IBS Frequently Asked Questions

Because we know that applying to graduate school can be very confusing at times, we’ve collected some of the more Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that we have received over the years. Our FAQs are broken down into two sections. Please click on one of the following links or simply scroll down to find answers to some very commonly asked questions:

Applying to IBS

  1. Requirements/Deadlines
    What are the admission requirements for the IBS program?
    What are the deadlines for applying to the IBS program?
  2. Graduate School Application Materials
    Can I send my Graduate School application materials to the IBS office?
  3. Application Fee
    What is the application fee?
    I cannot afford the application fee. Can the application fee be waived?
    When do I have to pay the fee?
  4. Letters of Recommendation
    How should I choose my recommenders?
    How should letters of recommendation be returned?
  5. GRE/TOEFL scores
    Where do I have my scores sent?
    Does IBS need official GRE scores?
    Is a GRE Subject exam a requirement?
    What is the average composite GRE score? Are there minimal requirement for those admitted to IBS?
  6. Transcripts
    Where do I send official transcripts?
    If I only took one course at another university, do I have to provide official transcripts?
  7. Immigration (for international students)
    When will my I-20 be sent?
    What should I do when I receive my I-20?
  8. Admissions Process
    What is the admissions process?
    Who makes the final admission decision about my file?
    When will I know my admission decision?
    How do I update my application?
    How many students matriculate into IBS each year?
    When do I have to accept an offer of admission?
  9. Status of application
    When will I find out whether or not I have been accepted?
  10. Interviews
    What can I expect during the IBS interviews?
    What can I do to better prepare myself for the interview?
    What should I wear to my IBS interview?
  11. Visiting campus
    I am planning a visit to the University of Kentucky and would like to tour the College of Medicine and speak with someone about the IBS program. Whom do I contact?
    Where do I park when I come for a visit?

Admission to IBS

  1. Orientation
    When do I have to arrive on campus?
    What is the IBS Orientation?
  2. Stipend
    What is the IBS stipend currently?
    How much of the stipend is take-home pay, and do we pay taxes?
    How are IBS students funded?
  3. Health Insurance
    What is the difference between the Student Health Services and the Health Insurance provided by the UK?
  4. Email Account
    How do I set up an email account through the University of Kentucky?
    Can I keep my hotmail/yahoo account and not use my UK email account?
  5. Parking
    What type of parking permit should I get?
    When should I get a parking permit?
    Where should I park when I first arrive?
  6. Housing
    What housing options are available to me in Lexington?

Answers

Applying to IBS

What are the admission requirements for the IBS program?

  • Admission to IBS is based upon academic background, recommendations, GPA, GRE scores, and prior research experience. Personal interviews provide critical perspectives for both students and the IBS Admissions Committee and are required. Students must also meet the requirements set by the Graduate School, including a bachelor’s degree from a four-year fully accredited institution of higher learning.
  • Students applying for admission to IBS must meet the prerequisite requirements of: Biology Courses with lab components, Chemistry Courses with lab components, General Chemistry with lab components, Organic Chemistry with lab components, Physics, and Calculus.

What are the deadlines for applying to the IBS program?

  • The Integrated Biomedical Sciences program follows a rolling admissions process, therefore, the earlier your application is complete the more likely you will be selected for an interview leading to admission. Following are suggested timelines:

    September 1 Application available online for the following Fall semester
    January 1All applications are due. The IBS admissions committee will begin reviewing materials by December, and earlier applications will be given priority.   
    February-MarchOn-campus interviews for selected candidates
    April 15Deadline for candidates to accept offers to the graduate programs

Can I send my Graduate School application materials to the IBS office?

  • No, all materials must be submitted directly to the Graduate School for full consideration.

What is the application fee?

  • Currently the application fee for the Graduate School application is $65 for domestic students and $75 for international students. There is no additional application fee for the IBS application.

I cannot afford the application fee. Can the application fee be waived?

  • Since the application fee is a part of the Graduate School application, we are unable to waive the fee.

When do I have to pay the fee?

  • The Graduate School application fee must be paid before the Graduate School application will be finalized. Most importantly, however, the Graduate School application itself must be completed early on in the application process especially for international students. It is very important that international students submit the Graduate School application by March 15th. Internationals submitting their Graduate School application after this date cannot be considered for fall admission.

How should I choose my recommenders?

  • Choose your recommenders wisely. It is important to choose recommenders that are sufficiently familiar with you to address your academic preparation, abilities and accomplishments. We are especially interested in learning more about your scientific background and your abilities in the lab.

How should letters of recommendation be returned?

  •         Letters are returned electronically via the Graduate School Application. 

Where do I have my scores sent?

  • Please have your official GRE and TOEFL (international students only) to Graduate School. To route your official exams, the code for UK is 1837. There is no separate department code for the IBS program; you should select "No department code available" if prompted. Please leave this blank and your score report will be routed to the Graduate School.

