PhD Program Application: Frequently Asked Questions

Applications to the Computational Biology & Bioinformatics (CBB) PhD program must be submitted to the Duke University Graduate School. NO application materials or supporting documents should be sent directly to the Computational Biology Program. View application instructions and materials.

  1. Is financial aid available?
  2. What is the application deadline and fee?
  3. What are the prerequisites for admission?
  4. What is the most important part of my application?
  5. Where do I send my application and/or my supporting documents?
  6. What are the GRE and TOEFL Institution and Department codes?
  7. What are the minimum GRE scores or grade point average (GPA) required for admission?
  8. I am interested in computer science. Should I apply to Duke's Computer Science department or to CBB?

Is financial aid available
Yes. Most CBB graduate students receive stipends for the entire time they are in graduate school. The uniform stipend for academic year 2017 - 2018 is $30,550 which goes very far given Durham's low cost of living. Tuition and most fees are usually also covered by the University. Unfortunately, funds available to cover stipend, tuition and fees for non-US citizens or permanent residents are extremely limited, which makes the competition among foreign student applications much higher than for domestic students.

Top of Page


What is the application deadline and fee?
The CBB Program application deadline is December 1. The application fee is $85.

Top of Page


What are the prerequisites for admission?

Students are expected to have the following:
• Successful completion of mathematics courses through differential equations and linear algebra
• Two courses in statistics
• Two courses in computer science
• At least one course in genetics and cell & molecular biology
• At least one college-level chemistry course
Competitive students lacking one or more of these requirements will be expected to satisfy them prior to or during their first year in the program. Research and/or computational experience outside of the classroom is also essential for successful applications.

Top of Page


What is the most important part of my application?

Your research and computational experience. This is evaluated by your statement of purpose, list of publications and abstracts and letters of recommendation.

Top of Page


Where do I send my application and/or supporting documents?

All applications and supporting material are submitted electronically through the Duke Graduate School.

Top of Page


What are the GRE and TOEFL Institution and Department codes?

The Duke Institutional Code is 5156. The department/major field code does not matter because all applications go through the same office in the Graduate School.

Top of Page


What are the minimum GRE scores or grade point average (GPA) required for admission?

The CBB program is highly selective. However, we have no cut-offs for quantitative measurements of achievement. A GRE score below 550 does not preclude admission of a student with an otherwise strong application. Likewise, when a GPA below 3.2 is found along with good GRE scores and strong letters of recommendation, transcripts are examined to determine which courses account for the low GPA and when during the student's undergraduate career the low grades were received. Uniformly high grades in the last two or three terms can compensate for low grades received earlier in an applicant's undergraduate career.

Top of Page


I am interested in computer science. Should I apply to Duke's Computer Science department or to CBB?

If you are interested in biology as only one of many potential applications of computer science, then perhaps you should apply to a Computer Science program. As a Duke Computer Science Ph.D. student, you would still have the opportunity to complete a Certificate in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics. If, on the other hand, you have a background in biology and are interested in applying computer science to biological problems, then CBB is for you. Both programs include rigorous coursework in algorithms and their development. The CBB curriculum emphasizes the biological applications of these algorithms.

Top of Page


For additional information about the CBB program, contact:

Liz Labriola
Programs Coordinator
GCB PhD Program in Computational Biology & Bioinformatics
102 North Building
Duke University, Box 90090
Durham, NC 27708
cbbdgs(at)duke.edu
Phone: 919-684-0881