For International Prospective Students

ms-biotech international students at orientation 2021
The Class of 2023 in our hands-on training labs during New Student Orientation, August 27, 2021.

Frequently Asked Questions

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I have a 3-year bachelor's degree from outside the United States. Am I eligible to apply?

Like most American universities, the University of Wisconsin – Madison Graduate School does NOT consider a 3-year degree as an equivalent to a 4-year undergraduate degree in the United States. You probably need an additional 1-year professional degree (or similar) to have an equivalent “3+1” bachelor’s degree to apply to any American university.

You can check your country’s degree equivalence at this UW-Madison Graduate School Admissions web site:

Is the GRE required for admission?

There GRE (Graduate Record Exam) is NOT required for admission. Instead, the M.S. in Biotechnology Program considers prior academic performance and relevant professional work experience in the biotechnology industry as primary criteria for admission.

If you have taken the GRE and would like your test scores considered with your application materials, you are encouraged to include them with your application.

Are TOEFL or IELTS (English proficiency tests) required to apply? If so, what are the minimum required scores?

If you are an international applicant with a degree from an undergraduate university that delivered 100% its course content in English, you may be exempt from including TOEFL or IELTS scores with their application. Check to see the admission requirements associated with your country of origin:

If you have US citizenship, you may still be required to submit TOEFL/IETLS scores if you attended a international university that is not exempt from the English language testing requirement.

The M.S. in Biotechnology Program is a rigorous academic curriculum requiring strong written and oral communication skills for success. Students with English as a second language must demonstrate minimum language proficiency to be considered for admission. Below are the UW-Madison Graduate School’s minimum ESL test score requirements, however, the M.S. in Biotechnology Program prefers applicants with higher scores than the minimum.

Required Minimum ESL Test Scores for M.S. in Biotechnology Program :

Internet Based TOEFL IELTS
Minimum Score Required

97 minimum
100 or greater preferred


ETS Code for University of Wisconsin – Madison: 1846

What funding sources are available for international students, such as research assistantships, teaching assistantships and scholarships?

Students enrolled in the Master of Science in Biotechnology Program are not allowed to accept research assistantships, teaching assistantships, project assistantships or other University appointments which grant waivers of tuition and/or academic fees.

International students are allowed to pursue hourly paid employment on campus (for instance, as a lab scientist in a faculty research lab) within the restrictions of their student visa. Visit the International Student Services web site for F-1 student visa employment restrictions.

Very few scholarships exist for international students, however, applicants are encouraged to search the Wisconsin Scholarship Hub for what scholarships are available.

Do you offer application fee waivers?

The M.S. in Biotechnology Program does NOT offer application fee waivers to applicants. Tuition and the cost of living to attend this program is the full responsibility of the applicant and the application fee is considered part of the cost to attend.

This degree program has no direct funding available to offer its students. If you do not have the financial means to attend the M.S. in Biotechnology Program at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, you may want to consider not applying.

To learn more about the cost of attending the M.S. in Biotechnology Program, visit our website’s Tuition and Financial Aid page.

Is this a STEM degree program?

Yes. International students from the M.S. in Biotechnology Program are eligible for up to three years of post-graduate employment within the legal limits of an F-1 student visa.

Are there summer internships available for international students?

Many international students in the program pursue summer internships between their first and second year. Through F-1 Curriculular Practical Training, international students are eligible for off-campus employment up to 40 hours/week. Students with F-1 visas are eligible for off-campus full-time employment through a co-op employment experience, so long as the hiring is within F-1 Curriculular Practical Training guidelines.

While students themselves are ultimately responsible for finding summer internship opportunities and/or full-time employment, the M.S. in Biotechnology Program staff have extensive experienced advising and directing students toward potential internship employers and organizations.

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Am I admitted to the University of Wisconsin if the M.S. in Biotechnology Program recommends me for admission to the program?

No, your application must still be approved by the Graduate School before you are fully admitted to the UW-Madison.

You will be notified by email messages by the Graduate School for each step-by-step requirement following your recommendation for admission. The Graduate School Admissions office will request your official transcripts be sent to their office for review. Please note, WES documents are NOT accepted in place of your official transcripts.

Check your online application for status changes. Visit the Graduate School web site for further details.

When will I receive my I-20 form to apply for my student visa?

Once the Graduate School has reviewed your official transcripts and approved all requirements for your admission to the UW-Madison, you will receive and email notifying you of an official acceptance letter to UW-Madison and how to access your I-20 form from Terra Dotta, an online portal for downloading your I-20 and other visa-related documents.

