Are there any prerequisites for the program?
This program assumes a broad background in the sciences. It is not for students who have little or no science background. Probably the single most important prerequisite that you should have is some coursework in physiology. The committee reviews each applicant individually to see what science coursework she/he has taken. We are looking for a combination of some of the following: biology, general chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry, anatomy, physiology, microbiology, cell biology, genetics, physics (this is just a sample – we don't require you to have taken all of these). If you're planning to do our Human or Veterinary concentration, a background course in anatomy will also be helpful, but is not mandatory.
Does it matter where I take the pre-requisites?
Yes and no. Some courses will prepare you better than others. Our recommendations for background courses which will prepare you the best for our program are:
- Physiology: BMS 300 at CSU – both traditional AND online courses are available
Is your program designed for people who are changing careers or have a limited science background?
We welcome all kinds. However, our program assumes a broad background in the sciences. If you have a very limited science background, this program may not be right for you, at least not yet.
The core courses don't add up to 32 credits. What other courses will I be taking as part of the curriculum?
There is flexibility built into this program, which allows students to fill in gaps in their background or simply take a course that sounds interesting. Because you need 32 total credits of upper division or graduate coursework to get your degree and your core courses only constitute a portion of those credits, you will fill the remainder of credits with electives. As long as these electives are 300-level and above, they can be selected from available university-wide offerings and are not restricted to courses offered by the BMS Department.
What are the differences in concentration?
One's concentration determines one's core curriculum. Students often have a hard time deciding between the Human and the Neurobiology concentrations. The main difference is that the Human concentration includes coursework in Dissection and an additional course in Mammalian Physiology. By contrast, the Neurobiology concentration includes coursework in developmental and systems neurobiology and does not have a Dissection component. The Veterinary concentration is similar to the Human concentration, except the Dissection course focuses on animals.
What is the degree that I will actually receive?
All graduates of this program, regardless of concentration, receive a Master's in Biomedical Sciences.
If I am accepted, when do I start?
All students accepted into this program start at the beginning of fall semester. The date changes slightly each year, but it is always late August.
If I am accepted, when do I graduate?
Assuming all requirements are fulfilled, most students graduate at the end of the summer term the following year. Students generally do not take classes over the summer, but it is an option. The timing of comprehensive exams means that the earliest students can graduate is the end of summer term (early August).
What does the program cost?
For the most recent estimate of graduate tuition and fees, please visit the Registrar's website. Additionally, this program is designated as a "special program" by CSU. Thus, students are assessed an additional fee each semester (see above link) to cover the additional instructor and resource costs of this program. For the 2012-13 academic year, the entire cost of this program (tuition and fees) is approximately $13,900 for Colorado residents and $26,100 for non-residents. This estimate does not include books or living expenses.
What kind of financial aid is available?
This program is a self-funded program, which means the department does not have graduate assistantships or fellowships to offer deserving students. (Therefore, please disregard the February 15 deadline for priority financial aid consideration posted on the graduate school's website.) Many students pay for the program by taking out federal student loans and this is still possible after acceptance into the program. Please visit the Student Financial Services website for more information.
Selection Process & Timeline
Do you choose residents over non-residents?
No. We are looking for the 50 best applicants, period. Residency status doesn't affect our decision.
How many people do you accept in your program?
We accept a cohort of 50 students per year and we only matriculate students in the fall.
I won't graduate until the summer. Can I still apply to your program?
Yes. As long as your bachelor's degree is officially conferred before the start of our fall semester, you are welcome to apply.
What are my chances of acceptance?
In recent years, we have received nearly 300 applications for 50 positions. Therefore, applicants have approximately a 1 in 6 chance of being accepted. Actually, your chances are better than that. Because we attract applicants who are striving to gain admission into professional school, many of our applicants are also on waiting lists at their desired professional school. If they are accepted into our program, but later gain admission to professional school, we will have openings in our program. Often, we have spots become available as late as the start of the fall semester.
Is there early admission?
No. The admissions committee waits until after the April 1st deadline to start reviewing any applications. We think this is the most equitable way to evaluate applicants.
How can I make myself a better applicant?
One of the simplest things you can do is submit your application materials BEFORE the deadline. You do not want to be memorable to us because we have to hound you for your application materials. The big secret is that there is no ideal candidate – there are lots of ways to be a great graduate student so tell us yours. What makes you unique? Why would you be a great addition to our program? Experience has taught us that sometimes applicants who look great on paper don't end up being great graduate students and vice versa. This is a valuable bit of knowledge if you have a less than stellar academic record, but the burden of proof is on you, the applicant.
