FAQs

Prospective Students

Frequently Asked Questions

Admissions

How many applications do you receive?

We get between 200 and 300 applications for graduate study in Biological Science each year.

How many students do you admit?

Our entering class each fall is usually 10-20 students.

When are admissions decisions made?

Applications are reviewed in January, and interviews are held in January and February. Admission decisions are made in March. If admitted, you would have until April 15 to commit to FSU.

Can my admissions fee be waived?

No. The admissions fee (currently $30) is collected by the University Office of Admissions, and is not controlled by Biological Science.

What information should I provide in my Statement of Purpose?

There is no specific prompt for your statement. But we are looking for students with a passion for Biology, undergraduate experience in research, and the desire to explore specific scientific questions. So, your statement should include something about your background and experience, the sort of biological phenomena which excite you, and the specific research topics and faculty labs that attracted you to our program.

What type of coursework is required for admission?

Some upper level courses (3000 & 4000 level) that are foundational in biology, like Genetics, or Evolution, or Cell Biology, and Molecular Biology. The specific track you chose depends on whether you were more interested in Cellular/Molecular Biology, Neuroscience, or Evolution/Ecology for your graduate work. Some general science classes in Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics/Statistics would also be helpful.

Are applicants required to have previous research experience?

Research experience is not an absolute requirement, but it is very helpful to have. The Thesis MS and PhD degrees are intensive research degrees, and it is good to show that you know what you are getting into. In your application, the faculty will look for evidence that you have had some prior research experience in a Biology lab. This could come from volunteering in a lab, or working as a lab technician or field worker, or from a supervised research project for credit (called Directed Individual Study, at FSU). So taking math and science course is a good idea, but be on the look out for research opportunities as well.

What are the average GRE scores and GPAs of accepted students?

The average GRE scores for accepted students are $156 (64%) Quantitative and $157 (74%) Verbal.

Do I need to fill out FASFA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid)?

Probably, if you are a domestic applicant. The FAFSA is not required for admission, and it is not required to receive the departmental stipend and tuition waivers. However, many scholarships and fellowships which are available to incoming students are categorized as financial aid, and therefore require you to fill out a FASFA. The application can be found on the FAFSA website

May I apply to the Biological Sciences PhD program directly out of college or a work experience, or do I need to have a Master’s degree to be considered?

We do not require a Master's degree in order to apply to the PhD program, although having previous research experience in a research lab as an undergraduate or post-bac is very helpful.

Can I be accepted in the spring semester for the PhD program?

The standard starting semester is the fall semester. However, in exceptional cases, and if funding allows, students are admitted in the spring semester. If you have a compelling case, please discuss it with the Biology Graduate Office or your faculty contact.

How many letters of recommendation are required, and from whom?

May I submit my application prior to submitting my GRE scores/transcript?

Yes, although we will need your full application by the final deadline of $January 31, 2018 in order to properly evaluate your qualifications and compare you to other applicants.

May I submit my application prior to my writers sending my recommendation letters?

Does the Biological Sciences program offer a Masters degree?

Yes, we offer two Masters degrees: the course-type Masters degree and the Thesis Masters degree.


Research

What faculty are available for me to do my graduate research work with?

How do I choose a lab to work in?

How does the lab rotation work?

Should I contact faculty members whose research areas interest me and whose labs I might like to join?

What is your average time to degree?

What are the course work requirements?


Financial Support & Teaching

Which students are eligible for stipends and tuition waivers?

Students pursuing the course-type Masters Degree are not eligible for a departmental stipend or tuition waivers. All Thesis-MS and PhD students, however, receive a stipend and tuition waivers for all 3 terms (including summer terms).

What is the stipend?

The current annual stipend is $23330.84 for doctoral students, and $22399.26 for Thesis MS students.

What are your tuition and fees?

Tuition Waivers

Health Insurance

Are teaching or laboratory assistantships required for receipt of financial aid?

Yes, in order to receive a stipend and tuition waivers, all students must be enrolled as fulltime students with a halftime (20 h/week) appointment as either a teaching assistant or as a research assistant (e.g. in their professor's lab).

How much teaching is required of your graduate students?

The formal degree requirements are that thesis-MS students must TA for one semester, and PhD students must TA for 2 semesters. However, in each semester about 70% of graduate students are TAs. Research assistantships depend on the level of funding of your professor's lab, and your ability to get University or external fellowships to provide for your stipend.

What kind of financial aid is available?

Is financial support available for international students?

Yes, fulltime international thesis-MS and PhD students receive the same departmental stipend and tuitions waivers as domestic students.

Do I need to fill out FASFA?

Probably, if you are a domestic applicant. Although the FAFSA is required for admission, and it is not required to receive the departmental stipend and tuition waivers, many scholarships and fellowships which are available to incoming students are categorized as financial aid, and therefore require you to fill out a FASFA. The application can be found on the FAFSA website.

What do graduate Teaching Assistants do in your department?

Does the department support students attending meetings and conferences?


International Students

Do you accept international students?

Yes! Students from Latin America and the Carribean are particularly encouraged to apply (see LACS website). If you are accepted and decide to come to FSU, we will work with you and the FSU Center for Global Engagement to help you meet the requirements to study in the US.

How many international students do you accept?

We usually accept 3-5 international students each year. Overall, about 25% of Biology graduate students are international students, from China, India, Germany, Canada, Panama, Mexico, among other countries.

Is financial support available for international students?

Yes, fulltime international thesis-MS and PhD students receive the same departmental stipend and tuitions waivers as domestic students.

Do I have to take the TOEFL?

I went to an English-speaking undergraduate or graduate institution. Do I still need to take the TOEFL?

Can I take an alternative to the TOEFL?

Are there other language requirements for international students?