I've applied for my student visa and am planing to come to Madison. What should I do to prepare now?

International Student Services is your campus liaison for support as an international student. They provide comprehensive information for incoming international students regarding all aspects of international student life, as well as support for student visa status questions.

Admitted students can always contact Bryan Husk or Michele Smith for direct assistance from the M.S. in Biotechnology Program. We are happy to connect incoming international students with current international students with the program who might provide their insight and support to you.

Graduate School: Frequently Asked Questions

The UW-Madison Graduate School provides a “Frequently Asked Questions” section that offers answers to common questions about admission to the university. Click and go to the bottom of the following webpage:

For International Applicants

International students applying to the program should follow the standard admissions procedures indicated on the program’s How To Apply page. There are also additional requirements that must be met for international student applications to be given consideration.

Applications will not be considered by the M.S. in Biotechnology program until all pre-admission requirements have been met.

After applicants submit their application to the UW-Madison Graduate Schoolthey receive a confirmation email regarding how to check online application status at Any requests for information or changes in your status will be noted in MyUW (pre- and post-admission).

Additional Requirements (Pre-Admission)

1. Regarding your Statement of Purpose

All applicants are required to submit a one- to two-page Statement of Purpose with their application. It is important to clearly state your career goals and concisely address how you believe this program’s industry-focused curriculum will help you achieve those career goals.

Applied work experience is highly regarded by the admissions committee, thus applicants should note any related work in the field of biotechnology (employed positions, internships, relevant volunteer experiences, etc.).

Please be specific with the reasons why you believe you are a good fit for this degree program. Simply being “interested in biotechnology” or believing “biotechnology is the future” is not sufficient for consideration.

2. English Language Testing Requirement

Most international student applicants are required to electronically submit English language test scores (TOEFL or IELTS) to the university.

International applicants who studied at universities where all courses were taught in English may be exempt from the English language testing requirement.

For more information, see the Graduate School website:

ESL Test Scores
Test scores must be less than two years old as of the start of the admission term and electronically sent to UW-Madison/Department using code 1846.

Required Minimum ESL Test Scores for M.S. in Biotechnology Program:

Internet Based TOEFL IELTS
Minimum Score Required

97 minimum
100 or greater preferred


Additional Requirements (Post- Program Admission)

Once the Graduate School has received all the information required for your application, international applications will be given consideration for admission.

If an international student has been interviewed and accepted for admission by the M.S. in Biotechnology program, there are further requirements that must be fulfilled with the Graduate School in order to attend the UW-Madison.

  • Proof of Funding
    Proof of funding is required by the Graduate School in order to attend the university. Refer to your MyUW online status check page for more information.
    Please note, the M.S. in Biotechnology Program does not provide any direct funding to students. Furthermore, students admitted to the M.S. in Biotechnology are not allowed to accept graduate assistantships or other university appointments that waive the cost of tuition. See the “Frequently Asked Questions” below for more information.
  • Verification
    Financial documentation must be received, verified and approved by the Graduate School before admission is finalized. After processing, a formal admission letter and visa documents are sent to the student.
  • Documents for Visa Appointment
    The Graduate School uses Terra Dotta, an online portal for international students, to release I-20 forms to international students admitted to the university.

Follow the Online Status Check Page

Continue to follow your online status check page for the duration of the process. All communication with the Graduate School should take place through MyUW.

The Value to International Students

Attend World-Renowned UW-Madison for your Master’s Degree

Advance your career with a two-year M.S. in Biotechnology degree from the world-renowned UW-Madison.

Broaden your technical foundation with focused laboratory components and develop business acumen you desire to achieve your professional aspirations.

Enjoy the collaboration, networking and connections that come by joining a cohort of professionals from diverse fields.

Join the “Biotech Badger” Community

More than a degree, you are joining a community of peers, alumni, and faculty that will help you achieve the professional advancement you seek.

Our personalized admission process ensures you have the information you need to determine if this program is the right fit for you.

Whether its questions about applying, help seeking summer internships, to finding post-graduate employment in the United States, this is a supportive network of “Biotech Badgers” invested in your success.

Develop Knowledge and Skills Sought by Employers

Develop knowledge and skills that synthesize business, law and science, and that employers see as differentiating factors for hiring and advancement.

Topical business case studies, hands-on labs and team projects uniquely prepare you for today’s workforce and career advancement.

Your degree program is shaped and delivered by world-class scholars and dynamic leaders from the biotech industry.