MS and PHD Program Information and Admission Requirements


The Master of Science (MS) and Doctorate (PhD) degrees in Biological Sciences are for students wishing to conduct research and become experts in a specific scientific area of Biology. Students will join a research lab, so take care to choose a faculty adviser with similar research interests. With assistance from their guidance committee, students complete research projects, write their thesis or dissertation, develop professional skills, present research, and attend scientific meetings.

Admissions into the MS/PhD programs are for Fall semester only.

** The application cycle for Fall 2024 admission is open through December 1st. **

MS/PhD Admission Requirements

  • Copies of Official Transcripts
  • GRE scores  are NOT required
  • Bachelor’s degree from accredited college/university
  • Personal Statement that clearly explains why the applicant wishes to pursue an advanced degree and describes research experience and interest; statement must include a list of potential faculty mentors
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation with minimum one from someone who can comment on research aptitude
  • CV/Resume
  • English Proficiency (if educated outside the United States)

Competitive Applicants

  • GPA average for accepted students 3.5
    • Minimum GPA 2.75 required; however, applicants must demonstrate an ability to maintain a 3.0 GPA in graduate coursework.  Applicants can demonstrate this by meeting one or more of the following conditions:
      • Earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with 3.0 GPA.
      • Completed 9 or more graduate hours in graded coursework at an accredited institution and earned a 3.0 cumulative GPA or above.
      • Earned a 3.0 cumulative GPA in undergraduate courses related to the academic program to which the applicant has applied.
      • Earned a 3.0 cumulative GPA in the last 60 credit hours of completed undergraduate courses.
  • Solid science background with a focus in the program  area to which the applicant applied
  • Clearly explain in their personal statement why they wish to pursue a MS or PhD in Biology, a description of their research experience and outline their research interests and long-term goals. Students should identify 3-5 faculty who they are interested in working with based on their and the faculty’s research interests. Faculty research interests can be found on the program webpages. 
  • Meets English proficiency requirement (or eligible for an English language proficiency waiver). CHECK ELIGIBILITY FOR AN ENGLISH PROFICIENCY WAIVER
    • 94 TOEFL-internet
    • 587 TOEFL-paper
    • 7.0 IELTS
    • 82 MELAB
    • 65 PTE
    • 120 Duolingo English Test (DET)
  • If you are interested in applying to the MS or PhD graduate program in Biological Sciences, please click on the button below.




Click here to apply to our MS/PhD programs.

Admission Timeline for Fall Admission

  • Applications begin to be accepted August 8th.
  • Application deadline is December 1st.
  • Applications reviewed in January. Applications must be complete at time of review for assistantship consideration.
  • Top applicants interviewed February-March.
  • Final decisions made March-April.

Graduate Assistantships

Admissions into our MS and PhD programs are competitive; thus we do not offer "conditional" admission. These programs are full-time so graduate assistantships are awarded to all admitted MS/PhD students in the form of teaching or research assistantships. Applicants do NOT need to apply separately for an assistantship.

Departmental teaching/research assistantships include:

  • A full tuition waiver
  • Annual stipend
  • Money towards the purchase of health insurance

Additional financial support includes:

  • Travel money to conferences
  • Graduate Student Senate research awards
  • Opportunities to apply for additional graduate student awards/endowments/fellowships

Additional training includes:

  • Research Ethics
  • Professional Writing Course
  • Departmental Seminars Series
  • Program Journal Clubs
  • Training in use of state-of-the-art equipment and facilities
  • Workshops in professional skills and careers
  • The MS and PhD programs in Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics seek to provide training in the genetic and molecular basis of disease states. Students in this program develop a strong foundation in molecular and cellular biology that can be applied to a research career in academic, government, and industry settings.

  • The MS and PhD programs in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology seek to provide students with a foundation in theory, experimental design, and the technical knowledge necessary to study ecology and evolution at all levels of biological organization. Students, in collaboration with faculty, develop expertise in a specialization of his or her choice, culminating in a thesis or dissertation based on original research. 

  • The MS and PhD programs in Integrative Physiology and Neurobiology combine multiple disciplines at the genetic, molecular, cellular, and organismal level, to answer fundamental questions about animal function and behavior.

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