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.

MS/PhD Admission Requirements

  • Official Transcripts
  • Bachelor’s degree from accredited college/university
  • Personal Statement
  • Letters of Recommendation (minimum 3)
  • English Proficiency (if educated outside the United States)

Competitive Applicants

  • GPA average for accepted students 3.5
    • Minimum GPA 3.0 required; no conditional admission given
  • Solid science background with at least 18 credits of Biology
  • 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)

Click here to apply to our MS/PhD programs.

Admission Timeline for Fall Admission

  • Applications begin to be accepted August 8th.
  • Application deadlines are December 5th for international students and December 15th for domestic students.
  • 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.

    Applicants should refer to the Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics Graduate Faculty page for more information on faculty research interests, which include:


    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.

    Applicants should refer to the Integrative Physiology and Neurobiology Graduate Faculty page for more information on faculty research interests, which include: