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Frequently Asked Questions

The Admission Process

When should candidates begin the Ph.D. application process?
To make sure scores are available when admission decisions are made, register to take the GRE and TOEFL as required before September for the year in which you are applying. Applicants should request transcripts and letters of recommendation before September as well to give senders time to get the material to Rice University by the December 20 deadline. Application materials received after the December 20 deadline will not be considered.

How do I apply to the Ph.D. program?
Applicants must use the on-line application at: http://bioegradapps.rice.edu. Paper applications are no longer accepted.

How do I apply to the M.B.E. program?
Applicants must use the on-line application at: http://bioegradapps.rice.edu. Paper applications are no longer accepted.

The first round of applications for the Global Medical Innovation (GMI) track were due by January 15 for fall admission, but a second round has been opened until March 15. 

Applications for the Applied Bioengineering track are due by October 30 for spring admission and April 30 for fall admission.

Applicants must select either the GMI track or the Applied Bioengineering track, but they may submit separate applications to each track. Students currently in the undergraduate program in bioengineering at Rice must contact the academic program administrator (ges2@rice.edu or 713.348.5063) for specific instructions regarding submission of your application.

Is it necessary to submit transcripts from all colleges/universities attended?
Yes, although if admitted to the program you will also need to send electronically a final transcript with the degree awarded in the event that you accept the admissions offer.

What supplemental material should be submitted?
It is required that each applicant submit electronically official GRE and/or TOEFL scores, a minimum of three recommendation letters, and transcripts from colleges/universities attended. You may also submit papers you have written, a resume, awards received, etc.

May I apply for the spring semester?
No, we admit all Ph.D. students during the fall semesters each academic year.

Is the December 20 deadline also applicable to the M.B.E. program?
No, the application deadlines for the Applied Bioengineering M.B.E. track are October 30 for spring admission and April 30 for fall admission. The deadline for the Global Medical Innovation (GMI) track is January 15 for fall admission. Applications to the GMI track for the second-round is due by March 15. 

Are applicants required to go through an interview?
No, we do not interview applicants applying for the graduate program.

Is there a way to check our application status for acceptance or rejection?
Unfortunately, at this time there is not this capability. Official letters are mailed to the mailing address indicated on the on-line application during mid-late February.

Can candidates get an application fee waiver?
No, the department pays a percentage of the application fee so we do not offer a waiver at this time. In addition, payment of the fee cannot be deferred until time of enrollment. The application can be processed only when the application fee has been received.

What is the cost of tuition and fees?
While these costs are generally not posted until late spring, you may periodically check this link for past and future information: http://www.students.rice.edu/students/Tuition_Fees.asp?SnID=2101653611.

Is there a minimum GPA requirement?
In general, applicants should have at least a 3.0 (B) grade point average in their undergraduate work.

Do I have to take the GRE?
Yes, all applicants, even Rice University undergraduates, are required to take the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE.

Is there a GRE score requirement, or what are the average GRE scores and GPAs of those admitted to the program?
Rice University does not have an established minimum GRE score. Admission to the Department of Bioengineering's Ph.D. program is competitive. Most of our top candidates have high GRE verbal, analytical, and quantitative scores. Average GRE scores for successful Ph.D. applicants are - verbal 161, quantitative 165, and analytical writing 5.0. The average GPA is 3.75. 

If the GRE is taken multiple times, which scores are accepted?
The highest of each section is the score used in the evaluation process.

Do applicants need to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)?
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required for students who have not received a degree from a university in the United States or where English is the official language of instruction. The TOEFL is administered through the Educational Testing Service, Box 6151, Princeton, New Jersey 08541-6151 USA [telephone (609) 771-7100]. You can also send an e-mail to toefl@ets.org  or contact a center in your native country. The ETS Reporting code for Rice University is 6609. Arrangements must be made with the  Educational Testing Service (ETS) to have official, TOEFL scores sent to Rice University. The  ETS reporting code for Rice University is 6609 and the Rice University Department of Bioengingering code is 1603.

Students whose native language is not English may also use the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). IELTS is owned, developed and delivered through the partnership of the British Council, IDP Education Australia: IELTS Australia and the University of Cambridge ESOL Examinations. You can get more information about the IELTS at http://www.ielts.org, or send an e-mail to ielts@ieltsintl.org.

