Students working toward the Ph.D. degree in Biological Sciences may pursue research in most of the major subdisciplines. The scholar-educator option in the Ph.D. program combines traditional training in research with formal training in university- and college-level teaching for those students planning a career in teaching and research at liberal arts colleges and comprehensive universities.
University Admission Requirements
A student applying to a doctoral program must:
- typically have earned a master's degree or equivalent in a discipline appropriate to the specific doctoral program
- have a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a scale in which an A is a 4.0) for the last 60 hours of undergraduate work (approximately the junior and senior years)
- have a minimum 3.0 GPA (on a scale in which an A is a 4.0) for all graduate-level coursework
- provide official scores from the GRE general exam (use institution code 1319)
- present official transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. Transcripts can be emailed from the university to Admissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Office of Admissions, 201 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 2200, Normal, IL 61790-2200
International students can learn more about specific application requirements by visiting the Office of Admissions.
Additional Program Admission Requirements
The first step in the application process is to ask about working in a lab. We do not admit graduate students unless they have at least one faculty member who is willing to have them in their lab.
Contact a member of our faculty who works in your area of interest. Discuss whether they are taking new students, whether your interests sufficiently overlap with theirs, and what research topics are being pursued in their labs.
You must have a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale for the last 60 hours of undergraduate coursework or any previous work in a master’s program.
Curriculum Vitae or Resume
Submit your vita in the application system. It should include any information that will help assess your potential as a student in our graduate program. Also include:
- your educational background
- previous employment or positions related to science and your current status
- research activities, including publications
- memberships in professional societies
- any honors and awards you have received
Statement of Academic and Professional Goals
Write a one-to-two page statement of your academic and professional goals and submit it in the application system.
Your statement should include:
- area of research in which you are interested
- faculty member(s) with whom you have corresponded in regard to serving as your possible dissertation advisor
- your plans after completing graduate school
Letters of Recommendation
Submit the names and email addresses of three references for letters of recommendation within the online application.
You must have a 150 or better on both the GRE quantitative and verbal test. A score of 4.0 or higher on the analytical writing test is also required. Use school code 1319 to submit your scores to Illinois State University.
International students required to take an English proficiency test must have a TOEFL score of 90 or greater. The IELTS equivalent is approximately 6.5.
- Fall (August) Term — February 1
- Spring (January) Term — Not accepting applications
- Summer Term — Not accepting applications
The University provides graduate assistantships as a means of financial support. They are intended as a way to facilitate a student's progress to degree while providing important professional development.
To be eligible for an assistantship a student must, generally,
- be admitted unconditionally as a degree-seeking student into a graduate academic program, or have a minimum of 120 undergraduate hours if in an integrated degree program
- be in good-standing
- be enrolled full-time (typically at least 9 credit hours during the fall or spring semesters, or at least 6 hours during the summer session).
Graduate assistants receive
- monthly wages paid in the form of either a stipend or an hourly wage
- a waiver for 100% of tuition during a semester of appointment
- a waiver for up to 12 credit hours of tuition for the summer term immediately following a fall or spring appointment
Teaching Assistantships (TAs) and Research Assistantships (RAs) are available for qualified students.
TAs in the Ph.D. program currently receive $1800/month for 9 months plus tuition waivers. Opportunities for up to 3 months/year of additional support are available.
See Student Accounts for information on tuition and fees. Funding for graduate students is available from several different sources. Students who have been admitted from contiguous states including Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin will receive in-state tuition.