How To Apply to the PhD Program

Deadlines and Application Material

The PhD programs in Biology welcome applications for admission from individuals who have or will have by the time of matriculation a BA, BS or equivalent degree (for prospective international students, a three- or four-year undergraduate degree from an institution of recognized standing). The Programs actively seek applicants from historically underrepresented minorities.

Application Deadlines

  • January 31 for the Fall term
    • Apply by January 15 for best chance of acceptance. Applications will be accepted until all slots are filled.
  • October 1 for the Spring term

Application Material

To begin your application, click here to create an online application account. A complete application for the PhD Programs in Biology consists of:

  • Official transcripts from each institution you have attended
  • Name and contact information for three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Graduate assistantship/fellowship application
  • Current curriculum vitae or resume
  • GRE General Test scores
  • Demonstration of English proficiency (TOEFL scores), where required
  • Application form and admission deposit ($75)

The Department of Biology may request additional academic documents, as needed.

Step-By-Step Instructions

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Application and Evaluation Process

The process for applying to a graduate program is handled through the Office of Graduate Education. Once you have submitted your application through the Office for Graduate Education, the application will be sent to the Admissions Committee in the Department of Biology for review.

Application Instructions

Official transcripts

Official transcripts are only required upon admission. You will need to upload electronic copies of the transcripts as part of your application materials for the admission review process.

If admitted, the Office of Graduate Education will accept electronic transcripts submitted via a secured system from the school/university or by a company contracted by the school/university. Transcripts submitted via email by the school or applicant as an attachment or uploaded with the application will not be accepted as official copies.

Please note that transcripts from international institutions —- records of all courses, seminars, and examinations, including grades, scores, grading scales, and confirmation of degree conferral -— must be in English. If records are not available in English, original records must be accompanied by certified English translations. All translations must be literal and complete versions of the original records.

If you have previously attended the University at Albany, you do not need to request a transcript from our Registrar's Office to be sent to Graduate Admissions.

Letters of recommendation

Before applying, confirm that three faculty members or others qualified to evaluate your potential for graduate study have agreed to submit letters of recommendation on your behalf.

When you apply, please include the e-mail addresses of your three recommenders and note on your application whether you are waiving your right to see these letters. If you do not have the names of three recommenders, indicate “TBD” on the recommender section in the application.

If you choose online recommendation submission, recommenders will automatically be sent the online recommendation form once you save their information in your application.

Statement of Purpose

The statement of purpose is “the heart of the application”. Your statement should be focused, informative, and convey your research interests and qualifications.

As you convey this information, it is important to emphasize how these experiences have influenced both your decision to undertake graduate study and your career goals within the Graduate Programs in the Department of Biology. Please familiarize yourself with the fields of expertise of our faculty and mention a few areas and faculty that you are interested in. Explain how you found out about our Graduate Programs in Biology at the University at Albany.

Assistantship Application

All students in the PhD Programs in Biology are eligible for:

  • A 1-year Teaching Assistantship
  • Salary for the summer following their first academic year

After the first year, students may seek a Research Assistantship or continue as a TA for up to 8 semesters (6 if they entered the program with an MS). TAs also receive tuition scholarships. Please be certain to check all application deadlines for receiving financial aid. Application deadlines for students seeking assistantships and other application requirements can be found on the Requirements and Deadlines page for the Biology PhD on the Graduate Education web site.

GRE Scores / Admission Deposit

The PhD Programs in Biology require that applicants present scores of the GRE General Test. Scores from either the computer-delivered or the paper-delivered test are acceptable. It is essential that you arrange to take the GRE in sufficient time for score reports to reach us by the application deadline. GRE scores are valid for five years. If you have personal score reports available from tests taken within the last five years, you can upload them to your online application for consideration by the admissions committee.

The University at Albany requires a non-refundable application fee in the amount of $75.

International Students

The University at Albany welcomes students from around the world, annually enrolling approximately 1,000 individuals representing nearly 80 nations. All international applicants apply through the Office of Graduate Admissions. To find out more, visit the International Students section of this website or visit the University at Albany’s International Student Scholar Services website.

Demonstration of English Proficiency

Adequate command of spoken and written English is essential to success in graduate studies. Applicants who are non-native English speakers and who received their undergraduate degree from an academic institution where English is not the primary language of instruction must take the Internet based test (iBT) of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Online Programs

The University offers a selection of online programs. Information about the available programs and courses can be found here.

Pre-requisites to Apply for the PhD Programs in Biology

  • BS degree in Biology, Biochemistry or Molecular Biology from an accredited institution (M.S. degree is not required)
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Completion of GRE General Test
  • Minimum TOEFL scores for international students (visit our FAQ page for more on this topic)
  • Required courses for applicants to the MCDN doctoral program: Genetics and Biochemistry
  • Required courses for applicants to the EEB doctoral program: Ecology, Genetics and Evolution
  • Demonstrated research ability is an asset to apply to both PhD Programs.

Preferred Undergraduate Preparation

  • 18 credits in Biology
  • 2 courses in Mathematics (at least 6 credits)
  • 2 courses in Physics with laboratories (at least 6 credits)
  • 4 courses in Chemistry with laboratories (at least 12 credits), of which 2 courses must be in Organic Chemistry with laboratories