Admissions FAQ

Applying to MS/PhD Studies in Bioengineering

This list includes questions most often asked regarding admission to M.S. and Ph.D. programs in the Department of Bioengineering at Illinois. Please email additional questions to

Q: What is the application deadline?

A: The deadline for all applicants for the M.S. and Ph.D. degree programs is December 15.

Q: In which terms is admission offered?

A: Students are admitted for the fall term only.

Q: Is an application fee waiver available?

A: Some students may qualify for an application fee waiver. Questions regarding eligibility should be addressed to the Bioengineering graduate programs coordinator via email to

Q: What program code should I use when applying?

A: Ph.D. applicants should select program code 10KS0408PHD, and M.S. applicants should select 10KS0408MS.

Q: What is the minimum GPA considered for admission?

A: Successful applicants typically have GPAs above 3.5 (on a scale for which 4.0 = A). The university's Graduate College enforces a minimum GPA of 3.0 for graduate applicants.

Q: What tests are required for admission?

A: The GRE general test is required of MS and PhD applicants. Scores should be less that five years old at the time of admission. For M.D./Ph.D. (Medical Scholars -- not applicable until Fall 2018) applicants, the MCAT will be accepted in lieu of the GRE. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the IELTS is required of all applicants who have attended a school in a country where English is not the primary language, or whose native language is not English. The TOEFL and IELTS test scores must be less than two years old at the time the student starts the graduate program.

Q: What are typical GRE scores needed for admission?

A: GRE scores of successful applicants typically are in the 80th percentile or above.

Q: In addition to GPA and test scores, what other criteria are used in the admissions decision?

A: The Admissions Committee weighs decisions heavily on research experience and letters of recommendation.

Q: What is the minimum TOEFL or IELTS score required to be considered for admission?

A: For admission, all international applicants or applicants whose native language is not English should have a TOEFL score of at least 590 (paper-based), 243 (computer-based), or 97 (iBT). Students with TOEFL scores below 610 (paper-based), 253 (computer-based), or 103 (iBT) will need to enroll in English as a Second Language (ESL) course(s) based on the results of an English Placement Test (EPT) taken upon arrival to campus.

For students who elect to take the IELTS, applicants should have scores above 6.5 overall and above 6.0 on all subsections. Students who score below 7.0 overall will need to enroll in ESL courses based on an English Placement Test (EPT) taken upon arrival to campus.

Q: Are non-native English speakers allowed to accept teaching assistantships?

A: Yes, but all non-native English speakers must obtain a score of 24 or higher on the speaking section of the TOEFL. Students who do not report a TOEFL score or whose speaking section score is less than 24 must take the English Placement Interview (EPI). Once students receive a passing score on the EPI, they are qualified to serve as teaching assistants.

Q: If I am an international student but have obtained my bachelor's or master's degree in the United States, do I still need to take the TOEFL or IELTS?

A: No, if your most recent degree is from an English-speaking institution, you do not need to take the TOEFL or IELTS. However, you will need to take the English Placement Interview (EPI) to prove English proficiency to serve as a teaching assistant.

Q: What is the University of Illinois' GRE and TOEFL code number?

A: GRE and TOEFL scores must be coded 1836 for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. You do not need to enter a department code.

Q: When are admissions decisions made?

A: The Admissions Committee reviews application files on a rolling basis through the application deadline, December 15. Decisions typically are sent to applicants by the end of January.

Q: Is there an opportunity to visit the campus and department?

A: Yes! Admitted students currently located in the United States will be invited to visit campus for BIOE Days, which typically occurs during the first week of March. The department provides lodging and travel assistance for these visits.

Q: What types of funding are available for graduate students?

A: Students are funded through teaching and research assistantships and/or fellowships.

Q: When are funding decisions made?

A: Offers of assistantships typically are finalized shortly after the campus visit (BIOE Days) dates, which usually occur during the first week of March. Fellowship offers are extended throughout the application process, depending on the nomination deadlines, but typically are finalized by the end of February.

Q: Who makes funding decisions?

A: Research assistantships are decided by individual faculty in the Bioengineering graduate program. Teaching assistantships are decided based on interviews with teaching faculty during the campus visit days. Fellowship nominees are selected by the Admissions Committee.



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