Applicants to our graduate programs should hold an undergraduate degree showing a high degree of academic achievement. The equivalent of a major in a biological science, including coursework in mathematics, physics, and organic chemistry, greatly strengthens an application.

Evaluation of Applications

On the job experiences support classroom learning

The Biology Advisory Council screens applications to find a potential match between a student's interests and UVM's research programs. If a match is identified, the application is circulated among faculty for evaluation and candidates are invited to campus for an interview. The interview acquaints prospective students with our programs, provides an opportunity to meet current graduate students, and determines whether an applicant would contribute to, and benefit from, our programs. The interview is the single most important part of our evaluation; if a personal visit is not feasible, a telephone interview can be arranged. 

Acceptance Process


Typically, acceptance decisions and financial aid offerings are made on a rolling basis. Note that this date precedes the application deadline--early application is advisable. Candidates considered for admission will be contacted by email and a phone interview will be scheduled. The applications are on a rolling basis until April; if you have not heard from Dr. Van Houten about a phone or in-person interview, it means that you are on a waiting list. If you have other offers to consider, please let her know and we will let you know where you are on that list.

Financial Support


Most students receive financial aid in the form of graduate teaching fellowships, which require approximately 20 hours of service per week in undergraduate laboratory teaching. Other students may be supported on research grants as graduate research fellows, involved in the programs of their major professors. For students offered financial support, the Department of Biology normally guarantees three years for M.S. students and five years for students in the Ph.D. program. We encourage graduate students to support their own research by writing grant proposals. Of the students in our Ph.D. program, over half have been awarded grants in their own names. 

Health Insurance


Students who are taking at least six credit hours (graduate students included) are eligible to purchase the student health insurance plan or pay the prerequisite student health fee. Go to the student insurance website for information on current premiums and descriptions of the health coverage offered. All GTAs, GRAs, and predoctoral training students supported by the University of Vermont will receive support for health-care coverage from the Graduate College and department. The coverage will consist of a pro-rated portion of one-half of the premium cost for the single student health insurance. Note: international students must purchase this insurance plan.

Application Process

  • The research of our faculty is grouped into two clusters: cell and molecular biology and ecology-evolution-animal behavior. You will be required to write a "Statement of Purpose." Please be specific about what your interests are and whose research you are interested in. Please feel free to contact a faculty member directly via email with questions about your interests and goals and include your motivation for choosing UVM. Identify one or more biology research laboratories that interest you and be sure to communicate with the faculty member in charge of the laboratory directly. 
  • Fill out the online Pre-application form (Note: we do not send materials from the pre-application to the Graduate College. This pre-application is strictly to help our department plan and look for your formal application)
  • You must apply online. Click application to access the official UVM application form. Ph.D candidates are highly favored over MS applicants.

For International Students:

Assistantship and fellowship support is limited and highly competitive. If you are interested in the biology department, please contact Dr. Judith Van Houten, Biology Graduate Committee Chair, to determine the possibilities for funding before you apply. For additional international questions, please visit the international education website.

GRE scores: GRE scores are required for your application. The department code for GRE is 0203. The Department of Biology (University of Vermont) institution code is 3920.

TOEFL scores (international students): minimum acceptable score for admission is 80 and 100 for financial aid. The department code for TOEFL is 35.

Tuition stipend for T.A.s:

The GTA stipend for the 2012-2013 academic year is $17,500 and a tuition scholarship covering a maximum of 24 total credit hours of graduate level coursework and thesis research credit each academic year. In addition, the Graduate College and the Department of Biology will contribute significantly to your health insurance.