Applicants whose native language is not English must take the TOEFL test and should score at least 90 on the iBL (internet-based) TOEFL, at least 600 on the paper-based TOEFL or score 250 on the computer-based TOEFL. For students who choose to take the IELTS in lieu of TOEFL, the minimum score is 7.

The TOEFL and the IELTS may be waived for an international student who received a degree from a university in the United States where English is the official language of instruction.

What are the appropriate codes for submitting GRE and TOEFL scores?
The institution code for Rice University is 6609 and the Rice University Department of Bioengineering code is 1603. 

May I submit my GRE/TOEFL score late?
Application materials for the Ph.D. program received after the December 20 deadline risk consideration. Likewise, GRE and TOEFL scores for the M.B.E. program are due according to the October 30 and April 30 application dates.

It is mentioned on your website that admitted students are invited for a campus visit in the spring. Is the recruiting weekend mandatory?
No. Although, this is an opportunity for you to visit the campus and city, meet core faculty and learn about their research, and enjoy the company of our current graduate students.

Do you provide financial aid and how do I apply?
All students seeking a Ph.D. receive a full tuition waver, health insurance subsidy and a stipend--all dependent upon satisfactory progress in the program. To learn more, see Graduate Acceptance and Funding. The M.B.E. program is not research based; therefore, students do not receive financial aid in the form of tuition wavers or stipends.

What are your Research Focus Areas?
Our research focus areas are: Specific research interests include:

Master in Bioengineering (M.B.E.)

Why would I want to get an M.B.E.?
The M.B.E degree will further improve and deepen your knowledge of bioengineering at a graduate level. This will be attractive to industry and business, and should further improve your job opportunities beyond only having a B.S. degree.

What if I decide I want to perform research, but don’t want to get a Ph.D.?
If you want to perform research outside of a Ph.D. program, you still have many options. Although our graduate program in Bioengineering does not admit students for a thesis-based Master’s degree, there are many graduate programs at other universities that do. If you are still a Rice undergraduate Bioengineering major, you may want to try BIOE 400 (undergraduate research) before you graduate. You might also look for a technician position in a research lab at one of the Texas Medical Center institutions or at a research institute in your home town. Most importantly, you should try to find out how research experience will enrich your future career interests.

Can I transfer from the M.B.E. program into the Ph.D. program?
No, a student in the M.B.E. program must reapply to the Ph.D. program.

Can the classes taken during the M.B. E. program apply towards the Ph.D. program if I am accepted into a PhD program?
This is a very strong possibility, but it depends on the policies of the Ph.D. program you applied. In the Bioengineering Department, we waive up to 12 credits for our students who enter with a master’s degree. 

If I enroll in the Ph.D. program then decide after a couple of years that research is not for me, can I leave the program with an M.B.E. degree?
Admission into the M.B.E. professional-degree program is granted separately from admission into the Ph.D. thesis-degree program. Students who wish to change from a thesis program to a professional degree program must petition their department in writing. Upon recommendation of the department and approval by the dean’s office, the request is sent to the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies for consideration and final approval. If approved, students who received tuition waivers while enrolled in the thesis program will be expected to repay the tuition before their professional degrees are awarded. Professional degree programs terminate when the degree is awarded. Students who wish to continue graduate study after completing a professional program must reapply for admission into a research program.

Can I take BIOE courses my senior year at Rice University, have them not apply toward my B.S., but have them apply toward the M.B.E.?
Yes, after you have completed the 134 credit hour requirement for your B.S. in Bioengineering (as demonstrated by a degree audit), any additional graduate level courses you take during your fourth year at Rice can be applied towards the completion of the M.B.E. degree. These courses must be part of the approved M.B.E. curriculum. Note, however, that you do have to be admitted to the M.B.E program, and admission is not guaranteed.

Web Links

You can find official information on the program in the Bioengineering section of the Rice General Announcements.

For additional questions:

Applicants may obtain departmental information on graduate study by contacting the Graduate Admissions Coordinator:

Rice University
Graduate Admissions Committee
Department of Bioengineering
6100 Main St., MS 142
Houston, TX 77005
Phone: 713-348-5869
Fax: 713-348-5877
Email: bioeng@rice.edu