University of Nebraska Medical Center


Listed below is information on various aspects of the requirements to apply to the IGPBS and information on different sections of the IGPBS application. If you have any additional questions that are not answered by the information below, please contact the IGPBS office.

Prospective students can apply online for admission through the UNMC Graduate Studies office website. There is only one application for all of the IGPBS program, regardless of how you want to apply to the program, as a single- or multi-program applicant.  When submitting your application for the IGPBS, in the Question section, you will have two options for Question 1 - to apply as a single-program or multi-program applicant. 

We ask that you only submit one application for the IGPBS program, per application cycle.  If you wish to submit more than one IGPBS application, please contact the IGPBS office prior to submitting a second IGPBS application so that can assist you.

It is HIGHLY recommended that you use a personal email account, not a school email account, when starting your application.  If you are accepted into the IGPBS program, this will allow us to better communicate with you after you graduate.

If you are a student with a disability and are applying to our program, we want you to know that UNMC welcomes qualified students with disabilities who meet the technical standards of the program, with or without accommodations. If you are a student with a disability who needs reasonable accommodations to apply to the IGPBS program, please contact the IGPBS office and/or the Accessibility Services Center at UNMCASC@unmc.edu or 402.559.7276.  Please visit the Accessibility Services Center Website for more information about the accessibility services offered here at UNMC.

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Multi-Program Application

You can apply as an IGPBS multi-program student. "Multi-program" means that you prefer to have the option to perform research rotations in any laboratory affiliated with the IGPBS program, in any of the IGPBS doctoral programs. If you choose this option, once you start filling out the information in the Questions section of the application, you will be prompted to choose two (2) doctoral programs that most interest you (Questions 2A and 2B), along with a third alternate program (Question 2C). Students will commit to a doctoral program at the time their laboratory rotations are completed.

All students will need to be accepted by both the general IGPBS program and at least one individual IGPBS doctoral program at the time of acceptance. For multi-program students, selecting two preferred programs means that if you are accepted into the IGPBS, at least one of those preferred programs has pre-approved you and so you will be admitted into that doctoral program if you later choose to commit to it. If a multi-program student wishes to commit to another doctoral program after their rotations, then that doctoral program would need to accept their application at that time.

Single-Program Application

You can apply as an IGPBS single-program student and choose to commit immediately to one of the following seven doctoral programs (Question 3).

Applying to a single doctoral program at the time of application means that it is your intent at this time to pursue research in that particular program and plan to conduct your research rotations in labs associated only with this program.

Application Categories

Application Fee Waiver

The IGPBS program does not charge an application fee for any applicant who applies to the program. When applicants submit their application, the application will show a balance of $0.00 for the application fee so no formal waiver is needed.

Chinese Scholarship Council Applicants

We are no longer accepting applications with Chinese Scholarship Council support. If you are interested in applying for the IGPBS program, please submit a regular application.


If available, list publications, including any publications that are in progress, presentations and/or poster sessions you have participated in.


We review applications, conduct interviews, and make admissions decisions based on the application term chosen. We encourage all applicants to apply early as positions in the program can be filled at any time during the application term cycle.

The application deadlines vary based on the doctoral program. For the Summer and Fall application cycle, applications received by the priority deadline will be given first consideration if all documents are submitted before the priority deadline, including all letters of recommendation and all transcripts. If all documents have not been received by the priority deadline, the application will be automatically moved to the secondary set of applications for review and will lose its priority application status.

View Admissions Deadlines

Faculty Mentor

It is not necessary to identify and select a faculty mentor at the application stage and we actually discourage it. Each accepted student will be provided a list of faculty members who are accepting new students for rotation, before the start of their first term. This way incoming students know who is or is not accepting new students. First semester students will select their faculty mentor toward the end of their third rotation.

GPA/Degree/Coursework Requirements

Admission to the IGPBS program requires a Bachelor's degree from an accredited undergraduate institution with a recommended minimum GPA of 3.25 on a 4.0 grading scale. Students should have completed undergraduate courses in biology, calculus, physics and chemistry, including organic chemistry.

Students applying specifically to the Cancer Research Doctoral Program, as either a multi-program or single-program applicant, can have undergraduate coursework in mathematics (either calculus or another mathematics course) or statistics.


The GRE is not required for IGPBS applicants, both domestic and international. However, if an applicant chooses to submit GRE scores, the scores will be considered during the application review.

If you choose to submit a GRE, the minimum GRE requirements that we are looking for are: a 50% average between the verbal and quantitative scores, with no less than 35% in either category.

  • UNMC GRE Institution Code: 6896
  • Department Code: 0299

Letters of Recommendation

We require a minimum of three (3) letters of recommendation. We ask that one of the letters be from your most recent research mentor, if available.

In the application, you will be asked to provide an email address for each recommender. Once the information is entered into the application, the application software will send the recommender an email with a link to submit their recommendation. All letters must be submitted directly by the recommender, using the provided link. If the recommender has an issue submitting their letter using the link or they do not receive a link, contact the Graduate Studies office directly so they can help resolve the issue

Letters of recommendation must be sent from an institutional email address, be on official university/company letterhead and be signed by the recommender.

Observation Hours

On the application, there is a section where you can submit your Observation Hours. This section is for those individuals who have completed clinical observation. If you do not have any clinical experience, which is common for most of our applicants, please leave this section blank.

