General questions about the MTM program.
WHAT DOES THE MASTER OF TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE PROGRAM OFFER THAT OTHER PROGRAMS DO NOT?
The MTM program offers several features that make a for a truly unique professional experience:
- A joint degree from UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco, two of the world’s premier research institutes
- A specialized curriculum combining fundamentals of bioengineering, clinical issues, and business & entrepreneurship
- A hands-on capstone project experience featuring mentors from academia, industry, and clinical research organizations
- A multi-disciplinary cohort of students that typically includes engineers, scientists, and medical professionals
- Access to tailored career advising through a collaboration with UC Berkeley’s Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership
WHAT DEGREE DOES THE PROGRAM CONFER?
Upon successful completion of the program requirements, students will receive a joint Master of Translational Medicine (MTM) degree from UC Berkeley and UCSF.
WHY SHOULD I PURSUE AN MTM DEGREE OVER OTHER GRADUATE DEGREES?
The MTM program is specifically designed for students seeking to build a career in medical-technology innovation and development. Through our highly specialized curriculum, students are provided with the fundamental skills necessary to become experts at transforming new biomedical discoveries into real-world clinical products. The MTM program is best suited for students who intend to pursue a professional career developing new medical technologies, and who wish to become leaders in the emerging field of translational medicine. Other graduate degrees have some similarities to the MTM degree, but each is unique. Use the guide below to compare various options:
- MS/PhD – For those seeking a research or academic career, a Master of Science (MS) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree may be the best ?t. However, if you ever intend to start a medical-technology company, or want to become an expert at transforming new discoveries into clinical products, the MTM program is an excellent choice. In addition to fundamental technical/engineering coursework, the MTM program also provides the business and clinical skills necessary for a comprehensive understanding of the translational pathway, which goes beyond traditional bench-top research.
- MBA – A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree may be a good fit for those students who are only interested in the business and leadership aspects of medical-technology development and entrepreneurship. However, for those students who also want to hone their scientific/engineering skill set, the MTM program will likely be a better choice. MTM students deepen their technological expertise by completing 10 units of graduate-level bioengineering coursework, including focused work on the capstone project, which integrates the technical and leadership elements of the curriculum.
- MEng – A Master of Engineering (MEng) degree may be a good choice for students seeking to become leaders in technology-focused industries. However, for those students who are specifically interested in the clinical aspects of medical-technology development, the MTM degree is likely the best choice. To more fully understand the translational pathway for new medical technologies, students in the MTM program are provided with additional clinical and regulatory knowledge that is absent from most traditional MEng programs. Specifically, MTM students learn the fundamentals of clinical trials and research, healthcare finance and economics, and FDA regulations, which are essential for successful medical innovation. By leveraging the strengths of Berkeley’s College of Engineering and UCSF’s Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, the MTM program is uniquely positioned to provide students with a combination of technical and clinical expertise.
I’M HAVING DIFFICULTY CHOOSING BETWEEN THE MTM PROGRAM AND BERKELEY’S MASTER OF ENGINEERING (MENG) PROGRAM. HOW SHOULD I MAKE MY DECISION?
Both the MTM program and the Bioengineering MEng program are single-year professional masters programs that are well-suited to prepare students for careers focused on the design and development of new healthcare-related technologies. The two programs have some overlap, and students in both programs take coursework in the areas of bioengineering and business/leadership. When choosing between the MTM and MEng programs, there are several important differences to consider:
- The MTM program is joint between UC Berkeley and UCSF, whereas the MEng program is offered solely by UC Berkeley. Students in the MTM program have the opportunity to take courses and utilize certain resources on both campuses, whereas MEng students do not, but they also have to navigate a two-campus system including travel between Berkeley and San Francisco.
