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MS and PhD in Biology

The Biology program admits students directly to either the masters or doctoral degree programs. In addition to WVU’s  general admission requirements, applicants for graduate studies in biology must have a bachelor’s degree, and should possess an adequate background in science and mathematics.

Admission into the Biology program is competitive with decisions based on the following materials: 

  • A current curriculum vitae or resume (no more than two pages) that lists work experience, research experience, volunteer activities, internships, academic degrees and honors, and other accomplishments you feel the admissions committee should consider in reviewing your application.   
  • A statement of purpose that should be a thoughtful essay (no more than two pages)  that: demonstrates a strong interest in scientific research; describes what the applicant hopes to gain from the Biology program; explains why WVU offers the best opportunity for achieving the applicant’s future professional goals; and addresses the match between the stated research interests and those of specific faculty in our department who may serve as their academic mentors. View information regarding faculty and their research interests.  
  • A student’s academic performance found in the transcripts submitted from all institutions attended
    • The three letters of recommendation
    • English proficiency test scores, if applicable
    • Standardized test scores, if provided

Applicants should identify and are encouraged to contact at least one or more member(s) of our faculty who could act as their prospective advisor.  View information regarding faculty and their research interests.  

Acceptance into the Ph.D. or the M.S. program is by vote of the Graduate Committee of the Department of Biology. This committee ensures that all entrance requirements are met or that provisions have been made to remedy the deficiencies.  It also ensures that the facilities and personnel needed to successfully complete the degree are adequate. If after reviewing all the application materials there is no faculty member willing to serve as the applicant's academic advisor, then the potential student will not be accepted into the program.  Therefore, we recommend that applicants identify a member of our faculty who can provide them with the research training they seek and communicate with them directly to determine if they are taking any new students and whether they might be interested in serving as the applicant’s advisor.

List of Admission Requirements:  

  • See the steps to apply for admissions and access the application.
  • International applications should view additional requirements in the Graduate Catalog and the Graduate Admissions website.
  • Applicants must submit transcripts from all institutions attended
  • Three letters of recommendation, written by people (typically faculty) in a position to evaluate your academic strengths and abilities
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Statement of purpose 
  • GRE Scores are not required for the application or admission to the WVU Biology graduate programs, but will be considered if they are provided


Suggestions for a Competitive Application:  

  • Cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher
  • Supportive letters of recommendation from people (typically faculty) who are familiar with your abilities
  • A thoughtful and well-crafted statement of purpose
  • A strong match between your interests and those of our faculty
  • An adequate background in science and mathematics
  • A strong interest in scientific research
  • An indication that a faculty member is willing to serve as the applicant's academic advisor.
  • For international students:

A TOEFL score greater than 250 for the computer-based exam, greater than 600-603 for the paper-based test or greater than 100 for the internet-based test.  If IELTS scores are submitted, we like to see scores for this test > 7.0.  Or if Duolingo scores are submitted we like to see a score > 120. Our institutional code for ETS is 5904.


Application Deadlines:

  • The Biology graduate programs admit students to the Fall, Spring, or Summer terms
  • The priority review deadline for all application materials is January 1st for Summer or Fall admission
  • The priority review deadline for all application materials is August 15th for Spring admission
  • Fall and Summer applications received by the deadline will be considered for financial support in the form of a graduate teaching assistantship (GTA), however Spring applications will not be eligible for GTAs. Language proficiency is required in order to hold such an assistantship. For more information, visit  English Proficiency for GTA's
  • To be considered for special university fellowships and scholarships ( Fellowship Nomination Information), all application materials to the graduate program must be submitted no later than December 1st

Application materials submitted after the deadlines may be considered on a space-available basis and may also be considered for financial support in the form of a graduate teaching assistantship (GTA). Certain application requirements may be waived based on a preliminary review of an application by the program.

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