Application Check-List Supporting Information



The online application provides space for two essays: one for fellowships and one called “Statement of Purpose”.

Do not fill out the Fellowship essay — we use your other materials to make decisions about support and fellowships.

Fill out the Statement of Purpose, but we prefer to call this your Research Statement. The Research Statement is extremely important and should emphasize the “future” and not past experiences (the latter can be included in your CV).

We’d like to know: what motivates you professionally; what scientific questions drive your desire for graduate studies; why is our program well suited to help you accomplish your goals? A portion of this statement could read like a short grant proposal (e.g., for Sigma Xi) in which you lay out the important questions in your discipline along with a statement about how you plan to contribute to this field.

Also include a clear statement about the program you wish to enter in our Department (e.g., M.S. or Ph.D.; Zoology or Botany) and your prospective advisors (with whom you should already be in contact). This statement should be no more than 2 single-spaced pages in length (or ~500 words).

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Letters of Recommendation

We require 3 letters of recommendation. These letters are given great weight by the admissions committee — please choose writers who can best comment on your potential as a graduate student and scientist. The letters should indicate how the writer knows you (e.g., as an instructor or research supervisor), as well as the writer’s assessment of your academic and intellectual abilities, competence in your discipline, creativity, emotional maturity, ability to conduct original research, potential as a teacher, communication skills, work ethic, and likelihood of success in graduate school.

Letters should be uploaded by your letter writers as instructed in the online application.

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Supplemental Information

You may also include additional information (such as publications). If you do this, please use the following naming convention:


Where ‘XXX’ is a brief and unique description of the item (e.g,. ‘Pub1’ or ‘Pub2’ or ‘SrThesis’). Our mail server limits messages to 20MB total message size which includes the email itself plus any attachments. If your email service has a smaller size limit you will of course need to keep it under the limit on your end. Therefore, if you have many large attachments (e.g., if you embed figures and don’t convert to pdf), then you may have to send several emails (rather than attaching all of your documents to one email message). Supplemental materials can be emailed to Susan Spaulding at

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