FSU Biology - Application Review Process
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Biological Science - Graduate Studies

Florida State University

Review of Applications, Interviews, and Admissions Decisions in Ecology and Evolution

Our holistic review process includes a review of application materials and interviews with faculty and current students. During review of applications, interviews, and while makeing admissions decisions, faculty members consider each student's unique background, research experience, academic performance, non-cognative skills (i.e. leadership, work-ethic, community engagement, and interpersonal skills), as well as capacity for contributing to diversity, equality, and inclusion in the department.

Review of Applications:

There are three general stages for initial applications in Ecology and Evolution:

  • Early Review of applications for students eligible for Internal FSU fellowships (McKnight, Legacy, etc): Applicants who have both strong support from a prospective mentor and are eligible for internal fellowships are identified, reviewed and given an initial priority review. This allows students to be admitted prior to fellowship nomination deadlines (which is a requirement to be nominatied for any fellowship). Early admission may be granted to 1-2 students for this purpose.

  • General Review of Applications: All applications are reviewed by faculty, with priority given to applicants who have been identified as top candidates by faculty members who are actively recruiting or interested in recruiting graduate students.

  • Final Review of Applications: All applicants are reviewed again. Candidates with high promise, unique qualities, or exceptional fit for the department are identified, and faculty can indicate whether they would be willing to admit those students.

    After all three stages are complete, students are ranked by potential fit, contribution, and availability of department space (i.e. due to lab occupancy or grant requirments). Invitations for interviews are given out based on departmental funding (Teaching Assistantships) and faculty grant funding (Research Assistantships).


Prospective students that are identified for interviews are offered an opportunity to visit Tallahassee for an in-person interview OR conduct a remote interview.

  • The prospective student should meet (either in person or remotely) with at least three Ecology and Evolution faculty members (in addition to the sponsoring faculty member) and at least three current Ecology and Evolution graduate students, one of whom should be outside of the sponsoring faculty member’s lab.

  • Students hosted for an in-person interview have basic needs and rights, and will be provided a list of key amenities (e.g., private accommodations with a locking door, transportation) and are able to request specific accommodations and needs prior to their visit.

  • Students will be provided options for their visit from which to select (this may occur at a private residence with faculty or students, or at a local hotel).

  • The prospective student can request specific meetings and a tour of the core facilities, lab facilities, other University resources or facilities, and may request a tour of the surrounding areas as well.

Admissions Decisions:

Following the interview process, interviewers provide written feedback to the E&E area faculty, and admissions decisions are made collectively by all E&E faculty. Prospective student addmissions of the interviewed pool are prioritized based on:

  1. Interview Outcomes, Letters of Recommendation, Essays, and Acedemic Record
  2. Available space in specific labs and associated funding
  3. Fit of the department to the students stated objectives

Initial acceptance letters for prospective students are typically sent in March.