Stanford Biology PhD Preview Program

Stanford Biology PhD Preview Program: Navigating the Biology PhD application process

Applications for BPP 2022 will open on August 1st and will close on August 29th. The program will be held online on October 20th and 21st.


Program Overview

The future challenges of biology will require new generations of creative thinkers dedicated to tackling the unknown. Research has shown that teams with diverse perspectives are best suited for making progress on such challenges. This will require recruiting the next generation of excellent scientists with diverse backgrounds, interests, and strengths.


To facilitate the recruitment of the next generation of exceptional scientists, we are hosting a Biology PhD preview program (BPP). Our program aims to provide workshops to build on the strengths of prospective students and encourage students to apply to Biology PhD programs, as well as help students identify programs that fit their goals and interests. In addition to workshops focusing on leveraging your strengths as a scientist in graduate school, we will cover general aspects of applying to Biology PhD programs. We will also provide insight into the application process for programs ranging from cellular, molecular and organismal biology to ecology and evolution. We especially encourage students who have the potential to enhance the diversity - broadly defined -  in STEM fields to apply.


Selected candidates will be invited to participate in two days of activities intended to build upon their strengths as scientists and prospective graduate students, facilitate the application process, connect with faculty, and receive one-on-one guidance on applications and interviews. Last year’s BPP schedule of events is available below, as well as the recorded webinars from last year’s program.


Program Details & Eligibility

Program details & Eligibility

The application for the BPP is due August 29th, 2022 (instructions for how to apply can be found on the “How to apply” section below. Admitted applicants will be notified by September 21st and invited to participate in the BPP. The program will take place October 20th and 21st from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm Pacific time (PDT), which will include sessions focused on navigating the application process for the three Stanford Biology tracks, one-on-one and group meetings with faculty, and academic and social meetings with graduate students in the department. Some of the material covered during the program will be recorded and available for future reference.

Program Details and Eligibility


You are eligible to apply to the Stanford Biology preview program if:

  • you are a college graduate, or will graduate by the summer of 2023 
  • you are considering applying to the Biology PhD program at Stanford


International students are eligible to apply.


We especially encourage students from historically excluded groups (based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, socioeconomic class, physical and mental abilities, religion, citizenship status, and age, among other identities) to apply.


Please note that participation in this preview program is not a requirement for prospective Stanford Biology applicants, nor is it a guarantee of acceptance into the PhD program. 

Please direct any questions about the program or application to the BPP committee:  preview-stanfordbio [at]


How to Apply

How to apply


Applications for the 2022 BPP will open on August 1st, 2022.


Biology Preview Program (BPP) application instructions

To be considered for BPP, fill out an online application here by August 29th, 2022 at 11:59 PM Pacific Time (PDT). Please direct any questions about the application to the BPP committee:  preview-stanfordbio [at]


Please note that participation in BPP is not a requirement for prospective Stanford Biology PhD applicants, nor is it a guarantee of acceptance into the PhD program. The aim of BPP is to help students navigate the application process to PhD programs in Biology, including Stanford’s.


Additional resources for applying to Stanford Biology PhD program

Regardless of whether you apply to the Preview program, check out these resources for applying to Stanford’s Biology PhD program


When applying for the Stanford Biology PhD program, you will need:

  • Online application (the application is quite long, so give yourself time to fill it out)
  • Statement of purpose
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Transcripts
  • CV/Resume
  • TOEFL (required for non-native English speakers)
  • Non-refundable application fee of $125 (for information on fee waivers, please click here)


Stanford Biology is one of the 14 Stanford Biosciences PhD programs and is a department in the School of Humanities & Sciences. Refer to this page from the Office of Graduate Education for information about applying to Stanford Biosciences PhD programs. You can find additional resources, including a guide on getting into graduate school, on this page from the Stanford School of Humanities & Sciences.


You can also check the Prospective Student Resources page from Yale University for additional resources.