- In addition to the “Bioengineering” and “Business/Leadership” portions of the curricula that are partially shared by the MTM and MEng programs, the MTM program also has a unique “Clinical Needs and Strategies” portion that focuses specifically on clinically relevant topics such as healthcare finance, unmet clinical needs, and designing clinical research. To accommodate these extra clinical courses, the MTM curriculum sacrifices some units in the Bioengineering portion of its curriculum. The MEng curriculum, conversely, does not have this specific clinical content, but instead reserves more units for Bioengineering electives. Thus, students wishing to focus more specifically on technical/bioengineering coursework during their program year may opt for the MEng program, while students desiring a mix of bioengineering and clinical content may opt for the MTM program.
- Due to the MEng program’s stronger focus on bioengineering fundamentals, the MEng cohorts tend to include more students with pure engineering backgrounds. In comparison, the MTM cohorts tend to be more multi-disciplinary, and there is often a substantial mix of engineers, life scientists, clinicians, and students with other educational backgrounds.
- As part of their program requirements, both the MTM and MEng programs include a year-long Capstone project experience focused on the design and/or development of a new technology to address an unmet market need. MTM projects are specifically focused on addressing unmet medical/clinical needs, whereas MEng projects are more broadly focused on bioengineering-related needs. For example, the manufacture of a novel hip-replacement device could be either an MTM or an MEng project, whereas the development of a new biofuel as an alternative energy source would only be relevant as an MEng project.
When choosing between the MTM and MEng programs, you should carefully consider the factors above, and attempt to choose the program that will best suit your long-term educational and professional goals.
I’M ABOUT TO GRADUATE WITH A BACHELOR’S DEGREE. WHY SHOULD I ENROLL IN THIS PROGRAM RATHER THAN GET WORK EXPERIENCE RIGHT AWAY?
The MTM experience will provide you with additional skills and knowledge that are generally absent from most undergraduate curricula, including the completion of a hands-on, year-long Capstone project that will provide real-world experience integrated with professionally oriented coursework. An MTM degree is likely to make you a more attractive candidate to potential employers in the medtech and biotech sectors, and should help put you on the fast-track of your chosen career path.
I’VE BEEN WORKING IN THE INDUSTRY FOR A FEW YEARS. IS THIS PROGRAM A GOOD FIT?
The MTM program caters to early-career professionals, including those who already have a few years of industry experience. Such experience may even be an advantage in the MTM coursework and project work, and can be something to highlight on your application to the program. Keep in mind, however, that too much prior work experience could detract from your overall MTM experience. If you have more than 5-7 years of professional experience, you may have already learned a majority of the lessons that the MTM program is designed to teach.
IS THE PROGRAM SUITABLE FOR MEDICAL TRAINEES AND PROFESSIONALS?
The MTM program may be a perfect educational complement for clinically oriented students and professionals who are interested in leveraging their clinical expertise to become leaders in the field of translational medicine. The 11-month structure of the program is well-suited for current medical students who are looking for a “gap year” experience (often between years 3 & 4 of medical school), as well as for medical residents, fellows, and professionals who are looking for an accelerated training opportunity to supplement their MD degree. Although not required, the MTM program may be of particular interest for medical students and professionals with prior technical training such an undergraduate engineering degree or related professional experience. Many of our clinically focused graduates seek to divide their time between the practice of medicine and the development of novel medical technologies.
HOW LONG IS THE MTM PROGRAM?
The MTM program is roughly 11 months long. The specific start and end dates change each year, but admitted students should expect to be in the program from early August through the middle of June. As a joint program of UCSF and UC Berkeley, the MTM follows both academic calendars. The start date is approximately 10 days before the beginning of the fall semester at UC Berkeley. The schedule for the current academic year can be found on the MTM program timeline.
IS THERE A PART-TIME VERSION OF THE MTM PROGRAM?
No. Currently there is only a full-time version of the MTM program. Students must complete their degree requirements within the 11-month duration of the program.
IS THERE AN ONLINE VERSION OF THE MTM PROGRAM?
No. The MTM coursework and project work requires students to be physically present in the San Francisco Bay Area during the duration of the program year.
WHAT DO MTM STUDENTS LEARN?
The MTM program has been specifically designed to provide students with the fundamental principles needed to develop new medical technologies. See the MTM curriculum page for full details.
