Thank you for your interest into the Joint Doctoral Program in Cell and Molecular Biology at San Diego State University. The Joint Doctoral Program in Cell and Molecular Biology is an innovative program, presented in cooperation with the University of California at San Diego. The program takes advantage of the combined resources of two excellent institutions to offer students significant research opportunities at diverse locations, expanded faculty and course availability, and exposure to San Diego's thriving biomedical and biotechnology research environment. Our doctoral students receive tuition and financial support.

Qualification for admission into the Doctoral Program includes a baccalaureate degree with a major in Biology or a related field, a GPA of 3.0 for the last 60 semester units of coursework, and a GPA of 3.0 for upper division biological sciences courses. NOTE: The Graduate Records Examination (GRE) has been suspended and is therefore, NOT required. Foreign students are also required to submit TOEFL scores. See below for detailed information.

The Admissions Committee will evaluate potential student applications based on grade point average, TOEFL scores (if applicable), research experience, and letters of recommendation. Selected students will be invited to interview at SDSU with faculty and current Ph.D. students. Selected foreign students will be invited to interview via Zoom.

BELOW PLEASE FIND DETAILED STEP BY STEP APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS. Please read all of the materials regarding the application process thoroughly. If you still have questions, please feel free to contact the Biology Joint Doctoral Administrator at

Please note: Even though we offer a Joint Doctoral Ph. D. Program with UCSD, you do not need to send your application materials to both SDSU and UCSD, only submit materials to SDSU. If you are being considered for the program, your application materials will then be forwarded to UCSD for review.

Fall 2024 Deadlines

Submit Cal State Apply Application – December 1
Submit Documents to Graduate Admissions – December 15
SComplete Program Application – December 15


(Cell and Molecular Biology)



To be considered for graduate admission at San Diego State University, you must follow the 3 step process outlined below.  For more detailed information regarding the admissions process, please visit the Graduate Admissions Website (


Step 1:  Complete the CSU Cal State Apply Application by December 1


Each applicant must submit the California State University application electronically at the CSU Cal State Apply ( along with the $70 nonrefundable application fee.  Once you have submitted a CSU Cal State Apply application, you will be assigned a RedID number (also called EMPLID or SDSUid), which will be e-mailed to you within 3-5 business days. Your RedID number will allow you to track the status of your application through the my.SDSU portal.

Please note that SDSU does not offer fee waivers for the CALSTATE Apply application fee.


Step 2: Submit Official Transcripts & Test Scores to the Graduate Admissions Office by December 15


After you have submitted the CSU Cal State Apply application and received your RedID number, you will need to send official transcripts and test scores to the Graduate Admissions Office.  Sending transcripts before submitting the CSU Cal State Apply application will result in processing delays. 


You must provide the following:


  1. Official transcripts (in sealed envelopes) issued within the last year, from all U.S. colleges and universities attended.  Students who previously attended SDSU need only submit transcripts for coursework completed since last attendance.  Hard copy SDSU transcripts are not required. 


Students with international coursework must submit both the official transcript and proof of degree. If documents are in a language other than English, they must be accompanied by a certified literal English translation. For country specific requirements, please see the Graduate Admissions website (link to


  1. General GRE test scores have been suspended and are NOT required.

Please note that while other tests are acceptable at SDSU (Duolingo English Test and PTE), UCSD only accepts TOEFL and IELTS test scores. Therefore, please submit TOEL or IELTS test scores to be considered for the SDSU/UCSD CMB Joint Doctoral Program.

  1. TOEFL minimum score of 80 iBT/ 550 PBT: Score can be sent electronically from Educational Testing Service (ETS) using the SDSU institution code: 4682. Test score must be from within the past two years.

    IELTS overall score of 6.5 or higher: Score report must be submitted directly to the SDSU Graduate Admissions Office. Test score must be from within the past two years.


The above listed materials should be sent to:


Graduate Admissions Office

San Diego State University

5500 Campanile Drive

San Diego, CA 92182-8225


If you have questions regarding Steps 1 and 2, please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at (619) 594-6336 or e-mail  International applicants may contact the International Recruitment Office at (619)594-6336 or e-mail


STEP 3: Supplemental Graduate Application and Documents required by the BIOLOGY Department.

Deadline: December 15

In addition to the CSU Cal State Apply application, applicants must also submit supplemental materials required by the Biology Department as follows:

1) Supplemental Graduate Application (this is in addition to the CSU Cal State Apply application) Go to: Apply - Interfolio.

2) Statement of Professional Goals (usually one to three pages in length).

3) Resume or Curriculum Vitae

4) Three Letters of Recommendation.  You will be asked to provide names and email addresses for individuals who will be writing your letters and uploading them onto the system themselves. The system allows for up to 5 letters.

5) Photocopy of TOEFL scores (foreign students only).

6)  Copy of unofficial transcripts.

Review of applications for Fall 2024 will commence in early January 2024. In order to ensure consideration, please submit the CSU application, Graduate Supplemental Application, and upload all necessary documents.

Tracking Your Application Status:

Use your Red I.D. number to track the status of your application online. You will be able to monitor when materials have been received and view a list of materials that are still required to complete your application file. Please bear in mind that we receive thousands of applications so it may take some time for the information to be added to your my.SDSU account.  

Other helpful information may be obtained at the following SDSU resources:

Prospective Student Admissions Information
SDSU Graduate Studies Program Applications

Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
SDSU Financial Aid & Scholarships

International Student Center
SDSU International Student Services

On-Campus Housing
SDSU Housing and Residential Education

Cashier's Office
SDSU Student Account Services and Financial Services