Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology Graduate Programs Frequently Asked Questions

Program Eligibility

Who is eligible to apply to the graduate program?

The minimum requirement to apply is a bachelor’s level degree (B.S. or B.A.) in a biomedical or related field. International students must have completed an international degree that is equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing. A 3.0 GPA in undergraduate or other graduate work is required.

I won't graduate until May. Can I apply?

Yes. If you are admitted, you will need to supply a final transcript showing completion of a degree program.

Do I need to contact faculty to secure a mentor before applying?

No, students admitted into the program will complete laboratory rotations during their first year to identify a mentor and lab to join.

Application Materials

Who should I ask to write letters of recommendation?

You should request letters from people best qualified to address your potential for graduate work. Academic references representing your major field and persons who can comment on qualities that will be relevant to academic pursuits, particularly research, are preferred.

Do I need to submit transcripts for every college level class I have taken?

Yes. Even if a class shows up on another transcript, the Admissions Office requires original transcripts. Official transcripts are required from all schools at which college credit was awarded, including credits earned through study abroad programs. The only exception may be if you took concurrent credits during high school.  If you earned college credits during high school please indicate those on application on the ‘College Education’ page, transcripts for those credits may not be required.  If you do not indicate that those credits were taken concurrently during high school, a transcript may be required.

Can I upload copies of my transcripts to the application?

The application system allows you to upload unofficial copies of your transcripts to your application.  However, those unofficial copies will not satisfy the transcript requirement.  Official transcripts must be sent to Graduate Admissions, either electronically or via mail, to complete your application.​

What if my transcripts are not in English?

If the institution does not issue records in English, original language records must be submitted with official English translations.

What should I include in my Statement of Purpose?

There are no strict guidelines for writing your Statement of Purpose – that’s what makes it personal.

However, the Statement of Purpose is a very important part of the application and the following features are typically helpful for the Admissions Committee:

  • Should be your work and reflect you, although it’s fine to get input from others.
  • Should include some description of your research experience. Research experience is a critical component in the admissions decision. If your research experience is not mentioned in your Statement of Purpose and/or your recommendation letters, the Committee won’t know about it.
  • Should address the question: Why are you interested in attending graduate school, and why are you interested in graduate school at Colorado State University specifically.
  • May include your thinking about career plans, although it is early in your scientific training and nothing is set in stone.
  • The Statement of Purpose can be a place to address discrepancies, relative weaknesses, or anything potentially atypical that may arise in viewing your application, e.g., if you had low grades in one particular semester, took time during or after college for another endeavor, are making a change in career direction or scientific field, etc.

International Applicants

What is the minimum TOEFL score needed for admission?

Paper-based: 550
Computer-based: 213
Internet-based: 80

Is the IELTS test of English proficiency accepted by the University?

Yes. The Minimum IELTS score for admission is 6.5.

When can the English proficiency requirement be waived?

You may be exempted from the English proficiency requirement if the official language of your country is English (check the list of TOEFL/IELTS exempt countries to see if your home country is exempt​) or if you have recently earned a degree at an American university.

Application Review

Who will review my application?

The Graduate Education Committee​ reviews all applications for the graduate program. The committee consists of the Associate Head for Graduate Education, four faculty members, and two current graduate students elected by their peers.

What criteria are used to evaluate students for admission?

  • Perceived ability to do well in a graduate program. From your academic record, we consider courses taken, letters of recommendation, and GPA.
  • Research experience. The program does not require but strongly prefers to see evidence of research activity as an undergraduate or post-baccalaureate. Many successful applicants have had some independent laboratory experience indicative of a commitment to a research career.
  • Strong letters of recommendation. Strong statements of support from persons in a position to evaluate an applicant’s potential for success as a graduate student carry significant weight in admission decisions.
  • Strong Statement of Purpose
  • Interests that match available research opportunities​ in the department.​

How many applications do you get each year?

Approximately 120 applications.

How many students do you admit each year?

No fixed or numerical criteria are used; holistic review of the applicants are completed from all of the documentation in the application file. The number of students admitted is also dependent on space and resource availability in the department and individual faculty laboratories. Approximately 10 students may be admitted each fall.

What if my application is not complete by the deadline?

Incomplete applications will not be reviewed by the Graduate Education Committee. All materials must be received by the deadline.

Your incomplete application can be considered the following year if you chose to defer your application.

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