DOES THE MTM PROGRAM HAVE SPECIFIC SUB-DISCIPLINES OR CONCENTRATIONS?
No. At present, the MTM program is not organized around sub-disciplines in translational medicine, but this may change in the future. In the near future, for instance, we may pilot a regulatory concentration
CAN I DESIGN MY OWN CONCENTRATION?
Although there are no official “concentrations” in the MTM program, students interested in particular concepts within the field of translational medicine may tailor their MTM experience through their choice of elective courses. In addition to the 18 units of core courses, each student needs to select at least 6 units of electives that address particular academic interests and professional goals.
CAN I TAKE ADDITIONAL ELECTIVES?
The MTM program is an intensive accelerated degree, and most students find that the 24 semester-unit curriculum is relatively demanding. Students can enroll in additional elective courses beyond the 24-unit requirement, though they must be fully prepared to take on this additional course load.
DOES THE PROGRAM ADDRESS ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
The MTM curriculum includes directed coursework designed to teach students about how technology innovation is managed in both entrepreneurial ventures and established companies. MTM students also have access to a variety of business-related elective courses, including certain courses in Berkeley’s Haas School of Business and UCSF’s Entrepreneurship Center.
WHAT TYPES OF PROJECTS DO MTM STUDENTS WORK ON?
Students in the MTM program work on team-based capstone projects that are focused on the development of new medical technologies to address unmet clinical needs. Each student works in a team of ~2-4 students under the supervision of a project mentor. Each project is different, and students often work on a variety of translational issues including, but not limited to: intellectual property, FDA regulations, prototyping, testing and validation, cost-effectiveness, marketing, and business development. Capstone projects cover a wide array of clinical needs and technological solutions including general areas such as medical devices, surgical tools, diagnostics, drugs/therapeutics, and digital health.
WHERE DO THE CAPSTONE PROJECTS COME FROM?
Capstone project proposals are submitted to the MTM program annually, and they typically come from three main sources:
- Faculty members at UC Berkeley and UCSF
- Clinical research organizations such as the SFVA Medical Center and Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI)
- Industry partners such as medical device firms or pharmaceutical companies
HOW ARE STUDENTS MATCHED TO THEIR CAPSTONE PROJECTS?
Capstone projects proposals are pre-screened by the MTM leadership, and initial selections are provided to students during the initial weeks of the program. Students submit resumes to the projects they are most interested in working on, and the MTM program leadership builds teams to match student preferences with mentor skill requirements.
I AM ONLY INTERESTED IN WORKING ON A PROJECT RELATED TO A VERY SPECIFIC TYPE OF TECHNOLOGY OR MEDICAL NEED. WHAT IF THERE ARE NO PROJECTS RELATED MY SPECIFIC AREA OF INTEREST?
We cannot be certain that any particular project will be offered in any given year. We do our best to ensure that the available projects cover a variety of different technologies and clinical needs, but it is not possible to cover all topics. All of the available projects will cover translational issues of medical-technology development, but applicants to the MTM program must be willing to be flexible when it comes to working on specific topics. Those applicants who have a strong desire to work only within a specific area of interest may be better suited for a more traditional MS program.
CAN I GET AN EARLY LOOK AT THE AVAILABLE CAPSTONE PROJECTS BEFORE I COMMIT TO THE PROGRAM?
Due to the timing of the project selection process, admitted applicants to the MTM program must inform us of their decision to attend the program before the list of projects becomes available. New students are not provided with the list of project proposals until the program begins.
I HAVE AN IDEA FOR A PROJECT. CAN I CHOOSE TO WORK ON MY OWN IDEA INSTEAD OF ONE OF THE PRE-SELECTED PROJECTS?
No. Each project must be pre-screened by the MTM leadership to ensure that it will fit the needs of the students and the program. Additionally, every project must be led by an appropriate mentor. As such, MTM students cannot submit their own ideas as potential Capstone projects. If you are currently working on a project/idea with a suitable mentor, you can encourage them to submit a proposal to the MTM program (see ), but there is no guarantee that the project will ultimately be chosen for the year.
