Program Admissions and Support

Application Deadline and Timeline

Application Deadline for Domestic and International Applicants: November 30

Applications for the Molecular Genetics PhD program are accepted for Autumn semester admission only. To consider your application, we require that you will have a 3.0 GPA or higher and a BS or BA degree from a four-year undergraduate institution prior to matriculation. We do not admit students who intend to pursue a MS degree.

The Molecular Genetics Admissions committee will send offers of interview and/or admission after review of completed applications, typically by the end of January.

Application Procedure

Applications for the Molecular Genetics PhD program are accepted through The Ohio State University Graduate School Admissions application website. The departmental admissions committee will access application components directly from the Graduate Admissions site.

Please visit the OSU Graduate Admissions overview page for information about the OSU admissions process and to access the Graduate School Step-by-step guide and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).

1. Submit an online application for the Molecular Genetics program

  • Attach the following supporting documentation to your application
    • Statement of Intent. The statement should provide information about the factors that have stimulated your interest in science and motivated you to pursue graduate work in the Molecular Genetics department. Information about undergraduate and/or graduate research experiences should be included, with emphasis on the most influential experiences that have prepared you for graduate research. You may also indicate research specializations you find most interesting and describe your current long-term career goals. You can find more tips for writing an effective statement on our departmental admissions FAQ.
    • Curriculum Vitae (CV)
    • Official transcripts from all institutions where college credit was earned. Attach scanned copies of the front and back of each official paper transcript issued by the institutional registrar. See FAQ for additional instructions.
    • Optional Short Answer Questions. You may answer any or all of the following optional questions, in 150 words or less, to help us learn more about you as an applicant.
      • Describe the most difficult assignment, research project, or personal challenge you've faced and how you overcame it.
      • What research accomplishment are you most proud of, and why?
      • Please share your life experiences and/or endeavors that have prepared you to be an active university citizen who will champion OSU’s Shared Values of “diversity and innovation” and “inclusion and equity” while investing in our culture of service reflective of our land grant mission.  When possible, please provide specific examples in your answer.
    • Optional Research Abstract Upload. You may upload abstracts for your oral and/or poster research presentations. Each abstract should be less than one page and in pdf format. Each submission should include all authors, with presenting author (you) underlined, title, abstract text, date of presentation, and name and location of meeting, conference, or forum.

2. Request three (3) letters of reference.

  • Ask your referees to submit their letter of recommendation by the November 30th deadline. Electronic submission is preferred, but if a referee is unable to submit online, they may submit a hard copy to the address at bottom of this section.

3. Submit GRE Scores (Optional)

  • The GRE General and Subject tests are not required; however, students who have taken the GRE exam(s) are welcome to submit scores. The Molecular Genetics graduate program admissions committee takes a holistic approach to evaluating applications and GRE scores may be helpful for students with gaps or weaknesses in their academic records. (Note: this programmatic change was implemented in Fall 2018.)
  • The institutional code for OSU is 1592.

4. Submit TOEFL (or equivalent) Scores - International applicants only

  • The institutional code for OSU is 1592.
  • TOEFL scores are valid for two (2) years.
  • The university requires any applicant whose native language is not English, who has been educated primarily outside of the U.S., who have held U.S. permanent resident, asylee or refugee status for less than one year from the first term of enrollment, and/or who has not received a degree from a U.S. university to submit official scores from either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the digital Michigan English Test (MET), or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). The minimum score requirements for the university are: TOEFL, 550 on the paper-based test or 79 on the Internet-based test (iBT or iBT home edition); IELTS, 7.0 on IELTS Academic test or IELTS Indicator; online MET, 56 or higher; and Duolingo, 120 or higher. See special notes below regarding English proficiency requirements after admission. For the Molecular Genetics department, it is recommended that applicants have an overall TOEFL iBT score of 96, with a minimum score of 22 in each of the four sections (or comparable scores on other tests).
  • Note: Ohio State does not accept the TOEFL My Best Score. As of August 2019, Ohio State will continue to use the highest score from any one test date.

Special notes regarding English Language proficiency (International applicants only):

All Duolingo test takers are required to take an English placement exam upon arrival to campus. TOEFL Home Edition and IELTS Indicator test takers are required to take an English placement exam upon arrival unless they qualify for a TOEFL or IELTS score exemption. TOEFL iBT and IELTS will also be accepted following Ohio State’s existing English proficiency policies. TOEFL ITP will not be accepted unless a student takes this exam as part of Ohio State’s American Language Program.
Additional Requirements for International students who will be serving as GTAs: The Duolingo English Test cannot be used to satisfy the English Proficiency requirement for Graduate Teaching Associates (GTA). Graduate students who submit a Duolingo score for admission will need to take the TOEFL at a later date upon arrival to campus if planning to hold a GTA position.

For all applicants, electronic submission of all application components is highly preferred, however, if an applicant or referee is unable to submit items electronically, please mail documents to:

Graduate Admissions Committee
Department of Molecular Genetics
The Ohio State University
105 Biological Sciences Building
484 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210-1292

Financial Support

In general, students admitted to our program receive program support that covers tuition and a stipend ($31,380 as of August 2023). Some applicants may be eligible for competitive university-wide fellowships, such as the University Fellowship and the University Graduate Enrichment Fellowship, which provide a higher stipend during the first year. Students meeting eligibility requirements for University fellowships will be nominated by the department and no additional information beyond what you provide in your application is required. We ask that all applicants complete the optional section on the graduate school application that asks how you would bring diversity (broadly defined) to the Ohio State campus; this section is required for all applicants who wish to be considered for Enrichment fellowships.

It is a Molecular Genetics program requirement that all admitted students act as a teaching assistant in two courses. Students typically fulfill this requirement in their second year, thus tuition and stipend in the second year are usually covered by Graduate Teaching Assistantships.

In the third year and beyond, student tuition and stipend are covered by a student’s research advisor or by graduate teaching assistantships. Outstanding students may also apply for a variety of fellowships and supplemental support, including NIH-sponsored institutional training grants, like the Cellular, Molecular, and Biochemical Sciences Program training grant, and intramural fellowships such as Presidential Fellowships, RNA Center Fellowships, Center for Applied Plant Sciences Fellowships, and Pelotonia Fellowships. Additionally, our students also compete for extramural fellowships from the NIH, NSF, and various foundations.