Department of Biological Sciences

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Biological Sciences
Idaho State University
921 S. 8th Ave
Mail Stop 8007
Pocatello, ID 83209-8007
Phone: (208) 282-3765
Fax: (208) 282-4570

How to Apply to Biology Graduate Programs

What we look for

For our incoming students, we mainly look for strong indications of potential success as a graduate student, including:

  • Competitive GRE scores (verbal and quantitative scores in the upper 50th percentile and analytical writing score of at least 3.5) and GPA above 3.0. For applicants to doctoral programs who hold a M.S. degree in Biology or a related discipline, entrance requirements may be more flexible (contact program director for details).
  • Three letters of recommendation that describe your experiences and expertise in a way that allows the admissions committee to judge the probability that you'll succeed in a graduate program; it's not critical that all the recommendation letters come from academics, but it is important that they all provide evidence of analytical ability, perseverance, and other skills that would lead to success in grad school.
  • Prior training commensurate with completion of a B.S. degree in Biology or a related field. Students who lack sufficient training may be asked to take remedial courses as part of their graduate training.
  • A letter of intent with your statement of goals while in graduate school. This allows the admissions committee to see your previous experiences that have prepared you for graduate school and to help develop a preliminary program of study to help you achieve your goals.
  • TOEFL score above 577 (paper-based), 233 (computer-based), or 90 (internet-based), if the applicant's English is a second language and a graduate teaching assistantship is requested.
  • Availability of financial assistance. We make every effort to arrange for a graduate teaching or research assistantship (GTA or GRA) or fellowship for students recruited in to our programs - these include tuition, fees, and a stipend.
  • The availability of a suitable faculty mentor; we recommend that you establish communication with a biology professor that has a research program consistent with your career aspirations and interests. Doing this before submitting an application streamlines the application review process.


The ISU Graduate School application deadlines are April 1st for summer and fall semester enrollment and November 1st for spring semester enrollment. Biology graduate programs will use these application deadlines, admitting students as applications are complete. However, to be considered for financial support (a biology graduate assistantship or fellowship), submission of application materials for fall semester should be completed by December 1 (to be considered for an early offer of financial support) or January 15 (regular offer deadline). Application materials submitted after January 15 will be conside red, but financial support may not be available.

How to apply

Applications for all ISU graduate programs use the new ISU Graduate School application system. Please notify the department of an application submitted to the graduate school.

Keeping in touch after you apply

For questions about biology graduate programs, the application process, or financial support, please contact Dr. Colden Baxter. For updates on your graduate application, please contact Noreen King.


921 South 8th Avenue
Pocatello, Idaho, 83209