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Admissions and Application

Admission Philosophy

The Graduate Program for Cell Biology, Stem Cells and Development (CSD) seeks students with the intellectual aptitude, independence and motivation to pursue scientific research.

The Graduate School online application will be available starting September 1st. The application must be complete and supporting materials received by December 1 for consideration for entry. Graduate program application deadlines do vary, so please check with each respective program for their deadline. All credentials presented for admission become the property of the University of Colorado.

When you apply to the CSD Graduate Program, you have two options. You can apply online:

  1. to the CSD program directly, if you feel our program is the best fit for your already focused interests, or
  2. to the umbrella program in Biomedical Sciences (BSP), and then select CSD as one of your 2 host programs for recruitment weekend. This options allows you to have flexibility in your research interests if admitted, yet still focus on CSD for the time being. See the Biomedical Science Program web site for a full description of the BSP option.

Those applicants who are selected to interview will be invited to attend one of our Graduate school recruiting weekends in February. The CSD program will arrange and provide lodging, transportation, and meals during the recruiting weekends. A rough weekend itinerary is as follows:

  • Fly to / arrive in Denver Thursday
  • Interview with approximately 6 faculty members on Friday & enjoy dinner with CSD students
  • Tour Denver on Saturday, attend a research poster session and Graduate School banquet
  • Return home on Sunday morning

Entrance Requirements

Students seeking admission into our program should have an undergraduate degree or its equivalent and are recommended to have taken the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Foreign students must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL-iBT). A baccalaureate degree in either a biological science, chemistry, physics or engineering is recommended. Applicants are strongly encouraged to take an undergraduate level biochemistry course. Students will be more favorably viewed for admission if they have Graduate Record Examination percentiles of 65 or higher. There is no absolute requirement for grade point average above that required by the graduate school, but successful applicants will generally have GPAs above 3.2 (A=4.0). Undergraduate research experience is strongly recommended. Students with deficiencies may be admitted, but these must be rectified during the first year.

Undergraduate Studies
  • The CSD Program requires a baccalaureate degree (BS or BA) with a 3.0 (out of 4.0) Grade Point Average (GPA)
  • In addition, the CSD Admissions Committee reviews your completed coursework to determine if each candidate has sufficient background to pursue our doctoral degree
  • Specifically, candidates must have taken Organic Chemistry, Biology, Biochemistry, Physics and Calculus
  • Coursework in two or more of the following subjects is recommended and certainly enhances your application: cell biology, developmental biology, genetics, molecular biology, molecular genetics, neurobiology, immunology, and physiology
Graduate Record Exam (GRE)

The GRE General Test (verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections) is recommended, but not required for application to the CSD Program. Typically, competitive applicants score at least 1250 for combined verbal and quantitative exams taken prior to August 1, 2011, and combined score of 300 for GREs taken after August 1, 2011, with a minimum Analytical Writing score of 3.5. Subject tests are not required. To send scores directly to CSD, please designate GRE code 4875.

Research Experience

While not required, research experience is highly recommended. This type of real world experience is extremely valuable in providing insight to both the Admissions Committee and the candidate as to how a budding scientist (you!) responds to the rigors and rewards of scientific endeavor.

Letters of Recommendation

Three letters of recommendation are required for your application to be considered complete, and thus be reviewed by the CSD Admissions Committee. You may request and have the letters completed on-line; when you apply, follow the instructions in the on-line application. However, you may still use paper recommendations and snail mail by downloading the Request for Recommendation form in the on-line application. Either way, these letters are important, and are key to the Admissions Committees evaluation of you. Thus, you should select faculty who know not only how well you have performed in classes, but can talk about your research experience and the likelihood of your future success as a scientist.

How to Apply


To apply for admission applicants must submit the following:

  1. Online Graduate School application (included in the application is the Research Statement, Professional Background, and Future Goals Statement, and Colorado residency form).
  2. A $50.00 domestic and $75.00 international non-refundable application fee [credit card (on-line only), check, or money order]. No application will be processed unless this fee is paid.

  3. One (1) official transcript of all academic work completed to date.
  4. To be considered "official", the transcripts must come from the issuing institution directly to the University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus graduate program. Use the following address:

    University of Colorado Denver—Anschutz Medical Campus
    Graduate School
    Campus Box 163
    PO Box 173364
    1380 Lawrence Street Suite 1250
    Denver, CO 80205-3364

    Electronic Transcripts for all basic science graduate programs should be sent to:

  5. Three (3) letters of recommendation.
  6. GRE test scores (optional). Use GRE code 4875.
  7. TOEFL or IELTS scores and financial support verification (international students only).
  8. State of Colorado residency form (part of the on-line application).

Questions should be directed to:

Caitlin Moloney, Program Administrator
Office Phone: (303)724-3350

Financial Aid

Students accepted in the PhD program are provided full tuition, health and dental insurance, and a stipend of $31,000 per year for living expenses (for the academic year 2019-2020). Continued support is contingent upon satisfactory academic and research performance by the student. Students can expect to receive continued financial support pending satisfactory progress in the Graduate Program. After one year of residency in Colorado, students who are US citizens or Permanent Residents are eligible for in-state tuition rates.

International Applicants - Important Information

International students must meet ALL of the requirements above and also must provide:

  1. Original transcripts and documentation in English (or a certified English translation) of the completion of a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or the equivalent as evaluated by the CU Denver Office of International Affairs;
  2. Financial and other documents as required by the International Student and Scholar Services Office to process immigration documents;
  3. A certified English translation of all academic records and references not in English, and
  4. Evidence of proficiency in English as defined in the University policy Official Measures of English Language Proficiency for Admission of International Students (effective July 1, 2012) by satisfying one of the following criteria:
    1. The applicant is a citizen of a country whose official language is English, which includes Australia, Belize, Botswana, Canada (except Quebec), Commonwealth Caribbean, Ghana, Great Britain, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, and Zimbabwe; or
    2. The applicant obtains a composite score of 75 or above on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL, iBT) (minimum subscores of 15 in Reading, 14 in Listening, 19 in Speaking, and 20 in Writing) or a composite score of 6.5 or above on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (minimum subscores of 5.5 in each area). Schools or Colleges, or individual graduate programs may require higher standards on these tests; or
    3. The applicant has graduated from the CU Denver’s ESL Academy; or
    4. The applicant has graduated with a bachelor’s degree or higher from a foreign institution where the language of instruction was English. (The applicant must provide a letter from the home institution verifying this information if the language of instruction is not clearly indicated on the official academic transcript.); or
    5. The applicant has graduated with a bachelor’s degree or higher from a US accredited school abroad where the language of instruction was English. (The applicant must provide a letter from the home institution verifying this information if the language of instruction is not clearly indicated on the official academic transcript.); or
    6. The applicant has earned a bachelor’s degree in the US or has successfully completed a minimum of 2 semesters (a minimum of 12 credits) of full-time study in a graduate-level master’s program at an accredited institution in the US and obtained a “B” (3.00) cumulative GPA or higher.

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