sbp graduate students

Prospective Students

Dean's Messageguy salvesen

Scientific discovery is a rewarding profession. The next generation of scientists is learning their trade at an exciting time, when so many tools and technologies are available to enhance the acquisition of knowledge. 

While Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute's reputation for excellence in basic biomedical research has grown over the last 30 years, the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences is relatively young. The Graduate School was founded in 2005 to prepare the next cadre of scientists to drive discovery. 

SBP Graduate School is founded on the Institute’s collaborative ethos. The program plays to our strengths in biomedical research, and is supplemented by the technologies being developed here and elsewhere to facilitate breakthroughs in thought and practice. 

Galileo Galilei said, ”You cannot teach a person anything; you can only help them find it within.” At SBP, Galileo’s words reflect the didactic, tutorial and laboratory-based focus of our graduate programs. Our program is designed to provide students with solid foundations in biomedical science, while engaging in projects with our biological, chemistry, bioinformatics and engineering faculty, with a focus on one of the main foundations of biomedical science within a laboratory specializing in the area. 

The San Diego area is famous for its recreational and scientific opportunities. Here we have a beautiful climate, pristine beaches and proximity to mountains and desert. I encourage you to explore the web pages describing our graduate programs so that you can see for yourself why we are so enthusiastic about science and graduate education at SBP. 

Guy Salvesen, Ph.D. 
Professor and Dean, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

General Catalog

grad school catalogThe general catalog (pdf) contains information about admission requirements, curriculum and student expectations and graduate requirements. You will also find description of required courses for the graduate program.



Application Deadline

The application for Fall 2017 is accessible via the link below.

SBP has a small and highly competitive graduate program. The Admissions Committee reviews all applications. Applicants are encouraged to include a resume. The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences will consider both domestic and international applications. Please note that an application is not considered complete until steps 1-3 below are complete. When your application is considered complete, you will receive a notification email from the program. Classes begin the first week of September.

Application Steps

1. Submit a completed application form.
2. Provide additional required documentation by mail/email.
3. Await possible contact from the Admissions Committee regarding an on-site/video interview.

Please note that entering graduate students do not perform laboratory rotations. SBP Graduate School embraces an "admissions to fit" philosophy whereby students and faculty are matched as a prerequisite for acceptance into the program. Therefore, it is highly recommended that prospective students are proactive in contacting potential faculty mentors with shared research interests.

Currently the Graduate School only accepts students at SBP La Jolla campus.


The application deadline for admission in Fall 2017 is December 15, 2016  

Please complete items A-K and be prepared to upload your resume and Statement of Interest (item J). The application fee of $80 USD can be paid online using PayPal or by mailing a check or money order drawn on a US bank and made payable to "Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute." 

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Click here to open Application



An undergraduate degree in Biological, Chemical, Physical, or Computational Sciences, or medical degree, is required for admission to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Additionally, we value applications from candidates with significant experience in a research laboratory.

Required Documentation

  • ŸPersonal statement of interest (1,000 words or less)
  • One copy of your CV/Resume
  • GRE Scores: The graduation record examination (GRE) general test is required, and an appropriate subject test, e.g., chemistry or biology, is recommended. All tests must be taken within the last two years. GRE scores must be sent by the Educational Testing Service to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Program Office. The School Code for Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute is 2718.
  • TOEFL Scores: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores are required for all foreign students whose first language is not English, or who have obtained their previous degree in a country where teaching is not in English, and must be sent to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Program Office. All tests must be taken within the last two years. The minimum acceptance score is 79. The School Code for Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute is 2718.
  • Letters of Recommendation: A minimum of three letters of recommendation is required. Please instruct each person providing a letter to send either a hard copy directly to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Program Office or an electrically signed letter via e-mail to: directly from the referee's email address.
  • Transcripts: All official undergraduate and graduate transcripts and proof of degree (official translations required to accompany all foreign documents). Universities or colleges must mail original transcripts directly to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Program Office.
  • Application Fee of $80 USD (made payable to "Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute" by either check or money order drawn from a US bank)

Send application and supporting documents to:

Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
10901 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037

Antidiscrimination Policy

Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute does not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, marital status, race, color, national and ethnic origin or non-disqualifying handicap in regard to all activities associated with the Graduate School. Handicapped access is provided.

Financial Support

Students in the Graduate School of Biological Sciences will receive a stipend of $33,000 with medical, dental and vision insurance provided for the student by the Institute. 

Students are supplied with a $500 annual discretionary fund. This fund is for allowable educational support purchases under the IRS Student Scholarship and Fellowship Grants law Topic # 421.


Housing is not available on campus, but is readily available within the immediate area at a cost of approximately $700 to $1,000 per month.

Visa Process

Visa status is administered by the Graduate School and the Department of Human Resources at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute.


Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences’ processes and outcomes are aimed at learning that supports students’ development as innovative scientists. The information in this website is intended to help prospective students and others evaluate the Program’s educational goals and the student outcomes of the education we provide. We encourage prospective students to use this information to seek the right environment to pursue their educational and scientific goals.