University of Idaho - I Banner
A student works at a computer


U of I's web-based retention and advising tool provides an efficient way to guide and support students on their road to graduation. Login to VandalStar.

Graduate Studies

The Department of Biological Sciences offers research opportunities for advanced study at the master's (M.S.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) levels. The standard admissions process occurs once a year to make decisions about entrance for the upcoming Fall semester; this is the admissions date that should be chosen by applicants, in general. The priority deadline for Fall 2024 admission to our program is Dec.1, 2023. Applications will continue to be considered as space and funding allow after this point.

For exceptional circumstances, it is possible to be considered for admission to Spring or Summer. It should be noted, however, that consideration will only be given to such applicants who have already contacted a prospective faculty mentor and have received that faculty member’s encouragement to apply off-cycle. 

Our department accepts applicants in two ways:

Direct admission: An applicant is placed directly into a major advisor’s research group. All MS students must apply for direct admission; Ph.D. students may choose direct admission

Rotation Admission (Ph.D. applicants only): Alternatively, Ph.D. students may opt for our rotation program and work in two to three research laboratories during their first year in the graduate program prior to making a choice of faculty advisors. 

Regardless of whether you choose direct admission or rotation track, all applicants need to indicate the potential major advisor(s) they are interested in working with. This indication should be made directly in the application form and should be discussed in the Personal Statement. We strongly encourage applicants to contact these prospective faculty advisors ahead of submitting their application to discuss the opportunities that may or may not be available in that laboratory. For Ph.D. applicants interested in rotation options, these contacts are in part to ascertain whether there are at least one or more faculty that can host students for a rotation. 

*Note that the best way to establish such a discussion is to write a tailored email that addresses your prior research experience, indicates what it is about the target faculty mentor’s research that interests you, and connects these two in terms of how you would like to proceed with your graduate studies. This is particularly critical for direct admission.

Please contact the admissions chair, Chris Marx, if you have any further questions regarding the graduate programs in biological sciences. Although it is a common request, we are unfortunately unable to offer application fee waivers. 

Master of Science Degree

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree, with options in biology or neuroscience, is a research degree requiring a thesis with a minimum of 30 semester credits.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree has options in biology, microbiology/molecular biology/biochemistry, or neuroscience. The Ph.D. is a research degree requiring a thesis with a minimum of 78 semester credits. The credit totals for both degrees include credit for dissertation research.

Research in the Department

Research in the department is clustered in several focus areas, utilizing a variety of microorganism, plant, or animal models: Biomedicine, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Evolution and Ecology, and Neuroscience.

For more complete information on research concentrations, please see the faculty profile pages and the faculty research lab web pages.


We offer graduate and undergraduate research opportunities in biomedicine, cellular and molecular biology, ecology and evolution, and neuroscience.

See our research


Department of Biological Sciences

Physical Address:
Life Sciences South 252

Mailing Address:
875 Perimeter Drive MS 3051
Moscow, ID 83844-3051

Phone: 208-885-6280

Fax: 208-885-7905


Web: Department of Biological Sciences