Apply Online |  Requirements | Application Materials | Deadlines Financial Support

The Developmental and Stem Cell Biology (DSCB) Graduate Program trains students studying for the PhD degree. PhD students are admitted once each year for Fall quarter matriculation.

The online application for Fall 2020 is now CLOSED! 


Students with backgrounds in biology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics and related fields, are welcome to apply, providing they have demonstrated a high level of academic proficiency (generally a grade point average of 3.2 or higher in relevant science courses). Evidence of exposure to scientific research, generally as participation in a research project during at least one summer, is regarded as an important attribute of the successful applicant. Such research experience might include an undergraduate thesis project, a laboratory internship, technician position, or summer research program in university or industry laboratories. A coherent account of such exposure is one of the key components of a successful application to the program.

The minimum requirement for application to the DSCB program is a Baccalaureate degree; a Master's degree is not a prerequisite for admission. There are no specific course requirements for admission, but courses in biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, chemistry, physics, computation, or related fields represent typical and highly appropriate preparation.

To apply to the program, complete the online application and arrange for at least three letters of recommendation to be submitted on your behalf. Scores from the GRE general test are OPTIONAL (TOEFL/IELTS scores for foreign applicants are required) and an official transcript from all institutes of higher learning attended are also required.  See institutional requirements on the Graduate Division's admissions page.

The Developmental and Stem Cell Biology (DSCB) Graduate Program is committed to providing access for all people with disabilities and will provide reasonable accommodations as necessary. Applicants with disabilities who are invited for interviews will be offered reasonable accommodations. More information can be found on the Office of Student Disability Services website.

You may apply to only one UCSF graduate program in an academic year. It is therefore important to consider which program suits your interests and apply to only that program. Listed below are other graduate programs at UCSF in which many DSCB faculty also participate, along with a link to their respective websites. Each graduate program maintains its own admissions procedure.

DSCB shares some aspects of its curriculum with other UCSF programs due to overlapping research areas. However, DSCB is a distinct program that maintains a separate curriculum and separate admission process. If you are unsure which program may be right for you, we encourage you to review the curriculum pages on each program's respective website (linked above) to help you in your decision-making. You are also welcome to contact the DSCB Program Directors or any of our faculty members if you have specific questions. Generally, students who are committed to Developmental and Stem Cell Biology apply directly to the DSCB program; students with an interest in broader and more interdisciplinary approaches to biomedical research apply to the BMS program; and students with an interest in broader and more interdisciplinary approaches to areas including cellular and molecular biology apply to the TETRAD program. Again, DSCB coordinates many activities and aspects of its curriculum with both BMS and TETRAD.

Application Materials

Application: The online application for Fall 2020 is now CLOSED.

Letters of recommendation: We will accept electronic letters of recommendation; instructions for submitting all letters are included with our online application.

Transcripts: We require a transcript from each institute of higher education that you have attended. High school transcripts are not required. Transcripts may be uploaded into the online application. The Graduate Division requires that transcripts from institutions outside of the US be accompanied by an evaluation from an accredited evaluation service. We recommend World Education Services (WES). You can scan the evaluation into your application along with your transcript. If selected for an interview, original transcripts will be requested, and selected applicants must arrange to have them sent to us directly by the institution; please do not mail copies yourself.

Developmental & Stem Cell Biology Graduate Program
University of California, San Francisco
513 Parnassus Ave., Room HSE-1285
Box 0505
San Francisco, CA 94143-0505

GRE Scores: DSCB does not require GRE General test scores for admission into the program. Submission of GRE scores are OPTIONAL.  

If you plan to submit GRE scores for Fall 2020 admission, we recommend that the GRE General test should be taken no later than October 2019 to ensure delivery by the December 1st deadline.

GRE Codes: For purposes of requesting that your scores be sent to us, the institutional code for UCSF is 4840. Department code 0299 may be used, but is not required since we match your scores to your application using your registration number and name.

Application fee: There is a $105 application fee ($125 for international applicants).  Instructions for submitting the fee are included in the online application, which will be available in September.


Applications for Fall 2020 is now OPEN. Applications for Fall 2020 will open some time in August.

Applications are accepted for admission in the Fall quarter only. For Fall 2020 admission, all application materials (application, letters of recommendation, transcripts) must be received by the application deadline, December 2nd, 2019 at 11:59pm.

For Fall 2020 admission, we recommend that the required GRE general test be taken no later than October 2019 (though not required).

Financial Support

All students admitted to the Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program are guaranteed a stipend to cover living expenses, plus payment of tuition and fees. To make the available funds go as far as possible, all students who are admitted will be considered for fellowships administered by the UCSF Graduate Division, a major source of support for incoming students. In addition, students are encouraged to apply for support from other sources, such as predoctoral fellowships from the National Science Foundation or Ford Foundation. If outside fellowship support is not obtained, or if partial awards are made, other funds available to the program will be used to supplement the awards up to the guaranteed level of support.

The Financial Aid Office provides information and applications for other forms of financial support such as loans and work-study programs. Address inquiries to Financial Aid Office, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0246, or call (415) 476-4181.

Fellowship Information
Once students enter the DSCB program they will be strongly encouraged to apply for graduate fellowships from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation (NSF), and other sources. Fellowship awards benefit both the program and the students, and often include additional funds for the student's computer expenses, journal subscriptions, and travel to scientific meetings. Eligibility for graduate fellowships depends upon a student's background and research interests.

The online application will be available in August. Initial application is due in mid/late October. You may find more information at NSF Graduate Research Fellowship.  We strongly recommend you apply!

Other fellowships for graduate students include:

  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) F31
  • National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG)
  • Porter Physiology Development Fellowship Program for underrepresented ethnic minority students
  • Dept. of Homeland Security Scholarship and Fellowship Program

Please see the UCSF Graduate Division website for additional resources.