How to Apply

The application process is similar whether you are applying for the MS program (non-thesis or thesis track) or the PhD program. Click here to apply.


For the Thesis Track MS and PhD programs, the application deadline is December 1 for admission the following fall. The Graduate Committee in the Department of Biological Sciences reviews applications during December and January, and offers will be sent out between February and April. Candidates who are offered admission must respond by April 15th. We recommend that you submit your application well in advance of the December 1 deadline. 

For the Non-thesis Track MS degree, the application deadline is May 1 for admission the following fall, and October 1 for admission the following spring. The Graduate Committee in the Department of Biological Sciences reviews applications and offers will be sent out throughout the year.

Admission Requirements

Most entering graduate students have completed an undergraduate major in biological sciences (BA or BS) that includes college level courses in chemistry, physics and mathematics. The Department also welcomes applications from students with less traditional backgrounds.

For all applicants, we encourage a strong academic record, and for the thesis track degrees, we also encourage prior research experience. MS (Thesis Track) and PhD applicants are strongly encouraged to contact faculty members in their area of interest to discuss opportunities in their laboratories. Please see FAQ for additional information.

Application Steps

  1. All application materials are to be submitted online. Visit the Graduate School’s Admission website and click on Application Checklist for more information.
  2. In the “Reasons Statement” portion of the application, describe:
    • Non-thesis Track Masters Degree applicants, please describe:
      • your academic background
      • reason for pursuing graduate studies
      • your career goals
      • why you decided to apply to our program
    • Thesis Track Masters and Doctoral Degree applicants, please describe:
      • your academic and scientific background
      • reason for pursuing graduate studies
      • specific research area
      • why you decided to apply to our program
      • the names of faculty members with whom you would like to study. Browse our research page to find a list of faculty and their research interests. Prior to listing them on your application, please contact the faculty members of interest (email contact preferred) to see if they are accepting new students.
  3. Upload transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate institutions you attended to your online application. Upon admission, official transcripts will be required. Official transcripts can be sent to:

    UWM Graduate School
    Attn: Admissions
    PO Box 340
    Milwaukee, WI 53201-0340

  4. Test Scores
    • Non-thesis Track Masters Degree
      • Test scores are not required for the Non-Thesis program, but are encouraged. Submit scores from one of the following exams: GRE, MCAT, DAT, PCAT, or Praxis test. GRE scores should be sent directly from ETS to UWM (code #1473). For all other scores, copies of the official test results should be uploaded to your application under the Documents module and listed as ‘Other Scores.’
    • Thesis Track Masters and Doctoral Degrees
      • Submit your GRE scores to UWM (UWM code #1473). We like to see GRE scores above the 50th percentile in each portion of the test (Verbal, Quantitative and Writing). No subject test is needed.
  5. Request letters of recommendation from professors who can provide information on your qualifications. Two letters are required for the MS program (both tracks); three reference letters for the PhD program.
  6. (INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS ONLY) Submit your TOEFL/iBT or your IELTS scores unless you have completed a baccalaureate degree from an institution where English is the sole language of instruction. The degree must have been earned within 2 years of your expected enrollment and you must have attended that institution for a minimum of 2 years. UWM requires a minimum TOEFL score of 550 on the paper-based test, 79 on the TOEFL internet-based test, or 6.5 on the IELTS. The Department of Biological Sciences also requires a minimum score of 23 on the Speaking portion of the TOEFL test for thesis programs, and a minimum sub-score of 18 in each skill for the Master’s Non-Thesis program. The UWM Center for International Education has more information about international language testing and any possible fees for foreign degree evaluation.

Check your Application Status

To see if your application is complete, check your Panthera account and contact the Department of Biological Sciences.

Contact the Department of Biological Sciences at or (414) 229-5137 for questions about your application.