Graduate FAQ

How do I apply?

Instructions on how to apply online can be found at the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Admissions web page. A request for an application package may also be sent from this page. Please submit a 250-500 word statement of research interests with the application. Additionally, contact with a prospective faculty advisor is strongly encouraged (see the Faculty page for descriptions of faculty research interests and contact information). Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in an appropriate field and must meet the requirements of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.

For further information contact the Biology Department's Admission Director, Dr. Gustavo Hormiga.


When do I apply?

Application deadline for the Fall Semester is December 1.  Applications for the Spring and Summer semesters are accepted but may not be competitive for funding. Application for funding is made with the application for admittance.


Is the GRE required?

Yes, the GRE general test is required for admission into the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in the Department of Biological Sciences. If your GRE scores are more than 5 years old, it is recommended that you retake the GRE.


How do I choose a lab?

In order to be accepted into the Department of Biological Sciences graduate program, you must first contact a professor with whom you would like to work and receive a tentative offer for mentorship.

Applicants are required to establish correspondence with one or more potential research advisors in the Biological Sciences Department prior to submitting your application. You should mention these individuals in your statement of purpose, explain how your interests match their research program(s). Applicants who have not discussed with faculty their interests in the program are unlikely to be admitted.

Visit our faculty page to read more about professors in the GWU Department of Biological Sciences.


How do I organize a visit a lab that I am interested in joining?

This is best organized by directly contacting the professor with whom you wish to work and asking them when a good time to visit would be. 


How many semesters will I TA?

All Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) that receive funding from the Department of Biological Sciences are required to teach for 2 years (4 semesters). Graduate students generally teach in their first and second years. The majority of GTAs will teach BISC 1111 and 1112 (Introductory Biology for Majors) or BISC 1005 and 1006 (Introductory Biology for Non-majors). For questions regarding TA opportunities, contact Dr. John Lill or Dr. Tara Scully.


What funding opportunities are available?

Ten Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) and ten research fellowships with stipend and tuition waiver are available in the Departmental graduate program at the doctoral level. Grants to individual faculty members (e.g., PEET) may also provide support for students working on the specific research goals of the grant.

Application for GTAs and Fellowships is included in the application form for admittance. For further information about fellowships visit the Graduate Funding Opportunities web site.


How many years will it take me to complete my degree?
The length of time really depends on you, but on average, master's candidates complete their degree in two to three years and doctoral candidates in four to six years. There are time limits on the maximum number years a candidate can take to complete a degree: 8 years for Ph.D. and 5 years for Master's. 


How are stipends, fellowships, and scholarships taken into account when I do my taxes?

For more information, see the visit the GWU Tax Department page.


What are the guidelines for my thesis/dissertation?

For guidelines relating to your thesis and dissertation, please refer to the Theses and Dissertations section of the Graduate Student Handbook.


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Contact Us

Contact Us

To contact specific faculty, staff, graduate students, and postdocs, please visit our People pages!

Biology Seminar Series

seminar series

Each Friday during the academic year the department offers a seminar featuring special speakers and visiting scholars. Seminars are held at 3:00 pm in MPA 310.