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Graduate Program Admissions


The Department of Animal Biology at the University of Illinois offers graduate work leading to the Master of Science or Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biology. Due to the breadth of modern biological research, our program is flexible and tailored to suit individual student interest. Through course work, research and seminars, students are expected to become proficient in three of six areas: (1) Ecology, (2) Evolution (3) Behavior (4) Genetics (5) Physiology and (6) Conservation. Our graduate students go on to exciting and productive careers in academia, government laboratories, non-for-profit institutions and industry position. The material below should help guide you through our graduate application and admissions process. Of course, should you have any questions, feel free to contact the department or specific faculty members or graduate students directly. Animal Biology faculty also advise students seeking a Master of Science Degree in related programs such as PEEC.



How To Apply to the Department of Animal Biology Graduate Program

Criteria for Admission


DEADLINES: For full consideration for admission to the following Fall semester, your completed application and all supporting materials must be received by January 1. For full consideration for University of Illinois fellowship support, your completed application and all supporting materials must be received by December 15. (Note: Admission is offered for the fall semester only.)

  • STEP 1. Apply online and submit the fee ($70 for domestic and $90 for international applicants) by credit card (Visa and MasterCard). The proposed program name is Biology: Ecology, Ethology and Evolution. (10KS0315PHD, or 10KS0315MS). The application will not be processed until the fee is paid.
  • STEP 2. Upload all transcripts listing the conferral of degrees earned and the coursework directly into the application.
  • STEP 3. Submit a statement of up to 500 words (in place of the 1500 word statement requested on the application form) of your interests, career goals, experience, and achievements related to teaching and research, as well as your reasons for wishing to obtain a graduate degree from the Department of Animal Biology. The statement should demonstrate an ability to organize and present information in proper English. It should be as specific as possible, especially if you have concrete ideas about the field of research you wish to enter.
  • STEP 4. At least three letters of reference should be submitted online from prior instructors or research supervisors who are most familiar with your scholarship and potential for research.
  • STEP 5. Have your Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores sent directly from ETS to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The institution number is 1836 and the GRE program code is 00, or 0223. A minimum of an upper second honours B.Sc. in a relevant life science may be substituted for the GRE for students from Britain and Ireland. The GRE Subject Test is not required. The majority of applicants we offer admission to have GRE scores of 1200 or above.
  • Applicants whose native language is not English are required to submit TOEFL scores. International applicants must have a TOEFL score of at least 613 (paper-based test), 257 (computer-based test) or 103-104 (internet-based test) to be considered for admission. A minimum score of 24 on the speaking section of the iBT test is required. The TOEFL must be taken within two years of the proposed term of entry; older scores are not valid. Request that official TOEFL scores be sent directly to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The institution number is 1836 and the program code is 00 or 35. The Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) is required upon enrollment
  • All applications with the requested information listed above must be received by the January 1 deadline. Note that the deadline for consideration for admission is January 1. The deadline for consideration for University of Illinois fellowships is December 15. Incomplete applications due to missing information will not be considered. It is the responsibility of the applicant to inquire about the status of their application.
  • Prospective students are encouraged to e-mail or write faculty members with whom they would like to work. Letters may be sent in care of the Department of Animal Biology, University of Illinois, 515 Morrill Hall, 505 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801.
  • If you have additional questions, contact the Department of Animal Biology, 515 Morrill Hall, 505 South Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801; phone: 217/ 333-7801; fax 217/ 244-4565;

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available in the form of fellowships, tuition and fee waivers, teaching and research assistantships, federal training program, and loans. Financial need is not a factor in awarding fellowships, tuition and fee waivers, or assistantships administered by the University. Priority for financial aid is given to doctoral students.


For additional information about availability, see the Graduate College information.


Admissions Decisions

Candidates for admission to graduate study are chosen by the Animal Biology Admissions Committee. Based on its decisions, offers for admission are made to selected candidates. Candidates offered admission are also offered financial support in the form of assistantships, fellowships and tuition waivers. By agreement with many other U.S. graduate programs, these offers remain in effect until April 15, although your acceptance earlier is appreciated. Admission recommendations made do not become official until the Office of Admissions and Records issues a "Notice of Admission" and sends registration instructions to the candidates who have accepted offers. In general, if your academic credentials are in order, the Office of Admissions and Records will accept the Department's recommendations and issue the "Notice of Admission."