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BCB MS Frequently Asked Questions

When is the application deadline?

All prospective MS students (International and USA) must apply by April 15 for admission to start in the following Fall quarter (no Spring admission is available).

What research opportunities are available?

On the website ( ) there is a link to "People", which lists the BCB MS members & their research interests. These are potential labs in which a student may be able to pursue research. Flexibility exists and students may do research in labs outside this list as long as the project falls broadly under the category of biochemistry and cell biology.

What financial assistance or scholarships are available?

Unfortunately, we currently cannot provide financial aid. There are no tuition waivers or TA lines, though there have been part time lab assistant-ships available through Stony Brooks Undergraduate Biology Program. In general, these are not sufficient to cover tuition costs.

What opportunities are available for under-represented minority students?

Loads. For example, several of our graduate students have successfully obtained NSF Bridges to Doctorate fellowships ($30,000 for two years). For more information and opportunities, see the Center for Inclusive Education web page (

If a student has a GPA lower than 3.0, is it possible for them to be admitted into the GraduateProgram?

The Admissions Committee examines all aspects of each application, and a low GPA may be mitigated by other strengths of the application. However, this cannot be determined in advance without seeing the student’s entire application.

How many BCB MS students are accepted per year?

In 2012, there were ~120 applicants and ~15 were offered admission. 14 out of the 15 accepted our offer.

Is the GRE required for admission to the BCB MS Program?

The GRE is NOT required for admission; however, a strong performance on this exam can be a positive indicator. For foreign applicants, the TOEFL is required. We do not offer “conditional” acceptance.

Can the masters program be completed in a year?

The program is designed to be completed in three (3) semesters, but it is possible to do it in two (2), with completion of the thesis over the summer. However, to do so in an accelerated manner woulddemand that you enter the program with a very strong foundation in Biochemistry & Cell Biology.

Who can I contact with general questions about the graduate program?

Contact the Graduate School. A listing of degree programs where you may find contact information is located at (select Biochemistry & Cell Biology under the Masters program). If you are checking on the status of your application and/or materials received, log in to your Application account at You will need your pin # and password to access your information. You may also find answers to your admissions questions on the Graduate School FAQ page at

Here are my GPA, GRE and TOEFL scores; does this meet the program requirements?

Without seeing your entire application, we cannot tell you for certain whether or not you will be admitted. Details about the program requirements, deadlines and how to apply can be found on our webpage:

What is the requirement for each part of TOEFL?

All foreign graduate students must score a minimum of 90.

Should I contact individual faculty before submitting my application?

Do not contact individual faculty before admission. There is no point because students must first apply and be admitted to the program. However, after you are admitted, we encourage you to contact faculty that you may be interested in working with.

What type of flexibility does the program have to accommodate a full time career?

The biggest potential conflict for a 9-5 job is that most of the required courses are scheduled during the day. Therefore, students that are also employed must have the job flexibility to attend these required courses. With regard to the length of the degree program, sample study programs listed on our web page are designed to be completed in three semesters, but can be stretched out up to six semesters.

I am a permanent US resident, does that mean my tuition fees will be lower than international students?

The URL that contains a current breakdown of tuition and costs for resident and out of state graduate students is:

I want to re-apply to the university this year, but am unable to start a new application or edit the previous application. What do I do?

Contact ApplyYourself. There is a technical support link that you can use.

Are my GRE & TOEFL scores competitive enough for admission?

TOEFL scores may not be below 90. The Admissions Committee examines all aspects of each application, and a low GRE may be mitigated by other strengths of the application. However, this cannot be determined in advance without seeing the student’s entire application.

Can a student get admission into the masters program if they've graduated with another degree?

Yes, but preference will be given to students that have not completed an MS in another Biochemistry or related field.

I would like to apply for my MS degree in BCB and I am also interested in pursuing a Ph.D. at Stony Brook (MCB, BSB or MGM). If I were to apply to the MS program for the upcoming fall and after a semester (or full year) I decide I would like to obtain my Ph.D., would that be a doable transition? Would any of the completed MS coursework be applicable/transferable towards a PhD?

Our BCB MS students take the same courses that our Ph.D. students are required to take, so all courses would be transferable. However, admission to the PhD programs is not automatic. MS students must apply and be admitted into the Ph.D. program.

How many credits do I need to keep my student status?

9 credits

What undergraduate classes should be taken to prepare a student for a BCB MS graduate course load?

Cell Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry (I and II)

Where on campus do Masters students usually live?

Graduate housing may be available. Contact the Graduate school to apply for on campus housing.

Can the language proficiency test for International Students who have or will graduate from an English speaking institution be waived?

If an International student has received an UG degree from an English-speaking institution, or has successfully obtained a graduate degree from an English-speaking institution, the department can request a waiver. To ensure the email comes from the corresponding graduate program director, send the email and cc the graduate program director on the email correspondence. Clearly indicate what qualifies the student to be exempt from the proficiency test. The request will be reviewed and responded to via email.

Will the department offer conditional acceptance for those applicants who do not fulfill the English proficiency (TOEFL) requirement?


What if I submitted an application to the BCB MS program in the past, and want to apply again?

The Graduate School will allow an applicant to reapply to the same program within a year. However, the applicant cannot alter any portion of their application - he/she must use the one on file. If he/she chooses to update any information, a new pin and application must be created.

Do International students need to use the WES services to process their transcripts before sending them to us?


Can a student sit in on a class that they are not registered for?

Auditing a class requires prior permission from the instructor first; not all instructors allow students to audit their courses.

If I have taken equivalent graduate courses, how many grad credits can be transferred and applied towards my MS degree?

12 credits can be transferred (as per Grad School rules). Contact the Graduate school as this rule may vary from year to year.

Where can I go for more questions about graduate school?

The Career Center website has loads of information ( Once on the website, click on Students tab on top of page, then click on Graduate & Professional Schools. At the top of the page are 3 tabs, Contemplating, Exploring & Focusing and Preparing & Applying (probably most helpful). Check out the whole website though.

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