Skip to main content
Faculty/Staff Resources
Biobehavioral Health
Search search
Mobile Search:

What is the BBH Program Looking for?

We conduct a fully holistic review and are looking for:

  • Academic Potential
    • Grades, comments in letters
    • GREs if provided (GREs are now optional – see below)
  • Research Potential
    • Experiences, accomplishments; research interests, comments in letters and personal statement about aptitude, etc.
  • Alignment
    • Training goals and interests that are aligned with what we offer
    • A BA or BS degree in a relevant field; basic training in statistics and research methods 

We welcome and encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds.

What is required? What kinds of applicants are competitive?

We take a holistic approach to reviewing applications, meaning we consider grades, coursework, letters of recommendation, personal statements, GRE scores (if provided; they are optional) and other factors (e.g., relevant experience). We require a minimum GPA of 3.0 but competitive applicants typically have overall GPAs of 3.5 or higher. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of our program, we do not look for specific coursework other than some basic training in statistics and research methods. Some of our applicants have completed Master's level work but this is not required either. In the past, our students have come from a range of undergraduate programs, including but not limited to: Psychology, Neuroscience, Health Promotion, Biology, Microbiology, Epidemiology, Biobehavioral Health, Public Health, and more.

**Additional information about the GRE: The GRE is now optional. Those who do not submit GRE scores will not be at a disadvantage for admissions. If GRE scores are provided, our admissions committee will take GRE scores into account as part of a holistic review process. 

Additional Penn State Requirements icon-olus-circle

In addition to BBH departmental requirements, the Penn State Graduate School reviews all applications for academic eligibility (details here). In addition, the language of instruction at Penn State is English, and all international applicants must evidence proficiency in English via the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System): details here.