December 1st  - The $60 application fee is automatically waived
  • By December 15th - Complete application due ($60 application fee applies)
  • After December 15th - applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until January 1, at each program’s discretion
  • December - January - Interviews scheduled
  • February - Interviews held
  • February - March - Offer of admission notices mailed after interviews
  • By April 15 - Responses due for offer of admission
  • July - Online application opens
  • September - Fall semester begins