Graduate School of Medical Sciences
A partnership with the Sloan Kettering Institute

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Thank you for your interest in Weill Cornell Graduate School! 

Applications to the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences (WCGS) are accepted in seven programs of study for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).


Ph.D. Programs Include:

  • BCMB Alliance: A partnership between three doctoral programs with a single admissions entry point
    • Biochemistry & Structural Biology
    • Cell & Developmental Biology
    • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology & Microbial Pathogenesis
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology, Biophysics & Systems Biology 

Applicants may apply to one PhD program listed above, per location (New York or Houston) within the same application cycle. After selecting your program of interest, you may indicate a second choice PhD program on the same application.  Consideration for second choice programs is at the discrection of the program admissions committees. Additionally, applicants interested in any of the PhD programs listed above may apply separately to our Tri-Institutional and/or Master’s programs within the same cycle.


Application Timeline

Online Application OpensSeptember 1
Virtual Open House & Application WorkshopsOctober/November
Application DeadlineDecember 1
Interview invitations sent via emailDecember/January
Interviews (by invitation)January/February
Admissions decisions sentMid-Late February
Acceptance Reply DeadlineApril 15

Application Requirements


Application Fee

An application processing fee of $80 charged through the application system. Application fee waivers are available to US citizens, permanent residents, or undocumented applicants who have demonstrated financial hardship or participated in specific pipeline programs. To learn more, click here.


U.S. Transcripts: Unofficial transcripts from U.S. institutions may be uploaded directly onto the application portal and can be used for application review. Official transcripts are not required at the time you apply, but can be sent via email to or postal mail.  To be considered official, transcripts must be received in envelopes sealed by the institution or sent electronically from the institution to Weill Cornell.


Foreign Transcripts: Transcripts from institutions outside of the U.S., including Canada, must be transcribed and evaluated by World Education Services (WES), SpanTran, IEE or a similar member evaluation service (electronic submission preferred).

If using WES, please select the WES Basic Course-by-Course evaluation and choose "Cornell University - Manhattan NY" as the recipient with "Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences" as the School/Division.

Evaluations are accepted only from current members of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES)Official course-by-course evaluations are required for application review.

Letters of Recommendation

We require three letters of recommendation from professors or other professionals who are able to judge your preparation and fitness for graduate work in the proposed program of study. Letters must be submitted electronically by your recommenders using the link provided through your application.  Letters will not be accepted via email or postal mail.

Standardized Tests

GRE scores are optional for all Weill Cornell PhD programs. GRE scores are valid for five years after the test date and official scores are required if you choose to submit them.

Personal Statement

Your personal statement should outline your interest in research science, the program you are applying to, as well as why Weill Cornell is the right school for you. You may also want to discuss any particular faculty members you would be interested in working with and why.

The Weill Cornell Graduate School prides itself in the diversity of our learning environment. To give our review committee a more comprehensive understanding of you, we encourage you to also include how your education may have been affected by your cultural, economic, or social experiences. Please keep your statement to 1500 words.


Please upload an updated, professional resume to your application.

English Language Proficiency Tests (International Applicants)

International applicants must submit current scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Duolingo English Test, or Cambridge English exam directly through the testing site via e-delivery to "Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences". Tests scores for TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo English Test are valid for two years after the test date.

To submit your TOEFL score report through ETS, please enter institution code 2119 for Weill Cornell.

To see if you qualify for an exemption, see below:

Citizenship/Permanent Residency

If the applicant is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories (e.g., Puerto Rico), or a citizen of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada, they are exempt.

Applicants who are citizens of all other countries, including India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc. are not exempt and must submit English language proficiency exam scores.


English-Language Instruction

Applicants who, at the time of enrollment, have studied in full-time status for at least two academic years within the last five years in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand, or with English language instruction in Canada or South Africa, are exempt.

Applicants must submit a transcript that shows they studied in one of the approved locations, and that the academic program was at least two years in length.

Even if English was the language of instruction of the course or institution, it must have been in one of the eligible locations, otherwise the applicant is not exempt from the requirement.


Admission FAQs

Can my application be reviewed without a foreign transcript evalution?

For post-secondary degrees from institutions outside of the U.S., an official transcript evaluation from a NACES member organization is required for review.  We cannot gaurantee consideration of your application without this evaluation.  Please plan ahead and request your official evaluation well in advance of the December 1 deadline.

What are your minumum GPA and test scores to apply?

There is no minimum GPA or minimum test scores required to apply. WCGS embraces a holistic approach evaluating each application. Prior academic performance (especially in the sciences), research experience, scholarly achievements, and other factors are all considered.

Can I apply to more than one PhD program at a time?

Applicants may apply to one PhD program per location (New York or Houston) within the same application cycle. After selecting your program of interest, you may indicate a second choice PhD program on the same application.  Consideration for second choice programs is at the discrection of the program admissions committees. Additionally, applicants interested in any of the PhD programs listed above may apply separately to our Tri-Institutional and/or Master’s programs within the same cycle.

What is your acceptance rate?

This varies from program to program and from year to year.  However, we typically receive 900-1000+ applications each year with a matriculating class of 60-70 students.

Is it necessary to secure a research supervisor/faculty/PI/mentor before applying?

No. You may reach out to faculty members of interest during the application cycle but this is not a requirement. Lab rotations in your first and second years will assit you in identifying faculty mentors/PIs who align with your research interests. 

Can my application fee be waived?

PhD Application fee waivers are available to applicants who have demonstrated financial hardship, have extenuating circumstances, or participated in specific pipeline programs described below.

