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Graduate Biology Program (M.S. Degree)

The Department of Biological Sciences offers a Masters of Science degree in biology for students who wish to prepare for careers in research and teaching or continue their education through a Ph.D., subsequently entering careers in research or college and university teaching.

The main emphasis during this two-year program is the development and completion of a research thesis under the supervision of a student's major professor. The program of research and course work developed for each graduate student takes into account the academic background, present interests, and future goals of the student.

What qualities do we expect in a student who applies to our program?

1. A strong biological background. Almost all of our graduate students received a B.S. or B.A. degree in biology.

2. A cumulative bachelor's GPA of 2.75 or higher. This 2.75 is the bare minimum; a higher GPA certainly will be more impressive!

3. Good scores on the GRE exam. We don't require a specific minimum, but if your scores are high we will be more likely to accept you. If your cumulative undergraduate GPA is 3.0 or higher, you only have to take the General GRE. If your cumulative GPA is between 2.75 and 3.0 you must take both the General GRE and the biology subject GRE. We must have official GRE scores before we will consider your application.

4. Good written and oral communication ability (you will need to provide a formal written statement of your Objectives and Goals). Biologists need good communication skills.

5. Evidence of a strong commitment to excellence. We want you to succeed as a graduate student (and beyond) and we will do everything we can to help you, but ultimately it's up to you.

New students may start at the beginning of any academic quarter. A complete application must be received at least 30 calendar days before the first day of the quarter in which you want to enroll. Any applications completed after this date will be reviewed as soon as possible, and accepted students will be allowed to begin their programs the following quarter. Application processing and acceptances will begin on February 15 for the following academic year. Early application is advised as space is limited (we typically can handle a maximum of 10 graduate students). Accepted students will take Graduate Comprehensive Exams during the first spring break after enrollment in the graduate program. A complete application consists of:

  • The application form
  • Three letters of recommendation (unless you are a WWU biology major, in which case we already know you)
  • Official transcripts from all accredited colleges/universities you have attended
  • Personal statement
  • Official GRE scores

View the Graduate Program Steps to Enrollment for a detailed outline of how to enroll.

For detailed information about the program requirements, refer to the Graduate Bulletin(pdf).

Most of our graduate students receive a Teaching Assistantship. Responsibilities typically include working 12-20 hours per week teaching or assisting in biology labs. In return we pay for all of your tuition, which comes out to be about $4,400 per quarter, or almost $13,200 a year. You also receive a monthly stipend of approximately $520.00 While you won't get rich, the stipend is usually enough to pay rent in the Walla Walla area (especially if you have a roommate) and allow you to eat every now and then.

Joan Redd, Graduate Program Director
Department of Biological Sciences
Walla Walla University
204 South College Avenue
College Place, WA 99324
(509) 527-2482 or (800) 541-8900

Last update on October 4, 2016