WHILE I’M IN THE PROGRAM, CAN I CHOOSE TO DO INDEPENDENT RESEARCH WITH FACULTY IN LIEU OF OR IN ADDITION TO MY CAPSTONE PROJECT?
The Capstone team project requirement is mandatory. The program’s full-time course load and Capstone responsibilities preclude any outside research.
WILL I BE CONSIDERED A STUDENT OF BOTH UC BERKELEY AND UCSF?
All students in the joint MTM program have access to resources at both campuses including courses, athletic facilities, ID cards, shuttles/buses, student workspaces, and more. For administrative purposes, each student is assigned to a single “home campus” after being admitted to the program, and certain issues (health insurance, paying fees, receiving financial aid, international-student issues, etc.) are home-campus specific. Additionally, each student’s complete academic record is kept only at their home campus, but all graduates receive a single joint Master of Translational Medicine (MTM) degree that includes the names of both campuses.
DO I HAVE TO TAKE COURSES ON BOTH CAMPUSES (UC BERKELEY AND UCSF)?
Yes. The MTM program is jointly offered by both UC Berkeley and UCSF, and the curriculum includes required coursework at both campuses.
HOW MUCH TIME WILL I SPEND AT EACH CAMPUS?
All students in the MTM are required to enroll in certain core courses on both campuses, but the total amount of time spent at a given campus for each student will depend on a variety of factors including, but not limited to:
- Choice of elective courses
- Primary location of Capstone project work
- Choice of living location during the MTM year
WHERE DO MOST MTM STUDENTS LIVE?
Students in the MTM program are free to live anywhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, and most choose to reside in the cities of Berkeley or San Francisco. Because MTM students must attend courses on both campuses, commuting across the Bay is a regular part of MTM life, and many students opt to find housing near a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) station.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM THE OVERALL MTM EXPERIENCE?
Every student experience is unique, and we strive to make each one as exciting and fulfilling as possible. Refer to the MTM Student Experience page for a sampling of first-hand testimonials from MTM students and alumni.
CAN I SPEAK WITH SOME OF THE CURRENT STUDENTS AND/OR ALUMNI?
MTM students and alumni are typically too busy to handle inquiries from the broad pool of prospective applicants, but the MTM Executive Director is available to answer questions via email or to arrange time for a phone call. Those applicants who are offered admission to the program will be given an opportunity to speak with current students and alumni prior to making their final decisions. Prospective applicants who have not yet been admitted to the program are encouraged to refer to the student/alumni testimonials on the MTM Student Experience page.
WHAT TYPES OF CAREERS WILL THE PROGRAM PREPARE ME FOR?
The MTM program is specifically focused on training students for careers dealing with the innovation, development, and management of medical technologies, including medical devices, diagnostics, pharmaceuticals, health IT, and more. The majority of MTM graduates go directly to industry, and they typically secure jobs in the medtech, biotech, and consulting sectors. Several examples from the MTM alumni network are listed below:
- Genentech – Operations Analyst
- BD Biosciences – Scientist II
- Abbott Vascular – Senior R&D Engineer
- Autonomic Technologies – Clinical Data Analyst
- Medtronic – R&D Engineer
- Siemens Healthcare – Siemens Graduate Program
- Channel Medsystems – Manager of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs
- Epocrates – Product Innovation Associate
- Novartis – Computational Chemist Intern
- Life Technologies – Product Manager
- McKinsey & Company – Business Analyst
- Health Advances – Senior Analyst
- ZS Associates – Business Associate
- Accenture – Senior Business Analyst
Some MTM graduates have pursued entrepreneurial ventures by helping to launch and manage new startup companies. A few such examples include:
- SmartDerm, Inc. – Co-Founder and CEO
- Gauss Surgical, Inc. – Chairman and CTO
- Specht Biologics, Inc. – President and CEO
A smaller proportion of MTM graduates are more clinically focused (and may already hold an MD degree), and they often return to clinical training or practice. A few such examples include:
- UCSF – Resident Physician
- Alberta Health Services – Clinical/Surgical Assistant
- Brigham and Women’s Hospital – Anasthesiologist
Lastly, some MTM graduates choose to pursue additional advanced degrees such as an MD, PhD, or MBA.
