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Department of Biology
167 Castetter Hall
Telephone: (505) 277-3411

UNM Biology, Castetter Hall 1480
MSC03-2020, 219 Yale Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001

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UNM Biology Graduate Program Welcome

Welcome to UNM's Biology Graduate Program

Program Coordinator Contact Information

Welcome to the web site of the Biology Graduate Program, College of Arts & Science, at the University of New Mexico. We are excited that you are interested in continuing your education at the University of New Mexico’s nationally ranked Biology Graduate Program.

Nestled in the Rio Grande Valley, The University of New Mexico is the flagship university of the State of New Mexico. Boasting a student population of about 30,000, UNM embraces its diverse heritage and reflects its cultural variety: recently, UNM was recognized as one of the few Research I institutions in the nation that also has a minority–majority student dynamic. The parent city of Albuquerque is centrally located in the state. This location allows easy access to the mountains, streams, deserts and plains of New Mexico, offering many wonderful research and leisure opportunities.

The Biology Program has 39 tenure-track faculty, including a National Academy member, a MacArthur Fellow, and three Guggenheim award recipients. Our research is featured regularly in Science and Nature, and covers the gamut of modern biology: from cellular and molecular biology, through ecology and evolutionary biology, to interdisciplinary or computational ventures with the Departments of Mathematics & Statistics, Computer Science, Chemistry, and the Health Sciences Center. The research problems investigated vary from theoretical through computational to applied. Many faculty focus their research in New Mexico and the Southwest, while others explore Mexico, Antarctica, Australia and Africa. We also conduct laboratory-based studies of model organisms, like yeast, C. elegans and Drosophila, and of non-traditional organisms such as marsupials, molluscs and parasites.

The Department of Biology also hosts a wide range of research facilities and centers geared toward supporting cutting-edge research. Please visit our web home page to learn about all our facilities. In short, we have everything we need to support the biological research you wish to carry out.

The Biology Program offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Our program is thriving—currently, more than 100 students are enrolled—and offers a variety of well-funded research projects that welcome graduate student participation. Our department provides an excellent atmosphere for graduate students to reach their full potential—rigorous, collaborative, and responsive to the need of the students. Graduate students are involved in departmental decisions, and the Biology Graduate Student Association has funds to support research in the department. Ultimately, our graduates are successful in advancing in their chosen careers, and leave UNM having developed friendships and collegial networks that last a lifetime.

We believe that a stimulating, intellectual collaboration between students and faculty is a necessary ingredient of a successful graduate program, and will lead to a very rewarding tenure—personally, academically and professionally.

We accept applications once a year for students to begin their academic career in the Fall semester. We begin reviewing completed applications received by January 3rd. Applications will continue to be considered until the class is filled; however, availability of financial support (assistantships) may be limited. Applicants are required to complete an application to the UNM Office of Admissions, send official transcripts from all higher education institutions attended, and pay a $50.00 application fee. Additionally, the following materials should be sent directly to the Biology Department: a letter of interest, three letters of recommendation, a graduate applicant information form, a CV or resume, and copies of transcripts (official preferred, but not required). 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. We highly recommend that applicants list potential advisor(s) on the graduate applicant information form and that they contact this advisor(s) to discuss collaboration ideas. Potential advisors are faculty who you would like to work with during your tenure here at UNM.

Most accepted applicants will be offered an assistantship, usually Teaching or Research. Master’s students are guaranteed two years of support, while Ph.D. students are guaranteed five years. This award includes a salary stipend, up to 12 credits of tuition, and health insurance.

There are many links to explore on the Biology Department web site, but below you will find information that we hope will inspire you to become a part of our program and the University of New Mexico.

The UNM Department of Biology

Information about the application process

Requirements needed to be successful when applying

A list of the Biology faculty, which includes their interests and areas of research, plus contact information. Note: only tenure-track faculty can serve as a graduate-student advisor; lecturers can serve on a committee, but cannnot serve as an advisor.

A list of the Biology faculty by research topic Note: only tenure-track faculty can serve as a graduate-student advisor; lecturers can serve on a committee, but cannot serve not as an advisor.

The Biology Program’s Graduate Student Handbook provides specific requirements and expectations for completing the degree.

Student Learning Outcomes

The Biology Graduate Student Association includes directory of current students; please feel free to contact any of them for more information on the program from a student’s perspective.

Other useful web sites include:

The University of New Mexico

Complete an application

UNM’s Welcome Center

UNM's Student Financial Aid Office

UNM's Office of Graduate Studies provides information about UNM graduate studies and policies.

The City of Albuquerque

Information about the State of New Mexico

It will be great to see your application in the next Fall pool! If you have any questions, please contact Sarina Ochoa or call her at 505-277-1712.

On behalf of the Graduate Student Selection Committee, and the faculty and staff of the UNM Biology Department, we thank you for your interest and look forward to seeing your application soon.

Sarina Ochoa  
Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Biology
College of Arts & Science
The University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM USA