At present, the Division of Biomedical Sciences (certification #48; 1975-1976) of the Medical Sciences Campus, University of Puerto Rico, offers various specialties in two advanced degrees: (1) Master of Science (MS) and (2) Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in the following departments:

  1. Anatomy & Neurobiology
  2. Biochemistry
  3. Microbiology & Medical Zoology
  4. Pharmacology & Toxicology
  5. Physiology

The minimum requirements for admission are:

  1. Bachelor’s degree (B.S.) or its equivalent from an accredited institution. Higher degrees, such as Master in Science (MS) or Master in Health Sciences (MHS), or professional doctoral degrees, are also accepted in specific situations.
  1. Minimum general grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in a scale of 4.0
  2. Minimum grade point average in science courses (GPS) of 3.0 in a scale of 4.0

*The grade point average in science courses (GPS) [science and mathematics courses] of the MS or MHS program, will be considered for the GPS calculation for admission.

**Courses taken as a “Special Student” in the MSC, UPR system or another accredited institution of higher education, cannot be used to calculate the GPS for admission to the program.  “Special Student”, as defined by the “Manual del Registrador”, is a student that is not active in the UPR System or any other higher education institution, and has not been admitted to any graduate program, be it at the UPR system or at another accredited institution of higher education. The student must receive an authorization by the Director of one of the five departments indicated above, as well as by the Director of the Graduate Program of the Division for Biomedical Sciences, to take courses within the Graduate Program prior to seeking admission in any of its programs, or for other particular reasons (e.g., updating knowledge in a particular field of expertise needed for the person´s present job)[1]. A maximum of 8 semester credits for each of two academic sessions is allowed for special students1.  However, if the courses taken as a special student are approved with a minimum grade of “B” or higher, and the student is eventually admitted to one of the Division´s Graduate Programs, some of these courses could be transferred to the student’s graduate academic record, if recommended by the Departmental Graduate Committee and the Graduate Program, up to a maximum of 10 credits for a MS program, or 20 credits for a PhD program.  For students who have an MS or MHS degree, or who are in an MS program and want to apply for admission or transfer to a PhD program, the procedures in Appendix H need to be followed.

  1. Complete Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general test. The subject/advanced test in a science related area is not required.
  2. Three (3) letters of recommendation, using the official forms provided in our website. At least two (2) of these must be from professors in the field of study.
  3. An interview with faculty members of the Department to which the student is applying.
  4. A working knowledge of English and Spanish.
  5. Submission of the application form and other required documents on time.
  6. If a student lists previous research experience, they should provide evidence, such as abstracts, manuscripts, etc.
  7. Submission of an essay in English (250 maximum word count) describing the student’s interest in the field.


Note: The basic science courses required by all the departments are: Two semester courses in   General Biology, General Chemistry, General Physics and Organic Chemistry. In addition, applicants should have Calculus and Statistics as approved courses. Candidates are encouraged to visit the departments of their interest to learn of additional course requirements.

Presently, admission requirements will be evaluated using the following Admission Formula:

[(GPA/4.0)*25] + [(GPS/4.0)*25] + (%GREq*15) + (%GREa*15) + [(LR/66)*5] + [(I/20)*15] = SCORE

+ (RE Bonus/40)*10] = Final Score

GPA: grade point average

GPS: Grade point in Science and Mathematics Courses

GREq: graduate record examination score (percent) in quantitative area (GRE general test)

GREa: graduate record examination score (percent) in analytical area (GRE general test)

LR: Letters of Recommendation

I: Interview

RE: Research Experience

Each Department generates a list of candidates.  This list is sorted by the score obtained, with the student that obtained the highest score as first on the list.  The department sets the maximum number of students that can be admitted according to ranking scores, merit and availability of positions in the department.  Traditionally, students with scores of 60 or higher are recommended for admission to the PhD program.  Students with scores between 50 and 59 are recommended for admission to the MS program.  The Admission Formula may be modified by the Graduate Committee of the Division of Biomedical Sciences following careful consideration, as established in the certification 76-9 (Academic Senate of the Medical Sciences Campus, July 21, 1976).  The Division of Biomedical Sciences evaluates all students on equal terms and does not discriminate on account of sex, gender, race, place of birth, age, physical or mental handicap, origin or social condition, political or religious beliefs.  Information regarding the application process, as well as the application and recommendation forms, are available at:

Admission of Students in Exceptional Cases:

In every process of admission evaluation, some special cases are considered.  The following are criteria for the Graduate Committee and Department to consider when evaluating the admission of students in exceptional cases, when the GPS or GPA is less than 3.0 but no less than 2.5. Applicants must meet three (3) of the following four (4) criteria:

  1. Author or Co-Author of a publication in a peer-reviewed journal
  2. Evidence of scientific trajectory of excellence and/or experience in Academia or research institute, the Pharmaceutical industry, Biotechnology, or a Medical Technology Certificate; with at least one (1) year of experience with good references, clearly defined and documented. The Department must have direct knowledge of those experiences or the applicant must submit evidence to document them.
  3. Availability and commitment of a Faculty member in the department interested in mentoring the student. The Mentor must have space, resources, and evidence of sufficient funds to support the student’s training and project.
  4. Academic development over time (course grades over the years) evidencing grade improvement.

[1] As defined in the “Manual del Registrador” of the UPR-MSC.