Doctoral Program Admissions

This program is designed to train students for careers in academia, government, or industry where research is fundamental. The curriculum prepares students for the field’s rapidly-changing character by developing the intellectual capacities necessary for research excellence.

Please note that GRE scores are no longer evaluated as part of the admissions process and are not required. URM students can apply for a admissions-fee waiver which will be granted.

How to Apply

All PhD applications must be submitted electronically. For more information about the application process, please visit our Graduate Admissions Website 

Please note that GRE scores are not evaluated as part of the admissions process and are not required. URM students can apply for a admissions-fee waiver which will be granted.

Applicant-Support Program

The department and university are strongly committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The Applicant-Support Program will offer assistance to applicants from under-served or under-represented communities in the admissions process.  The program will connect each applicant with a current PhD student who will serve as a buddy/mentor to help navigate the process, give feedback on the resume and personal statement, and provide any other reasonable assistance necessary.  Interested applicants should apply by filling this form by November 1, 2020 AOE (Anywhere On Earth).  Note that applying to this program does not guarantee a buddy/mentor.

When To Apply

Applications must be submitted by December 15 for admission the following year. For full consideration for fellowships and other awards, all materials must be received by this date.

Prerequisite Requirements

Academic prerequisite requirements for the degree are an undergraduate degree in an engineering subject or an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with a physical science, natural science or math major.

Standardized Test Requirements

The GRE is not required.

The TOEFL: If your native language is not English, you must complete the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test with a score above 600 written test) or 250 (computer-based test) or 100 (internet-based test).

*To have this requirement waived, the applicant must, by the time of matriculation, the candidate must have:

  • Graduated from a program in the United States or,
  • Attended school in a country in which English is recognized as the official language or,
  • From an institution where the medium of instruction is English and this is indicated on the unofficial transcript

Reporting code for the TOEFL is:

  • SEAS institution code: #2888

A request is not needed; the requirement will be waived after your application and necessary materials are reviewed by the Graduate Admissions Office upon submission of a completed application.  For more information go to: https://gradadm.seas.upenn.edu/how-to-apply/

You will find additional information on these tests from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Test score reporting should be completed only through ETS, as only official scores received from ETS will be considered.

Fellowships and Support

The Department encourages all students to apply for graduate training fellowships during their graduate studies. Students who apply for and receive fellowships prior to matriculating to Penn gain tremendous flexibility in choosing a lab for research. Fellowships are available from several sources and can allow student s to focus on a specific cross-disciplinary area, such as the NIBIB-HHMI Interfaces Program at Penn, geared toward Ph.D. training in Biomedical Imag ing Sciences. More information on fellowships and support can be found here.

Application Evaluation Process

How we evaluate applications:

A Bioengineering faculty committee reviews each application for merit. When a completed application is received, it is evaluated promptly by our Bioengineering faculty committee. Admittance is based on an estimate of the applicant’s ability to successfully complete our graduate program and on the compatibility of student interests with our programs and research. When an admissions decision is reached, the applicant will be notified directly through the online application system. Please note that admission decisions cannot be revealed over the telephone.

What we look at:

We consider the whole student, including undergraduate and graduate transcripts, program of study,  recommendation letters, research experiences, and the candidate’s personal statement.

Standards:

Admission is competitive, and we are proud of the diverse academic, cultural, and national backgrounds of each incoming class.

Recommendations:

Because this is an engineering research-oriented program, we suggest students submit letters of recommendation from research and independent-study supervisors, if possible, especially in engineering or applied science-related areas.

Fellowship and assistantship awards:

Awards are announced by the respective chairman of the graduate group for Ph.D. candidates after on-campus interviews with prospective mentors. These interviews are by invitation only, after careful evaluation of the student’s application.

After You Apply

Tracking Your Application

Track your application online.

We cannot respond to individual inquiries. We will contact you if materials are missing.

Campus Interviews

After reviewing applications, we invite about 15 percent of applicants to campus in February and March. If you are invited for an interview, you will be notified via email in January.

In 2016-17, 65 students out of 483 were invited to interview and 59 received offers of admission (of whom 29 accepted).

Campus Visit

By invitation only, you will be scheduled for a three-day visit, occurring on a Thursday through a Saturday. This visit is arranged by the department, and includes travel to and from Philadelphia, lodging, and meals. See a sample visit itinerary.

We strongly ask you to respond to Kathleen Venit as quickly as possible upon invitation.

When selecting an interview date, please note “exception” dates for recruiting faculty, as we cannot schedule return visits.

We regret that we cannot honor unauthorized requests for reimbursement.

Financial Support and Awards

For the 2009-2010 academic year new students received a $27,540-stipend, full tuition, and healthcare coverage.  We expect full funding to continue throughout your doctoral training.

For additional information, please visit our fellowships and awards page.