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, background and lived experiences, letters of recommendation, personal statement and academic transcript.

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, molecular biology, 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 significant training (through a combination of courses or research) in one or more 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

Ready to apply?

Start your application

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Michael Sullivan
Graduate Program Manager


A complete application includes:

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is one of the most critical parts of the application. Your statement provides the opportunity for sharing your most important research experiences. The statement should explain how these experiences have prepared you for PhD studies, what motivates you to pursue them, the specific areas of interests for graduate studies, and how a Ph.D. in Biophysics with help achieve your career goals. The statement can also be an opportunity for explaining how your background and lived experiences–including cultural, geographical, financial, educational, or other opportunities or challenges–shaped your academic journey and motivated your decision to pursue a graduate work in biophysics.

Resume or CV

Please include a resume or CV that lists all relevant research and professional experiences, with dates, institutions, name of the advisors, project titles or descriptions. Please also include any publications and presentations at conferences or meetings.


Applicants need three letters of recommendation from qualified references. These normally include faculty and/or supervisors who have familiarity with your intellectual, academic, and research-oriented capabilities, accomplishments and personality. Recommendations are included as part of your online application.



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 contact graduate admissions at

Test Scores

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. TOEFL scores (if applicable) sent electronically to UW-Madison. Note: Some international applicants may be exempt from the TOEFL/IELTS requirement. Please refer to the Graduate School for more information.

Start your application

Financial Support & Health Insurance

All offers of admission to the Biophysics PhD Program 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

After the admissions committee reviews all the submitted applications, qualifies students will be invited in December 2023 to participate an interview weekend. For 2024, we plan to have two interview weekends, with online interviews with faculty scheduled early in the week, followed (for students residing in North America) by an in-person visit during the weekend. The first visiting weeks Tuesday, January 16 (Zoom interviews) followed by an on-campus visit on Thursday-Satuday January 18-20. The second week is Mon, January 29 (Zoom) and Thu-Sat February 1-3 (on-campus visit). 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.