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Bioinformatics is both a Home Area & Ph.D. granting program within the UCLA Graduate Programs in Bioscience (GPB).  Our Home Area accepts applications in the Fall of the current year for admission to the Ph.D. program with graduate study to begin the following Fall. We accept applications for study for the Ph.D. degree only, not for M.S. degrees.

The UCLA Application for Graduate Admission

As part of the online UCLA Application for Graduate Admission, please upload your statement of purpose, curriculum vitae, letters of recommendation, and transcripts, as well as any supporting materials like certifications and publications. This Home Area requires the following:

  • Application deadline: December 1 (if December 1 falls on a holiday or weekend, the following business day will apply).
  • Please start the application process via the UCLA Graduate Programs in Bioscience website.
  • In the application process applicants will be asked to select “Biosciences” as your Academic Program, “Biosciences PHD” as the degree objective, and the Quarter in which you are applying. On the next screen you have the option to select  “Bioinformatics” as the Home Area who will receive and review your application.
  • GRE IS OPTIONAL, NOT A REQUIREMENT, and we do not recommend submitting the scores.
  • Three letters of recommendation are required from professors, supervisors or others who may provide an evaluation of accomplishments or potential for research.
  • In your Statement of Purpose (no more than 2 pages) answer the following questions:
    1) What question in bioinformatics interests you most?
    2) Describe your research experience(s) (include information on any publications).
    3) This statement is also a means of helping us match your academic and research interests with those of our faculty and should only contain details that will aid the Admissions Committee in evaluating your application.
  • Your CV should cover relevant skills and experience for bioinformatics, including URL links to research or software projects you have worked on.
  • Transcripts must be
  • 1) uploaded as part of your online application (unofficial ones only)
    2) final, official transcripts only mailed to the Bioinformatics program (If and only if you have been admitted to UCLA by Bioinformatics IDP and/or Graduate Division). One official transcript is required, in the original language, from each academic institution you have attended. (If English is not the original language, also provide one official copy in an authorized, complete, and exact English translation). Final, Official Transcripts can be emailed by your institutions (not you) to or they can be mailed to Bioinformatics at the following address:
  • UCLA Bioinformatics Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program
    172 Boyer Hall; Box 951570
    611 Charles E. Young Dr. East
    Los Angeles, CA 90095-7246
  • For questions about your home institution and what UCLA Graduate Division requires based on your home country, please review these two links: “UCLA Grad Division International Applicants to Graduate School” and “UCLA Grad Division Required Academic Records”).

Exam Codes

  • The institution code for UCLA is 4837 (For TOEFL).
  • The TOEFL department code is 30 (Other Biological Sciences).


New for Fall 2022 applications

UCLA has approved the launch of the Master of Science in Bioinformatics Program. Please note: This is a specialized program geared for specific students:

“Future M.S. students are directly admitted into a UCLA Bioinformatics IDP faculty’s lab. Thus, each applicant should identify a “sponsoring” UCLA Bioinformatics IDP faculty member before submitting an application. A letter of recommendation is required from the sponsoring UCLA Bioinformatics IDP faculty member. The student must have worked with the sponsoring UCLA Bioinformatics IDP faculty member for at least one summer/quarter.”

For those students that qualify and are interested in applying, the deadline is June 1 of each academic year.


New for Fall 2020 applications 

UCLA has launched a new Medical Informatics Home Area under the Graduate Program in Biosciences (GPB). Information about this new program is available here ( For those students interested in applying to the Medical Informatics Home Area, please follow these instructions:

  1. For the upcoming Fall 2020 cycle, the Bioinformatics program will be administratively handling Medical Informatics applications. Thus, prepare your application as part of the Bioinformatics Program.
  2. Under the topics of research interest slot one, choose *only* “Medical informatics and precision medicine” as an option in your admissions application as well as Bioinformatics as home area after you choose the plan of study with is Ph.D in Biosciences-Bioinformatics. Choosing this will ensure that your application is routed accordingly and considered by the Medical Informatics faculty.
  3. If you are accepted as part of the Medical Informatics program, you will receive a notification by Bioinformatics but will be managed through a different Home Area on acceptance.

For all other applicants who only want to be considered in Bioinformatics, please do *not* select the Medical Informatics topic as an option so faculty can accordingly assess your materials and suitability for the UCLA graduate program.

Should you have any questions about the admissions process, please contact Gene Gray at If you have questions about the Medical Informatics Program, please contact Isabel Rippy at


International Applicants

International students whose native language is not English must submit results of either the TOEFL or the IELTS. Please review the English Requirements outlined by the UCLA Graduate Division here.

Note:  applicants who hold a bachelor’s or higher degree from a university located in the United States or in another country in which English is both the primary spoken language and the medium of instruction, or who have completed at least two years of full-time study at such an institution, are exempted from both the TOEFL/IELTS requirement and the ESLPE.  Please be sure to include such information in your application.

University requirements for international applicants to UCLA graduate programs:

Undergraduate Preparation

Qualified applicants will have completed at least a B.S. or B.A. degree, with a major within the biological sciences, computer science, mathematics, or the physical sciences. Expected undergraduate preparations for the program fall into three major categories:

  • Bioinformatics and computational biology major: an increasing number of universities are offering undergraduate majors in bioinformatics and computational biology. (UCLA itself offers undergraduate bioinformatics study via its Computational and Systems Biology major or Bioinformatics minor). This represents an ideal undergraduate preparation for the program, because it demonstrates the applicant’s performance in each of the essential subject areas-biology, mathematics, and computer science.
  • Double major in biology and computer science or mathematics: in our view, the single greatest difficulty of bioinformatics is its interdisciplinary character. Most undergraduates only have strong preparation in one subject area, making it difficult to evaluate their likely performance in other areas that are essential for bioinformatics. Thus, we also encourage applications from students who have double majored in biology plus a quantitative science, preferably computer science or mathematics.
  • Single majors with strong evidence of interdisciplinary skills:  We will also admit exceptionally strong students from a single traditional major with evidence of interdisciplinary skills. In this case the student’s academic record and research experiences must show clear evidence of ability in other areas essential for bioinformatics, outside of his/her major. In particular, non-biology majors must demonstrate some background in biology. Similarly, biology majors must demonstrate strong quantitative skills in computer science and mathematics.

Additionally, the program will place a strong emphasis on applicants’ bioinformatics research experience. Currently, most students entering UCLA via various departments to pursue bioinformatics, have extensive bioinformatics research experience. Success in bioinformatics research, and strong letters of recommendation from bioinformatics faculty advisors, provide the program with clear evidence of a student’s ability to combine the interdisciplinary skills necessary for bioinformatics. This is very important, and will continue to be a vital consideration for admissions.

Masters Preparation

Applicants who have completed or are in the process of completion of a M.S. or M.A. degree are expected to have extensive research experience including publications in research areas closely related to bioinformatics. Applicants with Masters degrees without publications are unlikely to be admitted to the Ph.D. program.