University of Wisconsin–Madison

How to get started – Graduate Studies

Biological Systems Engineering Graduate Admission Requirements

You must send the following information to the Biological Systems Engineering Department:

  • Statement Purpose
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Official Transcripts from All Institutions Attended
  • List of Awards, Honors and/or Publications

The only thing that does not get sent to the Biological Systems Engineering Department is your $56.00 application fee and your online application. These are to be sent to the Graduate School. All other information needs to be sent to the BSE Department.

How much is the application fee?
The application fee is non-refundable and can be paid by credit card (Mastercard or Visa), Debit/ATM card, personal check or money order, drawn on an U.S. bank. After you submit your application you will be directed to the fee payment section. Please do not send cash. The application fee is $56.00 US.

Your file must include the items below before our Admissions Committee can recommend your acceptance to the Graduate School:

  1. Transcripts from all previous institutions you have attended. Admission to the graduate programs normally requires a bachelors degree in engineering with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 on the last 60 hours of work toward the bachelor degree. Students holding bachelor degree in other programs may be admitted to the graduate program in the department, but will be expected to complete certain courses in the basic sciences and engineering without graduate credit.
  2. Letters of recommendation from three persons acquainted with your professional capabilities. If possible, one of these should be from the chairman of the department where your undergraduate degree was obtained.
  3. A personal statement of intent which identifies your specific area(s) of interest and the reasons why they are of interest to you. It should explain how and why you aspire to advance knowledge in the field of Biological Systems Engineering.
  4. Students who graduated from institutions where English is not the primary language of instruction must complete the TOEFL examination with a minimum score of 580.
  5. Graduate School does not request financial documents from international applicants until a recommendation for admission has been received. International applicant financial information is available here.
Additional information you may choose to submit:
  • Research-based papers or other documents supporting your credentials.
  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are encouraged but not required except for students who wish to compete for fellowship or scholarship awards.

Each applicant’s credentials are evaluated by the Graduate Instruction and Research Committee of the Department with special attention being given to undergraduate achievement, previous graduate work, apparent research ability and compatibility of student objectives with the research objectives of the department.

Not being accepted into our program can be based upon any or all of the criteria above. It does not necessarily reflect an applicant’s merits. Many factors must be weighed and an appropriate advisor must be available. Due to limited space, not all applicants, even those with excellent records, can be accepted.

Graduate School Application

  • Graduate School Admission Requirements
  • Graduate School Checklist
  • Three Letters of recommendation
  • International Student Expenses
  • Transcripts should read: “Official Transcripts” or “Academic Records.” These are to be collected from each institution attended and must be issued by the school with the official seal/stamp and any official signatures. International academic records must be in the original language accompanied by an official English translation.
  • Every applicant whose native language is not English, or whose undergraduate instruction was not in English, must provide official scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB). An admitted applicant whose TOEFL (paper-based) test score is below 580; TOEFL computer-based test (CBT) score below 237;TOEFL internet based (iBT) test score below 92; IELTS score below 7;or MELAB below 82 must take an English assessment test upon arrival. You must then register for any recommended English as a Second Language (ESL) course(s) in the first semester you are enrolled. Visit the TOEFL Web site to see sample exam questions, to get free test preparation materials, and to find where the test will be given in your area.

Financial Assistance

Graduate research assistantships are often available for both Masters and Doctoral students on specific research projects. These assistantships waive out-of-state tuition; however resident tuition and fees apply to all students holding assistantships. The request for assistantship should be included with the application. Research assistantships for Master’s degree candidates are limited to four semesters plus two summer sessions; for Ph.D. candidates, six semester plus three summer sessions.