Admissions Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

+ How do I compare to your average student?

Here is a snapshot of a recent entering class:

  • Acceptance rate: 17%
  • 44 first‐year students
  • Average GPA: 3.5
  • Average GRE (quantitative plus verbal): 310
  • Average amount of research experience: 2.5 years
  • Average TOEFL: 108
  • 59% female, 41% male
  • 86% U.S. citizens, 14% international
  • 20% U.S. students from underrepresented groups

+ What can I do to increase my competitiveness as an applicant?

  • Review the admissions information to learn about our requirements and deadlines.
  • Submit all components listed in the Application Checklist by the application deadline.
  • Include information about your research experience on your resume/CV or personal statement.
  • Follow up on the status of your application through TargetX and act appropriately to ensure it is complete.

 

Research experience is one of the most important factors when considering an application, so it is recommended that personal statements, resumes/CVs, and letters of reference provide relevant details.

+ What kind of research experience is needed?

Admissions committees look for bench/wet lab or bioinformatics research.  At least six months of research experience is required, and this can be a combination of summer research opportunities, undergraduate research, postgraduate research, employment, etc.  Lab components of an academic course are generally not considered research experience.

+ How can I gain research experience?

  • Get involved in undergraduate research for course credit
  • Volunteer in a lab (can be at your current institution or elsewhere)
  • Apply to work in a lab

 

Undergraduate students have the opportunity to conduct research in labs affiliated with GBS through the following offices and programs:

Summer in Biomedical Sciences (SIBS) Undergraduate Research Program

SIBS is an eight-week summer research program for students entering their junior or senior year of undergrad.  The program will provide the opportunity to be instructed in the techniques of modern biology while becoming integrated members of a vibrant clinical and scientific community.  You do not need to be a UAB student to apply.  Participants are provided a stipend and housing.

Summer Program in Neuroscience (SPIN)

SPIN is a ten-week summer neuroscience research program for students entering their junior or senior year of undergrad.  The program provides an immersive summer research experience including the opportunity to learn the basic skills necessary to contribute to a research program and professional development training.  You do not need to be a UAB student to apply.  Participants are provided a stipend, housing, a food allowance, and some travel assistance to and from Birmingham.

Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR)

For undergraduate students currently enrolled at UAB, the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) is your one-stop clearinghouse for undergraduate research. They promote and facilitate research, scholarship, and creative activities by undergraduate students across all disciplines at UAB. OUR provides information and tools necessary to educate undergraduate students about research, help them find and engage in fulfilling research opportunities, and assist students in communicating their findings.

+ Do I need to contact faculty before applying?

You do not need to contact faculty for admission.  Students in our program do three research rotations with different faculty in the first year before joining a lab, so admission is decided by a committee rather than individual faculty members.  You are welcome to reach out to faculty with other questions (such as if they will be taking rotation students), but it is not required and will not affect your chances of admission.

+ Do I need a master's degree to apply?

No, a master's degree is not required.

+ May I enter the program in spring or summer?

Admission is only offered for fall semester because that is when first-year coursework begins.  Some fall applicants may be allowed to enter during the summer semester to begin their first lab rotation.

+ Do you offer a master's degree?

GBS only offers PhD programs, but UAB offers a Masters of Science in Basic Medical Sciences (MSBMS) that prepares students for a wide-spectrum of careers related to the biomedical sciences.

+ I'm not sure which theme to apply to. What should I do?

Students select a theme for entry but have access to faculty and courses from across GBS, allowing for flexibility in both research and academics. This means you can do research in any lab, regardless of theme.  Each theme has different requirements regarding coursework, so review the training plans and any supplemental materials on each theme page to assess which theme best fits your interests.

+ Who is considered a domestic applicant?

Domestic applicants are US citizens or lawful permanent residents who hold a Permanent Resident Card (green card). Lawful permanent residents will be asked to upload a copy of their green card during the application process.

 

Application Questions

+ Have all parts of my application been received?

TargetX allows you to check the status of your application 24/7.  Log into the system to view your current status.  

+ Can I submit unofficial transcripts?

Yes, we can use unofficial transcripts for initial review of applications.  Upload directly to your application through TargetX.  If offered admission, official transcripts from each institution will be required.

+ I submitted unofficial transcripts, but my checklist says transcripts have not been received. What happened?

The Graduate School has to review and verify all uploaded transcripts.  This review is typically done one to three business days after application submission. Once they have verified the transcript, it will be marked as "complete" in your checklist.

+ Where do I send my official transcripts?

For UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.

UAB Grad School
LHL G03
1700 University Boulevard
Birmingham AL 35294-0013

For United States Postal Service
UAB Grad School
LHL G03
1720 2nd Avenue South
Birmingham AL 35294-0013

 

For those schools that use email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

+ How are letters of recommendation submitted?

Letters of recommendation are submitted online.  The people identified as recommenders will receive an email with instructions on how to submit their letter.  See a sample email here (pdf).  If there are any issues, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for assistance.

+ How many letters of recommendation are required?

Three.

+ Should I waive the right to see my letters of recommendation?

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, students have access to their education record, including letters of recommendation. However, applicants may waive their right to see letters of recommendation, in which case the letters will be held in confidence.  Most people waive this right because it can allow the author to be more honest and genuine in their letter, but it is up to each applicant to decide what is best for their situation.

+ Have my letters of reference been received?

After submitting your application, view your checklist in TargetX to see which letters have been received.  If a letter has not been received, follow up with the recommender.

+ The person writing my letter of recommendation never got an email to submit the letter. What should I do?

If you have already submitted your application, log into TargetX and click to resend the email to that recommender.  For further help, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the name and email address of the recommender to have a new email sent.

+ Will it hurt my application if I do not submit GRE scores?

No.

+ For GRE scores, what is the department code and the institution code for UAB?

  • Institution code is 1856.
  • There is no department code.

As a reminder, GRE scores are not required for application, but scores can be provided voluntarily.

+ I applied in the past and wish to apply again this year. How do I do this?

Documents from your prior application can be transferred over and used with your new application. Submit a new application and send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request for transfer of materials.


International Student Questions

+ Can the application fee be waived?

Students participating in one of the programs listed in step 4 of the application checklist may be eligible for an application fee waiver.  Instructions are included beneath the list of programs.

+ May I submit unofficial TOEFL, IELTS, or PTEA scores for initial review of my application?

Yes!  Upload directly to your application through TargetX.

+ For TOEFL scores, what is the institution code for UAB?

Institution code is 1856.  There is no department code.

+ Can the English proficiency requirement be waived?

The English proficiency requirement is managed by the Graduate School.  See the English proficiency details to see if you are eligible for a waiver.  For further information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

+ Do I have to submit the Financial Affidavit of Support?

  • The Financial Affidavit of Support is a government requirement for all international students who matriculate into our program.
  • It is suggested that the Financial Affidavit of Support be submitted with your application. However, if it is a burden, you may provide this after you are offered admission.
  • All students traditionally admitted into the program receive financial support.  This will be stated in the appointment letter, so you may submit the appointment letter as proof of financial support.

+ How will interviews occur for international students?

  • International applicants living in the continental U.S. may be invited to on-campus interview weekends.
  • Applicants living outside of the continental U.S. may be interviewed via Skype.

+ Are transcript evaluations from WES or ECE required?

Transcript evaluations are helpful but not required.  You have the option to include them with your application.