How to Apply for Admission to the EEOB Biology Graduate Program

We have finished accepting applications for Fall 2017.
The deadline for Fall 2018 will be January 3, 2018.

The Biology Department accepts students once a year for admission Fall Semester only.

Documents Required for Online Submission:

The Biology Graduate Program processes online applications through ApplyYourself. Read the application carefully. Applicants are encouraged to submit the online application well in advance of the deadline.

Upload the following items into your ApplyYourself application.

  1. GRE scores - In addition to uploading a copy in AY, send an official copy to the University of Utah, Office of Admission (code 4853)
  2. Transcripts (please upload one copy of your official transcript from each college or university attended, do not send hard copies at this time)
  3. Curriculum vitae. See sample PDF Curriculum Vitae
  4. Letters of recommendation (The Dept of Biology requires at least three letters of recommendation. Applicants should notify their recommenders using the "Recommendation Provider List" button in ApplyYourself).
  5. Statement of Purpose (see specifics listed below)
  6. TOEFL or IELTS scores (international applicants only) - In addition to uploading a copy in AY, send an official copy to the University of Utah (code 4853)
  7. Research-interest checklist - Please complete and upload a pdf copy of this form into ApplyYourself.

Special ApplyYourself Instructions for Biology Applicants

  • Applicants should not pay the application fee. Applications will be processed without the fee. Application fee will be covered by the department for admitted students.
  • The Department of Biology does not require a "Writing Sample-Essay-Publication or GMAT Test Scores."
  • The Biology PhD Program is a "Full-time" program.
  • Please email Shannon Nielsen after you begin your application.
  • Applicants must waive their right to view recommendation forms and letters. This is done through the recommendation section in AY.
  • For questions or additional information, please contact:

    Shannon Nielsen

    Ms. Shannon Nielsen
    Graduate Program Coordinator
    Department of Biology
    University of Utah
    257 South 1400 East
    Salt Lake City, UT 84112-0840
    (801) 581-5636 or (800) 444-8638 ext. 1-5636.

    Application Timetable:

    (for entrance in the following Fall semester)

    January – mid February
    Review of applications

    January 3, 2017
    Application deadline for Fall 2017

    March 1 – March 15 (tentative)
    Interview visits for applicants residing in North America

    mid March – late March
    Applicants are notified of admissions decision

    April 15
    Decision date for acceptance of admission offers by applicants. The University of Utah subscribes to the Council of Graduate Schools April 15 Resolution.

    Criteria for Admission

    Admission decisions are based on the following factors – not necessarily listed in order of importance.

    Statement of Purpose

    Please write an essay that includes:

    1. A description of your overall academic interests and goals. Why do you seek graduate training?
    2. A description of your specific scientific interests and a list of faculty in this department whose research interests seem compatible with yours. Can you identify one or two potential research advisors among the faculty? More generally, your statement should indicate why you are applying to this department.
    3. A summary of your previous research experience or jobs involving laboratory or field work.
    4. A brief account of relevant teaching or tutoring experience you have had.
    5. Any other facts about you that might be of help in the review process.


    The minimum GPA is 3.0. The average GPA for our program is 3.4. However, when making a decision, we consider the entire application as a whole, not just test scores and GPA.

    GRE Scores

    A strong performance on this test carries considerable weight. An official copy of the Graduate Record Examination aptitude test should be submitted. A subject test is not required. The University of Utah's institution code is 4853.

    The average GRE scores (New Scale) for our program are Verbal-156, Quantitative-151 and Analytical Writing-4.5. These are averages as we do not have minimum requirements. When making a decision, we consider the entire application as a whole, not just test scores and GPA.

    Further information on the GRE exam can be found at We recommend you check with your local testing center.

    TOEFL or IELTS Scores (international applicants only)

    The Biology Department does not accept TOEFL scores that expire prior to May 31, 2017. The University of Utah requires a minimum score of 80 (IBT) for applicants to be considered for admission. The average score for applicants to the Biology Graduate Program is 100 (IBT) or higher. The University requires a minimum IELTS band score of 6.5 or higher (Minimum score requirements are subject to change).

    Research-Interest Checklist

    Graduate students enter the Department in one of two ways. Those with well-defined interests usually know in advance that they are coming to work with a particular research group. However, some students spend their first year doing laboratory rotations, so as to gain first-hand exposure to the research programs of two or more faculty before deciding which lab to join. The great diversity of research programs pursued by our faculty present outstanding opportunities for students with interdisciplinary research interests, so a rotation year can be spent taking courses and carrying out exploratory research in very different kinds of labs, while attempting to define a future thesis project that may cross traditional disciplinary boundaries.

    Application Fee

    Applicants are not required to submit an application fee when applying to the Biology Graduate Program. After a student has accepted an offer to attend the University of Utah, the Biology Department will pay the fee on the student's behalf. Moreover, all students admitted to the program receive a stipend, tuition waivers and health insurance, so a separate application for financial support is not required.

    Educational Background

    An official transcript from each college or university attended should be submitted. Ideally, the undergraduate record should be strong in all areas. However, evidence of ability to perform well in science courses, particularly those stressing quantitative skills, is most important.

    Research Experience

    Many successful applicants have had some sort of independent laboratory experience indicative of an informed commitment to a research career. This experience should be detailed in the personal statement section of the application.


    Applicants should submit strong statements of support from at least three persons in a position to evaluate their potential for success as a graduate student. Strong statements have significant impact on admissions decisions. Statements from persons familiar with your research potential are especially encouraged. Because many faculty are slow to submit such letters, you may wish to ask for letters from more than three people. It is also wise to check back with reference persons to be sure that the letters have been sent.

    Personal Interview (North American Residents Only)

    Promising applicants are invited to visit the University of Utah to meet graduate students and faculty members and to learn more about the graduate program, the university, and the local environment.

    Additional Applicaton Procedures for Master's Degree Applicants

    If you are applying to work toward a Master of Science degree, please note that you must have a firm commitment from a potential faculty advisor before submitting a formal application, and that the advisor must have discussed your application with Shannon Nielsen. Some applicants believe that the M.S. is a necessary or usual step on the way to the Ph.D. This is not true. Most Ph.D.s never earn a Master's degree. If your goal is to earn a Ph.D., you should apply directly to Ph.D. program.