Thank you for your interest into the Joint Doctoral Program in Cell and Molecular Biology at San Diego State University. The Joint Doctoral Program in Cell and Molecular Biology is an innovative program, presented in cooperation with the University of California at San Diego. The program takes advantage of the combined resources of two excellent institutions to offer students significant research opportunities at diverse locations, expanded faculty and course availability, and exposure to San Diego's thriving biomedical and biotechnology research environment. Our doctoral students receive tuition and financial support.

Qualification for admission into the Doctoral Program includes a baccalaureate degree with a major in Biology or a related field, a GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 semester units of coursework, and a GPA of 3.0 for upper division biological sciences courses. You must submit recent test scores for the Graduate Records Examination (GRE) general examination with a minimum score in the 65% range for each category. There is no time limit for GRE scores as long as Educational Testing Services (ETS) or the student can provide an official report of the scores. Foreign students are also required to submit TOEFL scores. See below for detailed information.

The Admissions Committee will evaluate potential student applications based on grade point average, GRE and TOEFL scores, research experience, and letters of recommendation. Selected students will be invited to interview at SDSU with faculty and current Ph.D. students. Selected foreign students will be invited to interview by phone.

BELOW PLEASE FIND DETAILED STEP BY STEP APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS. Please read all of the materials regarding the application process thoroughly. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact the Biology Joint Doctoral Administrator at

Please note: Even though we offer a Joint Doctoral Ph. D. Program with UCSD, you do not need to send your application materials to both SDSU and UCSD, only submit materials to SDSU. If you are being considered for the program, your application materials will then be forwarded to UCSD for review.

Current SDSU MS students applying to the Joint Doctoral Program please note: Students who plan on graduating with their MS degree must fill out the CSU application and pay the $55 fee. Students who will NOT be graduating with their MS degree and will just be transferring up to the Ph.D. program do not need to fill out the CSU application, instead they will fill out the Change of Status form, which can be found on the Graduate Research Web Page . You do not need to resubmit your transcripts as we already have them on file. However, you will need to submit the rest of the documents listed below.


(Application Deadline is December 15, 2014)

(Cell and Molecular Biology)

Applying to this program is a two-step process as detailed below

STEP 1: Apply to the University:

1) Submit the CSU application using the CSU Mentor online application along with the $55 fee (see Applications for Fall 2015 will be available on-line on October 1st. After applying to the CSU, you will receive an e-mail with instructions for obtaining a Red ID Number. This number will enable you to track your application status online through the Web Portal system and will enable the Department to create and monitor your application file.

NOTE: Only after you have applied through CSU Mentor and received your Red I.D., should you send official transcripts and other documents. Sending transcripts and other materials before submitting your CSU Mentor application can result in processing delays.

2) Submit one set of original and official transcripts of all previous academic work attempted to Graduate Admissions.

You must submit one set of official transcripts in sealed envelopes from each issuing institution. This would include all degree transcripts and a transcript from the last institution attended. Your transcripts must reflect the last 60 semester (90 quarter) units attempted.

Students with international coursework must submit all official transcripts and proof of degree(s) obtained. If certificates and transcripts are not in English, they should be accompanied by certified English transcriptions. International students should also refer to Admissions Procedures for International Students website for additional instructions and requirements.

NOTE: Please do not send extraneous items such as certificates and awards as they are unnecessary. If these items are sent, they could result in processing delays.

Send transcripts to:

Graduate Admissions/Enrollment Services

San Diego State University

5500 Campanile Drive

San Diego CA 92182-7416

3) You must also send official GRE results forwarded by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The general GRE is required. The SDSU Add/Institution Code is 4682. You do not need to add a department code. Please note: The Subject GRE is no longer required, only the General GRE test is necessary.

Our admissions committee does accept foreign GRE scores. When you apply to the University (Step 1 above), please request that the Educational Testing Services (ETS) report your scores directly to SDSU. Our institution code is 4682. When you apply to the Biology Department (Step 2 below), you may also enclose a copy of your test scores, which could help expedite the completion of your application file.

In addition to the general GRE test, international students must also submit TOEFL scores. TOEFL test scores are required if Postsecondary instruction is in a language other than English. NOTE: Students who have received a degree at an institution/university in the United States do not need to submit TOEFL scores.
TOEFL requirements for foreign students are as follows:

T-IBT = TOEFL Internet-based test (minimum 80 required)
T-CBT = TOEFL computer-based test (minimum of 213 required)
T-PBT = TOEFL paper-based test (minimum of 550 required)

NOTE: TOEFL scores expire after two years.

*International students will also need to submit a financial support document. The following paragraph can be included in your financial document:

"Annual stipends (currently $21,000-$23,000 per year) are provided for all joint Ph.D. students, as is the full cost of tuition. Students receive a complete health benefit package."

Download Adobe Acrobat (PDF Reader)

STEP 2: Apply to the BIOLOGY Department and Submit an Admissions Packet

In addition to the CSU application, applicants must also submit materials to the Biology Department as follows:

1) Department Application available online: (PDF)(this is in addition to the CSU Mentor application). The $55 fee does not need to be submitted with the Department Application; it should be submitted with the CSU Application (Step 1 above). To expedite the process, documents may also be sent directly to the department via email attachment.  Please send to

2) Statement of Professional Goals (usually one to three pages in length). NOTE: This is a more detailed version than the statement submitted on the CSU Mentor application.

3) Resume or Curriculum Vitae

4) At least three Letters of Recommendation in sealed envelopes, form is available online (PDF). Letters may also be sent directly to the department via email attachment from the references in a PDF file as long as they are on letterhead and signed.  Send directly to

5) Photocopy of ETS scorecard containing GRE and/or TOEFL scores (may also be submitted by fax at 619-594-5676 or as a PDF file via email to

6. In addition, applicants are strongly encouraged to provide unofficial transcripts directly to the Department in order to expedite the review process. NOTE: This is optional.

Review of applications for Fall 2015 will commence in early January 2015 and will continue until positions are filled. In order to ensure consideration, you must submit the CSU application and have ALL application materials to the department by the December 15 , 2014 deadline.

Assemble one COMPLETE admissions packet and mail to:

Ms. Patricia Swinford

Biology Joint Doctoral Program Coordinator

San Diego State University, Department of Biology

5500 Campanile Drive

San Diego CA 92182-4614

STEP 3: Tracking Application Status:

Use your Red I.D. number to track the status of your application online. You will be able to monitor when materials have been received and view a list of materials that are still required in order to complete your application file. Please bear in mind that we receive thousands of applications so it may take some time for the information to be added to the WebPortal System.

Other helpful information may be obtained at the following SDSU links:

Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships

International Student Center

On-Campus Housing

Cashier's Office