Department of Biological Sciences

Graduate Admission and Assistantships: How to Apply

Academic Requirements for Regular Admission:

  • Bachelor's degree in biology or related field
  • Undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
    • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 during the last two years
  • No GRE
  • International Admissions have additional requirements (e.g., foreign language and financial resources)

Academic Requirements for Probationary Admission:

  • Bachelor's degree in biology or related field
  • If cumulative Undergraduate GPA is less than 3.0:
    • Overall GPA must be at least 2.75 and at least 3.0 during the last two years
    • Strongly encouraged (though not required) to identify a Biology Faculty member willing to serve as your graduate advisor
    • If accepted, students who fall into this category will not be eligible for a TA position until earning and maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0

Degree Options in Biology

Required Admission Materials:

  1. Completed Graduate Admission Application (available from School of Graduate Studies, 309/298-1806,
  2. Written statement addressing the following questions:
    • What general area of biology (botany, microbiology, zoology, or biology education) are you interested in studying?
    • What specialized area(s) of biology (animal physiology, aquatic biology, education research, plant ecology, marine mammalogy, molecular biology, pathogenic bacteriology, wildlife biology, etc.) are you interested in studying?
    • What are your personal goals in graduate studies and how do they relate to your future professional objectives?
    • What experiences or skills do you have that are relevant to your application?
    • What are your expectations of the Graduate Degree Program in Biological Sciences at Western Illinois University?
    • If a graduate teaching assistantship was available, would you be interested and why would you want the assistantship?

Required Graduate Assistantship Materials:

  1. Completed "Application for Graduate Assistantship" (.pdf, available from School of Graduate Studies, (309) 289-1806, Email a copy of the Graduate Assistantship application to
  2. Three (3) letters of reference from teachers, employers, or advisors that are familiar with your academic record and your ability to be a successful graduate student.
  3. Review additional information at:


  • Admission - applications accepted anytime but early applications are encouraged to be considered for assistantships.
  • Assistantships - To be considered for an assistantship, students must be accepted and the department must have received all required documentation by Jan 15 for assistantships for the following fall semester, or by Sept 15 for assistantships for the following spring semester, or until appropriate candidates are found. Priority is given to students who have been accepted by a faculty member into their research program.