For a more detailed view of some of the MTM alumni, take a look at the MTM Student Experience page.
WHAT TYPE OF CAREER SERVICES ARE AVAILABLE TO MTM STUDENTS?
All MTM students have access to general career services at both UC Berkeley and UCSF including various job fairs, industry mixers, the Berkeley Career Center, and the UCSF Office of Career and Professional Development. As part of an ongoing collaboration, MTM students also have access to specialized career services through Berkeley’s Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership. The MTM program also coordinates with various industry partners to sponsor exclusive site visits throughout the program year. Examples from previous years include a tour of the Genentech Pilot Plant in South San Francisco and a trip to the Abbott Vascular facility in Menlo Park.
Section 8 – Program Cost and Financial Support
HOW MUCH DOES THE MTM PROGRAM COST?
Full details of tuition and fees are included on the MTM estimated fees page.
ARE SCHOLARSHIPS AVAILABLE?
Yes. See the MTM estimated fees page for details.
CAN I USE A SUPPLEMENTAL TEACHING OR RESEARCH POSITION TO HELP OFFSET THE COST OF THE PROGRAM?
No. Due to the intensive 11-month structure of the MTM program, teaching positions (such as TA or GSI) are not available for MTM students. Similarly, MTM students are already required to work on team-based capstone projects, so additional research positions are not supported by the program. If you are offered admission to the MTM program, you should expect to work full time on the 24-unit curriculum including the capstone project.
HOW DO I APPLY TO THE MTM PROGRAM?
Refer to the MTM application page for full details.
WHAT TYPES OF STUDENTS APPLY TO THE MTM PROGRAM?
The MTM program is well-suited for anyone interested in learning about the design and development of new medical technologies. Many MTM applicants have prior degrees in engineering disciplines (often bioengineering), while others have degrees in the life sciences, physical sciences, or related fields. A smaller proportion of applicants may even hold advanced or professional degrees such as an MD, PhD, MBA, PharmD, JD, etc. Most MTM applicants have had prior research experience (though this is not required), and some have had industry and/or clinical experience.
WHAT ARE THE PREREQUISITES FOR APPLYING TO THE MTM PROGRAM?
Requirements for admission can be found on the MTM application page. Students of any educational background may apply, but most successful applicants have demonstrated strength in the biological and/or physical sciences. No specific courses are required for entry, but applicants should be aware that some graduate level bioengineering coursework will be required (see MTM curriculum).
MY BACHELOR’S DEGREE IS NOT IN AN ENGINEERING DISCIPLINE. CAN I STILL APPLY TO THE PROGRAM?
Yes! Although many of our applicants do have engineering backgrounds, a substantial proportion do not, and our cohorts are generally multi-disciplinary in terms of educational background. We have had many successful applicants from non-engineering backgrounds, though these applicants generally do demonstrate strength in related subjects such as math and the physical sciences either in their coursework or with standardized test scores. Applicants to the program should have strong quantitative and analytical skills since the MTM curriculum includes graduate-level bioengineering coursework.
I ALREADY HAVE MASTERS DEGREE. AM I ELIGIBLE FOR THIS PROGRAM?
Most likely, yes. Berkeley’s Graduate Division will not admit an applicant to a program if they believe that it will result in the “duplication” of a previously awarded degree. For example, an applicant who already holds an MS degree in electrical engineering from another university would not be allowed to pursue another MS degree in electrical engineering at Berkeley. Since the structure and content of the MTM program are essentially unique, it is unlikely that any prior graduate degree you hold would be considered a “duplicate” of the MTM degree so long as the two degrees are “distinctly different,” and there is “a professional or scholarly purpose that requires this second [MTM] degree.” The MTM admissions committee will consider this in their decision, so you should be prepared to justify your need for the MTM degree if you already hold a similar degree such as an MS in bioengineering.
DO YOU REQUIRE WORK EXPERIENCE?
