Graduate Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

When is the application deadline?
The application deadline for Fall 2020 is Monday December 9, 2019.

Does the program offer ONLY Fall admissions? When is the next admission window?
Yes. Fall 2020.

Is there an online application available?
Yes. Please apply online at http://gradapply.ucsd.edu using major code BF76. The online application system opens mid-September.

What do I need for my application?

  • Please read What You Need to Apply on the Graduate Division site.
  • Three letters of recommendation. You'll provide the names and contact info through the application site, http://gradapply.ucsd.edu, and the letter writers will submit their letters electronically through that site.
  • GRE General Test scores for all applicants, and TOEFL or IELTS exams for most foreign applicants (see more info below). Prospective students should take these exams in time for scores to arrive by the application deadline. Please request ETS to send official GRE scores to:
    • Institution Code 4836 (UC San Diego)
    • GRE Department Code 0224 (Bioinformatics)
    • TOEFL Department Code 69 (Engineering, other)
  • Official transcripts of prior institutions attended. Your scanned and uploaded version of your transcripts will suffice for our review process. Those that are invited for an interview will be asked to send your official transcripts.
  • More information:

Is the TOEFL exam required?
The TOEFL or IELTS exams are required of all foreign applicants to UCSD whose first language is a language other than English. Exemptions from this requirement are made when an applicant has studied full-time for a minimum of one year in a university program in an English-speaking country, such as the United States, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand or Australia.

  • The minimum TOEFL score accepted by UCSD is 85 (Internet-based exam), 213 (computer-based exam) or 550 (written exam).
  • The minimum IELTS score accepted by UCSD is 7.
  • We do not receive IELTS results electronically as we do TOEFL, so students must direct IELTS to send an official hard-copy of their results to UCSD.

Is there any supplementary application form that I should fill out in addition to the online application?
No, there is no supplementary application needed when applying to the program; just the online application and submission of all official documentation is needed.

What is UCSD's application fee?
The non-refundable application fee is:
US Citizens and Permanent Resident Applicants: $120.00
International Applicants: $140.00

Which research track should I apply for?
Please see this page for information on the two tracks, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (BISB) and Biomedical Informatics (BMI). On the application form, you will need to select a track as well as faculty you are interested in working with.

What are the UC San Diego Institutional and Department codes?
Please send test scores to

  • Institution Code 4836 (UC San Diego)
  • GRE Department Code 0224 (Bioinformatics)
  • TOEFL Department Code 69 (Engineering, other)

In applying for the Bioinformatics Graduate Program, does an applicant need to supply any particular GRE Subject test score?
No, the subject GRE is not required; only the general GRE is required.

How long are GRE scores valid?
Educational Testing Service (ETS) will report GRE scores for 5 full years, only. For specific information, visit the GRE website.

What are the past average scores for accepted applicants?

  • GRE Verbal: 82.9 (percentile)
  • GRE Quantitative: 87.4 (percentile)
  • GRE Analytical Writing: 78.1 (percentile)
  • Undergraduate GPA: 3.64

Which research track should I apply for?
Please see this page for information on the two tracks, Bioinformatics and Systems Biology (BISB) and Biomedical Informatics (BMI). On the application form, you will need to select a track as well as faculty you are interested in working with.

Do I apply through one of the participating Departments to get into the Bioinformatics & Systems Biology Graduate Program?
No. You may apply directly to the Ph.D. Bioinformatics & Systems Biology Program (major code BF76). If you are interested in one of the majors with a Specialization in Bioinformatics, please contact the department and apply through the respective department. Please note that other programs/departments have different application deadlines. For more information on the degrees with a specialization in Bioinformatics see here.

Does UC San Diego offer a master's program in Bioinformatics? If not, are there any plans of having a master's program?
No. We currently do not offer a master's program, nor do we intend to establish a master's program.

Can one enter the Ph.D. program and receive a terminal master's degree?
No.

Is it possible to pursue the Ph.D. in Bioinformatics on a part-time basis?
Currently we are only accepting students into the program on a full-time basis.

Can I take Bioinformatics classes without being in the Bioinformatics Ph.D. program?

  • UCSD faculty (in collaboration with other schools) have created a Bioinformatics Specialization on Coursera. This is a series of online courses, with both free and paid options.
  • Local San Diego residents may be eligible to take UC San Diego Extension classes. Search the Extension site for Bioinformatics classes. The classes offered through Extension are separate from the regular classes for the UCSD Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Graduate Program.
  • Local San Diego residents may be eligible to take regular UC San Diego classes through Concurrent Enrollment. Contact the course instructor and the Concurrent Enrollment office for information. However, regular UCSD students have enrollment priority, and a decision on letting you enroll may not be made until after the class has started.
  • Graduate Program Coordinator: Jade Hermes
  • Email: bioinfo@ucsd.edu
  • Phone: (858) 822-0831
  • On campus: Powell-Focht Bioengineering Hall, Room 141
  • Mailing Address:
    Bioinformatics and Systems Biology Graduate Program
    University of California, San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive, Dept. 0419
    La Jolla, CA 92093-0419