Application Instructions

Graduate Faculty | FAQs for Applicants | Graduate Handbook


Admissions Criteria

UPDATE: The GRE is no longer required for admission into the graduate program for the Biology department

This is a competitive program, with a minority of the applicants being offered admission to the department. Fulfillment of the criteria specified below is not in itself sufficient for admission. The applicants with the strongest academic records and research interests that most closely match those of our graduate faculty will be offered admission.

The Research Statement (a.k.a. the Statement of Purpose) required in the application carries great weight in the admissions decision. You must describe your research interests so that we can determine if they are compatible with the current research activities of one or more of our graduate faculty. The statement also lets us evaluate your knowledge of your discipline and your ability to articulate and motivate an interesting research problem. The required letters of recommendation are also extremely important to help us discriminate among applicants on the basis of aptitude for biological studies, research experience, and potential for success.

The Graduate School requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university and a grade point average (GPA) for the last 2 years of undergraduate studies of B (3.0/4.0) or higher for admission to the University of Florida. Exceptions to this requirement require recommendation by the department and approval by the Dean of the Graduate School.

The standards for admission to our Department are higher, but vary from year to year depending on the level of competition and upon other aspects of an applicant’s record (GRE and GPA are not more important than other aspects of your application). As a general guide, successful applicants usually have combined verbal and quantitative GRE scores of >312 and GPA of >3.5 (although exceptions are not uncommon, especially for international students).

The GRE subject test in Biology is not required for application to our program. If you are not a U.S. citizen or a U.S. Permanent Resident, you must apply as an international student for admission to the graduate program. As such, many of you will be required to take the TOEFL exam or its equivalent as well; see below. Additional information can be obtained from the International Center.

You will not be accepted into our program unless at least one faculty member shares your research interests and is willing to serve as your major professor (chair of your thesis or dissertation research supervisory committee). Thus, we encourage prospective students to establish a dialog via letter, telephone, or e-mail with one or more appropriate faculty members prior to applying to our program. We encourage you to send them your CV and other relevant information and to discuss your scientific interests and research ideas. NOTE: in your submitted application you must indicate at least 1 potential supervisor as well as up of 3 faculty with whom you have overlapping interests.

We also encourage you to visit the University of Florida campus and meet with our faculty and graduate students. We prefer, however, that you wait to arrange a visit until we have selected a short-list of possible candidates.

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Application Deadlines and Admissions Notification

We review applications for admission to our Graduate Program one time each year. The application deadline is December 1 (the online application must be received by this time). During January, the Graduate Committee will review all files. We anticipate having our top applicants visit UF in late February. In early to mid-March, we will make admission decisions for the coming Fall term and extend offers from mid-March through April. Students are expected to join our program in the Fall, but under special circumstances can request a deferment until January or the following fall.

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Information for International Applicants

The University of Florida requires proficiency in spoken and written English for graduate applicants and junior-level transfer applicants from countries, including Puerto Rico, where English is not the official language. Graduate applicants must also submit verbal GRE scores of at least 320 (on tests taken before August 1, 2011) or 140 (on tests taken from August 1, 2011 onward). To prove your proficiency the university accepts the results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the Michigan English Language Assessment Battery (MELAB), or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Applicants must submit official results from one of the above tests with the required score or documented successful completion of the University of Florida English Language Institute Program. The minimum scores accepted for admission from these tests are as follows:

  • TOEFL: (Institution Code is 5812)
    Paper-Based: 550
    Internet-Based: 80

    • Please note: The TOEFL ITP is not accepted for admission purposes.
  • IELTS: 6
  • MELAB: 77

Florida law requires all non-U.S. students who are going to be graduate teaching assistants — even if exempted from the IELTS, MELAB and TOEFL requirement — to prove adequate command of the English language. This requires that international Teaching Assistants (students from countries in which English is not an official language) must obtain at least a 23 on the speaking part of the iBT TOEFL (if the TOEFL is required for the applicant) and a 45 on the SPEAK test given by the Academic Spoken English program of the University of Florida. The SPEAK test is given regularly and can be taken after students arrive on campus (and will have to be completed even by students that do not have to submit TOEFL scores for admission). These tests are not required for students supported by fellowships or research assistantships.

Please visit the University of Florida Graduate School page for additional details on how to fulfill this requirement. The TOEFL, IELTS, and MELAB requirement is waived for foreign students who have successfully completed at least one year at a college or university in the United States.

  • Note: Puerto Rican students must submit TOEFL scores.

Exemptions: International students are exempt from the English proficiency requirement if they have been enrolled for one academic year in a degree-seeking program at a recognized, regionally accredited university or college in a country where English is the official language prior to your anticipated term of enrollment at UF. You are also exempt from the requirement if you are from one of the following countries:

  • Antigua and Barbuda  |  Australia  |  Bahamas  |  Barbados  |  Belize  |  Bermuda  |  Botswana  |  British Virgin Islands  |  Canada (except Quebec)  |  Cayman Islands  |  Cyprus  |  Dominica  |  Fiji  |  Gambia  |  Ghana  |  Grenada  |  Guyana  |  Ireland  |  Jamaica  |  Kenya  |  Lesotho  |  Liberia  |  Malawi  |  Malta  |  Mauritius  |  Montserrat  |  Namibia  |  New Zealand  |  Nigeria  |  Pakistan  |  Philippines  |  Seychelles  |  Sierra Leone  |  Singapore  |  South Africa  |  Sri Lanka  |  St. Kitts and Nevis  |  St. Lucia  |  St. Vincent and the Grenadines  |  Swaziland  |  Tanzania  |  Trinidad and Tobago  |  Turks and Caicos Islands  |  Uganda  |  United Kingdom  |  Virgin Islands  |  Zimbabwe

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To Apply

To apply, go to the application checklist and proceed.

Information about application materials can be obtained from the Graduate Program Assistant, who can also answer basic questions about program requirements and the status of your application materials.

Questions about our academic program and admissions decisions can be directed to the Graduate Coordinator.

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