Graduate Programs

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AU Biology/Toxicology graduates have entered graduate study in a number of different disciplines. Opportunities exist to study for M.S. or Ph.D. degrees; often financial aid is available. Preparation for graduate study depends on the program. Information is usually available on each graduate program's web page. In general, students potentially interested in graduate study should consider taking the following courses along with their biology or toxicology major:

-Physics 201/202 General Physics or Physics 205/206 University Physics

-Chem 308 Organic Chemistry (2nd semester)

-Math 208 Elementary Statistics

Links to general graduate school information

Peterson's guide to graduate programs is a good source for finding potential programs. You should also do a google search for the subject area that interests you and talk to your faculty advisor. is another good search engine for graduate programs.

Great video with advice on how to pick a gradaute school advisor

Good general advice on PhD programs

Requirements for admission to graduate school

Graduate schools in biological sciences require the general GRE, and some require or recommend a subject GRE. Information about the GRE can be found on the ETS website. The test is computer administered and contains multiple choice "Verbal Reasoning" and "Quantitative Reasoning (math)" sections, as well as an essay based "Analytical Writing" section. We strongly recommend that you purchase a good preparation book for the GRE or take a prep class.

Here are several webpages with helpful information on the GRE:

What is the average GRE Score

What is a good GRE score

Percentile rank tables from ETS

Admissions process

-Applications typically due December of your senior year

-Undergraduate research experience is crucial for acceptance. Can be done at AU or during a summer internship at another institution

Masters programs

-Take 1-3 years, 30 credit hours

-Typically involve original research, some may allow literature review for thesis

-Graduates work in research labs or do field research, may teach at community colleges

PhD programs

-Take 4-6 years, 60 semester hours

-Require original research project

-Some programs have you do rotations through several research labs before deciding on a professor to mentor your research - typical in cellular/molecular programs

-Other programs require you to select a mentor as you enter - more common in ecology/field biology programs

-Graduates work in industry, government or academia (academic positions becoming more competitive)

-Require initial preliminary exams to identify content weaknesses in your background, and written/oral exams typically in year 2 which approve your doctoral research project


-Graduate programs typically cover your cost of tuition and pay a stipend

-Your tuition support and stipend may come from research grants or require you to teach laboratory sections of undergraduate courses