Frequently Asked Questions

Does Cancer Biology admit for an MS degree?

  • No. The final degree objective for all admitted students to the Cancer Biology Graduate Program is a PhD.

Does Cancer Biology review applications on a rolling basis?

  • No. Applications are reviewed once per year for fall admission only.
  • The application deadline for fall admission is November 15th.
  • Candidates for admission to the PhD program will be invited to the university for interviews.  Travel expenses will be paid by the department.

What is the required GPA?

  • Although there is no required minimum GPA for the Cancer Biology Graduate Program,  the Graduate School requires entering students must have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 n the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately two years of work) or a master’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 is required.
  • Applicants from an international institution must demonstrate strong academic achievement comparable to a 3.00 for an undergraduate or master’s degree. The Graduate School will use your institution’s grading scale. Do not convert your grades to a 4.00 scale.

What should I include in my personal statement?

  • Let us know what makes you special. How have your background and life experiences (e.g., cultural, geographical, financial, educational, or other challenges) motivated your decision to pursue a PhD in Cancer Biology?  Is there anything you want our Admission Committee to know when evaluating your application? For example, where there extenuating circumstances for low grades in a given semester?  How will you contribute to the diversity of Wisconsin student body?  What are you professional goals and how will a PhD in Cancer Biology help you achieve them?
  • This is the time to provide evidence of your extensive research experience for our Admission Committee to review.  What was the over all goal of your project? What hypothesis did you test and how did you test it?  Who did you work with and interact with?  What were your results?  Have you presented your work at a scientific conference?  Are you a co-author on a scientific abstract or manuscript?

What should I include in my Resume/CV?

  • In the required Resume/CV section of your application, be sure to include relevant academic and professional experience, research projects, conference presentations, and any publications. This should be clearly organized by importance and relevance to research experience.
  • Please review CV samples from UW’s Writing Center:
  • We suggest contacting your campus’ writing center or asking your lab PI for help drafting this document.

From whom should I request letters of recommendation?

  • At least one of your letters must be from a primary research mentor.
  • Others letters may be from professors, the director of your academic program, or a research supervisor at work.
  • Remember, it is important that your letter writers know you well and speak to your potential in cancer biology research.
  • Please do not request letters from non-research-related employment supervisors or from personal/family friends.

Should I send my application to a specific faculty trainer with whom I am interested in working with?

  • No. Cancer Biology faculty trainers are unable to commit to a prospective student until he/she has applied and has been accepted into the Cancer Biology Graduate Program.
  • Therefore, students must submit application material via the Graduate School online application.
  • If admitted to the Cancer Biology Graduate Program, students will rotate in three different laboratories before choosing a faculty advisor (Fall; Year 1).

What address should I use?

  • Please note there is a difference between HOME and MAILING addresses.  Your mailing address is your current-mailing location, not your parent’s address.

What are my chances of admission?

  • We cannot provide preliminary evaluations of chances for admission.
  • The Admissions Committee carefully reviews and considers all application materials (personal statement, recommendation letters, transcripts, etc.) to determine admission decisions.

Do all my supporting documents and test scores need to be submitted by the deadline?

  • Yes, all supporting documents and test scores must be received by November 15th. Therefore, applicants s TOEFL exam (if applicable) early enough so that the scores will reach the Cancer Biology Program before the November 15th deadline. TOEFL scores must be received electronically from ETS (institution code 1846; no department code is required).

Do I need to take the TOEFL exam? Will you accept IELTS instead of TOEFL?

  • Please refer to the Graduate School Admissions English proficiency requirements. We will accept either TOEFL or IELTS scores.
    • Minimum IELTS requirement: 7.0
    • Minimum TOEFL requirement: 92 internet (iBT); 580 paper-based test (PBT)

Can I defer the payment of the application fee until I am admitted?

  • We understand the financial difficulties associated with graduate program applications; however, the application fee cannot be deferred or waived.  Your application will not be reviewed by the Admission Committee unless the application fee has been paid.
  • The UW-Madison Graduate School offers a limited number of application fee grants to eligible students. The Graduate School and Cancer Biology Program do not offer fee waivers to applicants for any other reason than those listed.

Should international students send a financial statement with their application?

  • No. International applicants will be asked to provide a financial statement only if they are accepted into the program.  International financial information can be found on the Graduate School’s website.

How can I check my application status?

  • To check your application status, log-in to MyUW using your NetID and password.
  • If you have forgotten your NetID or password, please contact the DoIT Help Desk at 608-264-HELP for assistance.

When are your interview weekends?

  • Applicants invited to interview will be notified by late-December.
  • The Cancer Biology Graduate Program hosts two interview weekends from mid-January to early February.

There is an “optional information” section as part of the application status. Are there required materials to fulfill this?

  • No. You do not need to submit anything for the “optional information” section in order for your application to be complete.

Do graduate students receive financial support?

  • All PhD students receive full financial support, which covers tuition and a stipend for living expenses.
  • Graduate students are not required  to serve as teaching assistants, although opportunities to teach are available if a student so desires.

Additional Questions?