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How to Apply

How to Apply to the Graduate Program

Applications are submitted online through the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. To begin the application process, please see the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences website. For additional information about the application process, please contact the Biology Graduate Program Coordinator. Students must complete the online application.  Applications submitted as PDFs to the department cannot be accepted.

Prospective M.S. in Biology degree students must identify and communicate with a Biology faculty mentor prior to submitting an application for the M.S. program in Biology.  No prospective master's student application will be accepted unless a mutually agreeable arrangement has been established between the prospective student and mentor.

A non-refundable fee of $85 is due at the time the online application is submitted.  The Graduate School grants application fee waivers to members of select organizations listed on the GSAS website. If you believe that you are eligible for a needs-based fee waiver, please contact the Office of Admissions once you are prepared to submit the application online to request the application fee waiver.

The application portal for Fall 2024 is open as of October 1st, 2023​. The deadline for receipt of applications for graduate programs is December 1st, 2023. The Biology Graduate Committee will meet in early December to review all completed applications. Spring admissions are rare, but will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Please contact the Biology Graduate Program Coordinator if you are interested.

Please note that all questions relating to submission of admission materials including transcripts and letters of recommendation are the responsibility of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.  All materials must be sent directly to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences via the online application website.

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Contact Information:

Graduate School of Arts & Sciences
Office of Admissions
PO Box 400775
583 New Cabell Hall
Charlottesville, VA  22904-4775

Phone:(434) 243-0209
Fax: (434) 924-6737
Email: [email protected]

Please see our FAQ section for the most common applicant questions. 

Application Requirements

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Please address the following points in your statement:

  • What research or life experiences do you bring that you think will make you successful in our PhD program? 
  • What fields are you interested in pursuing in your PhD and why? What approaches would you like to use in your PhD research? 
  • What faculty in our program do you think would be well-suited to guide you in this work? 
  • What are your personal and professional goals and how do you think our program will help you achieve those goals? 

Please limit your submission to between 500 and 1000 words.

Because of the short duration of the M.A./M.S. programs, applicants pursuing an M.S. in Biology degree must identify and contact potential thesis advisor(s) in advance of application; for these students, this relationship with a prospective faculty mentor should be discussed in the personal statement.

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At least two letters of recommendation should be submitted electronically through the online application system. Once you have submitted the contact information for a particular reference within the online application, that individual will receive instructions via e-mail for submitting a letter of recommendation on your behalf. 

Letters of recommendation should be sought from faculty in your proposed field of study who are sufficiently familiar with your work to make a comprehensive evaluation of your abilities. If you have already undertaken a graduate program, at least one of the letters should be from a faculty member who is familiar with your academic performance at the graduate level.

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Applicants must upload unofficial transcripts of their entire post-secondary academic record to the online application, including all undergraduate- and graduate-level coursework. Unofficial transcripts are sufficient for the faculty’s review of your application. If you accept an offer of admission to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, you will be asked to provide official transcripts from each college or university you have attended to the GSAS Admissions Office.

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The University of Virginia receives all TOEFL scores directly from Educational Testing Services (ETS). Please utilize the institution code B875 to ensure that scores are properly directed to the University. No department code is necessary.

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Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are no longer required for application. 

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All international students must submit TOEFL scores.