Biology Application Process

Dear Prospective UNM Biology Graduate Program Applicant:

Thank you for your interest in applying to the Biology Graduate Program at The University of New Mexico. We look forward to processing your materials and answering questions.

Our Priority Deadline is January 3rd of each year to start the program in the Fall (August) semester of the same year. The Graduate Selection Committee will review only completed applications received by this date. Applications received or completed after January 3 may be reviewed, if space is available.

Below are instructions for submitting a completed application to our program, including the details of all the materials that need to be received by the Biology Graduate Program, UNM, and if applicable, International Admissions. We recommend that you review this information in its entirety so you are clear about what will be needed. Please contact us if you have any questions. Be aware that you will need preparation time for some material (such as transcripts) in advance of submitting your application to UNM.

Each year, the Biology Graduate Program offers support for a limited number of students. All applicants are encouraged to apply to FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), scholarships, fellowships as well as grants. A brief statement about student funding and support is located at the end of this document under the Financial Funding and Support Opportunities section below.

A complete application consists of:

  • Submitted UNM application
  • Paid UNM application fee
  • CV/Resume
  • Letter of Intent
  • Official and unofficial transcripts from all higher educational institution attended (UNM students may print the transcript found in LoboWeb)
  • Three letters of recommendations

Note: the UNM Graduate Admissions Office requires official copies of all transcripts (bachelor degrees must be conferred on the transcript); however, the Biology program will accept unofficial copies, which will be uploaded to the application. 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.

*** International Students: Please review the UNM Global Education Office website for additional requirements.

We look forward to receiving and processing your application. If you have any questions, please contact Tyler Clayshulte at 505-277-1712 or email. Our office is happy to assist you.

After reviewing the process for submitting a Biology application, go directly to the application ➔ page-button

Application Procedures

For best consideration, all application material should be received by the Graduate Admissions Office and the Department of Biology by January 3rd for admission the following Fall.

The Biology Program accepts applications once a year for the Fall semester. Applications are accepted and reviewed each spring of the same year. The committee will review all completed applications received by this date. If an opening is available, we may review applications received or completed after January 3. Applicants reviewed and accepted may be eligible for and offered departmental funding.

Usually, applications for starting in the Spring semester are not reviewed; however, if there are special circumstances, an application may be considered. Candidates starting in the Spring semester will not be eligible for departmental funding.

The Biology Graduate Program will not review an application until all items are received and the file is complete. The file will be evaluated by Biology Department Graduate Selection Committee using unofficial transcripts as well as unofficial TOEFL scores; however, UNM must receive official transcripts before the Program can recommend acceptance. Official test scores must be received before an applicant can be offered admission.

The University of New Mexico Admissions materials include:

  • Submitted UNM Graduate Studies application
  • Official transcripts from all higher education institution attended
  • Paid application fee

The Biology Graduate Program materials include:

  • Letter of Intent
  • CV/Resume
  • Either official or unofficial Transcripts from all higher educational institution attended (UNM students may submit a PDF of the transcript found in LoboWeb)
  • Three letters of recommendations (you will need to provide the writer’s email and mailing contact information)
  • List of at least one faculty member who could serve as their advisor during their tenure at UNM (see below)

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. 

International Students are required to submit documents to the Global Education Office (GEO) in addition to the materials required by the University and the program (see below). Applicants should review the UNM Global Education Office website for the extra requirements and documents. Admissions will not be offered until both UNM and GEO have their required materials.

REMEMBER: If you have any questions, please contact Tyler Clayshulte at 505-277-1712 or via email. Our office is here to help!

Candidates can track their application materials through the application website. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all materials arrive on time for the Graduate Admissions Office, the Department of Biology Graduate Program Office, and, if applicable, the UNM Global Education Office. We recommend planning ahead and to begin assembling these materials well in advance of the best-consideration date (January 3). Applying early will give your reviewers time to write their letters of recommendation by the application due date.

Parts of the Application

An application consists of at least two application parts; international candidates will need to complete three parts. Each of these is outlined below.


The University of New Mexico Graduate Admissions office requires a completed application, the application fee (due at time of submission), and official transcripts from all higher education institutions attended, in order to forward the application to our program. Candidates should review the Biology requirements before entering the data. Be sure to select appropriately the International or Domestic application; once selected, this cannot be changed; if chosen incorrectly, the applicant will have to start the process over from the beginning. Some programs require a writing sample, but Biology does not. Biology does require at least one prospective faculty member at the time of application (see below). Candidates are required to pay the application fee at the time the application is submitted. Official transcripts may be mailed to the address listed directly below, or official electronic transcripts may be sent to

UNM—Graduate Admissions Office
PO Box 4895
Albuquerque, NM 87196-4895


All applicants (Domestic and International) are required to attach the following materials to the UNM application.

