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Prospective Students


Admission to the CUNY Doctoral Program in Biology is through The Graduate Center Office of Admissions. On your application, indicate the subprogram (MCD, NS, PS, or EEB) to which you are applying. In addition to The Graduate Center's general requirements for admission, undergraduate preparation should include an adequate background in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, including morphology, physiology, genetics, biochemistry or organic chemistry, and calculus or statistics. The admissions committee considers basic training in the sciences and mathematics and the capacity for independent study to be more important than the completion of specific undergraduate courses. Students trained in fields other than biology may apply and may be admitted with conditions determined by the admissions committee. The Plant Sciences and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior programs have additional admissions requirements. Please visit the Plant Sciences or Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior admissions pages for further details.

CUNY NEUROSCIENCE COLLABORATIVE: Students in the Neuroscience subprogram in Biology are members of the CUNY Neuroscience Collaborative. Please go to the CUNY Neuroscience Collaborative website for details and for admissions information.

Establishing Residency

For the purposes of determining tuition charges, a student is considered a resident of the State of New York if the student has his or her principal place of abode in the State of New York for a period of at least twelve consecutive months immediately preceding the first day of classes for the semester with respect to which the residency determination is made; state an intention to live permanently and maintain a principal place of abode in New York State; and, generally, is not in the United States on any temporary visa. Residence in a dormitory, hotel, or other temporary housing facility does not in itself establish New York State residency.

General Program Requirements

All students in the CUNY Ph.D. Program in Biology must:

  1. Complete at least 60 credits of approved graduate course work.
  2. Pass a First Examination given at the end of the first academic year in the Program (June)
  3. Pass a Second Examination (thesis proposal)
  4. Teach a minimum of two semesters at the college level
  5. Conduct original research, write and defend a dissertation, present a public seminar on the subject of the dissertation

For additional requirements in each subprogram, go to the subprogram sites. Also see Biology Program Handbook.

NOTE: The general Biology Program requirements indicated above also pertain to students in the CUNY Neuroscience Collaborative (jointly administered by the Biology and Psychology PhD Programs).

Support and Benefits

CUNY Science Scholars and CUNY Neuroscience Fellows
Support packages for 5 years
Health insurance

Each student admitted for doctoral study in Biology will have financial support for five full years of study, assuming the student remains in good academic standing and progresses on schedule in his/her doctoral research. The support includes tuition, $29,000/year living allowance, and low-cost health benefits. First-year graduate students do not teach undergraduate class sections, but there is a small service component related to lab rotations and professional development.  The living allowance in years 2-5 may include salary for teaching at one of the senior CUNY colleges.

Traveling and Living in NYC

Housing The Assistant Director of Admissions of the Graduate Center coordinates matters pertaining to residence life, including helping students locate affordable housing within the New York City area. Entering students interested in obtaining housing information and assistance should contact the Assistant Director of Admissions at: CUNY Graduate Student apartments opened in summer 2011.  Go to housing on the GC website for more information. 

Traveling within New York City Buses and subways are generally the most efficient and cost-effective way to get around New York City (and the green alternative to cabs and cars). If you are not a NYC resident, you’ll soon learn the ins and outs of public transportation in the city – your fellow students and Program faculty will be happy to help you find the best travel routes around the city so that you can take full advantage of all that NYC has to offer. Do not hesitate to call the Biology Program office for help if you want to schedule a visit to the Graduate Center or to one or more laboratories at the CUNY campuses.