Biomedical Sciences

Advising is available to current ECU students through core undergraduate majors in the Biomedical Sciences umbrella. The core undergraduate majors include:

Current ECU students are assigned a primary advisor who will guide them through their major and course selections. The primary advisor will help the student determine a timeline for completing the graduate school (MA, MS, PhD) prerequisites/recommendations and preparing for the graduate school application process.

Each department may have its own course restrictions. The student may have to obtain special permission from the department to register for the classes he/she needs. These departments have an inter-department agreement arranged and the primary advisor can assist the student in non-major course registration.

For the biomedical and life sciences, it is important to gain research experience by working in a research lab under the supervision of a faculty mentor or graduate student as soon as you can and as long as you can. Your history with one research lab and the depth of your work in that lab will carry you a long way, as graduate programs typically view research experience as a vital facet of your resume.

Typical Application Process

You will begin completing the graduate school application several months before you plan to matriculate. Admissions timelines vary from school to school, but you can expect to submit your application in October of your Senior year (for a fall admission). Thus, you will need to review each school’s admissions timeline accordingly. Below is an example timeline.

Example: A school admits students for the following fall semester and requires completion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The application deadline is November of your senior year. Interviews may be required in January/February and acceptance letters will be sent in March/April. In the spring/early summer semester of your junior year:

  • Begin working on all required documents.
  • Study and complete the GRE in the summer/early fall.
    • Most schools have an admissions committee that carefully considers the entirety of an application and therefore, do not offer precise minimum requirements on the GRE.
    • Some schools may require the subject test, while others do not; check with each school beforehand.
  • Identify your target graduate schools/programs/areas of the country, as well as researchers with whom you might want as mentors. This information can be found on program and school/department websites, which will typically list their research investigators. Use PubMed or other research resources to read a little about the science happening in different research groups. Make a wish list and dream big! Then start making contacts (email) to some of those programs/potential mentors – ask about their science and whether they are accepting students. Your undergraduate advisor, professors, and research mentors can be a BIG help here, so ask for their advice and connections!
  • Secure recommendation letters – do not procrastinate on this process.
    • Research experience is important for graduate programs in the Biomedical Sciences. The earlier that you start and the longer that you stay in a research environment, the more you help your resume and your letter writers.

Documents required for a typical application. Where indicated by an asterisk (*), review a specific school’s admission requirements.

  • Transcripts from each community college or university attended
  • One or both of the following:
    • A curriculum vitae (CV) or resume that includes a listing of your relevant research experiences (including dates), PI/supervisor, and a brief description of the project. The CV may include any publications or manuscripts in preparation.
    • Statement of Purpose (or Intent) or Essay that includes
      • Research Statement
      • Motivation/Goals Statement
      • Additional (any additional information about yourself to provide the admissions committee for context)
  • GRE Scores* (some schools do not require the GRE)
  • Letters of Recommendation* (usually three are needed; do check how many)
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language for international students)* or IELTS International English Language Testing System)* Scores

Course Recommendations or Prerequisites

Applicants normally have their undergraduate degree in a biological/life science discipline, interdisciplinary or multidisciplinary studies with a concentration in neuroscience, neuroscience (directly by title), or psychology. However, you can major in other disciplines as well, provided that the recommended/required undergraduate coursework be completed to enhance your preparation for graduate school.

Below is a list of recommended undergraduate courses for admission to US graduate schools. It is not comprehensive and serves as a general guide. Do review the admissions requirements for specific schools to determine if specific or additional coursework are required or recommended.

1) For Biochemistry Programs

  • College-level coursework (about 24 hours minimum; may vary), BA, or BS in biochemistry, chemistry, or a related physical or biological science

2) For Other Biology Programs

  • College-level coursework (about 24 hours minimum; may vary), BA, or BS in biochemistry, biology, chemistry, or a related physical or biological science

3) For Chemistry and Neuroscience Programs, in general:

  • At least one year of General Biology with Labs
  • At least one year of General Chemistry with Labs
  • Some programs may require Organic Chemistry or Biochemistry with Labs
  • Some programs may require one year of Physics
  • Some programs may require one course in Statistics
  • Some programs may require one or two semesters of Calculus
  • For Chemistry graduate programs, some or all of the above courses are required in addition to a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry