Master's Program FAQs
Photo Credit: Michael Marr lab
Program Requirement FAQs
Photo Credit: Michael Marr lab
The program itself does not provide financial aid to students, but need-based financial aid may be available through the graduate school. For information contact: Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) at 781-736-3410 or visit the GSAS website.
The MCB MS program does not provide stipends, merit-based scholarships, teaching assistant positions, or paid research assistantships to Master’s student in MCB. Master’s students may be hired for a Course Assistantship or work in a lab, but these positions are rare and are not guaranteed.
It is not recommended that applicants contact faculty members in advance of admission regarding lab work or employment.
To determine the total cost of the program and to see the current tuition rates, please explore the graduate school’s cost of attendance calculator.
Full-time students will pay the full-time tuition for one year at Brandeis University. Full-time Master’s students who continue past one year will pay the “Extended Master’s Fee” in each additional semester. Full-time Master’s students who continue beyond one year to complete an optional thesis and are not enrolled in any other classes may qualify for an additional tuition waiver. Part-time students pay per course.
The application fee is $75. More information is available on the GSAS website (including information pertaining to application fee waiver requests).
GREs are not required. If they are submitted, they will be considered along with the rest of the application.
Almost all international applicants must submit official test score results from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Pearson Test of English (PTE-Academic). An applicant should check with the testing agency to ensure that their scores are still valid and that the agency will be able to send an official score report.
Students who are citizens of the following countries, or who have graduated from an accredited degree program within these countries, are exempt from this requirement: Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa, USA, and the United Kingdom.
While the program will consider these scores within the context of the entire application, the graduate school does have strict exam score requirements. This information, as well as the extended policies for this requirement, is available on the GSAS website.
Applicants should submit unofficial transcripts with their application. Official copies of your transcripts are required if you are admitted and decide to enroll in the program. More information about transcript submission is available on the GSAS website.
We will consider applications with unofficial self-reported test scores (TOEFL or equivalent), but applicants should make arrangements for official scores to be sent as soon as possible. The admissions committee may require official test scores before an admission decision is made. We strongly encourage applicants to include self-reported test scores when submitting their applications, as the admissions committee will not consider applications without them and it may take several weeks for official test scores to be sent, received, and processed. While GRE scores are not required, if you choose to submit them, they will be considered along with the rest of the application. When submitting unofficial GRE scores, please make sure to include the GRE percentile scores. Due to variability between GRE tests and the recent change in the GRE scoring practice, the admissions committee relies primarily on GRE percentile scores rather than raw scores.
The MCB Master’s program accepts applications for both the fall and spring semesters. For Fall admission, applications will be considered and admission offers will be made on a rolling basis until May 1; application review begins on January 1. For Spring admission, applications will be considered and admission offers will be made on a rolling basis until November 15 for domestic students, and October 15 for international students (due to time constraints in visa acquisition).
Please note that the admissions application may be closed earlier if desired cohort size is reached prior to the above deadlines. As we cannot predict when we will complete the admission cycle each year, applicants are advised to submit applications as early as possible.
The Graduate School will coordinate all aspects of your visa with the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO), once accepted into the program. More information about requirements for international students is available on the GSAS website. More information for international students can be found on ISSO’s website.
If you would like to be considered for the Master's program if denied admission from the PhD program, please contact the Division of Science Graduate Affairs Office at by email or by calling 781-736-2352.
A spot in the PhD program is not guaranteed for Master’s students. Brandeis MS students who wish to transfer to the PhD program must formally apply to the PhD program. The PhD admissions committees will consider such applications within the context of the entire applicant pool. However, should a MS student be accepted into the PhD program, they will be allowed to transfer any eligible (i.e. those that meet the program requirements and specifications) courses towards their PhD course requirements. The time spent as an MS student will count towards the three-year-minimum residency for the PhD program.
Applicants do not need to contact anyone in the program prior to applying. Applicants do not need to identify a faculty supervisor to submit an application. In fact it is not recommended that applicants contact faculty members in advance of admission regarding lab work or employment. Faculty members cannot accept graduate students into their labs prior to acceptance into the program and rarely accept students before the start of classes.
If you have any questions about the program or about the application process, please contact the Division of Science Graduate Affairs Office at by email or by calling 781-736-2352.
The minimum residency requirement is one year and the program is designed to be completed in one year as a full-time student. Some students, particularly those who wish to have an extended research experience or complete an optional MS thesis, complete the program in longer than one year. This is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Yes, the MCB MS program can be completed part-time. Part-time students must enroll in fewer than 12 credits per semester. Applicants may apply as a part-time student or may change their status to part-time at a later date, with approval by the program chair. Applicants considering part-time study should be aware that the courses required for the program are typically offered only on weekdays with few to no evening or weekend options.
Students are required to take six graduate level courses, usually three per semester, and pass with a B- or higher. These courses must be “graduate-level” (i.e. 100 or higher) and be listed or cross-listed in the MCB program section of the Brandeis Bulletin. Exceptions to this must be approved by the program director. The six courses must include Molecular Biotechnology (BIOL 101A) or Molecular Biology (BIOL 105B) with permission of the program director, Advanced Cell Biology (BIOL 100B) or Mechanisms of Cell Function (BIOL103B) with permission of the program director, Masters Proseminar (BIOL 205a) and one laboratory or research based course. In addition, all students must enroll in and attend the Graduate Student Research Seminars (Biol 350), a Journal Club (typically NBio 306), and Responsible Conduct of Research (Cont 300b) or equivalent.
All MCB MS students must complete at least one semester of a research component. This can be satisfied through either an approved Project Lab course, or through the Master’s Research Lab (BIOL 296) in the lab of a faculty member.Please see the MCB MS graduate handbook or the University Bulletin for detailed information.
Master’s students are not guaranteed a spot in a research lab. Those that wish to complete their research requirement through independent lab work are responsible for arranging a rotation with a faculty member themselves. To aid in this process, the Life Sciences programs hold a “faculty bazaar” during orientation. This is a three-night series of short research presentations (with dinner) designed to acquaint students with research opportunities at Brandeis. We cannot, however, guarantee that every faculty member that speaks during the faculty bazaar has space for a Master’s rotation student. Students who are interested in a particular lab should discuss rotations with faculty following the faculty bazaar.
It is not recommended that applicants contact faculty members in advance of admission or before the start of class regarding lab work. Faculty members cannot accept graduate students into their labs prior to acceptance into the program and rarely accept students before the start of classes.
Master's students who have carried out independent research have the option of completing a Master's thesis, typically after taking either project lab or (as is more common) at least one semester of master's research lab (BIOL 296). It is the responsibility of the students to find a research advisor for the thesis work and submission of a Master's thesis requires mutual agreement between the student, advisor, and program chair. Students that wish to complete a Master's thesis should indicate this interest to their faculty advisor at the beginning of their Master's research lab work. The mutual agreement that a thesis will be written is declared after one (rare) or two (most common) semesters of BIOL 296 research, and after substantial progress has been made on the research project. Students who complete a Master's thesis generally extend their time in the program to 1.5 or 2 years residency. A student who plans to register for BIOL 299 (Master’s Thesis Research) in the following semester must submit a thesis intent form to the program chair and the Div Sci Graduate Affairs Office of their intention no later than Nov. 1 for a Spring semester thesis and March 1st for a Fall semester thesis.