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
  • Diversity statement
  • CV or resumé
  • 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.


The application for Fall 2022 enrollment will first be available on 8 September 2021. 

  • DDS/PhD dual degree program applications will be due 15 October 2021.
  • PhD applications will be due 1 December 2021.
  • MS applications will be due 1 February 2022.

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."
  • USE THE APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS BELOW. These instructions may differ from what appears on the Graduate School's website in or in the application itself.
  • 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 application review process considers applicants’ experiences, attributes, and academic and research achievements, as well as the value an applicant would contribute to research, learning, and the Program’s culture. No single application document may be the primary factor in determining admissibility.


The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is NOT required for Fall 2022 admissions. Future years may require the exam. 

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 website. Strong 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 via the online application. Letters must describe the applicant's:

  • potential to become an independent scientist or investigator,
  • intellectual aptitude for problem solving, creative thinking, and the scientific method, offering specific examples in support, and
  • potential to teach and achieve an academic career.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to give these instructions to their recommenders as early as possible. 

Personal statement

Applicants are required to submit a personal statement describing how they became interested in basic science research, their relevant experiences, and how a degree in Oral Biology will advance their research and career ambitions. This document will be uploaded to the online application as the Personal Statement in the Materials section.

Diversity statement

Applicants are required to submit a statement identifying the distinctive qualities, characteristics, and life experiences they will contribute to the Graduate Program in Oral Biology and to the education of fellow students at the University of Minnesota. Statements may include examples that address an applicant’s contribution to the diversity of the student body, illustrate their motivation to succeed by setting high standards for accomplishing intellectual and other goals or overcoming obstacles to achievement, and/or helping others to gain access to the resources necessary for success. The definition of diversity is left to the applicant and may include, but is not limited to, physical, emotional, philosophical, experiential, and geographic diversity.

If you are a US citizen and a member of a group underrepresented in dentistry and/or the biomedical sciences, you may be considered for a Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) fellowship. Please use your diversity statement to request this consideration and briefly describe how your background, experiences, and achievements will contribute to the University’s goal of promoting excellence through diversity of background and experiences. 

This document will be uploaded to the online application as the Diversity Statement in the Materials section.

Research essay

Applicants are required to submit an essay of about two pages describing their specific research aspirations. Each applicant may choose one of two essay formats for their response:

1) Describe in detail a significant research question the applicant would like to pursue. As with any research proposal, explain why the question is important and/or significant and relevant to craniofacial, oral, and/or dental health. Describe in detail specific strategies or experimental plans to address the question. Applicants with prior research experience should submit this essay.


2) For applicants who have not been able to access research experiences, review the five core curricula recommended by the Graduate Program in Oral Biology and the mentor faculty described on the program website. Choosing one or two of the core areas, describe how the research experiences and coursework will advance the applicant's research and career plans. Identify research topics or questions of special interest and how they may be complemented by one or more mentor faculty. 

The research essay will be uploaded into the application in the Materials section, under the Other Materials header. Do not upload publications or manuscripts in lieu of the essay.

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!