Skip to content

The University of Texas at ArlingtonThe University of Texas at Arlington

College of Science


Ph.D. Program: How to apply

How to apply - Department of Biology

First, read the general instructions for applying to the graduate program and download the checklists available on the Office of Graduate Studies webpage:

The text below contains additional information requested by the Department of Biology.

All applications are reviewed on the following schedule:

  • For entrance in the Fall semester:
    Completed applications will be under review starting January 10 (e.g., January 10, 2021 for Fall 2021 entry). Applicants are notified of admissions decision typically in the January through March time frame.
  • For entrance in the Spring semester:
    Completed applications will be under review starting September 15 (e.g., September 15, 2021 for Spring 2022 entry). Applicants are notified of admissions decision typically in the September through November time frame.

Questions? Please contact Dr. Woo-Suk Chang (

Admission Requirements

Students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Biology must apply to either the “B.S. to Ph.D. track” or the “Ph.D. program”, with the corresponding prerequisites:

B.S. to Ph.D. track: A bachelor's degree in biology, or a bachelor's degree in some other discipline with at least 12 hours of advanced level coursework (junior or senior level courses) in biology.

Ph.D. program: A master's degree in biology, or at least 30 hours of graduate level coursework in biology is required. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale), as calculated by the Graduate School, is expected. An applicant's GPA in science courses will be taken into consideration. If an applicant has a master's degree, the GPA from their master's degree will also be considered. For applicants with up to 30 hours of graduate coursework but no master's degree, the GPA from those hours will be also be taken into consideration.

GRE: A satisfactory score on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Successful students tend to have a minimum combined score of 301 on the Verbal and Quantitative sections under the new scoring system (1100 old scoring system), with strong performance on the Quantitative section of the GRE.

Application, scores, and transcripts: Apply online through the UTA Office of Graduate Studies: As instructed, have your GRE scores and official transcripts sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies.

International students: Students whose native language is not English must provide a score on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) of at least 45, a minimum score of 23 on the Speaking portion of the TOEFL iBT exam or a minimum score of 7 on the Speaking portion of the IELTS exam. See the following website for complete details:

Letters of recommendation: Have three letters of recommendation sent directly to the Biology Department: Graduate Advisor, Department of Biology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX 76019-0498. Ideally one or two letters should come from professors or instructors who can speak to your academic abilities, and the others may come from employers or other individuals who can comment on your work ethic and potential for graduate study. You may send letters or use the .pdf form available through the Office of Graduate Studies: Recommendation letters can be sent to the Graduate Program Assistant (

Letter of intent: Please email a Letter of Intent to the Graduate Program Assistant ( and include the following information:

  • Indicate that you are seeking the Ph.D. degree
  • Tell us which research track you are interested in: Genomic Biology, Ecology and Evolution, or Microbiology and Molecular Biology
  • Provide names of the faculty member(s) whom you hope will supervise your dissertation, and if you are interested in a lab rotation

Your letter will be forwarded to the faculty members you indicate, but you should also contact those individuals directly to determine if s/he is taking new students and has the resources to support your research. During your first semester you will join/rotate through one or two labs that you are interested in and that are currently recruiting students. If no fit is found during your first semester, you have the option of rotating through additional labs the second semester.

Please visit the listed faculty pages to find faculty research that you might be interested in and contact those faculty members to set up a rotation. In addition to the faculty listed on our website, we are hiring new faculty this year with research interests across all of our major disciplines: genomics and genetics, microbiology and molecular biology, and global change/ecology and evolution. As soon as these new hires become official, the new faculty will be added to our website. We feel confident that you will find an exciting and dynamic dissertation lab to join.

Funding opportunities: Ph.D. students are not admitted to the graduate program without financial support in the form of Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs), funded by the department, or Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs), funded by grants to individual faculty members. Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. In general, there are more assistantships available for the fall semester than the spring semester. All Ph.D. students enrolled full-time and receiving an assistantship are eligible for in-state tuition regardless of residence. The UTA Graduate Dean’s office awards small fellowships to outstanding new students.

Areas of research: Ecology and Systematics; Genome Biology and Genetics; Cell Biology; Microbiology and Molecular Biology.

Career opportunities: Students who complete the Ph.D. program often go into academia, biotechnology, biomedical industries, government research, or positions in research institutes. Complete information is available in the UTA Graduate Catalog.

Checking the status of your application: Please contact the Biology Graduate Program Assistant to determine the status of your application.

Biology Graduate Handbook

The Biology Graduate Handbook is updated annually and contains most of the information you may be seeking regarding our program. Graduate Advisor: Dr. Woo-Suk Chang,, 817-272-5570 (phone), 817-272-9722 (fax).