Admissions edits

When to Apply

Our deadline is December 1 for full consideration for admission to our Ph.D. program in the following fall semester.

Evaluation philosophy

The Admissions Committee will carefully evaluate the potential of candidates to be successful in the Biophysics program by taking all components of the application into consideration. Your application will be reviewed holistically, and all aspects of your training will be taken into account, including your research experience, letters of recommendation, personal statement and academic transcript.


Dr. Allison Lynch
Graduate Program Coordinator

Who should apply

  • Candidates must have a Bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited US institution or a comparable degree from an international institution in biochemistry, chemistry, physics, bioengineering, or other biological or medical sciences.
  • A successful candidate will have substantial prior research experience
  • Biophysics is a broadly interdisciplinary program. We welcome applications from students from a wide variety of undergraduate training experiences. Most of our applicants have received training (through a combination of courses or research) in areas such as chemistry, physics, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, calculus through differential equations, computer science, or computational biology.
  • We particularly welcome applications from 1) students with a strong background in one of our main research areas; 2) students with broad interdisciplinary training; 3) students with mastery in a single field wishing to develop interdisciplinary training.
  • The Biophysics program is an inclusive environment and greatly values diversity at all levels. Applications from students of underrepresented ethnicities, gender and cultural backgrounds are highly encouraged.
  • Candidates must meet the general requirements of the UW–Madison Graduate School, including an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 in the last 60 semester hours
  • Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores are NOT required as part of the application submitted to the Biophysics Program. You can choose to include scores if you wish, but a lack of scores will not impact consideration of your application.
  • English proficiency for those whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide an English proficiency test score (TOEFL, IELTS). TOEFL/IELTS scores can be no more than 2 years old. Note: Some international applicants may be exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement. Please refer to the Graduate School for more information.


Our admissions committee members read the entirety of the application materials submitted. A statement of purpose and recommendation letters are the most important parts of the application.

Application Materials

A complete application includes:

  • A completely filled out personal information section
  • A resume or CV
  • Reasons for graduate study (address in narrative essay form your reasons and goals for graduate study; how will earning a Ph.D. help you achieve your goals?)
  • Transcripts must be submitted from each institution that you have attended and listed on your graduate school application (undergraduate and graduate). Records from international institutions must be in the original language with an official English translation. Copies of transcripts must be uploaded to the online application. If there are issues uploading the transcript to the online application, please email them to:
  • Three letters of recommendation:
    • ​Qualified references include faculty and/or supervisors, who have familiarity with the your intellectual, academic and research oriented capabilities, accomplishments and personality. Recommendations are included as part of your online application.
  • ​TOEFL scores (if applicable) sent electronically to UW-Madison. Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose previous undergraduate/graduate instruction was not in English must provide official scores from the TOEFL exam or an alternate exam.
  • A $75 non-refundable application fee. The application fee covers an application to three different graduate programs at UW-Madison. We encourage you to apply for the programs that best encompass your research interests, but you need to keep in mind that you will need to submit all application materials by the first program deadline. The UW Graduate School offers a limited number of application fee grants to eligible students. If you have questions about application fee grants, feel free to contact the Biophysics program at

Financial Support & Health Insurance
All offers of admission to the Graduate Degree Program in Biophysics to domestic and international students come with full stipend support and a waiver of tuition as a research assistant, fellow or trainee. Our graduate students are also covered by health insurance plans offered  by the University. Both single and family plans are subsidized by the program and offered at very reasonable cost to the students. For more information please contact:

International students: Financial Information will be requested by the Graduate School after the Biophysics Program makes a recommendation for admission. Follow this link for information on typical international student expenses to attend UW-Madison.

Campus visit
Before their acceptance into the program, students currently in the United States are invited to participate in the Biophysics interview weekend. The students invited to come to Madison will visit our facilities, and interact with our students, faculty, and staff. All travel expenses will be covered by the program. Interviewed students will be notified of the admissions decision soon after their on campus visit.

Invitations will be extended in late December for the campus visit scheduled for February 25-27, 2021. Due to the current pandemic, it is possible that this year’s event will be carried out virtually. We will update this page when we have formalized plans.

Ready to apply?

Start your application

This button will redirect you to the application page of the Graduate School website.