Prospective Graduate Students

The Department of Integrative Biology (iBio) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison offers two MS and PhD degree programs:

  • Integrative Biology
  • Freshwater and Marine Sciences (see the FMS website)

The Integrative Biology Graduate Program provides M.S. and Ph.D. training in the following broad subject areas:

  • Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Neuroscience
  • Physiology
  • Ecology
  • Evolution
  • Animal Behavior

The iBio graduate program welcomes and is committed to support all students, regardless of their background. See: Integrative Biology Graduate Program’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Statement

Ehrlich Lab,
Bobbi Peckarsky, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, 25 Feb. 2021,
Aliota_mosquito16_4872, University of Wisconsin-Madison Photo Library, 17 May 2016.

Why Pursue a Graduate Degree with iBio?

  • Unique features of our program include its flexibility and the array of research opportunities that are not limited to the study of animals but extend to all organisms and levels of biological organization
  • Each course of study is tailored to a student’s individual interests, career goals, and needs, and we admit students with diverse academic backgrounds
  • We prepare students for a range of flexible and sustainable careers. Students leaving our program find careers in academia, industry, government, science policy and administration, science commerce, science writing, law, and science education and outreach
  • We support all students to succeed in our graduate program. We are committed to increasing diversity and to providing an inclusive environment in which each member of the iBio community feels welcome, respected, and supported. We aim to attract scientific talent from the widest pool and encourage all students motivated to explore any of our numerous areas of biological research to apply to our graduate program. As biologists, we are devoted to the study of life, and we treasure diversity. We are committed to enhancing and supporting our incredible, strong, smart, diverse community

Application Process

We take a holistic approach to admissions. We look at past research, course work and other skills and experiences. We do not have specific course prerequisites. There are no specific GPA cut offs. GRE scores are not required or considered.

Students are admitted first by individual faculty to work in their labs. Therefore, before you formally apply to the Integrative Biology Program and UW-Madison graduate school, you should contact individual professors who work in areas that interest you [faculty research areas]. You should do this directly by emailing professors [faculty directory] well in advance of the application deadline (1 December).

If you need help or advice, please contact the iBio Director of Graduate Admissions, Tony Ives ( 

In your email to professors, you should give a brief summary of your experiences and explain why you are interested in the professor’s research. The professor you contact might or might not be accepting graduate students. Therefore, you might consider contacting more than one. Discussion with the professor will allow you both to decide whether pursuing your application is appropriate.

Almost all graduate students in the Integrative Biology Graduate Program are supported with appointments as research and/or teaching assistants which also cover tuition. Therefore, we hope that you feel no financial barriers to graduate school.

Below is the checklist for the formal application process. The deadline is 1 December. However, the formal application process should be started only after contacting professors to discuss your placement in their labs.

Applicant Support (ASAP) Initiative

Applicant Support for the Application Process (ASAP) provides support to individuals from underrepresented groups and to international students during their application to the Integrative Biology graduate program. This initiative connects applicants with a volunteer Integrative Biology graduate student who will serve as a mentor to help navigate the application process. ASAP participation is optional and does not influence the decision process for admission to the Department of Integrative Biology. If interested please complete the google form.

Application Checklist

* Applications are reviewed in January and selected applicants are invited to campus for an interview weekend in February. Final admission decisions are made by the end of March, and in accordance with the Council of Graduate Schools Resolution, applicants have until April 15 to respond to an offer of admission.

1. Graduate School Requirements. Before applying, please consult the UW-Madison Graduate School website to verify that you have met the minimum requirements for admission.

2. Online Application. Applications must be submitted electronically. To access the UW-Madison Graduate School online application: Click Here

3. Reasons for Graduate Study. A personal statement (one to two pages) that includes areas of research interest and names of prospective faculty advisors must be uploaded in the online application.

4. Supplemental Application Questions. The program has a few questions to learn more about the applicant.

5. Transcripts. Transcripts must be uploaded in the online application from each institution that you have attended (undergraduate and graduate), even if no degree was received. Unofficial transcripts are accepted for the application process, but upon acceptance to the Integrative Biology Graduate Program, official transcripts will be required. Please note that international academic records must be in the original language accompanied by an official English translation. Do not send hard copies of your transcripts to the UW-Madison Graduate Admissions Office — we will not receive them by December 1 and your application will be incomplete.

6. Three Letters of Recommendation. Letters should be from persons familiar with your academic and research abilities. Instructions for letters of recommendation are on the UW-Madison Graduate School website. Please track your application status through MyUW to see if letters of recommendation have been submitted on your behalf. You may send reminders to your recommenders to ensure the letters are submitted by December 1.

7. English Proficiency Requirement. International degree-seeking applications are required to prove English proficiency. See the Graduate School requirements webpage for more information.

8. Resume or CV. A resume or CV is required and must be uploaded in the online application.

9. Application Fee. UW-Madison charges a non-refundable $75 application fee that must be paid by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) in the online application system. The online system doesn’t allow debit/ATM cards. In addition to the $75 application fee, non-U.S. citizens will be charged a $6 international document processing fee. Both fees will be processed during the submission of your application. Some students are eligible for a fee waiver. If you are interested we advise you to check out the Graduate School’s fee grant site.