Admissions and Aid

Applications are first collected and processed by the Office of Admissions and then reviewed by the Biology Program's Admissions and Awards Committee.

Applicants to the Ph.D. in Biology should have an adequate background of undergraduate study 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.

Learn more or Apply online

Admissions Overview

Application deadlines (fall enrollment only):

Neuroscience Subprogram: December 1
Please note: Students interested in the NS subprogram are admitted through the CUNY Neuroscience Collaborative

All other subprograms: January 1

Candidates complete The Graduate Center’s Application for Admission and provide appropriate supplemental materials including transcripts and letters of recommendation.

Note that this program does not require the GRE for admission.

Applicants should indicate their preferred subprogram in the “program specialty” field of the application for admission:

  • Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior (note additional requirements below)
  • Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Neuroscience/CNC (see the CNC program website for full admissions details and application requirements)
  • Plant Sciences (note additional requirements below)
  • Applicants should identify one or two possible faculty mentors and indicate your interest in their laboratories on your application. It is recommended that you also contact them directly prior to submitting your application.
  • Applicants who wish to work with mentors based at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) must also apply to the Graduate Student Fellowship Program (Collaborative Ph.D. Programs) at AMNH by the December 15 deadline. Learn more »
  • Applicants should identify one or two possible faculty mentors and indicate your interest in their laboratories on your application. It is recommended that you also contact them directly prior to submitting your application.
  • For students interested in working in the laboratories of CUNY doctoral faculty at the New York Botanical Garden, please refer to the NYBG Graduate Studies page and submit both CUNY and NYBG applications.
  • Make sure that your personal statement describes your specific research interests and how your prior research background has prepared you for your intended thesis research.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition rates for doctoral programs at The Graduate Center are based on a student's “level,” which is determined by a combination of the number of graduate credits completed (including, in the case of transfer students, credits accepted by the student's degree program and the Registrar) and specific academic accomplishments. 

The fee structure is also affected by a student’s resident status.

See current doctoral tuition rates »

Each student will be billed for a Graduate School student activities fee, a University student senate fee, a University consolidated services fee and a technology fee. These fees are not refundable.

Fellowships and Financial Aid

Every applicant to The Graduate Center’s doctoral programs will automatically be considered for five-year institutional funding packages. The aid we offer — including fellowships, tuition awards, and assistantships — is based on merit.

For students in the Ph.D. Program in Biology, financial support is offered in the form of CUNY Science Scholarships. Almost all students accepted to this program receive such Science Scholarships that include full tuition waivers for domestic and foreign students, directly paid scholarships, teaching assistantships and other funds usually provided from research grants.

Learn more about CUNY Science Scholarships »

Federal aid for doctoral students includes:

New York State also provides the Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for eligible graduate students who are New York State residents.


Additional funding may be available to incoming students from underrepresented populations through offerings from the Office of Educational Opportunity and Diversity, including several fellowships and the CUNY Pipeline Program for undergraduate CUNY students.

Learn more about funding opportunities from OEOD »

More Admissions Resources

Stay informed and up to date

Be prepared with all the latest essential information you need for a successful Graduate Center application.