Prospective Graduate Students

The Department of Integrative Biology (iBio) at the University of Wisconsin – Madison offers two MS and PhD degree programs: Zoology, Freshwater and Marine Sciences. For Freshwater and Marine Sciences, please check out the FMS website.

The Zoology 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, and animal behavior. 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.

Zoology Graduate Program’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Statement

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 Zoology 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 (arives@wisc.edu). 

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 Zoology 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.

Important Note to Applicants: While our department name has recently changed from Zoology to Integrative Biology, the name of our graduate program is still Zoology (and likely to change soon). Applicants should select the Zoology M.S. or Ph.D. program when completing an application.

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. 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 Zoology 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.

5. 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.

6. Official TOEFL Scores. The TOEFL is required for applicants who have not completed at least two full-time semesters of graded course work, exclusive of ESL courses, in a U.S. college or university, or at an institution outside the U.S. where English is the exclusive language of instruction. The Graduate School’s minimum TOEFL requirement is 92 for the internet-based test or 580 for the paper-based test. On the TOEFL registration form, use code number 1846 for “Institution”. TOEFL scores must be received by December 1.

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

8. Application Fee. UW-Madison charges a non-refundable $75 application fee that must be paid by credit card (Visa or MasterCard) or debit/ATM card in the online application system. 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.