International Applicants

We are excited for you to earn your Master of Microbial Biotechnology from North Carolina State University!

Please note that all applicants must apply through The Graduate School, and that the MMB program offers Fall admission only.  The deadline for completed applications is March 1st for international students. 

 (This link takes you the Graduate School application site; it does not begin the application)

The following items are required as part of the application package:

1) Official transcripts. You may initially apply with unofficial transcripts, though if you are accepted then you will need to send official transcripts before you can register for classes.

  • GPA requirements: 3.0 or greater.  If your GPA is below a 3.0, you will likely be required to take one to three additional graduate-level courses before being considered for admission.
  • All MMB students are required to have a four-year bachelor's degree in a life science or biotechnology. If you are an international student and have a three-year degree, please see the bottom of this page for more information.
  • All MMB students must have taken an undergraduate Microbiology and a Biochemistry course and earned a "B-" or better.  If you did not receive a "B-" or better you may be required to retake the course(s) prior to beginning the program. Prospective students who did not take one or both will be required to complete one or both courses prior to the start of the program. Applicants may apply to the program before completing any of the prerequisites, but you must finish and receive a grade of "B-" or higher before beginning the program.

2) Official GRE scores. The average current GRE test scores of accepted MMB students are listed below, as well as the estimated score in the new scoring system. No subject test is required. Scores are good for five years from the test date.


Average Test Scores of Accepted MMB Students

GRE Test Section

General Test taken after 8/1/2011*(number in parentheses refers to the minimum score needed to be considered for admission)

General Test taken prior to 8/1/2011*

Verbal Reasoning

156 (146)

500 (400)

Quantitative Reasoning

153 (147)

680 (500)

Analytical Writing

> 4.0 (3.0)

> 4.0 (3.0)

*The MMB program will not review applications with GRE scores below the minimums listed above.

For more information on the GRE test, visit the ETS website.

The Institutional Code for NCSU is 5496. You do not need to enter a Departmental Code in order for your scores to be accessed by MMB staff.

3) Official TOEFL or IELTS scores (for International students). TOEFL or IELTS test date must be no older than two years (24 months) prior to the beginning of the requested entry term. This is not required if you are a citizen of a country where English is the official language and the language of instruction in higher education, or have successfully completed at least one year of full-time study in a degree program at a four-year US college or university.  For more information please go to the Graduate School's web page.

4) 3 letters of recommendation from professional (not personal) references.

5) Personal statement of interest (typically two to three pages long). The MMB program stands as a unique type of graduate program, one that emphasizes formation of industry contacts and completion of real-world projects in a company setting (not research). We strive to select candidates that represent good fits for the program. Thus, in the personal statement, applicants should show understanding of the scope of this program and clearly convey how the program will likely prepare them to accomplish their professional goals. We further look to gain perspective about the applicant from the personal statement. Applicant background, what has led them to choose the MMB program, and post-graduation goals represent important features of the statement. Please feel free to discuss prior and current research experiences, but remember that the Master's of Microbial Biotechnology is not a research-oriented degree. 

Again, all applicants must apply through The Graduate School.

Other links of interest:

NC State's Office of International Services

NC State's Cashier's Office

Academic Common Market 

The NC State Office of International Services offers valuable information.

North Carolina residency (for tuition purposes)

Some international students have the capacity to establish a permanent residence in North Carolina and can apply to be classified as North Carolina residents for tuition purposes. These students' Tuition Reclassification Applications will be reviewed using the same standards as those of U.S. citizens.
Other international students may hold visas that have distinct restrictions on time limits or activities while in the U.S., or may specify that one holding such a classification has an explicit intention to return to his or her home country. Students holding these visas do not have the capacity to establish legal residence and, therefore, cannot be granted the North Carolina resident tuition rate. Such visa categories include: B, C, D, F, J, M, P, Q and S.
International students who believe they meet the criteria for the North Carolina resident tuition rate may submit a North Carolina Tuition Reclassification Application and supplemental form for non-U.S. citizens. Learn more about North Carolina residency for tuition purposes.

English proficiency requirements for international applicants

In order to be eligible for admission to the Graduate School all international applicants, regardless of citizenship, must demonstrate proficiency in English at a level necessary to be successful in a graduate program at NC State. This requirement can be met for most applicants in one of the following ways; however, some programs may require additional evidence of English proficiency:

1. Provide a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score. The NCSU Graduate School requires a score of at least 80 on the Internet-based Test (iBT). But, please note that the average iBT score for international students accepted into the MMB Program is 109.

