Graduate Program Admission Information

Admission to the CMMB graduate program to pursue an M.S. or Ph.D. is competitive; each year there are more applicants than available assistantships. Students are customarily admitted and supported during their first year on teaching assistantships. CMMB Ph.D. students are guaranteed four years of stipend support, pending satisfactory progress. Whenever possible, student stipend and tuition costs are provided by the thesis mentor’s laboratory on a research assistantship after the first year. University of Montana and the CMMB graduate program embrace diversity as a core value and encourage applications from diverse backgrounds.

Materials required for applying:

  • Personal statement
  • GRE General Test
  • Undergraduate transcripts
  • Three recommendation letters
  • English proficiency test for international students

Application deadline is December 31st.

How do I apply?  You must apply online to the graduate school ( and you must upload all materials to your online graduate school application.

Do I need to provide original transcripts?  Official transcripts should be sent directly to the Graduate School. It is helpful to also include an electronic version of the unofficial transcripts with the online application.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the application deadline?  For full consideration, the application deadline is December 31st. In some cases, applications will be considered after this time if positions in the program remain unfilled.

Are applications considered after the deadline?  Yes, but late applications may not be considered if available positions have been filled.

When will I find about the status of my application?  Applications are reviewed starting in January and top domestic candidates are invited to interview during an on-campus recruitment weekend in late February or early March. Phone interviews are conducted for the top international applicants in February or March. Official offers will be made shortly after on-campus visits or phone interview

How many letters of recommendation do I need? Three letters are required. Letters of recommendation from persons familiar with your academic and research capabilities are strongly encouraged. Names and complete contact information for the three referees must be entered online. Referees will be sent instructions from the online application system. If letter writers are unable to upload letters to the online application system, e-mail letters to the CMMB program administrative assistant Zachary Raasch (

What is the average GPA score needed for admission?  A competitive application will have a GPA of 3.1 or better (on a 4.0 scale). If your undergraduate GPA is below 3.1, additional graduate level courses can be taken as evidence of academic ability.

Is the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) required?  Yes. Competitive applicants typically have a sum of Verbal and Quantitative scores greater than 300 (new scale). GRE scores are valid for 5 years. If the exam was taken more than 5 years ago, it is recommended that it be taken again.

My GRE scores are below your recommended scores, should I still apply?  If your scores are significantly below the median, it is highly recommended that you retake the GRE.

Is the GRE Subject Test required? GRE Subject Tests are not required.

What is your institutional code for the GRE exams? he University of Montana GRE Institution Code is 4489

Do I have to pay the Graduate School application fee?  Yes, the graduate school does not offer a fee waiver for any reason. The application fee is $60.

What makes a particular application stand out?  Research Experience! The most successful applicants have significant and productive research experience. They are able to effectively describe the background and rationale for their research in the personal statement as well as summarize what was accomplished. Exceptional research experience (a master’s degree, many years of experience, publications, etc.) may offset minor deficiencies in either GPA or GRE scores.

What makes a personal statement stand out?  The personal statement should be about two single-spaced pages and should outline research interests and career goals, work and research experience, personal background pertinent to the application, leadership roles, and qualities that would contribute to diversity of the program. Indicate where your interests match the research directions of the program faculty. Matching interests of the applicant and the program faculty often affects admissions decisions. If you are particularly interested in working with a specific faculty member, you are encouraged to contact them to determine whether they are accepting new students and what potential research projects are available. List any research publications on which you are an author at the end of the personal statement.

Statement #2: The graduate school application asks for a writing sample. This is NOT required for CMMB admittance. Leave blank.

Is the TOEFL exam required for international students?  International students must take the TOEFL, IELTS, or MELAB exam. TOEFL scores of 237 (computer), or 92 (internet), IELTS score of 7.0 or higher, or MELAB score of 82 or higher are recommended. For the most up-to-date requirements, see the Graduate School website (

Are international students admitted?  Yes, international students will be contacted for a phone interview prior to being considered for admission.

What do I do if I forgot to upload something and I already submitted my application?  E-mail Zachary Raasch ( for help. It is very important that paper documents are NOT mailed to the Graduate School Admissions Office.

How do students find a thesis advisor/laboratory? Incoming students are assigned a first year advisor to assist with choosing classes, etc.  During the first year, students conduct two or three rotations in CMMB laboratories. This process allows the student to become familiar with the research of potential thesis laboratories and for the faculty member to evaluate the student for potential fit into their laboratory.  The student must join a thesis laboratory by the end of the second semester. 

Helpful Hints

• Upload all materials to the online application.

• Do NOT submit until all materials are uploaded.

• Encourage all your referees to submit their letters online.

• Check your e-mail frequently. If you are missing materials or if there are any problems with your application, you will be contacted by e-mail only.

Please visit the Graduate School website for more information.