How to Apply to OBE

To apply, you must fill out the online application to the Graduate School at the University of Montana ($60 fee). That application asks for a variety of information about your academic history, names of reference letter writers, GRE and TOEFL scores, and resume/CV. In that application, you will also upload a Statement of Purpose (1 - 2 pages). This is a key document that we use to evaluate applicants, and it should focus on your research vision for what you will do in graduate school and beyond. Finally, you will also be asked to provide a “writing sample.” For this sample, we ask that you upload a first-authored scientific paper, if you have one; if not, please do not upload anything in that field.

Because of the difficulty in obtaining and distributing electronic copies of transcripts, you should send paper copies directly to the address below. In addition, if your letter writers prefer to send paper letters, they can send them to this address (rather than submitting them electronically through the graduate school, which we prefer).

Division of Biological Sciences
The University of Montana
Health Sciences 104
32 Campus Drive #4824
Missoula, MT 59812-4824


Students must apply by December 1st to be considered for admission during the following fall semester. Admission at other times is possible but strongly discouraged. Between the deadline and January 15th, the Graduate Admissions Committee reviews all applications and notifies students of their status as soon as possible afterward.


OBE guarantees incoming PhD students five years of support and incoming Masters students two years of support, pending satisfactory progress. This support can take the form of teaching assistantships (TAs), research assistantships (RAs), fellowships obtained by the student, or a mix.

Admissions Criteria

Admission to the graduate program is competitive and based primarily on research experience, papers published, letters of recommendation, statement of purpose, and, to a lesser extent, Graduate Record Exam scores (general exam only) and GPA. Students admitted into OBE usually far exceed the minimum requirements specified by the Graduate School. OBE requires a minimal GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate coursework in biology and a minimal score of the 60th percentile in each of the three sections of the GRE (verbal, quantitative, and analytical). Also, before admission, a prospective student must have a faculty member agree to serve as his or her advisor. Thus, students should contact faculty directly before or during the application procedure. Those whose first language is not English must score better than 580 on the paper-based or 90 on the internet-based (iBT) TOEFL exam.