Frequently Asked Questions | MBMB | SIU

Southern Illinois University



Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Biochemistry

Frequently Asked Questions

Login and Security

The SIUC Graduate School Application resides in a secure, encrypted environment. The applicant is required to enter a User ID and Password to complete the application. This User ID and Password is used solely for the application. If you are using a public computer, click "no" if your browser asks if it should remember this login information.

Once the application has been submitted, the User ID and Password cannot be used to change any information on the application. You will be able to view/print your submitted application. Submitted applications will be kept in the database for approximately 6 months.


Browser Recommendations

This system requires Internet Explorer 8.0 or Firefox 3.6. If you are using older browser versions such as Firefox 2.0, we recommend that you update your browser first before you can access the application.

Please ensure your browser meets the minimum requirements.


User ID and Password

Please use the same login and password you used to fill in the graduate school application. If you forget them, contact the online-app-coordinator about it.


Saving / Submitting the Application


  • If you do not have time to complete the entire application, you may "save" it and come back to it at a later date. Each time you return, just click on the "login" button and enter your User ID and Password to return to your saved application.
  • You can always save an application without submitting it.
  • We will keep the "saved" information for approximately 90 days.


  • Before submitting your application, please review all data. When you are satisfied that the information is accurate and complete, you may then click the "submit application to SIUC" button.
  • Once you have submitted an application, you cannot make changes to it.
  • Submit only when the application is complete.


What if I've made a mistake?

If you have not yet submitted your application, you are still able to correct any mistakes. This applies only if you have used the "save" option. Once you submit your application, you will not be able to resubmit it. If you've made any errors, please contact the MBMB Program office and inform us of the discrepancy. Depending on the type of error, you may want to submit another application. If you do this, just inform us so we can discard the original application.

Our contact information is as follows:

Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Biochemistry Graduate Program
Department of Microbiology, Mail Code 6508
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
Carbondale, IL 62901


phone: (618) 453-8116 fax: (618) 453-8036


I cannot access the application

If you cannot access the on-line application due to browser incompatibilities, etc., you may request an application packet from the MBMB office. Please check our website for details. A printable version can be downloaded from the web site, or you may request that one be mailed to you.

In order to access the application in pdf format, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this file. Just print out the application, complete it by hand, and mail it and other requested materials to your department.


What sets you apart from other programs?

MBMB is an interdisciplinary program drawing the faculty from three departments:

  • Microbiology (SIU, Carbondale)
  • Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SIU School of Medicine, Carbondale)
  • Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Cell Biology (SIU School of Medicine, Springfield)

This encourages interdepartmental communication and fosters a broader appreciation of microbiology, biochemistry and molecular biology while still allowing our students to focus on topics of direct interest. You may wish to peruse our faculty's research interests to see if there is a particular faculty member under whom you would like to work.


Are there prerequisite courses?

Prospective graduate students should have an undergraduate degree in any of the biological, chemical or physical sciences. Most successful applicants have completed courses in biology, organic chemistry, physics and mathematics. Candidates with deficiencies in any area may be admitted but such deficiencies may lead to requirements for additional coursework during graduate study.


What are my chances of getting in? What can I do to increase my chances for admission?

Since our admission process is competitive and therefore dependent on our current pool of applicants, we cannot predict who is likely to be admitted and who is not. GRE, GPA, research experience, publications and recommendations are a few of the many factors examined by the Admissions Committee. Any information you can provide will help them with their decision.


Do I have to be recruited by a faculty member?

No, you do not have to be recruited directly by a faculty member, but under certain conditions, it can help. We encourage our applicants to directly contact faculty in whose work they are interested


How long does it take to get a degree?

Both our MS and PhD programs require extensive research. In general, our students take 2–3 years to complete their Master’s work and 5–6 years for a Ph.D.


What do I need to send?

Please see the cover letter for your country of residence for a list of what we need to complete your application at our website. If you are applying on-line,

  • Your Graduate Application
  • MBMB Supplemental Application
  • Personal Statement (international students only)

will be submitted electronically and paper copies need not be sent with your other documentation.


If I have Permanent resident status, am I considered an international student or a domestic student?

With Permanent Resident status, you fall between being an international student and a domestic student. You will have to provide a copy of your passport page(s) with your name and birth date and most applicants will also need to submit a TOEFL score. You will not have to provide a Financial Statement.


What are your minimum standards for GPA and GRE scores?

We have set no minimum GPA or GRE scores although they are two of several factors considered by the Admissions Committee. Students are accepted into our program on a competitive basis.


What about the GRE test?

We require GRE scores but do not have a minimum score requirement. Scores must be less than five years old. You may submit a photocopy of the examinee score report with your application. However, if you are accepted into the MBMB graduate program, you will be asked to have an official GRE score report sent directly from Educational Testing Service to the MBMB graduate program. The GRE codes you should use are: 

  1. Institutional code : 1726
  2. Department code - Microbiology : 0212

Although we do not require a Subject Test, scores from the Biochemistry and Cell and Molecular Biology test are helpful in evaluating the application.


What about the TOEFL test? (International students only)

There must be less than 24 months between the test date and enrollment. The Graduate School requires a minimum score of 550 (paper-based test), 213 (computer-based test) or minimum score of 80 (iBt - Internet-Based Test)..


What are your deadlines for applications?

We accept applications throughout the year. Typically, our department prefers applications be completed at least 6 months before the semester you wish to enter our program. To be assured of full consideration for an assistantship for Fall semester, you should have your application material complete by March 15th. The Graduate School of the University has a strong preference for completing the admission of international students approximately 3 months before admittance with the preference for domestic students approximately 1-2 months before admittance. This does not take into account the time you will need to receive your visa for entry into the US.


Do you have an application fee? How much is your application fee?

The application fee for our program is $65 (US). Credit card payments are the best way to pay your application fee.


What kind of financial support is available?

Students accepted into our program are typically offered assistantships at that time. These are usually 50% of full time. In addition, a tuition waiver is granted with the assistantship. The majority of assistantships are Research and Teaching Assistantships.


Are there any kinds of fellowships available?

The Graduate School offers a number of graduate fellowships. The number varies depending on the funds available for these awards each year. You can find more information about these at the University’s website. Please pay special attention to guidelines for these fellowships as the deadlines are often earlier and more strictly enforced than deadlines for applications for admission.


Will providing my own financial support increase my chances of admission?

In general, no. You should contact our program office if you have guaranteed support for the full term of the program.


How much documentation do I need to provide with the Financial Statement? (International Students only)

You will only need to provide documentation if, in the Sources of Funds section, you select A (Personal sources) or B (Organization furnishing financial assistance). Section C can also be selected if attending SIU is dependent on receiving an assistantship. No documentation is needed if you select Section C. You need only select one source.


Who can certify my documents?

All documents requiring certification must be certified by your university’s Registrar or Controller of Exams. Certification of documents by the U.S. Educational Foundation in certain countries is also acceptable. Please note that no other agency or person’s certification is acceptable to our Graduate School.


What if I have other questions?

Most likely you will be able to find the answer on our webpage. If this is not the case, please email your inquiries to We will be happy to help.