Below are frequently asked questions—and their answers—about the admission process for our Ph.D. programs in Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior; Genome, Cell, and Developmental Biology; and Microbiology.
Ph.D. programs admission process FAQs
Frequently asked questions
- What is required to apply to a Ph.D. program in the Department of Biology?
A complete application consists of:
- A completed IU graduate application submitted through the University Graduate School
- An official transcript
- A statement of purpose (approximately 500 words)
- Resumé or curriculum vitae which includes your teaching, research, and/or industrial experiences; a list of publications (if applicable); and any college or professional honors and awards
- Three letters of recommendation
- International students only: Official results of the TOEFL or IELTS examination (scores must be no older than two years)
NOTE: Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score is NOT required for admission and will not be considered in admissions decisions.
International students: Please visit the IU Office of International Services website to see what the postsecondary degree requirements are for your country. The page provides a list of requirements, by country, that are the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree.
- When should I start my application? Do all materials have to be received by the deadline?
The deadline for applications is December 1.
You may submit your application between September 1 and December 1 of the year prior to the fall semester you wish to begin your graduate studies. Submit your application as early as possible to ensure all application materials are received by the deadline. The sooner the better! As we near the application deadline, the volume of questions we receive increases and takes longer to answer.
While incomplete applications will be sent to the admissions committee, complete applications have a much higher chance of being reviewed and positively received.
- Where do I send my official transcripts?
Domestic students: Please have your official transcripts sent directly from your higher education institution to the IU Department of Biology Graduate Office at:
Biology Graduate Office
Myers Hall 150
915 East Third Street
Bloomington, IN 47405-7107 USA
International students: Please have your official transcripts mailed directly from your higher education institution to the IU Office of International Services (OIS) at:
Office of International Services
Ferguson International Center
330 North Eagleson Avenue
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
If you are unable to send official transcripts to OIS for any reason, please contact OIS at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do NOT send transcript scans to OIS by email; they will be rejected. (Electronic transcripts will only be accepted by OIS if sent from your university through a secure delivery system.)
In addition, email scans of your transcripts to email@example.com or attach copies to your application for admissions committee review.
- Does the Department of Biology provide financial support?
Both domestic and international graduate students admitted to the Evolution, Ecology & Behavior (EEB); Genome, Cell, and Developmental Biology (GCDB); and Microbiology Ph.D. programs are guaranteed* tuition fee remissions and financial support in the form of teaching or research assistantships and/or fellowships. Ph.D. students are guaranteed at least five years of support.
*International student support is contingent on the student successfully passing the Test of English Proficiency for Associate Instructor Candidates (TEPAIC); this examination is a university requirement for students whose native language is not English and is offered twice a year. Students who are unable to pass this exam by the end of their first year might become ineligible for departmental funding.
*International students: The Office of International Services may request that you submit financial documents explaining how you will be supported in the United States. This does NOT need to be sent during the application process. If you are admitted to our graduate program, your acceptance letter will outline your funding and be sent to OIS.
- What are the department’s English proficiency requirements?
All foreign citizens from where English is not the native language are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS exam. Scores must be no more than 2 years old and sent to Indiana University directly from the testing institution in order to be official (Institutional Code=1324, Departmental Code=99). For successful admission to our programs, we recommend a minimum TOEFL score of 100 or minimum IELTS score of 7.0.
The TOEFL/IELTS requirement can be waived under the following conditions:
- If you are a citizen of a country that is recognized as having English as the official language and used as the sole or predominant language of instruction in higher education.
- If you are a citizen of a non-English speaking country but have received a degree from a higher education institution in the United States, United Kingdom, or Canada.
*Please note: Because all IU Biology graduate students must teach at some point, you may still be required to take the Test of English Proficiency for Associate Instructor Candidates (TEPAIC) even if you are qualified to receive a TOEFL waiver. Find more information about the TEPAIC.
- What is the application fee?
The application fee for domestic and international students is $70.
- Can the application fee be waived?
If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, limited grant funding may be available for fee waivers based on federal guidelines for traditionally underrepresented groups—including American Indians/Native Americans, Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and Pacific Islanders (natives of Hawaii, Polynesia, Micronesia, Guam, Fiji, etc.). Students, regardless of ethnicity, living in rural Appalachia or from low-income households may also be eligible for fee waivers. Please contact the IU Department of Biology graduate office at firstname.lastname@example.org BEFORE submitting your application to see whether you are eligible.
Refunds will not be issued to applicants who pay the application fee with credit cards, money orders, or checks—regardless of waiver eligibility.
All international student requests for application fee waivers will be denied by the IU Office of International Services (IOS). Contact IOS at email@example.com if you have questions about this.
- I am reapplying. Do I need to pay the application fee again?
If you were denied admission, you must pay to apply again. Our department may, however, hold supporting documentation (e.g., transcripts, scores) for up to two years.
To reapply, you must submit a new application. Include a cover letter indicating that you are reapplying and that you would like to have your application materials resubmitted to the Department of Biology. Include new transcripts and scores when appropriate and a new statement of purpose. Feel free to include additional materials you feel would enhance your chances of being accepted.
- When are admission decisions made?
Admission committees for our Evolution, Ecology, & Behavior (EEB); Genome, Cell, & Developmental Biology (GCDB); and Microbiology Graduate Programs begin making offers in late February through mid-March.
The Indiana University deadline to accept an offer of admission is April 15.
- May I contact faculty members directly?
Absolutely! Before contacting faculty members, please be prepared with specific questions about their research and/or laboratory openings. Find a list of IU Biology faculty members and their contact information on our website.
- Where can I find information about community and cultural resources at Indiana University?
Indiana University Bloomington has a diverse and culturally rich community.
- African American Arts Institute preserves and promotes African American culture through performance, education, creative activity, research, and outreach.
- Asian Culture Center promotes awareness and understanding of Asian and Asian American cultures, histories, and issues through institutional resources, educational support, and community outreach.
- First Nations Educational and Culture Center supports the retention and recruitment of American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian students, faculty, and staff.
- LGBTQ+ Culture Center celebrates sexual and gender diversity on a campus rated one of the friendliest in the United States for queer students and their friends and supporters.
- La Casa Latino Cultural Center promotes academic excellence, personal and professional growth, and greater historical, political, and cultural awareness of the Latino community through educational and social programs.
- Neal Marshall Black Culture Center connects IU to Black culture, promotes public awareness of the Black experience, and celebrates students’ academic and leadership achievements.
- Indiana University Graduate and Professional Student Government is the official university-sponsored student government for all graduate and professional students across all Indiana University-Bloomington schools and departments. GPSG serves over 10,000 graduate and professional students at IU Bloomington by providing advocacy, academic support, community building, and access to resources.
- Office of International Services helps committed to helping international students and scholars achieve their goals—educational, personal, and professional.
If you're looking for a resource not included in the above list, please contact the IU Biology graduate office at firstname.lastname@example.org to help you find what you are seeking.
- If I still have questions, whom should I contact?
Please contact the IU Department of Biology graduate office at email@example.com. You will be referred to the person who can best answer your question.