Upon admission to the program, all Pathobiology students receive broad-based training, designed to prepare for a career in biomedical research.

Admission Criteria

The Pathobiology graduate program is designed for students wishing to conduct PhD-level research in the areas of toxicology, cancer biology, immunology, or infectious disease.

To have a realistic chance of being admitted to the Pathobiology graduate program, applicants must have demonstrated strong backgrounds in molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, cell biology, and/or related fields of study. The admissions committee will consider both the rigor of the coursework that has been completed in these areas, and the grades that have been achieved.

Most successful applicants to the program have engaged in independent research projects as part of their undergraduate training. Letters of support written by research mentors are typically included in the application materials.

Is Pathobiology the Right Program for You?

The process of selecting an appropriate graduate program can sometimes be confusing to prospective students. Keep in mind that your primary goal at this point is to ensure that you will find a laboratory that is suitable for you (i.e., the science is interesting, the work is fulfilling, and you are happy in that lab environment).

We advise prospective students to study carefully the list of faculty participants and research interests for each graduate program they are considering. How many of the labs have research interests that seem compatible with your own? Choose a graduate program that has several (preferably four or more) potential matches.

Upon entry into the program, you will select laboratories from this pool and conduct a series of trial research projects (rotations). When the rotations have been completed, the laboratory in which the PhD project will be conducted can finally be selected.

How to Apply

  1. Complete the on-line application to The Graduate School of Penn State University.
  2. Include a Statement of Purpose as part of the on-line application. It should be uploaded during the graduate school online application procedure. The statement should detail your general background (including any prior research experience) as well as your research interests and goals.
  3. Arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent. Using the electronic application, applicants will enter referee contact information. The graduate school will contact the referee with instructions on how to upload a letter of recommendation.
  4. Upload official transcripts from each institution attended (other than Penn State). Upon an acceptance of an offer of admission, hard copies of official transcripts must then be sent directly from the institution(s) attended for verification.
  5. Arrange for GRE test scores to be sent electronically to Penn State Graduate Enrollment Services (GES). The Penn State GRE institution code is 2660. The Department code for Pathobiology is 0622.
  6. International applicants must arrange for TOEFL scores to be sent electronically to Penn State Graduate Enrollment Services (GES). The Penn State TOEFL institution code is 2660.
  7. International applicants who are admitted to the program must submit an application for Visa Document.

Admission timeline

The admissions committee meets to evaluate applications on December 15.

Applications received after December 15 will still be evaluated, provided that the positions have not all been filled.

The final deadline for submissions is February 1.

Students who are admitted will begin the program at the start of Fall semester, in late August.