Genetics and Biochemistry

Admissions Process

Once your application is complete, received by the Graduate School and sent to our department, the faculty admissions committee reviews your application. Each applicant is discussed fully. At this point, we could vote to (1) extend an invitation to you for an on-campus interview; (2) reject your application; or (3) place you on a waiting list for further consideration. If we decide to interview you, we will contact you in early January so that we can arrange a visit in late February. Interview weekend extends from Thursday evening until mid-day Saturday. After your campus visit, we will further discuss your application along with input from the entire faculty and graduate students. At that point, you will either be accepted into the program, wait-listed, or your application will be rejected.

Academic Record

Most of the students we admit have a strong undergraduate record, with GPAs above 3.0 and averaging 3.4 on a 4.0 scale. We recognize that undergraduate courses vary in difficulty across universities and we also recognize that some students hit rough patches in their undergraduate careers. If there are some low grades in your transcript, you should make an effort to explain the circumstances surrounding unusual variations in your performance in your statement of purpose. We also recognize that some students have been away from academics for a time and that your undergraduate record may not be the best measure of your readiness to pursue a graduate degree. Again, you should be clear in your application essay as to why you feel you are prepared to enter our graduate program. A student with a Master's degree will be evaluated on both undergraduate and graduate academic records.

Graduate Record Examination

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is the only evidence of ability that is the same for all our applicants; therefore we do take those scores into consideration. Students currently enrolled in the program average 520 on the verbal and 690 on the quantitative sections of the exam; a combined score of 1100 is required for a competitive application. However, we are aware that the ability to take a standardized test successfully does not always translate into a great scientist, so we do not let any particular score rule our admissions decisions.

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose gives you an opportunity to convince us, in your own words, why we should admit you to our program. We use the statement of purpose in a variety of ways. First, it is an indication of your writing ability. But your statement also lets us know how serious you are about pursuing a graduate degree and how well you would fit into the intellectual life of our department. Use the statement of purpose to convey a sense of who you are, and what your interests, goals, and ambitions are. Tell us about your research experiences; we understand that your undergraduate college may have had limited research opportunities, in which case you should let us know why you have come to the decision to pursue a graduate degree. Explain both what draws you to genetics and/or biochemistry as well as what draws you to study in our department. If you have an unusual background or there is something you feel the need to explain in your record, tell us. Be concise: your essay should be only 1-2 pages in length (single-spaced).

Letters of Recommendation

The strongest letters of recommendation come from professors or employers (in a research-focused job) who know you well and think highly of you; their enthusiasm for you is more important than their status. Letters from family friends, politicians, and other non-academic sources are less useful: they help to describe you as a person, but they speak less directly to your intellectual abilities - our primary focus.

Additional Resources

  • Become familiar with the the Clemson University Graduate School's website.

  • If you are having difficulties with applying online or downloading forms, request that the information be sent via postal mail. Contact the Graduate School by telephone (864-656-3195), email, or web.

  • After you send your application to the Graduate School, check the Graduate School tracking screen from time to time to obtain information on the status of your application, until it is complete.

  • Prospective students are encouraged to contact our Graduate Coordinators, for further assistance at