FAQs for Prospective Students

FAQ for Prospective Students

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Admissions Related Questions

What makes a competitive applicant?

  • We look for applicants who have training (e.g., coursework) in both mathematics/computation and biology; however, such “dual” background is not a requirement.
  • The research experience and future potential to become a scientist, as described in the application essay, is a very important part of the PhD application. Although not required, an application may be strengthened by a significant amount of prior research experience.
  • Strong letters of recommendation from faculty who know the student’s research experience and potential. Ideally, letters of recommendation will be obtained from individuals at more than one institution.
  • Publications are not required.

What are my chances of getting accepted into the program?

  • Each year, we receive over 200 applications and interview 40-45 applicants. More than half of all of those who are interviewed receive an offer of admission. It is not possible to speculate on the chances of any particular applicant prior to the meeting of the CBM Admissions Committee.
  • The CBM program enthusiastically considers students from any undergraduate institution, department, or degree program.

Can non-U.S. citizens apply?

  • We welcome applications from international students and they receive full funding regardless of citizenship status.

Is the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) required in the 2022-23 admissions cycle?

  • CBM recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a variety of challenges for students to take the GRE. As a result, submission of the GRE is optional for all applicants in 2022-23.
  • GRE scores are valid for only five years after the test date and official scores are required if you choose to submit them.

What is the English language proficiency exam requirement?

CBM follows the application guidelines of the Weill Cornell Graduate School and as such, the English language proficiency requirements are the same.

  • Applicants must submit current scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or Duolingo English Test. To see if you qualify for an exemption, see below.
  • TOEFL scores are valid for two years after the test date. Note: If you have taken the TOEFL iBT test more than once within the last 2 years, ETS will automatically include your MyBest scores along with the traditional scores from your selected test date. If you would like us to consider your MyBest scores, please write to let us know.
  • IELTS scores are valid for two years after the test date. IELTS results must be submitted directly via e-delivery to “Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences.”
  • Results for the Duolingo English Test are valid for two years after the test date. Applicants must submit their results directly through Duolingo to “Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences.”

What is the requirement for foreign transcripts?

  • Transcripts from institutions outside of the U.S., including Canada, must be transcribed and evaluated by World Education Services (WES), SpanTran, or a similar evaluation service. Evaluations are accepted only from current members of the National Association of Credit Evaluation Services (NACES). Official evaluations are required for application review.

How do I get an exemption from the English language proficiency exam?

The English language proficiency requirement may be waived if an applicant meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • Citizenship/Permanent Residency
  • If the applicant is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States or its territories (e.g., Puerto Rico), or a citizen of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or Canada, they are exempt.
  • Applicants who are citizens of all other countries, including India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc. are not exempt and must submit English language proficiency exam scores.
  • Applicants who, at the time of enrollment, have studied in full-time status for at least two academic years within the last five years in the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, or New Zealand, or with English language instruction in Canada or South Africa, are exempt.
  • Applicants must submit a transcript that shows they studied in one of the approved locations, and that the academic program was at least two years in length.
    Even if English was the language of instruction of the course or institution, it must have been in one of the eligible locations, otherwise the applicant is not exempt from the requirement.

Can I apply to the individual graduate programs at Cornell University, The Rockefeller University, Memorial Sloan Kettering or Weill Cornell Medicine in addition to CBM?

  • There is no restriction on applying to all of these graduate programs concurrently. Each program requires submission of a separate application according to their own requirements.

Is there a fee waiver?

  • Fee waivers are available to qualified applicants with a financial hardship, alumni of pipeline programs, and to those applying to other graduate programs in our participating institutions.

Program-Related Questions

How long does it take to complete the CBM Program?

  • On average, students complete their Ph.D. training in under 5.5 years.

How is the CBM Program structured?

  • Students begin the program in July in NYC campuses of Weill Cornell/Sloan Kettering and The Rockefeller University or Cornell University in Ithaca. Prior to arrival, entering students will arrange for a summer research rotation with faculty either in NYC or Ithaca. Coursework offered during fall and spring (NYC or Ithaca) is scheduled with the assistance of a temporary faculty advisor who will guide the students with appropriate course selections. In addition, laboratory rotations will continue in the fall and spring semesters with CBM faculty.
  • In January of their first year, students who are based in Ithaca complete mini-laboratory rotation(s) in NYC. The purpose of these short (one-three week) rotations is to expose students to the research opportunities in NYC.
  • In May through July, after the second semester, Ithaca students also participate in two six-week laboratory rotations with NYC-based CBM faculty.
  • By June 30th, the end of the first year, students choose a CBM thesis mentor in either New York City or Ithaca and then spend the remainder of their CBM training years doing thesis research (computational and/or hybrid computational-experimental project).
  • Find more information in the Timeline.

Who are the Program faculty and what are their research interests?

  • CBM Program faculty are drawn from the participating institutions of Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medicine, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and The Rockefeller University.  Find the full list of participating faculty in the Faculty Directory.
  • The program faculty are engaged in a wide range of research areas, including Computational Genomics and Gene Regulation; Quantitative and Systems Biology; Cancer Biology and Genomics; Structural Biology and Biophysics; Computational Neuroscience; Biomineralization; Computational Modeling; and Organ-Level Modeling and Bioengineering. Find details of each concentration area in the Research Areas page.

What is the financial support package for CBM students?

  • Full financial support is guaranteed to all CBM students, as follows:
    Competitive annual stipend
    Full tuition waiver for every year in the program
    Health insurance
  • Teaching assistantships are not required; i.e., funding is not contingent on performing a teaching assistantship. That said, opportunities for teaching assistantships exist for interested students.
  • Subsidized student housing is provided in NYC.

Do you offer summer internships for undergraduate students?

  • The CBM Summer Research Internship for Underrepresented Students was established in 2009 to provide undergraduate students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a biomedical research laboratory. Learn more about the Summer Internship.

What are CBM graduates doing?

  • CBM graduates are employed in exciting, competitive positions both in academia and a broad spectrum of jobs in industry. Find more info about our alumni and their current professional activities in the Alumni Directory.

Where can I find more information?

http://compbio.triiprograms.org/; email: cbm@triiprograms.org