Admissions Requirements, Procedures and Deadlines

Admission Deadlines:

Deadlines for applications are January 15 for the Fall semester and October 1 for the Spring semester. For full consideration for financial assistance, applications must be received by the scheduled deadline for each semester. Please note that the majority of admissions are made for the Fall semester; Spring admissions are restricted to exceptional candidates.

Application Requirements:

In addition to the General Requirements for admission to graduate study at UNC Charlotte, the following requirements are specific to the Department of Biological Sciences. Applicants will be evaluated in a holistic manner to identify those who have the greatest potential for success in this program. Under most circumstances, competitive applicants to the program will have:

  • a B.S. or B.A. degree from an accredited university.

  • An overall grade point average of at least 3.0 out of 4.0. Additionally, competitive applicants should have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in biological sciences.

  • A competitive score on the Graduate Record Examination General Test in AVERAGING at least the 60%ile (AVERAGE for the verbal and quantitative sections). Although a strong score in the written section score is considered positively, it is not used in the AVERAGE calculation. For reference, in the past several years, a score of 158/159 corresponds to the 77%ile, a score of 155 on each section corresponds to 65%ile, and a score of 151 on each section corresponds to the 50%ile, while a score of 149 on each section corresponds to the 40%ile. The GRE must have been taken within three years of application. The GRE may be waived for applicants with a M.D. from a U.S. institution.

  • EITHER a Major within biological sciences department or interdisciplinary areas of chemistry, biochemistry, nanotechnology, biophysics, bioengineering, biotechnology, kinesiology, and health sciences OR a minimum of 24 hours in within biological sciences department or interdisciplinary areas of chemistry, biochemistry, nanotechnology, biophysics, bioengineering, biotechnology, kinesiology, and health sciences. 

  • Undergraduate or previous coursework must include at least one course in each of the areas of genetics, physiology, and cell/molecular biology. Highly competitive applicants will have one year each of general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and college level mathematics.

  • A Personal Statement (double spaced; limit to 2 pages) which clearly addresses: (1) why the applicant wishes to pursue a Ph.D. degree, (2) why a doctorate versus another type of graduate certificate or degree option is congruent with professional goals, (3) why the applicant is interested in this specific UNC Charlotte program, and (4) the area of research or faculty of interest to the applicant as potential mentors.

  • Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact any specific faculty members which whom they would be particularly interested in working with for thesis research. 

  • The Graduate School requires a score of at least 83 on the Internet-based, 220 on the computer-based, or 557 on the paper based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), or a minimum overall band score of 6.5 on the IELTS, for applicants whose native language is not English. The Department of Biological Sciences prefers a TOEFL score of at least 100. In addition, these students will be required to be evaluated by the English Language Training Institute at UNC Charlotte prior to the beginning of the first semester of study for determination of eligibility to hold a teaching assistantship at UNC Charlotte.

Checklist of Documents to be Submitted to the UNC Charlotte Graduate School for admission consideration:

  • the online application package submitted to Apply Now at uncc.edu

  • official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended

  • official GRE scores (verbal, quantitative and analytical)

  • TOEFL scores (if applicable)

  • Personal Statement 

  • Three letters of reference, at least two of which must be from faculty members.


Admission Procedures:

  • UNC Charlotte uses the Apply Now system online.  The application must be completed online and submitted electronically once all required fields on the application have been completed.

Application materials and instructions are available on the Graduate School website.

  • If the Graduate School determines that the applicant meets the general requirements for admission, the application is forwarded to the Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Biological Sciences.Note:Applications cannot be forwarded to the Coordinator until all supporting documentation has been received by the Graduate School.

  • The Graduate Coordinator in consultation with the departmental Graduate Committee will determine if the applicant meets the minimum admission requirements for the Ph.D. program. If not, admission is denied and the application is returned to the Graduate School. If the admission requirements are met, the application will be forwarded to the faculty of the program for review. A faculty member in the applicant's area of interest may contact the student for a phone interview or to arrange a visit and personal interview on campus. At least one Graduate Faculty member must indicate an interest in serving as the student's tentative major advisor. If an application generates no faculty interest, admission into the Biology Masters Program will be denied, even if the student meets all other admission requirements.

  • Once the interview process is completed, the Graduate Coordinator in consultation with the departmental Graduate Committee will rereview all competitive applications.  The most competitive applicants will be recommended for admission into the program to the Graduate School, and students will be matched with a tentative mentor or with lab rotations established. Once admitted into the program, a student can change major advisors without negative repercussions, although such a change could delay the completion of Progression Requirements.

  • The Department of Biological Sciences does not grant conditional admission into the Ph.D. program.

  • The Graduate Coordinator will contact individual applicants with potential assistantship and tuition aid packages as appropriate.

  • The applicant will receive final notification from the Graduate School.

The University of North Carolina at Charlotte is committed to equality of educational opportunity and does not discriminate against applicants, students, or employees based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or sexual orientation. Accommodations will be provided for persons with disabilities.


Students currently admitted to a Master's program at UNC Charlotte who wish to apply for admission to the Ph.D. program can do so only after completion of their first year in the Master's program. A Master's student would be allowed to apply for consideration for acceptance into the Ph.D. program no earlier than the second semester of their enrollment. When applying they need only update their materials submitted with the Master's application.