Frequently Asked Questions

Program Information

Are there any prerequisites for the program?

This program assumes a broad background in the sciences. It is not for students who have little or no science background. Probably the single most important prerequisite that you should have is some coursework in physiology. The committee reviews each applicant individually to see what science coursework she/he has taken. We are looking for a combination of some of the following: biology, general chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, cell biology, genetics, physics (this is just a sample – we don’t require you to have taken all of these). If you’re planning to do our human anatomy or animal anatomy option, we strongly recommend a background course in anatomy. If you are planning to do our neurobiology option, we strongly recommend a background course in biochemistry.

Does it matter where I take the pre-requisites?

Yes and no. Some courses will prepare you better than others. Our recommendations for background courses which will prepare you the best for our program are:

  • Physiology: BMS 300 at CSU – both traditional AND online courses are available
  • Anatomy:
    • BMS301 at CSU (Human Gross Anatomy) – offered on-campus in the summer, fall and spring
  • BMS305 at CSU (Animal Gross Anatomy) –offered on-campus in the spring
  • BMS310 at CSU (Anatomy for the Health Professions) – offered online

Is your program designed for people who are changing careers or have a limited science background?

Our program assumes a broad background in the sciences. If you have a very limited science background, this program may not be right for you, at least not yet.

Is your program designed for people who are trying to satisfy professional school pre-requisites?

No. Most professional school pre-requisites are 100- and 200-level courses, which cannot be applied toward a graduate degree at CSU. If you are trying to satisfy professional school pre-requisites, these classes will need to be taken outside of our program.

The core courses don't add up to 32 credits. What other courses will I be taking as part of the curriculum?

There is flexibility built into this program, which allows students to fill in gaps in their background or simply take a course that sounds interesting. Because you need 32 total credits of upper division or graduate coursework to get your degree and your core courses only constitute a portion of those credits, you will fill the remainder of credits with electives. As long as these electives are 300-level and above, they can be selected from available university-wide offerings and are not restricted to courses offered by the BMS Department.

What are the differences in option?

One’s option determines one’s core curriculum. The human anatomy and animal anatomy options are virtually identical, except that the cadavers used for dissection will differ. The human and animal anatomy options best prepare students for professional school. Students often have a hard time deciding between the human anatomy and the neurobiology options. The main difference is that the human anatomy option includes coursework in dissection and an additional course in mammalian physiology. By contrast, the neurobiology option includes coursework in developmental and systems neurobiology and does not have a dissection component.

What is the degree that I will actually receive?

All graduates of this program, regardless of option, receive a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences.

If I am accepted, when do I start?

All students accepted into this program start at the beginning of fall semester. The date changes slightly each year, but it is always late August.

If I am accepted, when do I graduate?

Assuming all requirements are fulfilled, most students graduate at the end of the summer term the following year. Students generally do not take classes over the summer, but it is an option. The timing of comprehensive exams means that the earliest students can graduate is the end of summer term (early August).

What does the program cost?

For the most recent estimate of graduate tuition and fees, please visit the Office of Financial Aid website:

Graduate tuition is calculated to include base tuition and fees plus graduate differential tuition. Please see both links to calculate actual tuition costs. For the 2019-2020 year, Colorado resident tuition is approximately $17,600. For non-residents, tuition is approximately $44,500.

What kind of financial aid is available?

This program is a self-funded program, which means the department does not have graduate assistantships or fellowships to offer deserving students. (Therefore, please disregard the February 15 deadline for priority financial aid consideration posted on the graduate school’s website.) Many students pay for the program by taking out federal student loans and we recommend submitting your FAFSA application when you apply to our program. While March 1st is the “priority date” for FAFSA, this is not a deadline and you are still encouraged to apply after this date. Additionally, you may apply for individual scholarships if you meet the eligibility requirements. Another useful resource is the Student Financial Services website.

Selection Process and Timeline

Do you choose residents over non-residents?

No. We are looking for the 50 best applicants. Residency status doesn’t affect our decision. Historically, 20-25% of our students are non-residents.

How many people do you accept in your program?

We admit a cohort of 50-54 students per year and we only matriculate students in the fall.

