Congratulations on taking the next step in your graduate education! This page will help you submit a complete application to the Master of Biological Sciences program.
Fall Semester Application Deadline: March 15
Spring Semester Application Deadline: October 15
First, access the online application. (In the application, select University of Minnesota Twin Cities, College of Continuing and Professional Studies, Biological Sciences MBS)
All required application materials must be electronically attached to your application.
- Professional statement: One to two pages (500-1000 words), double-spaced. Your statement should include:
- Your interest in biology and the specific area you want to focus on.
- Your professional goal and how this degree will help you reach them. Point out features of the MBS program that are relevant, such as coursework or program options.
- Your academic and/or professional experience. Examples may include research experience, leadership or volunteer roles, academic work, or other activities.
- Your strengths and growth opportunities; for example, specific skills that will help you succeed in this program and your career, what you will bring to this program, what you have learned from challenges and how you overcame them.
- Diversity statement: Not required
- Extenuating Circumstances statement: One page (500 words). Required if your undergraduate GPA is below 3.0. You may also submit this statement if there are other areas of your academic record that you would like to address.
- Briefly describe what impacted your academic performance.
- Explain how circumstances have changed and what new supports or strategies you will use to meet the demands of graduate school, like time management, self-care, etc.
- Allow time for multiple drafts.
- Have at least one person review it and give feedback.
- Share your present, past, and future as they relate to the program and your goals.
- Include specific examples to illustrate your skills.
- Keep it simple: one to three pages long.
- Avoid listing all activities from your resume or application in narrative form.
- Don't use clichéd language (“I have wanted to be xyz for as long as I can remember…”)
- Correct poor language, grammar, spelling, etc.
- Don't disclose overly personal information.
Letters of Recommendation
Two letters of recommendation are required.
The best letters come from instructors who know you and your academic work, or from employers or supervisors that have knowledge of: your interest in biology, ability to work in the field, and skills that will help you complete the MBS degree. The more the letter reflects real knowledge of you and your performance, the more useful it is to the admissions committee. Ask them whether they will be able to write you a strong recommendation. If the answer is “no”, find a different person.
Remember to share with your letter writers:
- a current CV or resume
- professional statement
- information about the MBS program
- why you are applying to the program
Tell the letter writers to include in their recommendation:
- how long they have known you and in what capacity
- their current position and organization
- your skills and experience that will prepare you to succeed in the MBS program and your desired career
- how you have grown as a scholar or professional
- your leadership and/or collaboration experience
- your performance in their course(s) or workplace
- Ask a current/former supervisor, colleague, or instructor.
- Ask them if they feel comfortable writing a strong recommendation.
- Have a backup writer in case of emergency.
- Talk with each letter writer about the program, your current/future interests, and professional goals.
- Give them a clear deadline (typically 4-6 weeks).
- Share your professional statement and resume or CV with your letter writers.
- Avoid asking a family member, friend, sponsor, or clergy member.
- Send the letter-writers a thank you!
Unofficial transcripts or academic records for each institution (even if you didn’t receive a degree) should be uploaded directly to the online application. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. If possible, make sure the institution has put your name on the transcript/record.
Resume or CV
Submit a current resume or CV (curriculum vitae). Make sure it is up-to-date and free of errors. In addition to work history, include relevant research experience or publications, volunteer activities, training, etc.
A nonrefundable application fee must be paid on submission.
Your complete application will include:
- An online application
- A professional statement
- Two letters of recommendation
- College transcripts
- A resume or curriculum vitae
- English language test scores (if applicable)
- An application fee
You will receive an admission decision four to six weeks after the application deadline. If you have questions about admission requirements, or would like advice on how to gather your application materials, please contact admissions advisor Steve Wicks.
Ready to apply?
Transferring Graduate Credits
You may be able to transfer up to 10 credits of graduate-level coursework completed prior to admission, with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies.
Transfer coursework requirements:
- Taken at the University of Minnesota or another accredited institution
- Completed at the graduate level and listed on a graduate transcript
- Earned a grade of B or better
- Completed no more than five years prior to admission to the program
Transferring Undergraduate Credits
You may be able to transfer up to six of the ten transfer coursework credits taken as an undergraduate at the U of M, with the approval of the Director of Graduate Studies and the Associate Director for Graduate Programs.
Please email graduate enrollment advisor Steve Wicks to learn more.
If your native language is not English, please submit scores from the TOEFL, MELAB, or IELTS English proficiency examination. Read more about required scores.
- Required TOEFL scores are 84 or above, with section scores of at least 21 on writing and at least 19 on reading.
- Required IELTS score is 6.5, with section scores of at least 6.5 for both on writing and reading.
- Required MELAB score is 84.
International students interested in the Master of Biological Sciences should contact the International Student and Scholar Service for information on visa status.
Taking a Course Before Admission
How to Register for Undergraduate Courses to Meet Prerequisites
Complete the steps outlined on the registration page for non-degree students. Undergraduate courses used to meet prerequisites will not count toward your degree requirements.
How to Register for Graduate-level Courses
Credit courses taken before admission may be applied toward your degree. You can take a graduate-level course before being admitted if:
- the course is graduate-level (4xxx-level or above), and
- you register for credit as a non-degree graduate student and pay graduate-level tuition.
Follow these steps to register:
- Find the course you want using the Schedule Builder tool.
- Download and submit a Registration Request for Graduate Credit for Non-degree Students form. Registration for non-degree students is not available online.
- Send the form to the department offering the course for authorization. Use this form each term until you are admitted to the program.
- The department offering the course will forward the form to the registrar or give you further instructions.
- You will receive confirmation and payment instructions by email.
You can find more information on the registration page for non-degree students.
Financing Your Education
The MBS program does not offer Teaching or Research Assistantships. Here are some other financing options that could help you pay for graduate school.
Fellowships and Grants
Fellowships offer the opportunity to fund your education without the work requirements of an assistantship or debt payments of a student loan.
Scholarships, Loans, and Financial Aid
Visit the CCAPS financial aid website to learn more about our collegiate scholarships, federal financial aid, and non-U of M financing options.
Some employers may help pay for your graduate education if it relates to your goals at work. Talk with your organization's human resources representative to learn more.
Why should your company invest in your education?
- You'll be able to handle more responsibilities and roles.
- Your company will increase productivity, which will help it grow (or help it save money).
- Your company could attract and help keep high-quality talent.
- Your company will demonstrate a commitment to growth and the creation of mentors and leaders.
- You can cultivate job satisfaction.
You may be eligible for a U of M graduate assistantship outside of the MBS program, which is basically a part-time job in research or teaching. You can view open graduate assistantships on the U of M Human Resources website.
Graduate enrollment advisor Steve Wicks is happy to answer your questions about the MBS program and the application procedure.
Or you can give Steve a call at 612-301-6127.
Do you have a more detailed question or want to tell us a little bit about yourself before the meeting? Fill out this brief questionnaire.