Graduate Admissions Requirements

Applications to the Biology graduate program are reviewed by a departmental committee that evaluates both the potential of the applicant to complete graduate work and the availability of a suitable faculty member to supervise the applicant.

In addition, the committee ensures that each applicant meets the following admission requirements:

  1. Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university; the degree must be granted prior to entering the UNM graduate program, but does not have to be in the biological sciences;
  2. Overall grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.2 (on a 4.0 scale) in biology and other science courses (chemistry, physics and mathematics);
  3. Two semesters of introductory biology, one semester of genetics, and at least 12 hours of upper division (300 and above) biology courses;
  4. Clearly written letter of intent that demonstrates specific goals and an understanding of graduate education; and
  5. Three letters of recommendation, an official set of transcripts, and a Departmental Application Information Form (see details in the section on Application Procedures).

The GRE is optional. GRE scores will not be considered in the admission process; however, if submitted, they will be made available for review by faculty.

Extremely well-qualified students who do not satisfy all of these requirements may petition the selection committee for an exception to be granted.

Advice on Being a Successful Applicant:

  1. Review the research interests of the Biology faculty. Admission to the Biology Graduate Program is dependent upon a faculty member agreeing to serve as your advisor. Most successful applicants have communicated with potential advisors prior to submitting an application. This ensures that there are faculty willing to serve as your advisor and that the local research interests suit your goals as well.
  2. Get your application in early. The Biology Department Graduate Selection Committee (GSC) will review all applications received by January 3rd. Review of applications received after that date will depend upon the availability of positions in the program.
  3. Make sure your application is complete. The GSC considers the entire portfolio. Complete applications are more informative and generally viewed more favorably.
  4. Prepare a clear, well-written letter of intent. This is very important. These personal statements are critical for faculty evaluating your goals and fit to their own research interests. This letter also is used to identify potential advisors within the program.
  5. If you do not meet all of the admission requirements listed above, address this directly in your letter of intent. It is best not to leave potential gaps in your portfolio unaddressed and open to speculation.