About Financial Aid and Benefits

About Submitting an Application

About GRE and TOEFL

Financial Aid and Benefits

Q: Do all incoming students receive financial aid?
A: Yes. Incoming MCB Ph.D. students receive a stipend amount in the form of a Teaching Assistant or Research Assistant fellowship.

Q: Do I receive any other benefits?

A: MCB students are part of the Graduate Employment Organization (GEO) union. As members, they receive health insurance and dental insurance.

Q: If I am to receive a stipend, why do you require me to provide financial information?
A: The International Programs Office requires financial information for all International Students. This is required before a VISA can be considered.

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Submitting an Application

Q: Does the MCB Program pre-evaluate applications?

A: No. All applicants should follow the steps outlined below.

Q: Which is the preferred way of applying
A: Students are encouraged to use the UMass Amherst Graduate School online application for admission because it is user-friendly and faster and easier than completing a paper application. By applying online, your application is entered into the Graduate School administrative system sooner than if processed through the mail. If you pay via credit card on our secure server, the Graduate School can immediately distribute your information to the MCB Program. You then simply mail the other required materials (transcripts, letters of reference, financial statement, etc.) to the Graduate Admissions Office to complete your application. We strongly urge you to avoid mailing delays and save money costs by submitting your application online!

Q:  How much is the application fee?

A:  For U.S. citizens and permanent residents, the fee is $40. For international residents, the fee is $65. The application fee is non-refundable and is waived only for U.S. applicants who qualify to receive a GRE fee waiver and submit appropriate documentation. The fee or waiver documentation must accompany the application; otherwise the application will NOT be processed or considered. This fee can be paid by check drawn on a U.S. bank or paid by credit card (MasterCard or VISA only).

Q: Can I send the application fee after I am accepted?

A: The fee or waiver documentation must accompany the application; otherwise the application will NOT be processed or considered. This fee can be paid by check drawn on a U.S. bank or paid by credit card (MasterCard or VISA only).

Q: Can the application fee be waived or deferred?

A: No, not if you are an international applicant. For United States citizens and permanent residents, the fee can only be waived if you received, or were eligible to receive, a GRE fee waiver through your undergraduate financial aid office. To qualify for a waiver of the GRE fee you must be (1) a U.S. citizen or resident alien and (2) a currently enrolled senior who meets the GRE Board financial-need guidelines. A copy of the GRE waiver or a letter from your financial aid office attesting to your eligibility for a waiver must be attached to your application.

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Q: What happens to my application if I submit it without the application fee or the GRE fee waiver documentation?
A: Your application simply will not be processed or considered by anyone at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Don’t waste your postage!

Q: Can I apply to two or more programs for the same entrance period?

A: Yes, but you must submit separate applications, application fees, and separate sets of credentials.

Q: What happens to my application if I submit it after the posted deadline for my desired program?
All processed applications are forwarded to the appropriate program upon receipt. Those applications submitted after the deadline are normally “bumped” to the next entrance cycle. Late applications are considered only at the discretion of the admissions committee.

Q: Where should I mail my application and supporting materials?
A: For the quickest processing of your application, all applications and supporting documentation should be mailed directly to:

Graduate School/ Graduate Admissions
University of Massachusetts Amherst,
530 Goodell Building
140 Hicks Way
Amherst, MA 01003.

Q: When is the application deadline?
A: The application deadline set by the MCB Program is January 15. Any applications received after this date may still be reviewed, but the admissions process will already be under way  The Graduate School will consider your application “late” and give you the option to apply for the current year or defer your application for the following fall.

Q: What should I do if my supporting materials cannot arrive by January 15?
A: Submit your application by the January 15 deadline, and send the supporting materials as soon thereafter as possible.

Q: When will you begin reviewing applications and how will your program notify me of your action?
The admissions committee will begin reviewing COMPLETED applications immediately after the January 15 deadline date. Candidates will be notified of the MCB committee’s decision by email and formal letter.  An official letter from the Graduate School will also be sent.

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Q: What defines a COMPLETED application?
A completed application consists of the Application Form, 2-3 Letters of Recommendation, Official Undergraduate and Graduate (if applicable) transcripts, GRE scores and TOEFL scores (if applicable). Until the MCB Office receives all of the above, the Admissions Committee will not review a candidate’s application.

Q: Are official score reports of GRE and TOEFL required for the application process or are photocopies accepted?
Photocopies are accepted for the application process. HOWEVER, the Graduate School requires official documentation before any formal acceptance into the program is made.

Q: What is the best way for me to check on the status of my application?
The most efficient way for you to check on the status of your application is to use the Graduate School website,;  click on Applicant Status, type in your ID number and Access Code assigned by the Graduate School and click SUBMIT. Your application record should appear indicating the status of your application.

Q: If I am not accepted on my first try, can I resubmit my application?
You must complete a new application and submit it along with another $65 application fee. If you file a new application within one year of your prior application, you do not have to replace your previously submitted credentials, unless you wish to update your file.

Q: What is the typical size of an incoming MCB class?
The MCB Program has a starting class of approximately 15 students.

Q: How many international students will you accept into your program this year?
: The MCB Program does not have a set number of International students who will be accepted into the program.

Q: Can I apply for a master’s degree?
Candidates who have received their undergraduate degree at UMass Amherst, Amherst College, Hampshire College, Mount Holyoke College or Smith College (the Five Colleges) and has a lab affiliation with an MCB faculty member, is eligible to apply for a master’s degree.

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Q: What are the Institution and Department Codes for sending GRE and TOEFL scores?
Institution Code: 3917
Department Code:0206 (GRE) 74 (TOEFL)

Q: What is the minimum GRE score the MCB Program sets?
As a guideline, most of our successful applicants have a score of 500 or above in mathematical/quantitative, 3.5 or above in analytical/writing, and 400 or above in verbal. When considering an application, the MCB admissions committee takes the entire application folder into account, rather than individual GRE scores.

Q: What is the minimum TOEFL score needed in order to apply and how long is my test score valid?
Since all students are expected to read, understand, speak, and write English fluently, all applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English language proficiency by taking the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants taking the computer-based TOEFL must score 213 (550 paper-based total) or above as required by the Graduate School. The average UMass Amherst computer-based TOEFL score is 253 (610 paper-based total) or above. A TOEFL score is valid for two years from expected entrance date.

Q: When is TOEFL not required?
if an applicant satisfies one or more of these conditions:

a. Citizenship of Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Guyana, Ireland, New Zealand, United States, an Anglophone country of Africa or an English-speaking country of the Caribbean.

b. A college or university degree earned in the United States or in one of the countries listed above.

c. A degree earned from the American University in Beirut, American University in Bulgaria, American College in Greece or from Bogazigi University.

d. Current enrollment as a full-time student who will have completed two academic years of college/university work in the United States prior to the date of anticipated entrance at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Q:  Does the MCB Program require the GRE Subject test?

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