How to Apply to Graduate School

Find a faculty advisor

It is important that you identify a potential faculty advisor, as this will greatly increase your chance of admission to our graduate programs. Although all applications are made available to faculty advisors for review, a graduate student will not be admitted to the Department of Applied Ecology for graduate studies unless he or she has identified a faculty advisor. Once a faculty advisor has requested review of a prospective student, the application is then evaluated on the applicant’s potential for success in graduate school only at the request of a faculty advisor. The admissions process involves consideration of our program’s ability to accommodate students.

What makes a successful applicant?

Successful applicants usually have a bachelor’s degree in a biological science with at least an overall ‘B’ average and a minimum number of courses in biology and supporting fields (6 in biology, 4 in chemistry, 2 in physics, and 2 in mathematics). In addition to the applicant’s grades and coursework, we consider:

  • relevant experience (e.g. through internships, volunteer, or paid work),
  • statement of interest,
  • letters of recommendation, and
  • GRE scores.

We expect applicants for the M.S. degree to have a least a 3.0 GPA and a combined quantitative and verbal GRE score of at least 295 (new GRE scale) or 1000 (old scale). For Ph.D. applicants, we look for a GPA of at least 3.2 and combined GRE of at least 308 (new GRE scale) or 1200 (old scale).

Application deadlines

  • Fall deadline: January 15
  • Spring deadline: October 15

Before applying

It is important to contact members of our faculty with whom you are interested in studying. Before an applicant is accepted into one of our graduate programs, a faculty member must indicate their willingness to accept the student. Thus, personal contact with potential faculty advisors is essential. To find research interests and contact information for faculty, you can visit their faculty profile page. You should also talk to them about the kind(s) of financial support they may have available.

The application process

All applications are submitted to the NC State Graduate School through the online application system. The application will provide information about submitting supporting documentation (including transcripts, GRE scores, letters of recommendation). If you have questions about the online application, ask the Graduate School for assistance.

Note: When writing your statement of interest, please follow the below guidelines:

  • Limit it to one typed page
  • Describe relevant work experience and how it affected your decision to apply to graduate school
  • Explain why you are interested in our degree programs
  • Identify 2-3 faculty in our department whose research interests match yours
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After applying

Once your application is complete, it is distributed to the members of our graduate admissions committee for review and is also made available to all applied ecology and biological sciences faculty. To accept an applicant, a faculty member must submit a written request to the director of graduate programs in applied ecology that includes information on how they will support the student and their research activities. That applicant must also be deemed admissible by the graduate admissions committee. We only accept M.S. and Ph.D. students if financial support is available.