Department of Biological Sciences

Supplemental content for MS in Biology

Admission Information

Admission to the M.S. program in biology is competitive and has two basic requirements. First, applicants should have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, preferably in some area of biology, with a minimum GPA equivalent to 3.0. Second, admission is also dependent upon a faculty member agreeing to serve as the primary faculty advisor to the student. Therefore, before applying to the program, students must become acquainted with the research interests of individual faculty in or adjunct to the Department of Biological Sciences, contact those faculty members to discuss the possibility of working with them in the M.S. program in biology, and identify the faculty member(s) in their application essay.

Students who do not meet the first criterion, but who demonstrate exceptional promise, may be granted conditional admission, during which time they must compensate for any specific deficiency as determined by the Biology Graduate Admissions Committee. Upon successful completion of the conditions, conditional students can be granted regular admission status.

Please note: Test scores Official scores from the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required. Official scores from the GRE Subject Test in Biology are recommended. 

Application Procedures and Required Materials

Application Deadlines: Applications and supporting materials must be received by February 1 in order to receive priority status for fall admission and consideration of departmental financial support. The application deadline for spring admission is October 15. Students applying for spring admission are less likely to obtain graduate assistantships in their first semester because most financial aid will be distributed during fall admissions.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials: 

  • Application: Online Application
  • Application fee: Waived for all applicants.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
    • International College transcripts: In addition to an official copy of the transcript, an official evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency is required
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Essay: Applicants must submit a personal statement of purpose describing why they want a degree in Biology, why they are interested in this program and identify the faculty member they would like to work with. Before applying to the program, students must become acquainted with the research interests of individual faculty in or adjunct to the Department of Biological Sciences, contact those faculty members to discuss the possibility of working with them in the M.S. program in biology, and identify the faculty member(s) in their application essay.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation should be from individuals who are qualified, through direct experience with your academic or professional work, to comment on your ability to undertake graduate study and your chosen profession.  
  • Test Scores: GRE -  Official scores from the General Test of the Graduate Record Examination are required. Official scores from the GRE Subject Test in Biology are recommended.
  • TOEFL or IELTS: Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information below regarding test scores.

International Applicants 

In addition to the standard application materials, international students must also provide the following materials:

  • College transcript evaluation: official course-by-course evaluation of college-level transcripts from a NACES (National Association of Credential Evaluation Services) approved transcript analysis agency
  • Declaration of Finances form accompanied by the appropriate financial documentation
  • International students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

Applicants whose first language is not English

Students whose first language is not English are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and submit official scores as part of the application process. Only applicants with TOEFL scores of 79 or higher on the internet-based test, 550 or higher on the paper-based test, or 213 or higher on the computer-based test; or IELTS scores of 6.5 or higher will be considered for admission to a graduate program.

Where to send transcripts and application materials 

Official transcripts and other supporting documents can be sent to:

Application Processing Center
University of Maine System
P.O. Box 412
Bangor, ME 04402-0412

Colleges and universities that participate in electronic submission of transcripts can send official transcripts to edocs@maine.edu. Resumes, essays, and other documents can also be sent to edocs@maine.edu.

For a transcript or recommendation to be considered official, it must be sent by the institution or the person writing the recommendation.


Learn More

For more information about courses and credit hours, view our Program Requirements.

Career Options

Alumni of the Biology graduate program have secured positions as instructors in community colleges, lab technicians in research facilities, and biologists with state and federal agencies as well as nongovernmental organizations; and they have gone on to medical and graduate schools.