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.
Discover what life as an Illinois State graduate student is like.
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
- present unofficial transcripts from each college or university other than Illinois State at which graduate, undergraduate, or non-degree credit was earned. The unofficial transcript should be easily readable and clearly indicate degree(s) awarded, courses and course grades for each term. If accepted, official transcripts can be emailed from the university to GraduateAdmissions@IllinoisState.edu or mailed in a sealed envelope to: Illinois State University, Graduate School, 209 Hovey Hall, Campus Box 4040, Normal, IL 61790-4040.
More information about specific application requirements for international students can be found on the International Admissions website.
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.
GRE scores are not required for your application. However, if you wish to submit them, you may.
Scores do not play a significant part in our decision-making process for admission. GRE scores may help your application if you did not have strong undergraduate grades but have strong GRE scores.
Use institution code 1319 if you want to submit your scores. It will not be held against you if you do not submit GRE scores as part of your application.
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.
Teaching Assistantships in the Ph.D. program currently receive $ 2,042 per month for nine months plus tuition waivers. Opportunities for up to three months per 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.