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How to Apply

Students are accepted during the Spring semester for enrollment in the Fall. Applications for Fall enrollment should be completed online via the Graduate College's online application submission system by December 1. Complete applications received by this deadline will be given full consideration, although late applications may be considered.

When a student is accepted into the OU Biology Graduate Program, the student is accepted directly into the laboratory of an individual faculty member or has at least one faculty member who is willing to serve as a potential sponsor for the CBN Ph.D. program. Therefore, there are three key things to keep in mind before applying.

First, introduce yourself to all Biology faculty members with whom you share strong research interests, and make sure they have a chance to get to know you. It is important to communicate with a faculty member and start a conversation with them to discuss the possibility of joining their lab. If there is more than one faculty member that would be interested in serving as your major advisor, be sure to introduce yourself to all of them. Do not be reluctant to contact faculty. They want to hear from you!

Second, spend some time to really get to know the faculty. All of our graduate programs require the successful completion of a research thesis or dissertation. This, as well as your success in your career after you leave the program, will depend on the quality and creativity of the science that you do while you are here. Therefore, you need to make sure that you find a faculty mentor who is a good fit for you. Consider several things: Do you share research interests? Does the faculty member have space in their lab group for you? Does your learning style fit the structure or independence offered by a particular faculty member?

Finally— and this is critical— talk to current graduate students to help you make the aforementioned decisions. More than anyone else, the students know what it is like to be in the program. Ask students about their experiences working with the faculty member whom you are interested in as a potential mentor. Be sure to speak with several students, as different people can have very different opinions.

You will need to submit the OU Graduate Admissions application via the online form. You are encouraged to submit portions of your application as soon as they are ready.

Complete the OU application at the Office of Graduate Admissions webpage.

As part of the application, you will need to upload the following documents:

Curriculum Vitae (“Resume”) that includes information related to your educational and professional background, such as positions held, honors and awards, honors research topic and any presentations or publications.

Personal Statement that includes the following:

  1. what area(s) of specialization you would like to pursue as a graduate student in our program,
  2. any previous research experience – please also discuss what you found to be the most interesting aspect of the experience,
  3.  an accomplishment of which you are very proud and how you achieved it,
  4. describe your eventual career plans, and
  5. why our department is a good match for your interests and goals.

Official copy of transcript(s) from the school(s) where you earned or will earn your undergraduate degree and any graduate degree.

Applicants whose native language is not English, an unofficial copy of your TOEFL iBT or IELTS exam score. Applicants whose native language is not English, an official copy of your TOEFL iBT or IELTS exam score. OU accepts two English proficiency tests: TOEFL internet-Based Test (iBT) - The institution code for OU is 6879, Department of Biology code is 35, and the International English Language Testing Service (IELTS). OU’s English language proficiency requirements for teaching assistantships are described here.

Arrange for at least three letters of reference to be submitted via the online OU application form.

To obtain additional information about our graduate program, you may send a request to