Frequently Asked Questions


Online Application

Deadline for receipt of applications is DECEMBER 1, 2023

Can I apply for The Tri-Institutional PhD Program in Chemical Biology (TPCB) via fax or mail?
TPCB accepts electronic applications submitted through the Online Application System. If you are unable to submit your application electronically, please contact:

Tri-Institutional PhD Program in Chemical Biology
Weill Cornell Medical College
1300 York Avenue, Box 194
New York, NY 10065

How do I submit an application using the Online Application System?
To begin the application process, you will need to enter the required information for each section of the application form. Once you have completed the data entry in a particular section, click "Save and Continue". Once all sections of the application form are completed, you will be asked to review your application and to provide payment information.

What application materials must I provide?
All documents listed below must be submitted in order to complete your application:

1 -- The completed Online Application Form.

2 -- Personal Statement describing, in no more than two single-spaced pages, your academic background, research experience, and career goals. This is a very important part of your application. Please feel free to share any information about challenges that you have faced that have impacted your academic and/or scientific trajectory. Please take the time to communicate to the Admissions Committee what your research interests are and how they would overlap with the TPCB program.

3 -- Official Transcripts* of all undergraduate and graduate studies.

4 -- Recommendation Letters from at least three sponsors who can assess your potential for research. Students who are providing a recommendation letter from a current TPCB faculty member are strongly encouraged to solicit an additional external letter to allow full consideration of their application. Please note that we will contact the recommenders you list as soon as they have been specified in the Online Application Form (i.e., before your application is submitted).

5 -- GRE Scores.* Submission of GRE General Test scores is OPTIONAL for all applicants. All applications undergo holistic review and there is no a priori preference given to applicants who decide to take, or not take, the test. Scores that are submitted will be considered as part of this holistic review. Applicants with a financial need are encouraged to apply for the GRE Fee Reduction Program.

6 -- TOEFL or IELTS Scores. Applicants must supply evidence of their proficiency in written and oral communication in the English language. Applicants who speak English as a first language and are a citizen or permanent resident of a country where English is an official language are exempt. Applicants who are completing/have completed an undergraduate or graduate degree at an institution college or university located in a country where English is an official language, and where English is the language of instruction are exempt. . The English proficiency requirement can be fulfilled through the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

TPCB has the following minimum score requirements:
100 on the TOEFL iBT test
7.0 on the IELTS
185 on the Cambridge English Scale

7 -- Application Fee of $80 payable by check or credit card (preferred payment method). Fee waivers are available to students for whom the application fee would represent a significant financial hardship, participants in certain pipeline programs and recruiting fairs, and those also applying to other graduate programs on the Tri-Institutional campuses.

Can I apply to the individual graduate programs at The Rockefeller University, Memorial Sloan Kettering or Weill Cornell Medical College in addition to TPCB?
There is no restriction on applying to all of these graduate programs concurrently. Each program requires submission of a separate application according to their own requirements.
What file format is required for documents I upload?
All uploaded documents must be in PDF format. Make sure that your PDF documents do not contain any encryption or password protection.

What if I do not have the tools to create PDF files?
If you do not have the software to create PDF files you may use our Word to PDF converter provided on the Upload Documents page of the application form. Simply upload the Word file you would like to convert and click "Convert." Once you have downloaded and saved the file locally please review it for accuracy. The file can then be uploaded with your application materials. There is no fee for the conversion service.
What other formatting issues should I be aware of?
Special formatting such as bolding, italics, underlining will not be accepted in the data entry fields. Also, special symbols including $, % and angle brackets (<,>) will not be accepted. However, both single and double quotation marks may be used.

Will I be able to start my online application and return to it later to complete the submission?
Yes. All of the information you enter and upload will be saved under your user name and password for submission at a later time. Prior to logging off, you must click "Save and Continue" on the page you are currently working on for the information to be saved.

How do I proceed if I forgot my password?
On the log-in page there is a link for applicants who forgot their password. Click this link and follow the instructions for resetting your password.

Can I make changes to my application once it has been submitted?
You cannot make changes to your application once it has been submitted. Prior to submission, you will have an opportunity to review and edit the information you have entered. If there is an urgent matter regarding your submission, please contact TPCB at .

How many recommendation letters are required and what is the process for providing you with these letters?
You are required to submit names and contact information, including email addresses, for at least three persons (maximum of four) who will write recommendation letters on your behalf. Students who are providing a recommendation letter from a current TPCB faculty member are strongly encouraged to solicit an external fourth letter to allow full consideration of their application. We will contact your recommenders for letters directly, but suggest that you also inform those whose names you will be submitting.

What can my recommenders expect from the Online Application System?
The recommenders you list on your application form will receive individual e-mail requests that include instructions for uploading a recommendation letter in support of your application. We strongly suggest that you notify your recommenders that they will be receiving this e-mail request from The Tri-Institutional PhD Program in Chemical Biology (TPCB) so it is not filtered as junk mail. Please discuss your application with your recommenders ahead of time as TPCB will not provide your recommenders with a copy of your application.

How do I know that the recommenders I listed have been contacted for a recommendation letter?
You will be copied on all email requests for recommendation letters for your application.

How do I know which recommendation letters you have received for my application?
Once a letter has been received by TPCB, both you and the recommender will receive an e-mail confirmation. If the required three letters of recommendation have not been received by December 1, 2023, a reminder will be sent to the recommenders we have not heard from and you will be copied. You may also log-in and click View Application Status to see the status of the recommendation letters received for your application (see below).

How do I know when my application becomes complete?
When all materials are received, you will receive an e-mail informing you that your application is complete.

How can I check the status of my application?
You may view your application status at any time after submission by logging in and clicking on View Application Status. You will be able to see the date of application submission and date of completion, as well as the status of the recommendation letters, transcripts and GRE scores for your application.

What if my grade point average (GPA) is not calculated on a 4.0 scale?
The Online Application System requires that you report your GPA on a 4.0 scale. If your institution uses a different or weighted system, you need to convert your GPA to a 4.0 scale.

Does TPCB offer a fee waiver?
To obtain a fee waiver, please request for one within the TPCB application. Go to the “Payment” section and select “fee waiver”. Upon receipt, we will review and process.

Does TPCB accept letters of recommendation from Interfolio?
TPCB does not accept letters from Interfolio. Letters must be submitted using our application portal.

If there is an urgent matter regarding your application submission, please contact TPCB at