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Biological Sciences

Admission and Application Requirements

Applicants who satisfy the general admission requirements of the Graduate School will be considered for admission to the Master's program in Biological Sciences. Application deadlines are typically one month prior to the start of the semester for which the prospective student is applying, but applicants wishing to receive full consideration for a teaching or research assistantship should apply by February 1 for fall admission and September 1 for spring admission. If you intend to apply for a Competitive Graduate Award (CGA), the deadline for submitting all of your application materials is the first Friday in December of the previous year by 4:30 PM. If you apply for the CGA but your SIUE application is incomplete, your award application will be removed from consideration. Click here to find out more about the CGA.

The application process includes completing an application to the SIUE Graduate School, submitting all required documents, and finding a faculty member in Biological Sciences who is willing to act as mentor.

In order to apply for admission to the Master's program in Biological Sciences, you must complete ALL of the items on the following checklist:

o Complete the SIUE Graduate School Application

This can be done online (preferred) or a hard-copy application can be downloaded and mailed.

o Pay the $40 application fee

o Submit a Personal Statement/Letter

The letter should summarize the applicant's preparation and experience leading to the undertaking of a Master's program of study at SIUE, and outline the applicant's academic and career goals, highlighting the role that a Master's degree in Biological Sciences at SIUE will serve in meeting those goals. 

o Submit Official (or Unofficial) Academic Transcripts

The applicant should ask universities or colleges which were attended by the applicant to mail official transcripts directly to SIUE Graduate Admissions (via email to if the issuing institution offers electronic transcript delivery or to the Graduate Admissions mailing address below). Unofficial transcripts can be submitted by the applicant for review with the initial application materials and preliminary acceptance may be extended, however final acceptance to SIUE requires official transcripts. Students accepted into the Biological Sciences graduate program are expected to have completed course work equivalent to the requirements for the SIUE undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences. If not, they will be expected to resolve any deficiencies by completing additional course work beyond that required for the graduate degree. Upon admission to the program, the student shall consult with his or her faculty mentor to review the student's academic record, and develop a plan of study that will address any perceived academic deficiencies.

o Submit at Least Two (2) Letters of Recommendation

These letters will preferably be from professors, instructors and/or individuals who are familiar with the applicant's academic and professional preparation for undertaking a Master's degree in the Biological Sciences. The applicant should request the reference letters through the online application system (preferred) or referees may mail their letters directly to SIUE Graduate Admissions (address below).

o Submit Official GRE Test Scores (if required)

GRE scores are only required if the applicant has a cumulative undergraduate GPA less than 3.0 (out of 4.0). If required, the official GRE scores should be requested from Educational Testing Services. Select institution code 1759 (no department code required).

o Find a Faculty Mentor

Applicants will not be accepted into the Master's program in Biological Sciences until a faculty member in the department has agreed to act as mentor. It is the responsibility of the applicant to identify a mentor that would be a good fit for their research interests, and to contact that faculty member about becoming the applicant’s mentor.

Applicants can access a list of the faculty, with contact information and research interests, by clicking here. Applicants should review the information on the web pages and select a faculty member who has compatible research interests. Applicants must then contact that faculty member to begin a dialogue about their academic/professional interests and to inquire whether the faculty member would agree to act as a mentor.

Once a faculty member has agreed to mentor the applicant in a Master's research project, he or she will write a letter to that effect to the Biological Sciences Graduate Program Director. The application file will be complete for review only when all other required items have been received and a letter has been added by the faculty mentor.

NOTE: International students must submit some additional items (English Language Verification, Bank Statements, SIUE Financial Form, Biographical Page from Passport). For more information, please see the Graduate School Information Page for International Students. International students who need to improve their English language skills may consider enrolling in the English as a Second Language program at SIUE.

Online applications are encouraged to facilitate submission of the checklist items and so that the progress of the application process can be monitored online by the applicant. If postal mail must be used, items should be mailed to Graduate Admissions at the following address:

Graduate Admissions
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Box 1047
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1047

In addition, if the applicant wants to be considered for a graduate teaching assistantship, a Graduate Assistantship Application must be e-mailed to the Graduate Program Director (, hand-delivered or mailed to the following address:

Graduate Program Director
Department of Biological Sciences
outhern Illinois University Edwardsville
Campus Box 1651
Edwardsville, IL 62026-1651

Do NOT mail or email your Personal Statement/Letter, Transcripts, Letters of Reference, GRE scores, etc. to the Graduate Program Director in the Department of Biological Sciences. All of these items must be submitted through Graduate Admissions of the SIUE Graduate School.

Once an application is complete, it will be reviewed by the Graduate Committee of the Department of Biological Sciences, which will decide whether to admit the applicant to the Biological Sciences Master's Program. Applicants will be notified once a decision has been made.

If you have any questions about the application and admission process specific to Biological Sciences, please contact the Biological Sciences Graduate Program Director. Questions regarding use of the online application system should be directed to Graduate Admissions (; 618-650-3705)

Graduation Requirements

For the final examination in biological sciences for either the Master of Arts or the Master of Science degree, students meet with their advisory committee for a public oral defense of the thesis or research paper.

If you have questions about the graduation process, including due dates for completion and defense of thesis, please contact the Biological Sciences Graduate Program Director.

Photo of graduate student in lab


Department of Biological Sciences
Graduate Program Inquiries
Office Phone: (618) 650-3927
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