Minimum test scores for each section:


18 points


18 points


18 points


18 points - for admission to the Graduate School


23 points - for TA appointment where TA has direct verbal interactions with students


26 points - for TA appointment where TA presents lectures in the class or laboratory

NOTE: The current computer- and paper-based versions of the TOEFL test will be given until the iBT version is implemented in a particular location. Computer-based TOEFL scores must be 213 or higher (with at least 17 on three sections and no section score below 13). The paper-based test requires a score of 550 or higher (with scores of 50 on at least two of the three sections and no section score below 45).

2. Beginning with applications for the Spring 2009 semester, provide International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores with an overall band score of at least 6.5. Please note that the average overall band score for international students accepted into the MMB Program is above a 7.5.

Minimum test scores for each section are listed below:








6.5 for admission to Graduate School


7.0 for TA appointment


3. be a citizen of a country where English is an official language and the language of instruction in higher education; and

4. have successfully completed at least one year of full-time study in a degree program at a four-year US College or university.

5. TOEFL or IELTS test date must be no older than two years (24 months) prior to the beginning of the requested entry term.

Submitting IELTS scores

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) allows you to report your scores to five institutions free of charge, at the time you take the test. Scores are available approximately two weeks after you take the test. In order to report your scores to the Graduate School at NC State, you should request, through the IELTS Testing Center where you took your test, that your scores be sent to North Carolina State University, Raleigh - Graduate Admissions (any other abbreviated version of our name may result in an error message when you attempt to make the request). To access the IELTS Website, go to

If you have submitted your application, with the fee paid, and after a few days, you do not see your IELTS scores reported in your application, you should email with your TRF (test report form) number found on your score sheet.

The I-20

Once an international student has been recommended for admission by their department to the Graduate School , they must then pass international clearance. An email will be sent to the student to inform them of the international clearance documents they should complete and upload to their online application. Please send these documents after this email has been received. Any international clearance documents submitted before this point will be treated as unsolicited materials and will be discarded.

The uploaded international clearance documents are reviewed 1-2 days after being uploaded and an email is sent to notify the student of the result. If there is a problem with the documents, an email is sent to the student with instructions for correction. After properly submitted documentation has been reviewed, the student will receive an updated decision letter. In that decision letter will be a link for the student to follow to indicate acceptance of enrollment. After the student has indicated acceptance of enrollment, the I-20 will be created 1-2 days later.

Application fee waiver

An academic department may choose to pay the application fee for selected applicants.  However, the academic department to which you are applying is not able to waive the application fee. Only the Graduate School has that authority.

The Graduate School generally will not waive the application fee, except in cases of documented financial need and special circumstances.  If you would like to request a fee waiver, first submit your application and indicate that you will pay the fee by check.  Next, contact Dr. David Shafer,, for instructions.  Unfortunately, International students are rarely eligible to receive an application fee waiver.

The Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR)

Some international students who have been deemed academically admissible will need to submit a Certificate of Financial Responsibility (CFR) and related financial documentation. These documents show your ability to pay the tuition and living expenses required for international students. After the academic department recommends your admission, you will receive an e-mail to notify you of your updated admission decision, along with instructions to view the decision letter. You will find a link to the CFR form in your online decision letter.

Do not provide the completed CFR form until we request it. Financial information that is received before the academic program recommends the applicant for admission will not be reviewed.

Transcripts (for international coursework not in English)

The Graduate School only accepts transcripts that are in English.  Many international colleges and universities translate transcripts into English for those students who need this service.  A translation must be provided and placed in a sealed envelope by your college or university and bear a seal or signature to indicate its authenticity.  If your college or university will not provide a transcript translated to English, then we suggest using a service such as NACES or WES. Transcripts that are notarized are not considered official unless they were notarized by an official at your university.

Please note that we are unable to return official transcripts that are mailed to the Graduate School.

Three-year bachelor's degrees

  1. The Graduate School only accepts three-year bachelors degrees from institutions within the Bologna Process. If the institution is not part of this organization, the applicant is required to provide the Graduate School with an evaluation of the transcript for the three-year degree by an international credential evaluation company.

  2. We accept international credential evaluations from members of NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services). AICE (Association of International Credential Evaluators), or AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers). Others may be acceptable as well, but please check with the Graduate School if a question as to the appropriateness of the evaluation arises.