If you have a lower undergraduate GPA, you might consider taking additional, upper-level science courses. While it cannot change your undergraduate GPA if you have completed your degree, it demonstrates that you are a more focused and mature student than your transcripts may reflect. Additionally, doing well in these courses demonstrates an upward trend in your grades, and this trend is important to the admissions committee.
Additionally, if you performed poorly in key science courses (received a "C" or below), you might consider retaking them to demonstrate mastery of fundamental concepts. If you make the extra effort to do this, please point it out in your personal statement.
And lastly, if you are applying with an undergraduate GPA of 3.2 or below, I would encourage you to submit a minimum of two letters of reference from academic sources, preferably in the sciences. This program is academically rigorous and if your GPA is on the low side, references attesting to your ability to handle a tough academic load might be the extra nudge needed for positive consideration by the admissions committee.
Are interviews part of the selection process?
No, unfortunately we do not have time for interviews because our application deadline is so late.
When will I hear back from you? What's the timeline for a decision?
We will contact applicants via mail and/or e-mail approximately the first week of June to let you know whether you have been accepted, wait-listed (contacted via email only), or declined.
If I am put on the waitlist, when can I expect to hear from you regarding a final decision?
You could hear from us at any point throughout the summer. People who have accepted spots in our program are also on waitlists at professional schools and if they are accepted into professional school, then we have positions available. It happens every year, typically starting in July, but we cannot predict the timing of it. Last year, we had 2 spots to fill the day before school started, so it can certainly be a last-minute scramble. What is the deadline? April 1 or February 15? The deadline is April 1 annually. We need all of your application materials by this date, not simply the online application. Please disregard the February 15 deadline for priority financial aid consideration posted on the graduate school's website; this date does not apply to this program.
I've heard that there are Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) positions available. Is this true?
We have a limited number of GTA positions that are available fall and spring semesters. You may be eligible to apply if you have taken the courses at CSU and performed well in them. All graduate students in the Biomedical Sciences Department are eligible to apply for these positions; however, our research MS and PhD students receive priority consideration based on advisor funding needs and/or degree requirements. If you are selected as a GTA, you will receive tuition reimbursement (resident portion) for the semester you teach, as well as a monthly stipend. For more information please contact Erin by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (970) 491-6188.
Can I schedule an appointment to talk with someone about the program?
Erin Bisenius or Heather Hall, our Graduate Education Coordinators, would be delighted to meet with you before the first of the year. However, once January 1 hits, application season is in full swing and things get pretty overwhelming. Thus, from January through March, we offer MS-B information sessions on Mondays at 10 a.m. and Thursdays at 3 pm. Please contact Erin or Heather by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (970) 491-6188 if you'd like to attend one of these. Erin or Heather would be happy to tell you all about our program and answer any lingering questions at this time. Otherwise, please visit our website and e-mail or phone Erin or Heather with specific questions.
How do I update my address if I moved after applying?
Log on to RAMweb to officially change your address with the university. Additionally, please notify Erin or Heather by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at (970) 491-6188 to let her know.
Application Process & Materials
I'm confused! Where do I send my application materials?
Good question! Aside from having the testing center officially report GRE, TOEFL and IELTS scores to the Admissions Office, all materials should be sent to the Department (address below). DO NOT send any other application materials to Admissions or the Graduate School. Both international and domestic applicants (U.S. citizens or permanent residents) should do the following:
Send all required documents to:
Campus Delivery 1680
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1680
- Complete the Graduate School Online Application and submit the $50.00 application fee
- Do this as soon as possible so you're on our radar and receive reminders
- Do not delay submitting your application waiting to finish your personal statement. You may submit your personal statement separately.
- Submit to the Department:
- The Online Supplemental Application (no additional fee for this)
- One official transcript from ALL undergraduate and graduate institutions attended
- Note: CSU transcripts are not required
- Personal statement of background, interests, motivation and goals
- 2 pages maximum, single- or double-spaced
- May be submitted with the online application OR emailed directly to our Graduate Coordinator
- More specific instructions available on our FAQs
- Resume or Curriculum Vitae (optional)
- Three (3) letters of recommendation
- More specific instructions available on our FAQs
- Electronic letters of reference are acceptable if and only if the instructions on our FAQs are followed
- Complete the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and submit your scores
- To obtain the GRE application and examination dates, visit the GRE website
- Request that ETS submit your scores to Colorado State University. Our institution code is 4075. No department code is needed.