Financial Hardship

In cases where the application fee presents a financial hardship for an applicant, WCGS will consider a request for a fee waiver. Financial hardship must be established via documentation of need such as:

-An unemployment benefits statement or signed and dated caseworker statement verifying receipt of unemployment benefits within the previous three months

-A copy of part one of your FAFSA Student Aid Report (SAR) or letter signed by a financial aid representative at the college/university you are currently attending, which indicates your Expected Family Contribution (EFC)

-A copy of your Federal Income Tax return, either your Form 1040 if listed as an independent, or your parent’s/guardian’s Federal Income Tax return if listed as a dependent.

Other Extenuating Circumstances: WCGS will consider fee waiver requests for personal hardship or other circumstances. Please include a detailed rationale and supporting documentation.

Pipeline Programs

WCGS is pleased to offer application fee waivers to qualified participants of programs designed to provide educational and/or career support to students from underrepresented and disadvantaged identities. Applicable programs are listed below:

  • ACS Scholars Program
  • Advancing Cornell Career Experiences for Science Students (ACCESS)
  • Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students
  • Annual Ivy Plus University of Puerto Rico Event
  • Any Summer Research - Early Identification Program (SR-EIP) through the Leadership Alliance
  • Atlanta University Center Consortium
  • Biology Scholars Program (BSP)
  • Black Doctoral Network
  • Bridges to the Baccalaureate
  • Bridge-to-PhD Program
  • BUILD (Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity)
  • California Forum for Diversity in Graduate Education
  • Columbia University Bridge to the PhD Program
  • Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge Program
  • Gates Millennium Scholars Program
  • Graduate Engineering and Science Fellowships for Minorities (GEM)
  • GSMI Scholars/Cientifico Latino
  • Harvard GSAS Research Scholar Initiative
  • Harvard Research Scholar Initiative (RSI)
  • IMSD (Initiative for Maximizing Student Development)
  • LSAMP (Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation)
  • MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers)
  • MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers)
  • McNair Scholars Program
  • MIT Laureates & Leaders
  • NIH Diversity in Extramural Program
  • PREP (Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program)
  • Project 1000
  • Project SHORT
  • PROPEL (Post-baccalaureate Research Opportunity to Promote Equity in Learning)
  • RISE (Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement)
  • Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program
  • Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science
  • Society for Women Engineers
  • WCM Tri-I Mentorship Initiative

Please select the program(s) you have participated in the Pipeline Programs section of your application and you will receive an automatic fee waiver (proof of participation may be requested).

If you are an administrator or a participant of a program not listed above, you may request that we consider adding the program to our list of programs eligible for an application fee waiver for its participants by writing to

How do I request a fee waiver?

Applicants who wish to request a fee waiver must start their application. You are welcome to upload support documentation for financial hardship or extenuating circumstances within the Fee Waiver Request Form located in the other information section of the application.

Make sure all sensitive data (e.g., Social Security Numbers) are redacted from supporting documentation before submitting. Allow up to seven business days for your request to be processed. You will receive an email after your request has been reviewed and a decision has been made. If your request is approved, a fee waiver will automatically be applied to your application. A fee waiver will not be retroactively applied to an application that has already been paid for and submitted.     

Please email with any questions or concerns.

Can I submit admissions materials after the application deadline?

We may extend a short grace period to accept late materials after the application deadline.  Review of applications with missing materials is at the discretion of the programs' admissions committees.

How can I check to see which materials are still missing in my application?

After your application has been submitted, please login to your application portal to track receipt of your materials. 

Can I apply as transfer student?

Students enrolled in relevant PhD programs at other institutions must submit a regular application and all required materials.  If admitted and enrolling, your academic record will be reviewed to determine if any previously completed credits will transfer to WCGS.

What degree(s) do I need into order to be eligible to apply?

To be considered for admission, applicants must have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university and must show evidence of your potential for advanced research as indicated by your scholastic records, training, and experience.


Graduate School General FAQ

What are the curricular and academic requirements of the Program and timeline to degree?

In year 1, students are expected to complete program specific required courses and begin laboratory rotations. Year 2 includes additional lab rotations, elective and required courses, and preparation for the admission to candidacy exam (ACE). By the end of year 2, students should have chosen their thesis laboratory, completed all course work, and sat for the ACE.  Doctoral research commences full time from year 3 until the dissertation defense.  Please visit our degree requirements page for details. 

In which labs can I do research?

All WCGS PhD faculty hold either Weill Cornell Medical College appointments or appointments with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Investigators listed on the WCGS Faculty webpage participate in our PhD programs. Students are permitted to rotate in labs outside of their program.

Are PhD students required to teach?

The PhD program has no teaching requirements and student funding is not tied to teaching expectations. There are Teacher Assistant (TA) opportunities for select courses for those of you who are interested in that experience.

How will I be funded?

All entering PhD students are fully supported by the Graduate School for the first two years through institutional funds and institutional T32 training grants. Once a student selects a lab, funding will be provided by their PI. Students can expect full funding for the duration of their tenure as a PhD student with no requirements for external funding, teaching assistantships, etc.  Please visit our Financial Support page for more information.

Do you provide housing to students?

Incoming single PhD students are guaranteed subsidized housing on campus.  Subsized family housing is offered to students with partners and/or dependents, subject to availability. You can review our housing options and costs on the WCM Housing website.

I have a question about a specific program, who can I contact?

Please contact the program coordinator for the program(s) you are interested in.  Contact information can be found here.

Can I complete the PhD program part-time and/or remotely?

No, our PhD programs are full-time and in-person.  


Upcoming Events


We're always working on putting events together. Be sure to check back soon for more event listings.


Stay in Touch

The fall 2024 Ph.D. application is now closed. 

Submit the Request for Information Form to receive notification about the admissions 2025 cycle.

Weill Cornell Medicine Graduate School of Medical Sciences 1300 York Ave. Box 65 New York, NY 10065 Phone: (212) 746-6565 Fax: (212) 746-8906