How to Apply for Admission

Thank you for your interest in the Pharmacology graduate program at UNC Chapel Hill. Our department, together with all of the other Basic Science Departments in the Medical School and the Biological Sciences Divisions in Biology and Chemistry, are participating in a new joint recruitment and first year graduate program called Biological & Biomedical Sciences Program (BBSP). You can read more about the program and the participating faculty at http://www.med.unc.edu/bbsp.  Rather than applying to a single program, under this new admissions structure you effectively apply to all 12 participating programs at the same time.  If admitted into the BBSP, you would have no formal commitment to any one program; thus, during your first year, you will have the freedom to choose your own coursework and lab rotations.  At the end of your first year you will choose a thesis adviser and join one of the participating PhD programs, where you will complete the rest of your studies at UNC. Your PhD will be in the department or curriculum that you chose at the end of your first year.

Please note that while this program provides you with plenty of flexibility for taking courses and rotating in labs in multiple departments, you may also focus your studies and lab rotations in the Pharmacology Department.  Thus, while it may take you a year before you can formally join Pharmacology, you can begin to fulfill the requirements for our program right away.

If you are interested in applying to Pharmacology, follow the link to the BBSP portal, fill out an online application, and select Pharmacology as your interest. If your interests are broader, you can select up to five areas of interest.  None of these selections locks you in to any department or program. You can also enter the names of faculty you are interested in.

Students in the Medical Sciences Training Program (MSTP; i.e. MD/PhD) will continue to enter the program at the end of the second year of Medical School. An example of the curriculum for MD/PhD students can be found here.

Additional information about admissions

When do I apply?
What do I need to apply?
Do I need to take the GRE?
What happens after I send my application in?
The Interview Process
Can I find out about the progress of my application?
Does UNC provide support for stipends and tuition?
Does UNC provide health insurance coverage for graduate students?
Note to International Applicants

When do I apply?

The Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program employs a rolling admissions process.  For applications for the 2013-2014 academic year, the final application deadline is December 1.  This earlier date allows for admissions committees to evaluate applications in time to invite the top candidates to one of six recruiting weekends.

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What do I need to apply?

The following materials are required for a complete application:

___ 1. Application
___ 2. Non-refundable $85 application fee
___ 3. Unofficial copies of each of your transcripts must be uploaded into your online application before you are able to submit your application. This is to include ALL schools in which you have attended.
___ 4. GRE scores (UNC institution code is 5816 and the department code is 0000)
___ 5. TOEFL score (ONLY if you are an international applicant who does not have an undergraduate degree from a US university)
___ 6. Three letters of recommendation
___ 7. Personal statement (a one- to two-page essay describing your past & research experience, your future goals, any unique factors and that may contribute to diversity in our training program, and any special reasons for applying to our program at UNC. In addition, you may want to list the laboratories that you are most interested in for dissertation research.)

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Do I need to take the GRE?

Yes. You must take the general test. The subject test is not required. We recommend taking the GREs in the Fall just prior to submitting your application. We also recommend that you self report your scores if you have them before you apply or during the application process; however, official scores are to be sent directly to the Graduate School. In any event, the GRE score must be less than 5 years old. Remember that it takes 4-6 weeks for the official scores to be reported, so try to take them before you submit your completed materials.

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What happens after I send my application in?

Applications are received by the Graduate School and processed through BBSP. This can take several weeks, especially during the peak submission periods in December and January, which is why we encourage you to submit your application materials early.

A BBSP Admissions Committee, composed of faculty with expertise in your area(s) of interest, will evaluate your application and make recommendations for an interview. We strongly favor of on-site interviews by applicants before making admissions decisions, because in our experience this helps us determine the fit between the research interests of the faculty and the student. We usually begin to issue invitations to visit the campus and interview from late December through January.

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The Interview Process

Interview weekends occur from the end of January through the beginning of March. While we consider applications on a rolling basis, we have a limited number of available interview slots and so it is to your advantage to submit your application early. Interviews are relaxed – casual/nice dress is sufficient. We will discuss your interest in Pharmacology or other areas, your previous research experience, our research areas, our graduate training programs, UNC, Chapel Hill, the weather, sports, etc. We strive to accommodate students’ requests to meet individually with specific faculty. There are also ample opportunities to talk informally with current students and faculty.

The Admissions Committee meets shortly after the interview weekend to determine which applicants to recommend for offers of admission. The Graduate School sends an official offer letter, and the students then have until April 15th to make and inform us of their decision.

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Can I find out about the progress of my application?

Yes. Simply login to the online admissions application using your own user name and password.

Does UNC provide support for stipends and tuition?

Yes. Stipend support (currently $28,500 per year) and full tuition is provided to all students who matriculate through the BBSP. Tuition and stipend support for students after the first year is covered by the individual program you choose to join, either by individual research grants, competitive fellowships awarded by the Graduate School, or training grants from National Institutes of Health.

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Does UNC provide health insurance coverage for graduate students?

Yes. The Department of Pharmacology, as well as all other programs and curricula participating in the BBSP, provides health insurance for all graduate students. Supplemental coverage for dependents is available for a nominal sum.

Note to International Applicants

Some of our funding for graduate training comes from the National Institutes of Health, and the NIH requires that trainees be U.S. Citizens or permanent residents. Consequently the number of positions available for international students is limited, and competition for these positions is high. International applicants should carefully read the information for international applications and requirements as stated by the Graduate School at UNC, in order to ensure that their applications are complete.

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