Department of Biological Sciences

Graduate Admission and Assistantships: How to Apply

Academic Requirements for Admission:

  • Bachelor's degree in biology
  • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 or higher for the last 2 undergraduate years
  • No GRE or foreign language requirement

Required Admission Materials:

  1. Completed Graduate Admission Application (available from School of Graduate Studies, 309/298-1806,
  2. Three (3) letters of reference from teachers, employers, or advisors that are familiar with your academic record and your ability to be a successful graduate student. These references can be submitted by mail, e-mail or on-line ( If you send your letters of reference by e-mail, they should be sent to: the Graduate School at
  3. Written statement addressing the following questions:
    • What general area of biology (botany, microbiology, zoology, or biology education) are you interested in studying?
    • What specialized area(s) of biology (animal physiology, aquatic biology, education research, plant ecology, marine mammalogy, molecular biology, pathogenic bacteriology, wildlife biology, etc.) are you interested in studying?
    • What are your personal goals in graduate studies and how do they relate to your future professional objectives?
    • What experiences or skills do you have that are relevant to your application?
    • What are your expectations of the Graduate Degree Program in Biological Sciences at Western Illinois University?
    • If a graduate teaching assistantship was available, would you be interested and why would you want the assistantship?

Required Graduate Assistantship Materials:

  1. Completed "Application for Graduate Assistantship" (.pdf, available from School of Graduate Studies, (309) 289-1806,
  2. The required 3 letters of recommendation and written statement required for admission also satisfy the School of Graduate Studies requirements for these materials when applying for a Graduate Assistantship. They do not have to be submitted a second time.


  • Admission - applications accepted anytime
  • Assistantships - March 1 for following fall semester, October 1 for following spring semester, or until appropriate candidates are found.