I won't graduate with my bachelor’s degree until the summer. Can I still apply to your program?

Yes. As long as your bachelor’s degree will be officially conferred before the start of our fall semester, you are welcome to apply.

What are my chances of acceptance?

We typically receive roughly 200 applications for 50 positions. Therefore, applicants have approximately a one in four chance of being accepted.

Do you offer an early decision deadline?

Yes, we do. If you have ALL of your application materials to us by Dec. 1 (annually), your application will be reviewed early. You will either be accepted outright or transferred to the general applicant pool to be reviewed after our regular April deadline. You will be notified of a decision by Feb. 1 and if you are offered a position, you must accept/decline our offer by March 1. If you would like your fall grades to be considered, please send us an unofficial transcript by Jan. 1. This is a great option for those of you who are applying to multiple programs, but whose first choice is CSU’s Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (1 year).

How can I make myself a better applicant?

One of the simplest things you can do is submit your application materials before the deadline. You do not want to be memorable to us because we have to hound you for your application materials. The big secret is that there is no ideal candidate – there are lots of ways to be a great graduate student so tell us yours. What makes you unique? Why would you be a great addition to our program? Experience has taught us that sometimes applicants who look great on paper don’t end up being great graduate students and vice versa. This is a valuable bit of knowledge if you have a less than stellar academic record, but the burden of proof is on you, the applicant.

If you have a lower undergraduate GPA, you might consider taking additional, upper-level science courses. While it cannot change your undergraduate GPA if you have completed your degree, it demonstrates that you are a more focused and mature student than your transcripts may reflect. Additionally, doing well in these courses demonstrates an upward trend in your grades, and this trend is important to the admissions committee.

Additionally, if you performed poorly in key science courses (received a “C” or below), you might consider retaking them to demonstrate mastery of fundamental concepts. If you make the extra effort to do this, please let us know on the Supplemental Application.

And lastly, if you are applying with an undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or below, I would encourage you to submit a minimum of two evaluation forms from academic sources, preferably in the sciences. This program is academically rigorous and if your GPA is on the low side, references attesting to your ability to handle a tough academic load might be the extra nudge needed for positive consideration by the admissions committee.

Are interviews part of the selection process?

No, unfortunately we do not have time to conduct interviews.

When will I hear back from you? What's the timeline for a decision?

We will contact applicants via e-mail approximately the first week of June to let you know whether you have been accepted, wait-listed, or declined.

If I am put on the waitlist, when can I expect to hear from you regarding a final decision?

You could hear from us at any point throughout the summer. People who have accepted spots in our program are also on waitlists at professional schools and if they are accepted into professional school, then we have positions available in our class. It happens every year, typically starting in July, but we cannot predict the timing of it. Some years, we admit only a handful of students from our waitlist, whereas other years we’ve had to scramble to fill spots the day before school started. Again, it varies so much from year to year that it’s hard to predict.

When is the deadline? April 1 or Feb. 15?

The deadline is April 1 annually. We need all of your application materials by this date, not simply the online application. Please disregard the Feb. 15 deadline for priority financial aid consideration posted on the graduate school’s website; this date does not apply to this program.

I've heard that there are Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) positions available. Is this true?

We have a limited number of GTA positions that are available fall and spring semesters. You may be eligible to apply if you have taken the courses previously at CSU and performed well in them. All graduate students in the Department of Biomedical Sciences are eligible to apply for these positions; however, our research MS and PhD students receive priority consideration based on advisor funding needs and/or degree requirements. If you are selected as a GTA, you will receive tuition reimbursement for the semester you teach, as well as a monthly stipend.

Can I schedule an appointment to talk with someone about the program?

Due to the popularity of this program, Heather Hall offers group information sessions for prospective students. During the fall, she will arrange sessions based on interest. During the winter/spring, information sessions are offered at specific times TBD.

How do I update my address if I moved after applying?

Log on to RAMweb to officially change your address with the university. Additionally, please notify Heather Hall by e-mail at or by phone at (970) 491-2702.

Application Process and Materials

How can I check the status of my application?

You can check the status of your application online through the online application portal.