Does IBS need official GRE scores?

  • You will need to submit official scores to the Graduate School. The code for UK is 1837. There is no separate department code for the IBS program; you should select "No department code available" if prompted.

Is a GRE Subject exam a requirement?

  • While a GRE Subject exam is not required, it is strongly encouraged. Most external fellowship applications require a GRE subject test.

What is the average composite GRE score? Are there minimal requirement for those admitted to IBS?

  • While there is no minimum GRE requirement, typically an average combined GRE Verbal and Quantitative score is above 1200 (old format). For students submitting scores taken from the revised GRE (August 2011) combined scores of 310 or higher are acceptable. Keep in mind, though, that admission decisions are based on your entire application. Your coursework, GPA, letters of recommendation, and previous lab experience are equally important. Typically students applying to IBS have scores ranging in the 50th percentile or higher.

Where do I send official transcripts?

  • Official transcripts from all the universities you attended must be sent to the Graduate School.

If I only took one course at another university, do I have to provide official transcripts?

  • Even if you only took one course from another university and even if that course is listed on another transcript as having been transferred, you must have an official transcript from the university where you took the course sent to the Graduate School.
  • International Students please do not send documents other than those requested in the information above.

When will my I-20 be sent?

  • If the Admissions Committee decides to offer you admission, we will email that offer of admission to you immediately. When you accept our offer of admission, we will contact the Graduate School and request that you be admitted to the Graduate School and an I-20 be completed for you. It is very important to understand that the Graduate School cannot complete your I-20 until you have fully completed your Graduate School application including the fee. Also, keep in mind that our main line of communication is via email so please do check your email frequently. Graduate School will also be emailing you and will not be able to proceed with issuing an I-20 to you until you have responded to them on a number of different issues.

What should I do when I receive my I-20?

  • As soon as you receive your I-20, please make an appointment with the consulate to obtain your visa. It is very important that you do this as soon as possible since obtaining a visa can now take much longer with the new regulations in place.
  • * please do not contact us for your I-20 right away. We will notify you of its availability and of the date on which it will be sent to you.

What is the admissions process?

  • Once an application file is complete, it is scheduled for review by the IBS Admissions Committee. They may decide to invite a prospective student for an on-site or phone interview; they may decide to hold on the application and review it at a later date; or they may decide not to offer admission to the candidate. Once the interview is completed, the Admissions Committee again reviews the full application, including interview evaluations. At this point, the Committee may decide to offer admission, they may hold the application for review at a later date, or they may make no offer of admission.

Who makes the final admission decision about my file?

  • The IBS Admissions Committee is made up of faculty representatives from each basic science department participating in the IBS program. Together with the director of IBS, they review applications and decide on offers of admission.

When will I know my admission decision?

  • For candidates who have interviewed, decisions concerning their admission are generally sent within 2-3 weeks. For all other applicants, decisions are made as the applications are reviewed.
  • Given the number of applications received each year, it is not possible to update applicants continuously about the status of their applications. All applicants will be notified of their admissions status as soon as possible.

How do I update my application?

  • If you sent an application for us to review the previous year and would like for us to consider it now, please send us an email at obe@uky.edu requesting that we reconsider your application. Also send us any updated information that you would like for us to consider, such as any new letters of recommendation, or updated transcripts or GRE scores. We also request that you send us a letter describing what you have been doing this past year that relates to your application to IBS.

How many students matriculate into IBS each year?

  • Approximately 20-25 students matriculate each year.

When do I have to accept an offer of admission?

  • Offers of admission must be accepted by April 15, the universally accepted deadline by most universities in the U.S. If an offer is made after April 15, the offer letter will indicate when a decision must be made.

When will I find out whether or not I have been accepted?

  • Admissions is an ongoing process. We begin processing applications in November, and begin reviewing them as early as December. As positive decisions are made, applicants are notified. Applications will continue to be reviewed through March, and those who are not offered admission are notified by mid-April.
  • Given the number of applications received each year, it is not possible to update applicants continuously on the status of their applications. All applicants will be notified of their admissions status as soon as possible.

What can I expect during the IBS interviews?

  • The IBS interviews are a chance for us to meet you and learn more about you, as well as a great opportunity for you to learn more about us. During the 2-day interview schedule, you will learn about our programs, tour our research facilities, meet with our graduate students, and talk with faculty from each of the departments participating in IBS.

What can I do to better prepare myself for the interview?

  • Your individual schedule will be sent to you via e-mail at least a week before your scheduled interview. It is strongly suggested that you go on-line and learn more about the research of the faculty with whom you will interview.

What should I wear to my IBS interview?

  • While it is important to keep in mind that this is a formal interview process, you should also be sure that you are comfortable and that you wear very comfortable shoes as you will be walking a lot. Generally speaking, for men this tends to be a pair of khakis and a well-pressed shirt with or without a tie and sports jacket. For women, a nice pair of pants or skirt and top, or a casual suit is the norm.

