Department of Biological Sciences

Graduate Admission and Assistantships: How to Apply

Academic Requirements for Regular Admission:

  • Bachelor's degree in biology or related field
  • Undergraduate cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
    • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0 during the last two years
  • No GRE
  • International Admissions have additional requirements (e.g, foreign language and financial resources.

Academic Requirements for Probationary Admission:

  • Bachelor's degree in biology or related field
  • If cumulative Undergraduate GPA is less than 3.0:
    • Overall GPA must be at least 2.75 and at least 3.0 during the last two years
    • Strongly encouraged (though not required) to identify a Biology Faculty member willing to serve as your graduate advisor
    • If accepted, students who fall into this category will not be eligible for a TA position until earning and maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0

Degree Options in Biology

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.
  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, Email additional copy of the Graduate Assistantship application to
  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.
  3. Review additional information at:


  • Admission - applications accepted anytime but early applications are encouraged to be considered for assistantships.
  • Assistantships - Students must be accepted to be considered for an assistantship by Feb 15 for following fall semester, Sept 15 for following spring semester, or until appropriate candidates are found.