When I list my references on the online application, does this mean the admissions committee will contact my references to request an Evaluation Form?


Will you accept electronic/e-mailed letters of reference that were used for a med school application, from Interfolio, or from a third party reference letter service?

Yes, but only in addition to the required evaluation form. Letters of recommendation are optional and the evaluation form is required. All evaluations need to be submitted through the online application system.This includes letters which are compiled by your college’s or university’s reference letter service.

How do I get you my CSU transcripts?

List CSU on the online application.

Can I submit my application before all of my materials have come in?

Yes, you can hit the submit button and then update your application with the rest of your materials as they come in and admissions will update it.

On PostBacCAS I see that there are two options for personal statements, do I have to submit both for the MSB one-year program? If I only need to submit one, which one should I submit?

The personal statement that we require for the MSB one-year program is in the program materials on PostBacCAS. The questions on this personal statement that should be answered are: “What strengths and personal attributes will you bring to the cohort?” and, “What do you hope to get out of this program?” Your statement should be no more than two pages long (double spaced) and written in a professional tone. You can submit the personal statement that is a part of PostBacCAS itself, but it is not required. You can submit the application to us with only the personal statement attached that is asked for in the Program Materials tab in the application.

It appears there are multiple applications available to apply for the MSB one-year program, do I need to submit more than one application to be considered?

No, you do not need to submit multiple applications to be considered for the program. The only application that you need to complete is through PostBacCAS.

Standardized Test Scores

What is an acceptable GRE score?

The committee looks for a score of 300 or better on the combined verbal and quantitative components and a 4.0 or better on the analytical writing component. This is a guideline, not a strict requirement. Your scores will be evaluated in conjunction with the rest of your application materials.

For more information about how the GRE has changed, please visit the CSU University Testing Center.

Do I need to take the GRE subject test?

No, the general test will suffice.

How do I officially report my GRE scores?

Request that the testing center send your scores directly to CSU. Please use institution code 4075 to ensure that they arrive at CSU; a departmental code is not necessary. Once they arrive, we will be able to access them on our university-wide database. If you’ve already submitted your scores to CSU for a different program (vet school or a different grad program), and the test was taken within the last 5 years, you don’t need to send them again.

What are your Institution and Department codes?

Institution Code: 4075

Department Code: 0299

What is an acceptable MCAT score?

The committee looks for a score of 500 or better as a combined score. This is a guideline, not a strict requirement. Your scores will be evaluated in conjunction with the rest of your application materials.

Will you accept DAT scores in lieu of GRE scores?


How recent must test scores be?

GRE, MCAT or DAT scores must be from tests taken within five (5) years of the application deadline.

I'm scheduled to take the MCAT/DAT after the application deadline. Can I still apply?

Yes, depending on when you will be taking the test. Keep in mind that your scores won’t be available for a month after you’ve taken the MCAT/DAT. Your application will not be reviewed until it is complete, so it is to your advantage to provide these scores as c​lose to the deadline as possible. Be sure to submit the rest of your application materials by the deadline and then email your scores to as soon as you get them. Do not schedule your MCAT/DAT exam for June or later; by the time we get your scores (it takes a month) it will be too late for you to be considered.


What is the average GPA of incoming classes?

3.3 to 3.4

What if my undergraduate GPA is below 3.0?

You are still encouraged to apply, but the burden of proof is on you. You want to demonstrate that you can handle a rigorous course-load. If the admissions committee thinks you are a strong candidate despite a low GPA, they can petition the graduate school to waive this requirement. An applicant does not request special consideration; this is determined by the admissions committee. If the graduate school approves our recommendation, you will be placed on “academic probation” your first semester. This means you must maintain a 3.0 GPA your first semester in the program or you will be dismissed by the graduate school. This is explained in more detail in the Graduate Bulletin.

How do I remedy a low undergraduate GPA?

You can’t go back and change the past, but you can demonstrate that you’re a more focused and mature student now. You do this by taking additional upper-level science courses and doing well in these courses or repeating foundational science courses in which you did poorly. You also want to make sure you submit a minimum of two evaluation forms from academic references. The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate what steps you’ve taken to remediate your GPA.

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