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 via Skype.

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 $70 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 16, 2019)

(Cell and Molecular Biology)



To be considered for graduate admission at San Diego State University, you must follow the 3 step process outlined below.  For more detailed information regarding the admissions process, please visit the Graduate Admissions Website (


Step 1:  Complete the CSU Cal State Apply Application by December 16, 2019


Each applicant must submit the California State University application electronically at the CSU Cal State Apply ( along with the $70 nonrefundable application fee.  Once you have submitted a CSU Cal State Apply application, you will be assigned a RedID number, which will be e-mailed to you within 3-5 business days.  Your RedID number will allow you to track the status of your application through the SDSU WebPortal (


Step 2: Submit Official Transcripts & Test Scores to the Graduate Admissions Office by January 13, 2020


After you have submitted the CSU Cal State Apply application and received your RedID number, you will need to send official transcripts and test scores to the Graduate Admissions Office.  Sending transcripts before submitting the CSU Cal State Apply application will result in processing delays. 


You must provide the following:


  1. Official transcripts (in sealed envelopes) issued within the last year, from all U.S. colleges and universities attended.  Students who previously attended SDSU need only submit transcripts for coursework completed since last attendance.  Hard copy SDSU transcripts are not required. 


Students with international coursework must submit both the official transcript and proof of degree.  If documents are in a language other than English, they must be accompanied by a certified literal English translation.  For country specific requirements, please see the Graduate Admissions website (link to


  1. General GRE test scores sent directly from Educational Testing Services (ETS) ( using SDSU’s Institution Code 4682.  Please note the university requires that all sections (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing) of the GRE be completed.  


  1. TOEFL scores are required of all applicants, regardless of citizenship, whose native language is not English and whose preparatory education was principally in a language other than English.  Scores should be sent directly from ETS (link to using SDSU’s Institution Code 4682.

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.

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) exam is also accepted. The minimum required score for admission is 6.5.  Please note scores must be recent; within the past two years. See IELTS website for instructions ( ).


The above listed materials should be sent to:


Graduate Admissions Office

San Diego State University

5500 Campanile Drive

San Diego, CA 92182-7416


If you have questions regarding Steps 1 and 2, please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at (619) 594-6336 or e-mail  International applicants may contact the International Recruitment Office at (619)594-6336 or e-mail


STEP 3:  Supplemental Graduate Application and Documents required by the BIOLOGY Department.

In addition to the CSU Cal State Apply application, applicants must also submit supplemental materials required by the Biology Department as follows:

1) Supplemental Graduate Application (this is in addition to the CSU Cal State Apply application) Go 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) Three Letters of Recommendation.  You will be asked to provide names and email addresses for individuals who will be writing your letters and uploading them onto the system themselves. The system allows for up to 5 letters.

5) Photocopy of ETS score card containing GRE and/or TOEFL scores.

6)  Copy of unofficial transcripts.

Review of applications for Fall 2020 will commence in early January 2020. In order to ensure consideration, please submit the CSU application, Graduate Supplemental Application, and upload all necessary documents by the December 16, 2019 deadline

Tracking Your 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