Work experience is not required for admission to the program. The MTM program is designed for recent college graduates and early-career professionals.
IS THERE A MINIMUM GPA OR GRE REQUIREMENT?
A 3.0 GPA is typically required for entry into the MTM program. Exceptions can sometimes be made in rare instances, but the rest of the application should be very strong. There is no minimum required GRE score, but applicants should be aware that admission to the program is typically very competitive. Average GPA and GRE scores for the students entering the program in the previous cycle can be found in the Competition for Admission section of the MTM application page.
AM I REQUIRED TO PROVIDE GRE SCORES TO APPLY TO THE PROGRAM?
Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are required for all applicants to the MTM program except in limited circumstances:
- Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) scores can be used in place of GRE scores for applicants who are medical professionals, medical students, or pre-medical students.
- Applicants who have already received an MD degree are exempt from providing standardized test scores (though you may provide scores if you wish). Those with other advanced degrees (PhD, MS, JD, MBA, DDS, etc.) should check with the MTM Executive Director to determine if test scores are needed.
I WILL BE USING MCAT SCORES IN LIEU OF GRE SCORES FOR MY APPLICATION. HOW DO I SUBMIT MY OFFICIAL MCAT SCORES?
In addition to providing your self-reported MCAT scores, please also attach a scanned copy of your official MCAT scores in the “Additional PDFs” section of the online application.
MY OFFICIAL GRE SCORES ARE NOT SHOWING UP ON MY APPLICATION. WHY HAVE THE SCORES NOT YET MATCHED?
It takes some time for score reports to reach UC Berkeley after being sent from the Educational Testing Service (ETS). If you just recently sent your scores, then it is likely that Berkeley’s Graduate Division has not yet received them. If adequate time has passed, and your official scores are still not appearing on your application, then you may have used the wrong information. When sending the scores, you must use the institution code for UC Berkeley (4833) and the Department code for Bioengineering (1603). Also, be sure that your results are sent to UC Berkeley’s institution code (4833) for Graduate Programs; scores sent to the undergraduate programs will NOT be matched to their corresponding application. You must also include your 7-digit GRE registration number on your online application in order for your scores to be matched. Please note that your GRE “confirmation number” and “reference number” are NOT the same as your GRE “registration number.” If you submit the wrong number, we will be unable to match your official scores to your application.
WILL I BE DISQUALIFIED IF MY OFFICIAL GRE SCORES ARE NOT RECEIVED BEFORE THE APPLICATION DEADLINE?
No. Your application will still be reviewed even if your official GRE scores have not yet arrived. However, we will need to verify the official scores prior to making any offer of admission. Please be sure to use the “self reported exam scores” section of the application to provide us with the unofficial numbers (including percentile scores) so that we can begin our evaluation of your application as soon as possible.
DOES THE ADMISSIONS COMMITTEE HAVE A PREFERENCE FOR PARTICULAR TYPES OF RECOMMENDATION LETTERS?
The strongest recommendation letters typically come from people with whom you have worked closely. In general, letters from direct supervisors are often preferable because these people have had an opportunity to directly mentor, manage, and assess your work. For academic research positions, we encourage letters from the Primary Investigator (PI) and/or the grad student/postdoc/scientist who supervised you. For industry/professional positions, we encourage letters from your immediate manager. Recommendation letters from course instructors, co-workers, etc. are also acceptable.
CAN I SUBMIT MY LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION ON BEHALF OF MY RECOMMENDERS?
No. Letters of recommendation must be submitted directly by the recommenders themselves using the electronic submission system as detailed in the online application for admission.
WILL I BE DISQUALIFIED IF MY RECOMMENDATION LETTERS ARE NOT RECEIVED BEFORE THE APPLICATION DEADLINE?
No. We understand that some recommenders may fail to meet the official application deadline, and this will not disqualify your application. As long as your application materials have been officially submitted prior to the deadline, your application will still be reviewed even if all of your recommendation letters have not yet been received. The online system will allow your recommenders to submit their letters even after the application deadline has passed. However, our admissions committee begins reviewing application materials immediately after the deadline, so recommendations that arrive late may not be seen by a reviewer who has already completed reading your application. Therefore, it is in your best interest to notify your recommenders as early as possible so that they have every opportunity to submit their letters in a timely fashion.
