Biological & Biomedical Sciences (BBS)

The Combined Program in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) is the admissions gateway and first-year academic home for students interested in pursuing doctoral degrees in any of the following 12 PhD programs at Yale: Cell Biology; Cellular and Molecular Physiology; Computational Biology and Bioinformatics; Experimental Pathology; Genetics; Immunobiology; Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program; Microbiology; Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry; Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; Pharmacology; and Program in Translational Biomedicine. Applicants interested in these programs should select BBS on the application and choose the BBS Track which best matches their research interests.

Terminal Degrees Offered
  • PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
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Programs and Policies

Admission Requirements

Standardized Testing Requirements

GRE is not accepted.

English Language Requirement

TOEFL iBT or IELTS Academic is required of most applicants whose native language is not English. BBS requires a score of at least 600 on the paper version, 250 on the computer-based exam, and 100 on the internet-based exam. Please take the test no later than November and no earlier than 24 months prior to submitting your application. Use institution code 3987 when reporting your scores; you may enter any department code.

You may be exempt from this requirement if you have received (or will receive) an undergraduate degree from a college or university where English is the primary language of instruction, and if you have studied in residence at that institution for at least three years.

Admission Information

Please visit the BBS Frequently Asked Questions page for answers to questions about the application process. For general questions, please email

Track-Specific Admission Requirements

Biochemistry, Quantitative Biology, Biophysics and Structural Biology

In addition to meeting general BBS requirements, applicants are expected to have a firm foundation in the sciences. Typical BQBS students will have taken courses in biochemistry; general, organic and physical chemistry; physics; and calculus.

Computational Biology and Biomedical Informatics

In addition to meeting general BBS requirements, applicants are expected

  • to have a strong foundation in the basic sciences, such as biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics
  • to have training in computing/informatics, including significant computer programming experience


In addition to meeting general BBS requirements, applicants are expected to have a firm foundation in the biological and physical sciences. It is preferred that students have taken courses in biology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, cell biology, physics, and mathematics. Actual course requirements, however, are not fixed, and students with outstanding records in any area of the biological sciences may qualify for admission. There are no specific grade requirements for prior course work, but a strong performance in basic science courses is of great importance for admission.


The Microbiology Track has the same requirements as the general BBS requirements.

Molecular Cell Biology, Genetics & Development

The MCGD Track has the same requirements as the general BBS entrance requirements.


The Neuroscience Track has the same admissions requirements as the general BBS requirements.

Plant Molecular Biology

In addition to meeting general BBS requirements, applicants to the Plant Molecular Biology Track must

  • have a strong foundation in basic sciences, such as biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, or mathematics
  • be committed to pursuing research in plant sciences for their PhD, and
  • be interested in cross-disciplinary approaches to plant biology. 

We encourage applications from international candidates as well as domestic candidates. We strongly encourage all applicants to contact a primary faculty member of the Plant Molecular Biology Track prior to applying. When applying please list the primary faculty that you have contacted in the appropriate section of the application. 

Translational Molecular Medicine, Pharmacology, and Physiology

In addition to meeting general BBS requirements, applicants should have a strong background in the biological, chemical, and/or physical sciences. For example, an undergraduate major/degree in biology, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, chemistry, physics, mathematics, engineering, or computer science could be appropriate. Courses in biology, biochemistry, organic and physical chemistry, and mathematics through elementary calculus, are strongly recommended. 

Academic Information


Academic Resources

BBS Tracks

There are 8 scientific areas (called 'Tracks') within BBS. Each Track has its own admissions committee, and if you are admitted to Yale, the Track to which you applied will be your scientific home throughout your first year. It is therefore important to apply to the Track which best matches your scientific interests. The Track name itself and the first year curriculum described in each Track’s Program of Study are often helpful indicators about the optimal Track for you.

Note that faculty are often listed in multiple Tracks, and faculty alone, therefore, are not the best indicator of which Track to which you should apply.

Each BBS Track has its own course requirements and course recommendations, though you will be able to take elective courses from anywhere in BBS. Each Track also has its own list of participating faculty, though with the guidance of your Track Director you will also be free to rotate in other BBS labs. At the end of your first year you will select a thesis lab and leave your Track to join a PhD-granting program.


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