Van Andel Institute Graduate School is intended for students seeking a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology that prepares them for leadership positions in biomedical research.
The program is open to all applicants regardless of race, gender, ethnic or national origin, religion or age. Individuals from demographic groups that are underrepresented among professional scientists are especially encouraged to apply. The Graduate School welcomes international applicants (those who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents). International applicants admitted to VAIGS will be sponsored in the F-1 student visa program.
To ensure full consideration for fall admission, applications should be received by December 1 the year prior to that in which the student will matriculate. If you have any questions about the application process, please contact the Graduate School office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 616.234.5722.
Bachelor of Arts or Science (B.A. or B.S.) degree or equivalent from an accredited college or university prior to enrollment
Typical preparation includes courses in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, physics and mathematics. Applicants with other academic backgrounds may be considered if they provide appropriate evidence of excellent training, qualifications and motivation.
As an important part of admission criteria, research experience may include undergraduate research internships, summer research programs, Master’s thesis research or medical research clerkships. Successful applicants will demonstrate these experiences have provided a thorough understanding of what a research career entails, that they have passion for research and that they have exceptional talent and aptitude for science.
Overall academic excellence
The Graduate School does not have a GPA threshold; however, students should demonstrate a solid academic record and commitment to academic excellence.
Three letters of recommendation from faculty members
It is highly recommended that applicants acquire letters from faculty members who know them and their academic work and, if applicable, who supervised independent study or research. The recommenders’ contact information must be entered in the Supporting Information quadrant of the application and the system will automatically email the recommenders.
High competence in skills important to a career in scientific research
These skills include critical thinking, writing and public speaking.
We do not require the GRE.
A deep passion for understanding the mysteries of life and disease as well as a commitment to the improvement of health.
Step one: Fill out the BioMedCas application, which may be accessed here.
• The BioMedCAS application will require standard personal information.
• VAIGS requires letters of recommendation from three faculty members who know you and your academic work and, if applicable, who supervised independent study or research. The recommenders’ contact information must be entered in the Supporting Information quadrant of the application. The system will automatically email the recommenders who can then respond with their feedback to BioMedCAS by email.
As part of the BioMedCAS application, upload the following materials:
• A personal statement. Tell us why you want to pursue a research-focused Ph.D. and, specifically, why Van Andel Institute Graduate School is right for you.
• A personal curriculum vitae or resume
• Electronic versions of transcript(s) of your academic records. Unofficial copies are acceptable for application, but official copies sent directly from your home institution(s) must be submitted prior to matriculation.
International applicants should follow the same application process as non-international students, but the following additional documents will be required before an offer of admission can be made:
All transcripts from academic institutions outside of the United States must be accompanied by an official course-by-course evaluation, including U.S. GPA conversion, from World Education Services (WES), International Credential Evaluators, International Educational Evaluators or another agency approved by the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services. Transcript evaluations will be at the student’s own expense. Students are encouraged to submit the transcript evaluation(s) as soon as possible after submitting their application, because an admissions offer cannot be made until the evaluation is received and reviewed by the Admissions Committee.