Application Procedure

Students who have completed work for a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution may apply for admission to the M.S. or Ph.D. program. Most students admitted to our Ph.D. program will have already earned a M.S. degree.

We expect that successful applicants will have a GPA>=3.00 on a 4.00 scale. Further, we expect that applicants will have attained minimum scores on the GRE quantitative and verbal tests of >=150 for each part. We expect that applicants will have attained a score of >=4.0 on the GRE analytical writing test. We evaluate the combination of these criteria, so that if a student scores are slightly lower than the desired value on one compoenet that we consider, they may still be considered for admission if they also score subtantially better on another component that we consider.

For award of teaching assistantships to international students required to take a test of English proficiency, we consider a TOEFL score of >=90 to be acceptable. The IELTS equivalent is approximately 6.5.

Application Requirements

All prospective graduate students must:

  • File an on-line application form at
  • Arrange that official transcripts and scores from the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are sent to the Office of Admissions and Records, Hovey Hall, Illinois State University, Normal, IL 61790-2200. The University's GRE code is 1319.
  • Upload copies of the applicant's (1) Curriculum Vitae (i.e., résumé) and (2) Statement of academic and professional goals onto the Office of Admissions' website:
    • Curriculum Vitae (i.e., résumé) — Your vita should include any information that will help the School to assess your potential as a student in our graduate program. It should include a summary of your educational background; previous employment or positions related to science; current status; research activities, including publications; and any other relevant information, such as memberships in professional societies and any honors and awards you have received.
    • Statement of academic and professional goals — Your one- to two-page statement of academic and professional goals should identify the general areas of research in which you are interested and the faculty member(s) with whom you have corresponded with regard to serving as your possible thesis/dissertation advisor (i.e., major professor). In addition, describe your plans after completing graduate school.
    • Three letters of recommendation on official letterhead stationery should be from faculty members or others who are familiar with your academic record and can evaluate your potential for graduate study. The Admissions website will contact recommender directly and request the letter, which will be uploaded to the admissions website by the recommender.

International students also must:

  • Arrange for their TOEFL or IELTS scores to be sent to the Office of Admissions and Record.

Choosing Area(s) of Research

As you prepare your Statement of Academic and Professional Goals, please consult other parts of the School's homepage to learn more about each faculty member's research program. You can access individual faculty members' homepages by clicking here on 'Faculty' on the School's homepage, or faculty members' names are listed under their research area click here for this information.

We do not admit graduate students without at least one faculty member who is willing to have the student in his or his lab. Thus, it is essential that applicants contact members of our faculty who work in your areas of interest and discuss whether they are taking new students, whether your interests overlap sufficiently with theirs, and what research topics are being pursued in their labs. This should be the first step in applying to our graduate programs.

We encourage you to contact via e-mail, telephone, or letter those faculty members who are conducting research in areas of interest to the applicant. By doing so, you will learn more about specific lines of research being pursued in each faculty member's laboratory. We also encourage you to arrange a visit to our campus, which will allow you to meet with faculty and graduate students to learn more about the School and the research opportunities that are available.

Financial Assistance

All applicants approved for admission are provided financial assistance in the form of a Teaching Assistantship (TA) or a Research Assistantship (RA), both of which include a monthly stipend and a waiver of one's graduate tuition. After students have been admitted to our graduate program, they will be given instructions to apply on-line for the TA or RA. You should not apply on-line for a TA or RA until after you have been admitted to our MS or Ph.D. program. Please note: RAs are arranged through the faculty member directing your thesis/dissertation.


To receive full consideration for admission and financial assistance, please submit all of your required application materials to the Office of Admissions and the School of Biological Sciences by February 1 for Fall Semester (August) admission.

Applications received after these dates may be considered only if the admissions process has not yet been completed. Students wanting to enter our graduate program in Spring or Summer should apply for Fall semester. Once admitted, you can request your start date be changed to a different semester.

Have Questions or Need Help?

If you need assistance in completing the documents, or if you have questions about the application procedure or our graduate programs, please email Ben Sadd, Assistant Director for Graduate Studies, or the Office Administrator Barbara Cox using the links below. Thank you for your interest in our graduate programs.

Ben Sadd
Assistant Director for Graduate Studies

Barbara Cox
Office Administrator