  1. Letter of Intent. The letter of intent must be uploaded at the time of application. This document should state your overall goals for attending graduate school and your anticipated plans for study at UNM. You also should provide a summary of your current research interests and the area(s) of future research emphasis. Most letters we receive are, on average, two to three pages long.
  2. Transcripts. An unofficial copy of your transcripts from each college or university you attended must be uploaded at the time of application. Additionally, the Graduate Admissions Office must receive a set of official transcripts (see above).
  3. Three Letters of Recommendation. At the time of the application, candidates will be asked to provide three references with contact information, including an email address. Please enter this information carefully as it will be used to contact the referee. UNM will send an email to the referee asking for their evaluation. Please inform your references that they will be receiving an email for this purpose and that their comments are due no later than January 3. These are expected to be professional recommendations that discuss your preparation, interest and capabilities for graduate school. Therefore, the recommendations should come from faculty members at institutions you have attended previously or from supervisors for whom you have worked in a professional capacity.
  4. Curriculum Vitae (CV) or résumé. Each application is asked to upload a current CV or résumé at the time of application. This document should list biology-related academic and professional experience.
  5. Potential Advisor. All incoming applicants must list at least one prospective faculty advisor. This faculty advisor will guide you through the program requirements, including course selection and research. It is important that candidates email the professors to ensure they are accepting applications and to discuss research goals as well as past experience. Important: All incoming students must have a faculty advisor to begin the program. Candidates without an advisor will not be admitted into the program.
  6. Other Materials. Applicants may include other materials such as publications, etc., which may strengthen the application.

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.

Please send an email to let us know you have completed your application. Doing so will allow us to watch for your application, to verify that it is complete and ready for review by the Graduate Selection Committee, and to track it through the system.

Our office is located in Room 178 of the Biology Building (Castetter Hall) on the Main Campus; we are located in the northwest corner of Castetter Hall, near the botanical greenhouse.

While most of our correspondence is handled by email or telephone (505-277-1712), our mailing address is:

Biology Graduate Program Office
MSC03 2020, 1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
Attention: Tyler Clayshulte


Special admission requirements and procedures apply to international applicants. Be sure to select International Application and follow the appropriate instructions. Do not apply using the application form for domestic applicants! Visit the Global Education Office (GEO) web page for details about studying at The University of New Mexico. In addition to the UNM application and fee and the materials required by the Biology Department, international students must submit evidence of their English language proficiency. Current, acceptable test scores vary according to the type of test taken. For example, the paper test score for TOEFL is 550, but the IBT is 79-80. More information on test scores are available at the GEO Graduate Admissions Requirements web page. Please email GEO if you have any questions about the admissions requirements for international students. International students must submit the departmental materials and the UNM Graduate Office materials (listed above) in addition to the GEO requirements. The GEO campus office is located at 2120 Mesa Vista Hall on the Main Campus. The GEO mailing address is:

The University of New Mexico—Global Education Office
MSC06 3850, 1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

Financial Funding and Support Opportunities

The Biology Program may provide financial support for two years for Master Students and five years for Ph.D. students during the normal academic year (Fall and Spring). Students are awarded a Research, Teaching, or Graduate Assistantship. Students will be expected to work 20 hours a week for the semester; in return, they receive a monthly stipend (five equal payments each semester), a basic health insurance coverage, and tuition for up to 12 credits of Biology-related courses.

Biology graduate students are encouraged to apply for scholarships, fellowships and grants while studying at UNM. There are a number of funding opportunities that are based on financial need and will require domestic students to provide a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) report or proof of income. The Department of Biology encourages all applicants to submit a FAFSA at Federal Student Aid as early in the new year as possible. Completing the FAFSA application allows accepted students to apply for scholarships for which they may not qualify otherwise.

Students without departmental funding may find additional funding opportunities at Funding for Graduate Students at UNM.

Currently, new, non-resident graduate students accepted to a degree-seeking program who are enrolled for six hours or less (part-time) will see a reduction in tuition from the non-residence rate to the resident rate for their first Fall and Spring semesters. This allows the student time to apply for New Mexico residency.

International students who are not awarded an assistantship may be nominated by the department for the Amigo Scholarship. This scholarship offers non-resident tuition (more than $10,000) and a $200.00 cash award per year. If you interested in this scholarship, it is important to discuss it with your potential faculty advisor(s).

The University of New Mexico, Graduate Studies, and the Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) offer many grant opportunities to graduate students.

For further information, please see the Tuition Waiver on the Graduate Studies website. Information about establishing New Mexico residency is located on the Registrar’s website. Other funding leads are available under the funding tab on the Graduate Studies website.

What Happens Next

Once we have received your completed application with all the necessary materials, we will begin the application review process. All applications are verified for minimum requirements, as mentioned on the Graduate Admission Requirements web page. Applicants receiving offers are asked to accept or decline the offer within 10 days of the date of the letter (which is normally emailed); however, as a member of the Council of Graduate Schools, candidates have until April 15 to respond. Usually, by the end of May, all applicants have been informed of our decision.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to email or call 505-277-1712. Our office is here to help you.