Application to the Program

Applicants to graduate programs in Biology and Ecology are expected to hold a Bachelors degree in a biological science, including coursework in associated sciences (mathematics, chemistry, and physics with associated laboratories). We do not exclude students with other backgrounds, but deficiencies in a student’s background in biology and other sciences may have to be rectified with coursework taken without graduate credit. As a rule, we use the requirements for our own undergraduate majors as a guide to assessing the background of graduate applicants. These are listed in the Undergraduate Programs page. We encourage applicants to identify an area of research interest and a potential advisor on the application; students contemplating applying should feel free to contact members of the faculty (see faculty research information and faculty addresses) to discuss possible research projects even before submission of the application. A research project is a central part of both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. All applicants will be automatically considered for teaching or research assistantships. Many students are supported by research grants to individual faculty members; interested students should contact faculty members directly for further information on grant-supported assistantships.

More financial information can be found at the Graduate Financial Support page.

Application procedure
The Graduate School requires the following from all applicants for admission:

  1. One copy of the Application for Admission to the Graduate School. (This and other official forms are available on the Web at or by mail from the Graduate School.)
  2. One copy of official transcripts from each institution attended.
  3. Three letters of recommendation (on the Graduate School’s recommendation form) from persons in a position to judge the applicant’s preparation for and ability to undertake graduate study. The letter writer should send his or her letter directly to the Graduate School (address below) and in duplicate.
  4. Application fee (non-refundable).
  5. GRE scores are no longer required, and will not be reviewed if submitted.
  6. International applicants whose native language is not English must submit official report of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The Graduate School requires a score of 550 on the TOEFL or the equivalent on the computer-based TOEFL (CBT). Applicants for a Teaching Assistantship must score at least 580. Applicants with scores below 550 can be admitted provisionally and will then be required to take English language training.

All application materials, including letters of recommendation, should be submitted to:

The Graduate School
University of Maine
5755 Stodder Hall
Orono, ME 04469-5755

There is no strict deadline for application, but January 15 is the target date for receipt of applications for the following fall semester. Most assistantships, including several competitive University-wide fellowships, are awarded between late January and the middle of February. Applications will be accepted until all assistantships are awarded, typically through March. Applications for the spring semester should be complete by November 1.

Review of Applications
When an application and all required supporting material have been received, the application is reviewed by the Graduate Committee of the School of Biology and Ecology. If it is found acceptable, it is circulated to potential advisors among the faculty of the School. If a faculty member agrees to serve as advisor to the applicant, the Graduate Committee considers the application for financial support (typically a Teaching Assistantship or a Research Assistantship) and, if that support can be identified, recommends the applicant for acceptance by the Graduate School and for an award of financial support by the School Director. Official notification of acceptance and financial support will be sent to the applicant by the Graduate School once the School Director, the Dean of the College, and the Director of the Graduate School have approved the acceptance.

Applicants can check on the status of their application by calling the School Office (207-581-2540) or by contacting the Graduate Coordinator through E-mail.


Dr. Michael Kinnison, Graduate Coordinator
School of Biology and Ecology
5751 Murray Hall
Orono, ME 04469-5751 ph: 207-581-2575

Ecology and Environmental Sciences:
Dr. Brian Olsen, Graduate Coordinator, Ecology and Environmental Science
School of Biology and Ecology
200 Clapp Greenhouse
Orono, ME 04469-5751
ph: 207-581-2542