Admission Requirements

University Requirements

  • Bachelor's Degree
  • Minimum undergraduate Grade Point Average of 3.0 on a 4-point scale (for regular admission status)

For non-native speakers of English, whether international or U.S. citizens or permanent residents, proof of English proficiency as demonstrated by one of the following:

Non-native English speakers should note that the above requirements are for admission purposes only. All non-native English speakers are required to check in at KU's Applied English Center upon arrival. Some students may be required to complete an English proficiency exam and to complete English training courses before enrollment in regular courses is allowed.

  • Official scores from the TOEFL or IELTS achieved no more than two years before the semester of admission. Below are the minimum scores for regular admission status:
    • Internet-based TOEFL: reading, writing, and listening scores of at least 20
    • Computer-based TOEFL: all parts at least 20
    • Paper-based TOEFL: all parts at least 53
    • IELTS: overall band score at least 6.0 and all individual band scores at least 5.5
  • Graduation with a baccalaureate degree (or higher) earned in residence from an accredited U.S. institution of higher education.
  • Graduation with a baccalaureate degree (or higher) from a program taught in English at an international institution. This does not apply to degrees earned online. Verification of English instruction from the university is required as part of the application and can be from a catalog or program description brochure or an official letter from a department chair, dean, or other university official stipulating English as the language of instruction. The applicant must also complete a telephone interview with a KU representative.

Department Requirements

The departmental graduate admissions committee reviews the record of each applicant. The committee considers the candidate's overall undergraduate record in the context of the institution(s) from which the record was received. The student's academic record in the specialization is also important. The master's degree is not a prerequisite for entering a Ph.D. program. Domestic applicants must provide a certified score report from the Graduate Record Examination for the general test (scores from the GRE biology subject test are optional). Applicants who are not native speakers of English must provide certified scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language or from the International English Language Testing System or must have earned a baccalaureate degree from a program taught in English.

Faculty recommendations, honors, awards, undergraduate research experience, publications, and professional experience are considered.

Motivation, enthusiasm, and realistic career goals as evidenced by the applicant's essay are particularly important.

Students are encouraged to correspond with one or more faculty members during the application process, because students cannot be admitted without a faculty sponsor. The reason is the department's promise to offer successful applicants a financial support package that includes a stipend and tuition sponsorship from a combination of teaching assistantships and research assistantships financed by faculty grants.

The number of students admitted is limited. Qualified candidates may be denied admission because of lack of a faculty sponsor, financial support, or research facilities.

See our how to apply page for more information


One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
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46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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$275 million in externally funded research expenditures
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