Personal Statement/Narrative of Goals

There is not a minimum/maximum word requirement or specific format for the personal statement. Consider keeping it to no Please be sure to include within your Personal Statement, information about:

  • Why do you wish to pursue a PhD in biomedical sciences? What do you think will be the most interesting/rewarding aspects of obtaining a PhD?
  • What are your long-term career goals (e.g. teacher, academic research, researcher in industry, business in bioscience)? What interests you most about this career path?
  • Your research experiences.
    • If you have research experience, please describe the most significant research project you worked on and what was your contribution to the project. What were the results/conclusions of the project? What is the significance of the research question and the results to science and society?
    • If you do not have significant laboratory experience (no experience outside of courses with labs), please tell us which experimental procedures and scientific approaches you felt would be most valuable to learn in your PhD study.
  • Your transferable skills. Please describe different experiences that you have had that exemplify, or have helped you develop, strengths in transferable skills (e.g. communication, teamwork, problem-solving, time management, etc.).



For international applicants, a minimum TOEFL score of 95, with no less than 20 in any single section, or, an IELTS minimum overall score of 6.5, is required. The ETS Institution Code for UNMC is 6896. The iBT Department Code is 45 - Biomedical Sciences.

The TOEFL/IELTS scores can be waived if the applicant is from a country where the only official language is English OR if you have completed at least one year of education at a US institution or attended a university in a country where the only official language is English. TOEFL/IELTS waivers are not granted by the prevalence of spoken English in a country or the language of instruction at a university.

If you feel you qualify for a TOEFL/IELTS waiver, please fill out a Waiver Request. Once complete, the waiver request will be sent to the Graduate Studies office for review. Any questions about waiver requests should be directed to the Graduate Studies office.

IELTS scores submission instructions: For official IELTS scores, they can be sent to us electronically. Instructions on how to send your IELTS scores can be found on the IELTS website, on the Getting Your Results page. When applying, do not submit your official IELTS scores to UNMC until after your application has been fully submitted. If you submit your official IELTS scores to UNMC before submitting your application, there is not a way to link your official scores to your application.

Duolingo: As of December 2022, we will accept Duolingo exam scores. The minimum score we will accept is 120.  More information about submitting test results can be found of the Graduate Studies website.

Transcript Requirements

Domestic Applicants

Official transcripts are required from all colleges and universities attended. Instructions on how to submit transcripts can be found on the Graduate Studies website.

Official transcripts must be sent to Liaison, our application processing center, located in Watertown, MA. The mailing address is located on the Graduate Studies website pages linked above. We do not accept official transcripts that are sent to our Omaha campus.

  • AP/Dual Enrollment Credits: If you have AP or Dual Enrollment credits that appear on your undergraduate transcripts, you must list your high school as a school you attended on your application. The application software will see the AP credit as a "transfer" credit. If you do not report your high school, the application software will return your application to you to add this information, thus making your application inactive until you update the information and resubmit it. When listing your high school on your application, list it as (Your High School Name) - AP Credits. This will bypass the system requirement of listing the school, while also telling us that you have AP credits. You do not need to submit a copy of your high school transcript as your undergraduate school certifies these credits are official.
  • Study Abroad Credits: If, on your main university/college transcript, it shows that you attended a study abroad term through your home university/college, follow the same instructions as AP/Dual Enrollment Credits. List the study abroad university on your application as (Study Abroad University Name) - Study Abroad. This will bypass the system requirement. You do not need to submit a transcript from your study abroad university as it is listed on your main university/college transcript.

International Applicants

For any education done outside of the United States, course-by-course evaluated transcripts that identify and describe each diploma or certificate are required from all colleges and universities attended, regardless of language and/or grading scale on the transcript. UNMC Graduate Studies will accept evaluated transcripts from World Education Services (WES) or Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE). This is a requirement of the university and will not be waived. Instructions on how to submit international transcripts can be found on the Graduate Studies website.  As WES and ECE certify that the transcript that they receive is official, there is no need to submit a secondary set of official transcripts.

International applications that do not have evaluated transcripts will not be reviewed.

Having transcripts evaluated can take time so plan accordingly to meet the application deadline.  Once a transcript arrives at WES or ECE, it can take approximately 7-10 business days to complete the evaluation.  When the evaluation is complete, the report is sent to Liaison, our application processing center.  After it arrives at Liaison, it can take an additional 7-10 business days for the report to be uploaded to an application.  If after 10 business days, if your report does not appear on your application, contact Liaison to have them do a search for the document.  Applicants can reach Liaison at unmcinfo@liaisoncas.com.  In the email, please include your CAS/application ID number, which is located in the upper right corner of the application, so that Liaison can locate your application more quickly.  Additionally, to reduce delays when ordering your evaluation, make sure to list your name the same you way you did on your application and also make sure to use the US form of dates for your birthdate:  month/day/year - MM/DD/YYYY.

For any education done at a university or college within the United States, official transcripts are required and must be submitted directly from the university/college. We will not accept official transcripts submitted by the applicant. Instructions on how to submit domestic transcripts can be found on the Graduate Studies website.

Evaluated and official transcripts must be sent to Liaison, our application processing center, located in Watertown, MA. The mailing address is located on the Graduate Studies website pages linked above. We do not accept official transcripts that are sent to our Omaha campus.