I am planning a visit to the University of Kentucky and would like to tour the College of Medicine and speak with someone about the IBS program. Whom do I contact?

  • If you will be visiting the University of Kentucky and are interested in speaking with someone about IBS, please contact the Office of Biomedical Education at obe@uky.edu or by calling us at (859) 218-6745.We are always happy to talk with you about our program!

Where do I park when I come for a visit?

  • When you are visiting, please park in the UK Hospital Parking structure or the Kentucky Clinic Parking structure and bring in your parking ticket for us to validate!

Admission to IBS

When do I have to arrive on campus?

  • All those admitted to the IBS program must arrive prior to the start of IBS Orientation, which begins  in August. Please plan to arrive in time to move in and get settled before the start of Orientation. The first week is especially busy and you will have little time to run errands.

What is the IBS Orientation?

  • The IBS Orientation, which begins in August, is packed with workshops, training sessions, social events, and many other different activities, almost all of which are mandatory! Admitted students will receive a full schedule by mid-July.

What is the IBS stipend currently?

  • The current IBS stipend is $25,000 for 12 months.

How much of the stipend is take-home pay, and do we pay taxes?

  • Our students are responsible for federal and state taxes. Depending on how many exemptions you are allowed to claim, this often can be 15% of your stipend. Keep in mind, however, that this varies from case to case and how you are being funded. In addition, certain foreign countries have tax treaties with the U.S. If you are from one of these countries, it is possible that you will be exempted from U.S. taxes for a specified number of years.

How are IBS students funded?

  • IBS uses a mix of fellowships and research assistantships as part of the financial aid packages awarded to IBS students. Some students are paid on the bi-weekly payroll; some students on the monthly payroll, and some students receive stipend checks on both the bi-weekly and monthly payrolls. All students are required to use automatic payroll deposit.

What is the difference between the Student Health Services and the Health Insurance provided by the UK?

  • IBS pays both the Student Health Fee and the Health Insurance Premiums for each IBS Student. This permits use of the Student Health Services located in the Medical Center for a variety of primary and specialty care needs, most of which are free or at reduced charges. The Student Health Insurance covers large expenses such as surgery and hospitalization. Together, the Student Health Service and the Student Health Insurance offer students the ability to meet most normal medical needs. To learn more, please visit the Student Health Service web-site and the Student Health Insurance page.

How do I set up an e-mail account through the University of Kentucky?

  • Instructions will be sent to you on how to activate your University e-mail account upon your admittance to UK and the IBS Program.

Can I keep my personal e-mail address and not use my UK e-mail account?

  • Because the UK e-mail addresses are listed in a Global Address Book accessible to all faculty, it is very important that you access your UK e-mail address regularly. There is an option to forward your UK address to another account, but often this causes problems because of the size limit on most commercial accounts. We use your UK e-mail address for all official information, and we do advise that you make your UK e-mail address your main e-mail address.

What type of parking permit should I get?

  • UK-funded graduate students are eligible for either an E permit (for staff) or a K permit (for students). There are benefits to each type of permit. The E permit parking options are generally closer to the Medical Center, but this is only true if you arrive before 8:00 am, which is often not the case for most of our graduate students! While the E permit costs about $100 a year more, this can be deducted from your check monthly rather than paid at the time of purchase like a K permit. Since most students park in the back of the stadium and take the Med Center Shuttle to the Medical Center, a K permit is often your best bet. For more information visit the Parking & Transportation Services web-site. If you live in graduate student housing, you are eligible only for an R (residential) permit.

When should I get a parking permit?

  • You can get a parking permit after Orientation begins. This will give you an opportunity to decide what works best for you. Keep in mind that if you wait until the undergrads come back, the line will be down the street!

Where should I park when I first arrive?

  • You will receive instructions from the IBS Office about parking on day one. Typically, if you park in a UK Healthcare Structure on the first day, we will be able to validate your parking.

What housing options are available to me in Lexington?

  • There are a great number of off-campus apartments in Lexington. Most require a car, although there are a few within walking distance. Your best bet is to do a Google search for apartments in Lexington and look through the apartment complex sites. Our current students do strongly suggest that incoming IBS students check with them before signing a lease. (A list of contacts is sent to incoming IBS students each spring.)
  • Information on on-campus housing for graduate students is on the Campus Housing web-site. Please select “Graduate & Family Housing” on the site navigation bar. There are a limited number of UK graduate student apartments available. They are furnished and close to campus. In addition, although you sign a one-year lease, you can be released from that lease with a 30-day written notice. Please apply early if you’re interested. They go on a first-come, first-served basis, and they are very popular. 
  • Yes, it is still possible for graduate students to afford houses in Lexington! To explore this option, please contact us for the names of real estate agents used by IBS students in the past.