Admissions FAQs

How do I know if I am a competitive applicant?

There are many applicants for each available position in the graduate program. Several criteria are used to assess an applicant's potential for success. All successful applicants to the PMI have research experience; most applicants have spent at least a year in a laboratory. Letters of recommendation from faculty members are very important, particularly the letter from the research advisor. The applicant's personal statement, especially the research description, is also heavily weighed in assessing an applicant's potential for graduate study. Strong performance in undergraduate science courses (chemistry and physics as well as biology) is expected. 

When is the application deadline?

The application deadline is December 1.  The Admissions Committee will begin reviewing applications as they are completed and received, so it is beneficial to apply early.

How can I find out if my application and supporting documents have been received?

Applicants may log into your application "Check Status" to see if supporting documents (i.e., transcripts, letters of recommendation, and application fees) have been received. The admissions office will post your documents to your application page as soon as possible. We request that you check the status of your application online PRIOR TO contacting the PMI Coordinators for assistance.

Where supporting documents should be sent?

All unofficial results/scores for English proficiency exams (PDF documents) can be emailed directly to our Admissions Committee email ( To submit TOEFL scores, use Institution Code 2927 and Department Code 45. IELTS results certificates are to be sent directly to the Graduate Program Coordinator listed below. 

All application related materials for the graduate program should be sent to:

University of Pittsburgh
Kristin DiGiacomo
450 Technology Drive
Bridgeside Point 2, Suite 525
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

When will I know if I've been accepted?

The Admissions Committee arranges to interview all applicants whom they are considering for admission. Interviews of overseas applicants may be conducted by teleconference. Most interviews take place between January through March. Applicants are accepted on a rolling basis between February 1 and April 1.

What is my application fee?

The application fee is $50, which is due before we can begin processing your application. The fee can be in the form of a check or money order made payable to "The University of Pittsburgh," or can be paid by credit card online.

Is it possible for me to obtain a waiver of the application fee?

We are happy to offer a fee waiver to applicants who have participated in the following programs for underrepresented minorities in science or have attended any regional or national meeting for the following underrepresented minorities:

  • MARC program
  • MBRS program
  • McNair program
  • Meyerhoff program
  • RISE program

Please contact to obtain a fee waiver.

Can I get a refund on my application?

The application fee is non-refundable.

What if my letter writer does not use the recommendation form?

While we prefer to receive recommendation letters electronically, we will accept letters without the form if the letter comes directly from the letter writer, or in a sealed and signed envelope with the application, or from a college career office.

Which standardized tests does PMI require?

PMI requires the TOEFL, IELTS or Duolingo for students for whom English is not the native language. We will waive the requirement for students who have received a degree in the U.S. or other approved English-instructed institution.

What if I took the TOEFL more than 2 years ago?

ETS will not issue TOEFL scores that are older than 2 years (24 months). Applicants who have expired scores must retake the test(s).

Should I contact the faculty members that I wish to work with before I submit my application?

No. Please do not contact any of our faculty members during the admissions process. Our Admissions Committee will determine if you will receive an invitation to interview with our program and will make recommendations on whom you should meet with.

Is it necessary that I secure my own funding during my time as a graduate student?

No. You do not have to secure funding. All full-time graduate students receive a stipend, full tuition remission, and individual health insurance (with options to purchase dental, vision and additional family coverage). The stipend is competitive ($33,360 for the 2022-2023 academic year) and, given Pittsburgh's affordable cost of living, allows students to live comfortably. A $2,000 educational enrichment account also is provided to each first-year student.