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Preparing for Graduate School


Considering going to graduate school to further your career in medicine, research, or teaching? (MD, PhD, MS, etc.) You will want to prepare these materials for applications:

Prerequisites – Check the admission requirements of the schools you’re interested in and be sure to plan your class schedule at BYU accordingly.
GRE Scores - The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test that is required for admission to most graduate schools in the United States. Scores on the GRE are considered as part of graduate school admission. There are books, CDs, and classes to help you prepare for the GRE.
Resume (1 page education, work and volunteer experience history) or CV (extended background of education, teaching, research, publications, and presentations) – Create a CV if you have enough experience to warrant one.
Personal Statement/Statement of Intent – Write an individual one for each school based on its specific instructions. Connect the dots of your background and interest in that program. Be specific and highlight your unique attributes and experiences.
MCAT (for medical school) or GRE (for most other programs) – Plan 2-3 months to study for it and 3-5 weeks to get the results. Plan more time in advance if you think you may want to take it again to get a higher score.
Letter of Recommendation (usually 3) – Letters of recommendation should be from professors who know you well and can write personal and specific information about your research and academic achievements. Create deeper relationships with professors and work supervisors by speaking with them about your interests and goals. Ask those who can speak positively and specifically about your work ethic, accomplishments, and personal qualities.
Application fee – Can vary from $75-$175 so save accordingly.

Need Help Applying?

Pre-Professional Advisement Center ( – Make an appointment with an advisor for help with planning for medical/dental school or other health professions.
Career Services ( – Walk in to the Career Studio any time without an appointment for help with resumes or to schedule a mock interview. Schedule a 1- on-1 appointment with Linda Evans, the Career Director over Neuroscience, for individual help with CVs, personal statements, and general career planning.
STDEV 318 Graduate School Preparation – Enroll in a 2-credit course that walks you through every aspect of applying for graduate school.
For information on resumes see:
For information on interview tips see:


Each program has their own individual application, specifications, and requirements. Here are some resources to help you find valuable information about the preparation and application process.

Online Resources

Printed Resources
How to Write a Winning Personal Statement for Graduate and Professional School, Richard J. Stelzer. "The personal statement is how the school learns about your personality and intellect. This book shows readers ways to improve their essays and provides examples."

Getting What You Came For: The Smart Student's Guide to Earning an M.A. or a Ph.D, Robert Peters."Since its publication, Getting What You Came For, has proved itself a necessity in helping students answer those vital questions and much more."

Graduate Admissions Essays: Write Your Way into the Graduate School of Your Choice, Donald Asher. "Based on thousands of interviews with successful graduate students and graduate admission officers, Graduate Admissions Essays deconstructs and demystifies the application process."

Click here for information on BYU's graduate programs in neuroscience.