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: February 20
Spring Semester Application Deadline: September 15


Application Materials

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. However, if you are applying for a fee waiver, do not submit payment at the time of submission. If approved for a fee waiver, you will be notified via email and the fee waiver will be applied to your account.

Applicant Statements

  • Professional statement: One to two pages, 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.
  • Extenuating Circumstances statement: One page. Required if you have a GPA below 3.0 or little work experience. We recommend that you submit this statement if there are other areas of your academic record that you would like to address, e.g., grades below B in core STEM classes.
    • 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.


  • Review the professional statement prompts and make sure your statement addresses all of them.
  • Use professional discretion and intention when disclosing personal details.Allow time for multiple drafts.
  • Allow time for multiple drafts.
  • Have at least one person review it and give feedback.
  • Avoid listing all activities from your resume/CV or application in narrative form.
  • Express yourself authentically: avoid cliched or overly formal language.

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 your letter writers 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.

Application Fee

A nonrefundable application fee must be paid on submission.

CCAPS offers a limited number of application fee waivers to US citizens/permanent residents. Complete this form if you’d like to be considered. We strongly recommend applying for a fee waiver at least two weeks before the application deadline.

If you are applying for a fee waiver, do not submit payment along with your application. We can not reimburse your fee if you have already paid. Due to the limited number, not all application fee waivers will be approved.

You will be notified via email if your application has been approved. If approved, the fee waiver will be applied to your account. If not approved, you should then submit your payment.

Application Checklist

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?

Apply Now

Transferring Credits

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.

International Students

English Language Proficiency

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 writing and reading.
  • Required MELAB score is 84.
  • Required Duolingo score is 110.

Visa Status

International students interested in the Master of Professional Studies in ADDC or IBH should contact the International Student and Scholar Service for information on visa status.

Financing Your Education

International students are not eligible for federal financial aid or CCAPS scholarships and must provide financial evidence showing that they can cover tuition, living expenses, and university health insurance, Student Health Benefit Plan, during their period of study. Note that international students cannot count on obtaining a job to finance all of their academic and living expenses and need to plan accordingly.

CCAPS does not offer graduate research or teaching assistantships. However, CCAPS graduate students may be eligible for a U of M graduate assistantship outside of the Master of Professional Studies in ADDC or IBH, which is basically a part-time job in research or teaching. These assistantships are highly competitive and are not guaranteed. You can view open graduate assistantships on the U of M Human Resources website.

To learn more about financing your education, visit Plan Your Expenses or make an appointment with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

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 nondegree graduate student and pay graduate-level tuition.

More information is available on the CCAPS Taking Graduate Courses page.

Financing Your Education

CCAPS Graduate Education programs do not provide living stipends, research assistantships, or teaching assistantships as might be expected in a typical PhD program.

  • US-based students: CCAPS offers modest financial need-based scholarships to eligible students, and a limited number of merit-based scholarships. However, in most cases students work while going to school in order to cover living expenses and pay tuition out of pocket, including health insurance.
  • International students: Are not eligible for federal financial aid or CCAPS scholarships and must provide financial evidence showing that they can cover tuition, living expenses, and the Student Health Benefit plan health insurance during their period of study. To learn more about planning for these expenses, visit Plan Your Expenses or make an appointment with International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS).

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.

Employer Reimbursement 
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 employer will increase productivity, which will help it grow (or help it save money).
  • Your employer could attract and help keep high-quality talent.
  • Your employer will demonstrate a commitment to growth and the creation of mentors and leaders.
  • You can cultivate job satisfaction.

Graduate Assistantships 
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.

Admissions Advising

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.