How to Apply

The Graduate Program in Oral Biology welcomes a diverse pool of applicants. International students are welcome!

Applicants for the graduate program must hold a bachelors degree (BA, BS, or equivalent), or a DDS/DMD (or equivalent).

Required application components:

  • Personal statement of goals
  • Research essay
  • CV or resumé
  • GRE score (or DAT score, if dual degree applicant)
  • proof of English language proficiency (via residency or test score)
  • Letters of recommendation (3 minimum) 
  • Transcripts (unofficial OK at time of application)

Applications are submitted online via the University's Graduate School. A supplemental application is NOT required by the Oral Biology Program. All submitted applications are considered for financial aid.

Next application deadline: December 1, 2019                                DDS/PhD applications due by October 15, 2019

 Application process

  • Applications must be completed online. Files are incomplete and will not be reviewed until ALL application materials are received.
  • You will be asked to create an application account. This will allow you to save your application without submitting it and return to complete sections in the future.
  • The term of entry should always be "Fall." The Graduate Program in Oral Biology does NOT accept applications for other entry dates.
  • The campus is "University of Minnesota - Twin Cities."
  • Under "Applicant Statements," only Statement #1 is required and applicants must follow the instructions below, not on the application site. 
  • Under "Program Supplementary Information," upload your research essay (see below) as the "Description of Research or Work Experience." Upload your resume/CV as "Resume or CV." The CV is required.
  • All other sections in "Program Supplementary Information" should remain empty. 
  • Recommendations MUST be submitted directly by the referees into the online system. Paper letters and/or letters uploaded by the applicant will not be accepted. Contact if this is a concern.
  • All applicants are strongly encouraged to contact prior to submitting an application to discuss the program and any questions about the curriculum, faculty, training, or application.


The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is required. Applicants to the DDS/PhD program may submit a recent DAT score in lieu of the GRE. The University of Minnesota’s GRE code is 6874. Test results are received by the Graduate School and included with your application. The Oral Biology does not have minimum/maximum GRE scores. We prefer to see scores at or above 153V, 148Q, and 4.0 writing, but lower scores are not enough to dismiss an application.

International students may also need to submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. To determine if you need to submit such scores, please see the Graduate School's websiteStrong applicants will have TOEFL scores well above 90.

Test results are one of many factors considered in the admissions process and low test scores do not automatically preclude admission.  

Letters of recommendation

Applicants must submit three (3) letters of recommendation online. Paper letters mailed to the Director of Graduate Studies will not be considered. Letters must describe the applicant's potential to become an independent scientist or investigator, offering specific examples, and comment on the potential for the applicant to teach and achieve an academic career.

If the applicant is a clinician and/or intends to engage in clinical training, letters should also describe the applicant's clinical skills or potential to acquire clinical skills, and explain why the applicant can be successful in a concurrent research training program. Recommendation letters without narrative description of the applicant will not be considered complete.

Personal statement

Applicants must submit a personal statement. The personal statement must explain in detail how a degree in Oral Biology will advance the applicant’s research and academic career. In addition, the personal statement must outline the research questions that the applicant would like to pursue. This document will be uploaded to the online application as Statement #1 on the "Applicant Statements" page.

The online application also shows a Statement #2. Statement #2 is not required for Oral Biology applicants.

Research essay

In addition to a personal statement, applicants must submit an essay of about two pages describing their research aspirations. Each applicant may choose one of two essay formats for their response:

1) Describe in detail one or two significant research questions that the applicant would like to pursue. In the context of contemporary science, explain why the question(s) is important. Explain specific strategies or experimental plans to address the question(s).


2) Review the five core curricula recommended by the Graduate Program in Oral Biology and the mentor faculty described on the program website. Explain how the applicant's interest in investigating a specific research question can be complimented by one or more mentor faculty. Describe how the research experiences and coursework in one or more of the core curricula will advance the applicant's research and career plans. While the applicant is not committed to following the curriculum selected at the time of application, the application review committee will be comprised of faculty members who work in this area.

The research essay should be uploaded into the Graduate School application in the "Graduate Program Supplementary Information" section as the "Description of Research or Work Experience."

International students

The Graduate Program in Oral Biology welcomes applications from international students. For more information about graduate study at the University of Minnesota, review the Resources for International Students and the International Student and Scholar Services website.

Financial aid

Admission to the Graduate Program in Oral Biology is contingent upon secure funding for the duration of the PhD degree. The Graduate Program in Oral Biology does not guarantee any financial support but will assist qualified applicants in locating funding. Applicants are urged to pursue external fellowship support from agencies such as NIH, other home governments, and foundations.

Obtaining funding from sources within the University of Minnesota is highly competitive. Applicants with the DDS or equivalent degree who are U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents are eligible to apply for a postdoctoral fellowship from the Minnesota Craniofacial Research Training (MinnCResT) Program. Funding may also be available directly from the student’s faculty research advisor. The Graduate Program in Oral Biology will provide advice on potential sources of funding. Health insurance coverage will vary depending on the source of funding.

Apply now!