Other programs:

  • Stanford Biosciences’ ADVANCE Undergraduate Institute (AUI) is a three-day intensive institute designed to introduce diverse sophomores and juniors to the Stanford University campus and provide guidance on the graduate school admissions process.

SSRP-AMGEN Scholars Program is intended for students who plan to pursue PhDs to gain valuable research experience. SSRP is a fully funded research intensive program that takes place on Stanford’s campus for an eight-week period.

2021 Program Agenda (2022 schedule will be announced soon)

2021 BPP Schedule and recorded webinar links


Day 1 - October 14, 2021

  • 9:00 am - 9:30 am - Welcome and orientation (with BPP team and Prof. José Dinneny) - recorded webinar link here
  • 9:30 am - 10:30 am - Application material workshop - recorded webinar link here
  • 10:30 am - 10:45 am - Break
  • 10:45 am - 11:45 am - Guided tour of the Stanford Biology PhD application - recorded webinar link here
  • 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm - Break
  • 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm - Lunch/small group discussions with students
  • 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm - CV/Personal Statement/Mock Interviews feedback


Day 2 - October 15, 2021

  • 11:00 am - 12:30 pm - CV/Personal Statement/Mock Interviews feedback
  • 12:30 pm - 1:00 pm -  Break
  • 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Lunch/small group discussions with students
  • 2:00 pm - 2:45 pm - Finances in graduate school (with Student Services Office) - recorded webinar link here
  • 2:45 pm - 3:30 pm - Mentoring up workshop (with Prof. Christopher Barnes and Prof. Naima Sharaf) - recorded webinar link here
  • 3:30 pm - 3:45 pm - Break
  • 3:45 pm - 4:45 pm - Q&A with graduate students
  • 4:45 pm - 5:00 pm - Closing remarks


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) & Preview Contact Information

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) & Preview Contact Information


Question: Can I apply to BPP if I haven’t graduated from college or if I am not yet a senior/rising senior?

Answer: Due to programming limitations, we will only accept applications from students who will graduate no later than Summer 2023 and plan to apply to graduate school in Fall 2022 (to start a program in Fall 2023).


Question: Do I need to apply or be accepted in BPP to be eligible for applying for the Biology PhD program?

Answer: No. You are not required to apply to or participate in BPP to be eligible for the Stanford Biology PhD program. These two programs are independent from each other. Participating in BPP does not guarantee being accepted into the PhD program. BPP aims to work with participants to navigate the application process and encourage prospective students to apply to both the Stanford Biology PhD program and other biology PhD programs., especially students from underrepresented backgrounds.


Question: When is the application deadline?

Answer: The deadline for applying to the Preview program is August 29th, 2022. You can fill out your application here.


Question: Do I have to pay a fee to apply for BPP?

Answer: No, this program is free to all participants. 


Question: What supplies will I need to participate in BPP?

Answer: You will need access to a device that can share audio (such as a computer, tablet, or phone) for both days, however if you do not have access to one, this should not discourage you from applying. Please contact us at  preview-stanfordbio [at] if this is a concern for you.


Question: Do I need to participate in the entire program?

Answer: Participants are strongly encouraged to attend all activities. However, if you have any concerns about potential conflicts, please contact us at  preview-stanfordbio [at] 


Question: Can I apply to BPP if I am considering applying for other graduate degree programs (MD, JD, professional degrees)?

Answer: BPP is intended for students who are interested in pursuing a PhD in Biology at Stanford. Therefore, we are not accepting applications from students that plan to enroll in other graduate degree programs. You can find more information about other Stanford graduate programs here.


Question: Can international students apply to BPP?

Answer: Yes, international students are eligible to apply to the program.

Biology Preview Program (BPP) contact information

If you have any questions about the Biology Preview Program, please email preview-stanfordbio [at]

If you have general questions about applying to the Biology PhD program, please email biologyadmissions [at]


We will get back to you as soon as possible.