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The College of Sciences and Mathematics

Department of Biology:
Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements for Domestic (U.S. National) Students

In addition to satisfying the general admission requirements listed elsewhere in this bulletin, applicants to the master’s program in the Department of Biology must meet the following criteria:

GRE Guidelines for Department of Biology Applicants
Overall GPA Sum of Verbal and Quantitative Percentile
> 3.0 ≥ 70 with minimum individual percentile score of > 30
2.75 – 3.0 ≥ 80 with minimum individual percentile score of > 35
2.5 – 2.75 ≥ 90 with minimum individual percentile score of > 40
< 2.5 Will not be admitted into program regardless of GRE scores
  • All applicants must take the GRE exam. If the GRE exam was taken prior to Aug. 1, 2011, scores will be converted into the scoring format for the revised GRE and used in admissions decisions. Refer to the table above for the biology department's guidelines regarding the GRE exam.
  • Completion of a B.S. in biology, or related field. Completion of at least 15-18 hours of biology credit above the freshman level with a course equivalent to BIO 341 (Genetics), and a minimum GPA of a 3.0 in all biology and related science courses. All attempts of repeated courses will be used in this GPA calculation. Courses in heredity, typically designed for the non-science majors, will not fulfill the genetics requirement. Students lacking the required equivalent of BIO 341 may be provisionally admitted and required to take this course during their provisional first semester.
  • A written letter of intent specifying if the applicant is seeking a thesis (thesis work is highly recommended) or non-thesis degree (not available as a biotechnology degree); whether the applicant intends to study biology (botany, cellular and molecular biology, or ecology and evolutionary biology) or biotechnology; academic interests; any relevant past academic, field, or research experience; and discussing the applicant’s personal academic and career goals, and how a master’s in biology or a master’s in biotechnology from SFA will help further these goals. The letter is used by the graduate adviser to better advise the applicant. Applications will be considered incomplete without a letter of intent.
  • Students applying to the thesis track will be admitted as such only if the applicant has secured a faculty member thesis adviser prior to application submission. If the applicant has not secured a thesis adviser prior to application submission, and meets all other requirements, they will be accepted into the non-thesis track only. All non-thesis students wanting to switch to the thesis track will have to do so prior to the end of the second week of their first semester. This applies to both the master’s in biology and master’s in biotechnology.
Admission Requirements for International Students

In addition to satisfying the general admission requirements listed elsewhere in this bulletin, international applicants applying to the master’s program in the Department of Biology must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants from universities following the U.S. GPA format will be assessed following the table provided above under domestic students. Students from universities not following the standard U.S. GPA format require a sum of the verbal and quantitative percentile of > 90 with a minimum individual percentile score of > 40.
  • The curriculum criteria as outlined above for domestic students, including some indication of grade interpretation for universities not following the standard U.S. GPA and grading system.
  • A letter of intent as outlined under the domestic student section above.
  • For thesis track applicant’s, a thesis adviser as outlined under the domestic student section above.
  • In addition to the requirements listed above, students for whom English is a second language require a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper) or 213 (computer) or 80 (Internet) or a minimum IELTS score of 6.5.