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Department of Biological Sciences

Graduate Applicants

Before you apply, we encourage you to reach out to faculty members who share your research interests. If you're seeking a research degree, you'll be working closely with our faculty in completing your research.

Choose a Program

  • Graduate Studies in Biological Sciences (M.S. or Ph.D.)
  • Accelerated Bachelor's/Graduate Study in Biological Sciences (M.S., for USC undergraduates only)
  • Professional Master's in Biotechnology (PSM)
  • Professional Master's in Bioinformatics (PSM) 

Graduate Application Process

Access the Application Portal on the Graduate School website. You will be directed to establish an account and how to provide the necessary information. Be sure to indicate the correct program to which you wish to apply (Biological Sciences, MS; Biological Sciences, PhD; Accelerated Bachelor's/Graduate Study in Biological Sciences, M.S.; Professional Sciences Masters, PSM; or Sciences MAT).

January 1 is the deadline for applications for admission to the Fall semester of that year. If you have questions please contact Heidi Tolles. The Department of Biological Sciences makes special admissions for students starting in the Spring and Summer semesters as requested by individual faculty members. Students interested in special admission must first contact prospective faculty mentors.

The Graduate School Application Portal provides details on preparing the necessary information.

Applicants are required to provide transcripts, a minimum of two letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, etc. Applicants should also be sure to fill out the supplemental information sheet available through the Application Portal.

The Department of Biological Sciences accepts students, in part, based upon their interests in relation to those of the faculty. Thus applications should contact prospective faculty mentors with whom they hope to work to determine mutual interests and availability of positions within the laboratory of the prospective mentor.

Graduate students are accepted into the Ph.D. or M.S. programs only if they have financial support. The majority of students in the Biological Sciences are supported through teaching assistantships provided by the Department or research assistantships provided by their faculty mentor. Students with independent financial support (NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Fulbright Fellowship, etc.) are also encouraged to apply.

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