Graduate Admissions

The Department of Biology has a formal program leading to a master's degree in the areas of Ecology and Evolution or Marine Biology. The degree is offered in both "course-only" (no research or thesis required) and "thesis" program options, however, nearly all students are admitted to the thesis program. The Oregon Institute of Marine Biology may rarely admit an exceptional student into the "course-only" program.

The primary graduate degree offered by the Department of Biology is the Doctor of Philosophy. One of four research institutes (Institute of Molecular Biology, Institute of Neuroscience, Institute of Ecology & Evolution, Oregon Institute of Marine Biology) provides a "home" for PhD training including activities such as required coursework, institute retreats, annual speaking opportunities, quarterly & proposal exams, and participation in hosting seminar speakers. Prospective students will be considered for one or more institute tracks depending on the research interests indicated on their application

Admissions to the graduate program are incorporated into the general University of Oregon application, so students will only need to fill out one application. We are currently accepting applications for Fall 2024. The application deadline is December 1, 2023.

If you are interested in applying to the Bioinformatics & Genomics Master's Program do not use the information below. Instead go to the BGMP Application.

IMPORTANT: GRE scores are no longer considered in our application review process. You will not see a place for them on the application and you do not need to send in a score report.

Application Process

How many applications are there?

In the Department of Biology, the program application is incorporated into the general University of Oregon application. You only need to complete one application to apply to the Biology Program and the Division of Graduate Studies

Where Do I Start?

Please read ALL instructions on this page before starting your application.

Don't be shy about asking questions. We are happy to provide advice and guidance. Email inquiries to the Graduate Program Specialist.

Complete the following steps:

1. Assess your interest in our faculty

To aid the Admissions Committee in identifying your research interests, you will be asked to select and prioritize up to five faculty members whose research is of particular interest to you. Review faculty research at the following institute websites:

Institute of Ecology and Evolution

Institute of Molecular Biology

Interdepartmental Neuroscience Graduate Program

Oregon Institute of Marine Biology

2. Reach out to Principal Investigators (PIs)

PhD students participate in rotations during their first year, enabling them to learn about different research and approaches. Because of this, it is not required for PhD applicants to have secured a faculty mentor in advance of, or during application. However, serious applicants will conduct the aforementioned research and reach out to the PIs they are most interested in working with. This will help applicants find out whether a particular PI is recruiting students for their lab, as well as put you on the PIs radar. Don't be discouraged if you don't get a response on your first attempt. Faculty members receive many inquiries so persistence may be necessary. Ultimately not everyone will respond to your inquiry, but that doesn't mean you still can't make a good impression!

3. Request recommendation letters early.

Letters of recommendation are due on December 1. Ensure your letter-writers are aware of and can meet this deadline.

4. Review the fee waiver information before you begin the application.

Fee waivers are administered through the Division of Graduate Studies. The Department of Biology does not administer the fee waiver and cannot answer questions about the process or status of a request. Please direct inquiries about application fee waivers to the Division of Graduate Studies.

5. Take an English language exam

Non-native English speakers must have their English language test scores sent directly to the University of Oregon. The Department of Biology requires the following minimum test scores:

  • TOEFL: paper-based test =610; internet-based test =105 (TOEFL code for UO is 4846)
  • IELTS: 7.5

How to Apply

Ready to apply? Start your application in Slate, the centralized application portal for graduate admissions at the University of Oregon. 

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1. Once you have started the application, we recommend you skip ahead to the letter of recommendation page. Submitting contact information for your letter writers will result in an email prompt being sent to them which will include the information they will need to follow up. You can submit this page before completing the rest of the application giving your references sufficient time to complete their letters.

2. You will need to upload clear, easy-to-read PDF copies of your unofficial transcripts. Only those transcripts from institutions where you have earned or will earn a bachelor's degree, as well as transcripts from any post-bac and/or graduate courses are required.

  • At the time of application, applicants must submit unofficial transcripts from all colleges or universities previously attended, including the University of Oregon. Unofficial transcripts are uploaded as part of the online application. 
  • Applicants who accept their offer of admission and matriculate must submit official transcripts from all colleges or universities from which they received a bachelor’s degree or higher. Detailed information about submitting official transcripts is available here.

3. Be prepared to provide the following grade point averages (GPA). University of Oregon computational guidelines can be located below:

A+ (4.30)
B+ (3.30)
C+ (2.30)
D+ (1.30)
F (0.00)
A (4.00)
B (3.00)
C (2.00)
D (1.00)
A- (3.70)
B- (2.70)
C- (1.70)
D- (0.70)

The GPA is calculated by dividing the number of grade points received by the number of credit hours taken. For example, a student who receives an "A" in a four credit-hour course and a "B" in a three-credit hour course earns 16 grade points for the "A" and 9 grade points for the "B". Adding those points together and dividing by the total number of credit hours (25 points divided by 7 hours) results in a GPA of 3.57.

  • Computer overall undergraduate GPA including all coursework leading to a bachelor's degree (e.g. include transfer coursework if relevant).
  • Computer overall undergraduate GPA in mathematics and science courses (excluding social sciences).
  • If relevant, compute post-bac coursework or MS/MA GPA.

4. Be prepared to list math and science courses you are currently taking or those you will take in the future, including course numbers and titles.

5. Prepare the following statements (to be uploaded as three separate files). Please make sure that all files are clear and easy to read (PDFs are preferred).

  • Statement of Purpose: In no more than two pages, explain why you are applying to graduate school and what you would like to accomplish while you are in the program. Please include some research questions you are excited to explore during graduate school. These can be broad or specific and are in no way binding. We are simply interested to know what kinds of research questions/topics sound exciting to you right now.
  • Description of Prior Research: If you have research experience, please include a description of the project(s) and your contributions to them. Two page maximum.
  • Resiliency statement: Please describe one of more setbacks you have encountered, and how you overcame them. Two page maximum.

6. The application requires payment of $70 for domestic applicants and $90 for international applicants, using Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and a person check (e-check). This fee is non-refundable, so if you believe you might be eligible for a fee waiver, it is important to follow the fee waiver request instructions BEFORE you pay the fee. NOTE: The system allows you to work on the application over time and pay the fee (or present the fee waiver) at the end when you are ready to submit the application.

*Fee waivers are administered through the Division of Graduate Studies. If you are eligible for a fee waiver, please answer questions at the start of the application.

7. Biology does not require GRE scores. Do not send or submit a score report - it will not be reviewed.

8. The applicant is responsible for ensuring all documents required to complete the application are submitted correctly by the December 1 deadline.

9. After you have submitted your application, notify the Graduate Program Specialist of any updates you may have.

International Applicants: Do NOT submit financial documents unless you are selected for an interview. Please apply and then wait to be contacted before submitting financial documents.

Admissions Decisions

Applicants selected for an interview or accepted into the Department of Biology graduate program will be notified by phone and/or email. All other applicants will be notified via email.


For information about the Department of Biology Graduate Program or the application process, please contact:

Jessica Davis
Graduate Program Specialist
Phone: (541) 346-4015