SBES Application FAQs

I am interested in the SBES graduate program. Where do I apply, Virginia Tech or Wake Forest?

All applications are submitted via a single on-line form administered through the Virginia Tech Graduate School regardless of the choice of "home" campus. The application can be found here. Applicants are strongly urged to read the Graduate School application instructions as well as the specific SBES application instructions.

What are my chances of being accepted if I apply?

Our graduate program is very competitive. GPAs of accepted students are usually on the order of 3.5 and above. GRE scores of accepted students are typically 1200 (Verbal + Quantitative) or higher on the 'old' scoring system, and 310 (V + Q) or higher on the New GRE Revised Test scale.on the 'old' scoring system, and 310 (V+Q) on the New Revised GRE Scale. For international students, TOEFL minimum score requirements are 600 (paper-based), 250 (computer based) and 100 (Internet based). Recommendations are weighed heavily as are previous research experience, and program needs.

When can I expect a decision?

You will be notified by May 1. Due to the high volume of phone calls and emails please do not contact the department about the status of your application before May 1.

My email address has changed since I applied. Who should I notify?

If you change your email address during the application process, be sure to inform both the Graduate School and the SBES Graduate Coordinator, Amanda Covey. Normally all communications that go out to students applying are sent to the email address that is given on the application.

Do you accept the IELTS language test in place of the TOEFL?

Yes, The SBES desired minimum score for this test is the IELTS band 7.0.

Does SBES require the GREs?

Yes. All SBES applicants must submit GRE scores, including those applying for the Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate (UG/G) Degree Program. Detailed information about test score requirements is provided here.

Where should I send my supplemental application materials?

Many of your supplemental materials should be uploaded when you submit the online application. This includes a required resume, a required statement of purpose, and a required scan of your official transcript(s) - not a web-based 'unofficial' one. If you choose to have your recommenders do online letters, these will be uploaded also when you click Submit.

Submitting the Scores:

To the Graduate School: The official scores should be sent directly from Educational Testing Services to the VT Graduate School at institution code 5859. There is no department code. NOTE: For Wake Forest campus applicants, an official set of scores will only be required if an admission offer is made.

To SBES: Photocopies of GRE and TOELF scores are acceptable (in the department) for assessment purposes during the review process and should be attached to the application to avoid delay in the official ones reaching the university.

Do you accept paper applications?

The online application is the preferred method for applying since it is fast, editable, and efficient. Under certain circumstances paper applications can be requested from or from the Graduate Admission Office at Wake Forest, but we discourage this because paper applications entail a much slower and more cumbersome process. Online applications will be processed first.

How do I designate my choice of campus on the application form?

At the beginning of the online application you will be asked to designate a campus choice using a drop-down menu. All SBES applicants must choose "Blacksburg (Main)" as an answer for this question since Wake Forest is not listed as a campus choice. HOWEVER, on page 6 of the application which is the Biomedical Supplemental Form you will be asked about your campus choice again. Here you may indicate "Blacksburg (VT)", "Winston-Salem (WFU)", or "Either". This 'second entry' of campus choice is the one we will be processing.

Do you accept applications for Spring semesters?

No. We only process applications for Fall semesters - we do not start new students in the spring.

Does SBES do "pre-reviews" of applications?

No. We do not do "pre-reviews" of applications or of partial applicant information. We are only able to evaluate your materials in the form of an official and complete application made to the Graduate School.

Can I get a waiver on the application fee under special circumstances?

SBES is not involved in making decisions regarding waivers of application fees. This is handled solely by the Graduate School. Contact them ( if you have questions.

What's the best way to check my application status?

You will be able to view the status of your application at the Virginia Tech Information System's website where you applied. For your protection, information on application status cannot be released by telephone. Official notification will be sent by postal mail. Estimated dates for decisions to be posted is April 1 through April 15th for complete applications received by Jan. 1st. Please be aware that the on-line status only indicates if the application is complete at the VT Graduate School, not necessarily with the School of Biomedical Engineering & Sciences.

Can I defer my admission?

If you are accepted into the program with the intention of entering in the Fall, but something happens which prevents this, you may request a deferral on your admission to another semester. Be aware that deferrals are not automatic, and they are granted only for exceptional circumstances which must be reviewed by the Admissions Committee. To make a request you must email the Graduate Coordinator at VT (Amanda Covey), explain why you need a deferral, and specify the term to which you would like to be deferred. Note that if you defer for only one semester (from Fall to Spring), you will not have to pay a fee, but if you defer for 2 or more semesters (from Fall to the next Fall), the Graduate School will require another application fee. Financial aid offers made for Fall semester will NOT be held over to Spring on deferrals.

Does SBES reconsider declined applications?

Reconsiderations of declined applications are not the norm at SBES. However, you may re-apply for the next year. If you decide to reapply, you must pay the application fee again and start the process over. You should submit new (and/or updated) materials with the application in order to increase your chances of admission.

I prefer to apply for the MS program.  Does applying for the MS decrease funding opportunities in general?  I will need financial aid for my future studies.

We accept both MS and PhD candidates, but give priority to PhD candidates for funding.

If I apply for a PhD in the BME program but am not accepted, will I be considered for the MS?

It’s possible – however, it is not an automatic process.  If a particular faculty member is interested in you, but feels that you are not quite ready to go straight for a PhD, he or she might make you an offer of admission as an MS student.  But we don’t routinely do two assessments of each application – once for a PhD admission and another for an MS.  If you wish to be considered for both programs, you’d have to submit two separate applications (and pay two fees).