- Note: MCAT and DAT scores may be used in place of a GRE exam. Instructions for submitting MCAT and DAT scores are available on our FAQs
International Applicants Only
- TOEFL/IELTS Scores
- Request that ETS submit your scores to Colorado State University. Our institution code is 4075. No department code is needed.
- One official transcript of all collegiate work completed along with a certified translation into English.
- Immigration Document Request Form
Are there any special instructions for the personal statement?
The instructions provided on the online application are a bit too general for our purposes, so please follow these instructions instead. Because this is the only place you get to express yourself, we try not to clutter it with too many instructions or requirements. Tell us how this program fits with your interests and long-term goals. Describe how your experiences and qualities make you a unique applicant, the kind of applicant admissions committees cannot resist. Connect the dots for the committee, by highlighting parts of your application which are worth mentioning, such as an upward trend in your grades. One word of warning…please skip the melodrama. And remember, good writing is good writing – if you can hook your reader while expressing yourself, you've done well. Please keep it brief (the committee will stop reading after 2 pages) and know that good grammar is always in style!
The personal statement is also the place to address any deficiencies in your application, and explain any aberrations or extenuating circumstances. The committee members will be wondering and this is your opportunity to put their doubts to rest.
Also, please don't wait until you complete your personal statement before submitting your online application. You can email your personal statement separately to our Graduate Coordinator. Only after you submit your online application can we contact you regarding application status, so don't delay!
May I include my resume?
Yes. A resume is an optional part of the application. There is no place to include it with your online application, so if you would like to submit it, please email it directly to our Graduate Coordinator.
Do I need to submit transcripts for course work which was transferred to another institution and shows up on the other institution's transcripts?
Yes. Our Graduate School requires the original transcripts, even if only one class was taken at that institution.
How can I check the status of my application?
Please resist the temptation to call the Graduate School – they have no specific information about your application. Due to the number of applications we receive and the fast and furious nature of application season, we are unable to accommodate individual requests to check application status after January 1. We would love to be able to accommodate every request, but I'm afraid Erin and Heather would need capes for that. Plus, it often takes awhile for all of your letters of reference and transcripts to trickle in. Please know that incomplete applications will NOT be tossed out without being given adequate time to supply the missing documents! At the end of January, end of February, and again in late March, we review all applications and e-mail each and every applicant who has submitted his/her online application to let you know the status of your application and give you a chance to supply any missing materials. We do our final checks and emails approximately April 2nd and then you will be given a date by which we must receive your missing materials or we will remove your application from consideration. You will receive an email when your file is complete or when your application has been removed from consideration; we will not keep you guessing. Thanks in advance for your patience. This is tough on all of us!
*When you email us any application materials or a recommender emails us a letter, we will always reply with a simple "Got it - thanks" or some variation of that. If you or they do not receive a reply, then we haven't received the email so please send it again.
Are there any evaluation forms or special instructions for my letters of reference?
No, we don't have forms for your references to complete. We simply ask that your references write a letter: describing how he/she knows you and for how long; evaluating your strengths, intellectual ability, creativity, problem solving skills, work ethic, character and any other relevant information; and indicating how he/she thinks you would perform in a rigorous graduate program. We also encourage you to have at least one academic reference (two are preferable).
What makes a good letter of reference?
Detail and specificity! When your recommender writes that "s/he is in an intellectual class by her-/himself," we want your recommender to substantiate this claim and provide an example(s).
Will you accept electronic/e-mailed letters of reference?
Yes, we will accept electronic letters of reference if and only if they follow the guidelines below:
- The letter must be e-mailed directly from your recommender to our Graduate Coordinator.
- The letter must be e-mailed as an attachment with a signature (the signature may be scanned or digital, but it should look like a signature). The simplest way to achieve this is to have your recommender email a pdf version of the signed original to our Graduate Coordinator.
- The attached letter must be on letterhead, if possible.
*Please note that misrepresenting yourself by falsifying application materials is grounds for dismissal.
Can committee letters count as my 3 letters of reference?
No. Committee letters count as a single letter of reference, unless each committee member essentially writes his/her own letter and then all letters are combined into a single document.
When I list my references on the online application, does this mean the admissions committee will contact my references to request a letter?
No. You must contact your references to request that a letter be sent to our Graduate Education Coordinator.
Will you accept letters of reference that were used for a med school application?
Will you accept letters of reference from Interfolio or a third-party reference letter service?
Yes. This includes letters which are compiled by your college's or university's reference letter service.