AM I REQUIRED TO COMPLETE A FAFSA APPLICATION WHEN APPLYING TO THE MTM PROGRAM?
All applicants who are interested in receiving financial aid (scholarships, loans, etc.) must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a California Dream Act application (if applicable). When completing the form, applicants must include BOTH UC Berkeley (federal school code 001312) and UCSF (federal school code 001319) on the application. International applicants who do not have a Social Security Number (SSN) are exempt from completing a FAFSA. Applicants may be asked to complete additional specialized financial questionnaires during the admissions process.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN AN “IDEAL” CANDIDATE?
While there is no such thing as an “ideal” candidate, the best candidates tend to have well-rounded applications demonstrating strong academics and a variety of relevant experiences and interests. The MTM admissions committee evaluates candidates based upon a holistic approach using multiple measures of an applicant’s qualifications, experience, and fitness for our program. These measures include, but are not limited to (and in no particular order):
- Academics (GPA / GRE / specific coursework / strength of previous academic programs / etc.)
- Extracurricular activities
- Leadership positions
- Letters of recommendation
- Research experience
- Publication record
- Work/professional experience
- Personal essays
- Overall fit with program goals
Since each application competes against the larger pool of candidates in a given admissions cycle, our decision for a particular application depends as much on the strength of the pool as it does on the individual application itself. With a limited number of available slots per cycle, even a very strong applicant may be denied if the overall applicant pool happens to be even stronger.
HOW MANY STUDENTS APPLY TO THE MTM PROGRAM, AND HOW MANY SLOTS ARE AVAILABLE?
These numbers change from year to year, and we cannot make exact predictions for future cycles. For reference, there were 100 applications for entry into the program in fall 2014; of those 100 applicants, 29 students are currently enrolled in the 2014-15 cohort.
WHEN I APPLY TO THE MTM PROGRAM CAN I ALSO SUBMIT AN APPLICATION TO THE MENG PROGRAM AND/OR THE PHD PROGRAM?
No. The MTM application is run through UC Berkeley’s graduate application portal, and each applicant can only apply to a single Berkeley graduate program per cycle. As such, you should carefully consider all options before making your decision to apply to a given program, and you are strongly encouraged to apply to the program that you believe will best suit your long-term academic and professional goals. Applicants to the MTM program should note that this rule does not preclude them from applying to additional graduate programs at other UC institutions, including UCSF. For example, an applicant could simultaneously apply to the MTM program, a PhD program at UCSF, and other graduate programs at other UC campuses.
DO I NEED TO SUBMIT A SEPARATE APPLICATION TO EACH CAMPUS?
No. There is only one application for the joint MTM program, and it is run through the UC Berkeley application portal. All applicants must select the “Translational Medicine (joint UCSF)” option (i.e., “MTM”) when selecting the program to which to apply. There is no separate UCSF-based application.
CAN I DEFER ADMISSION IF I AM ACCEPTED TO THE PROGRAM?
Due to the small size of the MTM cohorts (~30 students annually) and the variability between applicant pools, deferrals are typically not granted. If you choose not to accept an offer admission to the MTM program in a given cycle, you are encouraged to apply again in a later cycle, if desired.
ONCE I’M IN THE MTM PROGRAM, CAN I SWITCH TO A PHD TRACK?
The MTM program is a one-year professional masters program, and is not intended as a gateway to PhD program. A small number of MTM graduates do go on to pursue PhD degrees after their MTM year, but this is not the norm, and there is no mechanism to transition directly from the MTM program into a PhD program. MTM students wishing to also pursue a PhD degree after their MTM year will need to apply to those programs directly.
If you have additional questions regarding the MTM program that have not been answered on this page or elsewhere on this website, please contact the MTM Executive Director:
Michael “Moose” O’Donnell, PhD