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Admission and Application

Requirements for Admission

Applicants to both the Biology and the Microbiology MS programs are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in biology or a related science, including a course in statistics or calculus. Evidence of English proficiency is required. This may be demonstrated by (1) having attended a U.S. college or university continuously for more than one year, (2) by holding a U.S. undergraduate degree, (3) by having received an undergraduate degree from a foreign institution where English is the language of instruction, (4) by having resided in the U.S. for more than one year without being a student, or (5) by submitting an official TOEFL score of at least 550 (paper-based) or 79-80 (internet-based) or (6) by submitting an IELTS score with an overall band score minimum of 7.0.

Once the Office of Graduate Studies has a complete application, it is forwarded to the department for evaluation by our Graduate Committee. Note that our department’s requirements are more restrictive than the university’s minimal requirements; it is our opinion that students who do not meet these criteria have a reduced probability of success in our graduate program.

For admission in full standing, the Department of Biology requires:

1. An overall undergraduate grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better (on a 4.0 scale), as evinced by an official transcript; if the overall undergraduate GPA is less than 3.0, the applicant must have earned a GPA of 3.25 or better during the last half of undergraduate work (approximately 60 credits).

2. Three positive letters of recommendation detailing the applicant’s abilities in the sciences and potential to succeed in graduate school. At least two will be written by university professors in the sciences. For students who earned their B.S. degree 5 or more years ago, letters from supervisors, preferably in STEM fields, may be acceptable.

Students who do not meet the criteria for full standing admission may be admitted on probation, if the department’s Graduate Committee sees evidence of the applicant’s potential to succeed in graduate school. To achieve full standing, an applicant admitted on probation must earn a 3.0 GPA in the next nine (9) credits attempted.

An applicant who meets the above criteria for admission in full standing, but whose baccalaureate is in a non-science discipline, may be admitted conditionally, if the department’s Graduate Committee sees evidence of the applicant’s potential to succeed in graduate school. If an applicant is admitted conditionally, the Graduate Committee will require successful completion of such undergraduate courses as they believe necessary to permit the applicant to succeed in our program. Although these deficiencies may be addressed concurrently with graduate work, they do not count toward the total graduate credits required for graduation.

Application to the Program

All students must apply through the UW Oshkosh Office of Graduate Studies. Application materials will be sent to that office but will be reviewed by a faculty committee in the Department of Biology.

For more information, please contact Dr. Bob Stelzer (, Graduate Coordinator and Professor of Biology. Dr. Stelzer will gladly set up a meeting with you to talk about opportunities in our MS Program and to answer any questions you may have.