Graduate Admission to Biological Sciences

How to Apply

Applications for admission to the M.S. program in Biological Sciences are accepted once a year for full consideration for Fall and Spring semesters. To be considered for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (Plan 1 only), all application materials should arrive in the Department of Biological Sciences by 1 December for applicants wishing to enroll in the fall of the following academic year.

An application will be considered complete when all items listed under Required M.S. Graduate Application Materials/Information below are received. Your application will be reviewed by the Department of Biological Science Graduate Committee with full consideration only when the application is complete AND the application is sponsored by a department faculty member. Therefore, we STRONGLY encourage prospective graduate students to correspond with one or more faculty members before and during the application process. Establishing a relationship with one or more faculty members who are accepting graduate students into their lab group is a critical part of the admission process. In general, only those students for whom at least one potential advisor has been identified will be accepted. 


Required M.S. Graduate Application Materials/Information:

  1. Degree requirements – Applicants must have earned a B.S., B.A., or equivalent undergraduate degree from an accredited university in biology or closely related field. A non-US degree must be equivalent to a bachelor’s degree from the U.S. and must be accredited by its regional or national accreditation agency. Applicants should have taken general biology, genetics, general chemistry, organic chemistry, cell biology (preferred), ecology (preferred), evolution (preferred), and biochemistry (preferred) as well as at least one calculus course. Applicants with demonstrated academic abilities potentially may supplement course deficiencies during their first year of graduate study.
  2. Letters of recommendation – The Department of Biological Sciences required letters of recommendation from at least two individuals qualified to assess the applicant’s potential and success as a graduate student. We strongly recommend that these individuals know the applicant in an academic capacity, such as an undergraduate research advisor, academic advisor, or instructor for multiple courses.
  3. Transcripts – Official transcripts from all undergraduate institutions are required.
  4. GRE scores – GRE scores are currently waived and not required for admission to the program
  5. Proof of English Proficiency – This is for non-native English speakers only. An official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or IELTS score report should be sent directly from the agency that administered the exam. UAH English Prof
  6. Plan of Study – Identify the appropriate plan of graduate study: Plan I – Master of Science with Thesis, Plan II – Master of Science without Thesis, Plan III – Master of Science with Education. See the Plan of Study section above for more information.
  7. Faculty Advisor – Please list a potential faculty advisor(s) that will serve as a mentor and oversee your research/graduate experience. We STRONGLY encourage applicants to reach out to possible faculty advisors before applying.
  8. Curriculum Vitae (CV) – A CV is a comprehensive overview of your education and academic background as well as research and teaching experience. A CV emphasizes your professional qualifications, education, research experience, work experience, honors, awards, accomplishments, publications, presentations, relevant activities and skills, and other special qualifications.
  9. Personal statement – The personal statement describes your background and research interests, as well as personal and career goals. Please limit your personal statement to no more than three pages single-spaced. You should address your motivation for applying to the graduate program in Biological Sciences, identity BYS faculty that you wish to work with and why you want to study with them, and outline your research and career goals. Be sure to describe relevant research or work experience. The personal statement is an important component of the application that is reviewed by the admissions committee.

Admissions Requirements

In addition to fulfilling admission requirements set by Graduate School, applicants must also:

  • Taken the general GRE exam and TOEFL when applicable
  • Biology degree or related course work.
  • At least one of either an advanced (upper division): biochemistry, cell biology, ecology, evolution, genetics, molecular biology or physiology course.
  • Have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 as well as in the major area of concentration

Applicants demonstrating potential for graduate study in the biological sciences but having some deficiencies in their previous academic work may be admitted on a conditional basis.

Application Process

In order to complete the application process for the Department of Biological Sciences you must complete the Secondary Departmental Graduate Program application as well as have two letters of recommendation submitted on your behalf. This is in addition to the application that you have filled out from Graduate School. If you are interested in being considered for a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) please submit the Graduate Assistantship application form along with your other documents to Graduate School.


Cover letter and application checklist
Secondary Departmental Graduate Program Application
Letter of Recommendation
Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) Application

For full consideration for a GTA please submit all your material before February 15th for Fall semester admittance or August 15th for Spring semester admittance.

We would like you to be as informed as possible about our department and faculty. If you are applying for the Plan I track (MS with Thesis), we strongly recommend that you contact a perspective advisor prior to applying.

We look forward to receiving your completed application, and we will give you full consideration for admissions into the UAH Department of Biological Sciences. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 256.824.6992 or at

Dr. Paul Wolf

Co-Director of the Graduate Program, Biological Sciences

Dr. Matthew Niemiller

Co-Director of the Graduate Program, Biological Sciences