Graduate FAQs




1. Should I apply for the MS or for the PhD?

Applicants can apply either to the MS or the PhD degree program with the BS degree since the BS degree is the basis of admission for both degree programs. Applicants interested in doing
research in one or more of the Department of Bioengineering fields should apply to the PhD program. Applicants not interested in conducting research and simply wish to enter the industry or go to Medical School after the degree should apply to the terminal MS (Comprehensive Examination Plan) program.

2. Can I complete the Master degree in one year?

Yes. The non research based MS degree can be completed in one year.

3. Can I apply to more than one major at UCLA?

UCLA does not allow applicants for graduate programs to apply to more than one major unless the UCLA Department offers a concurrent degree program. The Department of Bioengineering does not offer a concurrent degree program at this time. Only after the student begins matriculation, that student can then apply for a concurrently degree program.

4. Can I call or email you about my qualifications so you can inform me of my chances of being admitted before I file the application and pay the application fee?

The Department of Bioengineering staff cannot provide feedback regarding applicant qualifications and admission eligibility. Only Department of Bioengineering faculty participates in admission decisions after they have received and reviewed a completed admission file, which occurs after the application fee has been paid.

Historical approximate minimum GRE scores (given only for information, and has no relevance and bearing on future admission decisions):

2007: 700 Quant. 500 Verbal 4.5 Analytical

2006: 700 Quant. 500 Verbal 4.5 Analytical

2005: 680 Quant. 480 Verbal 4.0 Analytical

5. Do I need to complete all prerequisites before I apply?

Prerequisites, as listed on the Department of Bioengineering website, should be completed before undertaking coursework. Applicants are held responsible for acquiring prerequisite knowledge as they are not monitored for completion by the Department of Bioengineering.

6. Is the deadline to apply the same each year?

Yes. Each year, the deadline to apply for admission falls on December 1st.

7. Why can’t an admission decision be made right away?

Since the Department of Bioengineering faculty need sufficient review time to allow the faculty to make a decision on all of the applications which increase each year, all admissions decisions cannot be finalized right away.

8. Do you have an admission quota?

The Department of Bioengineering does not hold to an admission quota.

9. If I upload my application early, will it get priority review?

No application receives a priority review. All applications are made available to the faculty for review as they are submitted.

10. Who reviews the applications and how are the reviews conducted?

The Department of Bioengineering faculty review applications and consider prior academic achievement, standardized test scores, letters of reference, research experience, the statement of purpose, and CV/resumé.

11. Does my application get reviewed even if it’s incomplete?

A faculty subcommittee makes a denial decision on incomplete applications based on materials not received in a timely manner.

12. Does one component of the application weigh more heavily than another in the review process?

The faculty considers all components of the application when reviewing an application for admission.

13. Can I still apply to the Department of Bioengineering if I do not have a BS degree in Engineering, Life Science, or Physical  Science?

Yes, you can apply but the likelihood of being admitted is not very good since this is one of the major criteria for the application due to the nature of the Bioengineering discipline. If the post secondary school that you attended or are attending does not offer the BS degree and only the MS degree or both, the MS degree will be considered as having satisfied the BS degree requirements.

14. I have studied for at least one year at a US college or university. Do I need to take the TOEFL exam?

No. If you have studied for at least one year at a college or university in the US, or have received an MS or are studying for an MS and it will be one year of study at a college or university by the time you begin matriculation at UCLA, you are not required to take the TOEFL exam.

15. Do I need to upload a transcript from a school where I took only a few courses and even though this coursework is posted on the transcript of the school I’m graduating from?


16. I already have a Master degree, will this help shorten my second Master degree?

An applicant who already has a Master degree cannot get a reduction of quarters. All courses for the second Master degree must be completed at UCLA with a 3 quarter minimum residency requirement.

17. Will the fact that I already have a Master degree help my chances of being accepted?

The basis of admission for the Master and PhD degree programs is the BS degree, not the Master degree, and having a Master degree at the time of application does not directly increase the chance of being admitted. However, having the additional credential is taken into consideration in the admission decision.

18. I already have a Master degree in Biomedical Engineering/Bioengineering. Will I need to repeat courses for my second Master or PhD in Biomedical Engineering if the courses are identical?

Courses that have been completed satisfactorily (B or better) at the graduate level at a former institution do not need to be repeated for credit, however, a substitute course, approved by the Field Adviser on the Study Plan, can apply towards
graduation requirements.

19. I completed coursework at the graduate level at another institution and now I want to transfer to UCLA. How does my graduate coursework transfer and how many units will be accepted for transfer?

UCLA does not have a direct transfer policy at the graduate level nor do most colleges and universities. Admitted applicants entering with graduate work already completed and not already
applied to a Master degree may receive up to 8 quarter units of credit upon petitioning once the applicant has registered and enrolled at UCLA. However, there is no guarantee the transferred units will apply to the core or elective course requirements; the Field Adviser will need to make a decision regarding this issue when approving your study plan.

20. I have a BS in Bioengineering from UCLA. Upon reviewing the curriculum for the Master, I see that I had a lot of the same courses. Will I need to repeat them?

Some of the Department of Bioengineering courses are cross listed with undergraduate courses in BE. In these cases, if the course has been satisfactorily completed at the undergraduate level, it is possible to get the course waived and have it replaced with another course upon approval by the Field Adviser on the Study Plan.

21. I did not do so well in undergraduate school but did exceptionally well in graduate school. Will the fact of doing well in graduate school help me get admitted?

The basis of admission for both the Master and the PhD is the BS degree, however, the faculty consider all facets of the admission dossier when making an admission decision.

22. Who will be my Faculty Adviser when I get admitted?

The Vice Chair serves as Faculty Adviser for all admitted students who do not get lab placement at the time of admission. The Faculty Adviser of students who get lab placements is the Principal Investigator (PI) of that lab.

23. What kind of financial aid can I expect?

Most PhD admitted applicants receive some type of funding regardless of nationality. In addition to paid lab appointments, TA  positions in one of UCLA’s 65 departments are also available to both PhD and MS students. To secure TA positions, international students are required to take and pass the TOP exam immediately upon arriving on campus and achieve a minimum score of 7.1. TA positions provide monthly salaries plus tuition but these positions do not pay non resident tuition for non resident students, however, GSR appointments hired at a minimum of 45% time pays non resident tuition. Students who are US Citizens or Permanent Residents can also secure funding through FAFSA loans or graduate work study funding (which can be used for TA and GSR positions) or by applying to one or more of the Graduate Division’s restricted fellowships posted on the on-line graduate admissions application website. International applicants are not eligible for need based loans and work study funds.

24. If I get admitted and then for some reason I decide I cannot attend UCLA in the Fall, does UCLA have a deferral or postponement policy?

No. UCLA does not have a deferral or postponement policy. If you get admitted and then decide to no longer attend, you will need to renew your application by going online to reapply for the following academic year (entry is only in the Fall quarter) with no guarantee of being admitted since admissions is weighed on the excellence of the applicant pool for the academic year applied for. Applicants renewing their application in the following year do not select the ‘Readmit’ option of the online application but rather the ‘Renewal’ option. Applicants who were admitted to the program and renew the following year do not have to pay the application fee.

25. If I get admitted to UCLA for a given term and do not show up for that term, what are the application requirements for applying in the future?

Apply as you did in the previous year but indicate on the online application that it’s a renewal. An admitted applicant can renew the application for 2 consecutive years without having to pay the application fee again.

26. If I get admitted to UCLA, does UCLA require a deposit to secure my intention to register?

No. UCLA does not require a deposit to secure your intention to register.

27. How does a prospective student get placed in a lab?

Applicants can attempt to secure a lab by contacting the BE in the Department of Bioengineering posted on the Department of Bioengineering website either at the time of application, during the summer after being admitted, or after the prospective student has arrived on campus. It is also possible to secure a lab through a faculty member who has a lab who is not in the Department of Bioengineering. Other applicants
are selected to join a lab during the admissions process when a faculty has become interested in the applicant’s background when reviewing the application.

28. Does UCLA’s Department of Bioengineering have lab rotations?

UCLA’s Department of Bioengineering does not have lab rotations because of the nature of its very extensive interdepartmental studies and research which span throughout the south campus which include over 15 departments, UCLA hospital, School of Dentistry,
and School of Medicine.

29. If I do not get admitted to UCLA, can I apply again and get reconsidered?

If you do not get admitted to UCLA, you can apply again the following year for reconsideration. You will need to submit a new application fee and a new online graduate admission application.

30. If have 2 Bachelor degrees. Which Bachelor degree do I report the jr/sr GPA and the GPA in the major?

If you have 2 Bachelor degrees, report your jr/sr GPA from your first Bachelor degree. Report your GPA in the major in the courses from both Bachelor degree programs.

31. What exactly is required of the financial statement for it to be considered as official for international applicant?

Uploaded bank statements from international applicants are considered official when they contained a bank stamp.

32. Does the financial statement need to be uploaded along with the other materials that are due on December 1st or can they be sent later?

The financial statement for international students does not have to be uploaded together with the other materials to meet the application deadline. The reason why this document can be sent later is because many international applicants are waiting to see if they are offered a lab position with a paid salary if they get admitted to help decrease the total funds needed on the financial statement to get form I-20 to obtain the student visa.

33. What if the official bank statement indicates that I have no funds or only partial funds to provide for my studies for one full academic year?

If you do not have funds to provide for your tuition and your supplemental non resident tuition and living expenses for one academic year, you will need to secure a fellowship, TA, or GSR, or all three that will total the amount of funds that you will need to provide for your studies for one academic year (3 quarters). This information will be forwarded to the UCLA Graduate Admissions Office who will use this information to release Form I-20. If the funding that is awarded to you from one or more of the aforementioned sources does not arrive to the amount that you need to cover your expenses for one academic year, you will need to submit an official financial statement showing that you have enough funds to cover the balance of those educational

For example, the total amount a single international applicant is required to have to provide for one academic year of study at UCLA for 2012-2013 has been estimated to be $49,946.00. If you are awarded a fellowship, and/or TA or GSR that does not equate this amount…..

TA: $3,000

Fellowship: $5,000

GSR: $6.000


Total Award: $14,000

Amount Needed: $49,946.00

Amount Required on Financial
Statement: $35,946

34. What percentage of Department of Bioengineering students are funded?

The percentage of Department of Bioengineering students funded is tabulated each Spring quarter after the majority of students have succeeded in securing fellowships, TA and/or Readership positions, GSR positions, and other extramural funding. Considering all funding sources, approximately 85% of the students receive some type of funding. These statistics are published on the Department of Bioengineering website at the following URL: /academics/statistics

35. What is the average student funding per capita?

The average student funding is approximately $32,000 annually per student.

36. What careers do graduates from the Department of Bioengineering go into?