Irell & Manella Graduate School Admissions & Applications

Program and Deadlines

City of Hope’s Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences offers a Ph.D. in biological sciences.

Applicants are encouraged to apply early for best consideration. The Graduate Program in Biological Sciences will consider both domestic and international applications. Please note that your application is not considered complete until all steps below are completed.

Applicants are encouraged to join any of our virtual chatrooms or email [email protected] to set up an individual appointment. We are available throughout the application period if you have any questions about our admissions process and requirements.
There are many resources online on how to apply and prepare for a Ph.D. program. One recent article includes this article published by AAAS. 

Application Procedures

All students must complete an online application. Applications for Fall 2019 are now closed.

  •  Provide additional required documentation by mail.
  •  Await possible contact from the Admissions Committee regarding an on-site interview.

Application Requirements

  • Online application (biographical information, essays and educational history)
  • Three letters of recommendation (recommenders can submit online or mail their letters on your behalf)
  • Official transcripts from all post-secondary institutions attended
  • GRE Scores (optional): The Graduate School has decided to make the submission of GRE score both for the general and subject-specific exam optional. However, we will still consider GRE scores if they are submitted, and such scores may be helpful for applicants with weaknesses in their prior academic records (e.g., if GPA is below 3.0). GRE scores must be sent by the Educational Testing Service to the Office of Graduate Education. The School Code for City of Hope is 4076.
  • TOEFL Scores: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores are required for all foreign students and must be sent to the Office of Graduate Education. The school code for City of Hope is 2268. Only foreign students who have completed a four-year bachelor’s degree in the United States are eligible to petition to waive this requirement.


Each student’s application should demonstrate the potential to conduct meaningful and significant biological, biomedical and/or chemical research. It is recommended that applicants have a minimum of 35 semester hours (undergraduate or combined with master studies) in biology and/or chemistry. We expect that these 35 hours will include basic undergraduate (or advanced) courses in Chemistry, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, and Genetics or Molecular Biology. Students with an educational background primarily in Chemistry would be expected to at least have course work in Biochemistry.

The following prerequisites are recommended for admission to the Graduate Program in Biological Sciences:
  • Two semesters of mathematics
  • One year of general physics, including laboratory
  • Two years of chemistry (general and organic), including laboratory
  • One year each of general biology and biochemistry
  • Significant experience in a research laboratory
  • Additional recommended courses include:
    • Genetics
    • Cell biology
    • Cell physiology
    • Molecular genetics
    • Developmental biology
    • Neurobiology
    • Physical chemistry
    • Differential equations
    • Advanced organic and/or physical chemistry

Transfer Credit Policy

Transfer credit for classes taken prior to acceptance into the graduate program will not be given. This includes classes taken while the student was an undergraduate and a graduate student, no matter the course-level.

Review Process

Applications are reviewed by an admissions committee made up of faculty from the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences. The committee reviews applications and supporting documents and decides which of those candidates will be offered an interview. Final admissions decisions are made after the results of the interviews have been reviewed. All admissions decisions are final and there is no appeal process for admissions decisions.

Antidiscrimination Policy

City of Hope does not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, color, national and ethnic origin or nondisqualifying handicap in regard to all activities associated with the graduate school. Handicapped access is provided.