What is Track I vs. Track II admissions?
Most applicants are considered Track I, even if your GPA is below 3.0. Select Track II if and only if your undergraduate GPA is below 3.0 AND you have at least 5 years of professional work experience related to the area of biomedical sciences.
How do I get you my CSU transcripts?
You don't need to do a thing. They can be unofficial, which means Erin can and will download those from our central university-wide database. It also means you get to save a few pennies. Go buy yourself a burrito instead!
How do I designate that I'm applying for the Plan B program on the application?
This is important!!! Please specify your concentration (Human, Veterinary, Neurobiology) or "MS-B" in the AREA OF STUDY field of the online application. This will route your application to the appropriate applicant pool. If you forget, there is a link beside it to prompt you. Additionally, the Supplemental Application allows you to indicate the program to which you are applying.
Standardized Test Scores
What is an acceptable GRE score?
The scoring and format of the GRE changed as of August 1, 2011. On the old GRE test, we like to see a score of 1000 or better on the combined verbal and quantitative components and a 4.0 or better on the analytical writing component. On the new GRE test (taken on or after August 1, 2011), we will look for a score of 300 or better on the combined verbal and quantitative components and a 4.0 or better on the analytical writing component.
For more information about how the GRE has changed, please visit the ETS website (Educational Testing Service).
Do I need to take the GRE subject test?
No, the general test will suffice.
How do I officially report my GRE scores?
Request that the testing center send your scores directly to CSU. Please use institution code 4075 to ensure that they arrive at CSU; a departmental code is not necessary. Once they arrive, we will be able to access them on our university-wide database. If you've already submitted your scores to CSU for a different program (vet school or a different grad program), and the test was taken within the last 5 years, you don't need to send them again.
What are your Institution & Department codes?
Institution Code: 4075
Department Code: 0299
Will you accept MCATs in lieu of GRE scores?
Yes, we will. However, there is no place to self-report MCAT scores on the online application. To submit your scores, please e-mail a pdf version of your official score report to our Graduate Coordinator. The score report contains a link at the bottom where we can verify your scores, which is sufficient for our purposes. Alternately, you may also email us your 16 digit Verification Code and your AAMC ID and we can download/print it ourselves.
What is an acceptable MCAT score?
The admissions committee likes to see a combined score of 27 on the MCAT. However useful this guideline is, please know that your scores will be evaluated in conjunction with the rest of your application. The admissions committee is committed to viewing each applicant as a whole person, not simply as a test score or a GPA.
How do I create and print my official MCAT score?
You may email us your 16 digit Verification Code and AAMC ID and we can download/print it ourselves. Or you can:
- Go to the AAMC website
- Services → MCAT
- Releasing Scores → MCAT Testing History Reporting System → Get MCAT Exam Scores
- Enter your user name & password
- Create & Print your own official score report
- Email or mail to our Graduate Coordinator
Will you accept DAT scores in lieu of GRE scores?
Yes, we will. However, there is no place to self-report DAT scores on the online application. To submit your scores, please email or mail them to our Graduate Coordinator in Biomedical Sciences, Campus Delivery 1680, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1680.
How recent must test scores be?
GRE, MCAT or DAT scores must be from tests taken within 5 years of the application deadline.
I'm scheduled to take the MCAT/DAT after the application deadline. Can I still apply?
Yes, depending on when you will be taking the test. Your application will not be reviewed until it is complete, so it is to your advantage to provide these scores as close to the deadline as possible. Be sure to submit the rest of your application materials by the deadline and then email your scores to firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as you get them. Do not schedule your MCAT/DAT exam for June or later; by the time we get your scores (it takes a month) it will be too late for you to be considered.
What is the average GPA of incoming MS-B classes?
What if my undergraduate GPA is below 3.0?
If the admissions committee thinks you are a strong candidate despite a low GPA, they can petition the graduate school to waive this requirement. An applicant does not request special consideration; this is determined by the admissions committee. If the graduate school approves our recommendation, you will be placed on "academic probation" your first semester. This means you must maintain a 3.0 GPA your first semester in the program or you will be dismissed by the graduate school. This is explained in further detail in the Graduate Bulletin.
How do I remedy a low undergraduate GPA?
Well, you can't go back and change the past, but you can demonstrate that you're a more focused and mature student now. You do this by taking additional upper-level science courses and doing well in these courses. The burden of proof is on you to demonstrate what steps you’ve taken to remediate your GPA. We're not afraid to state it up front: we believe in second chances, and we believe that people can change because we've seen it!