Texas Tech University

Graduate Studies

Dear Prospective Graduate Student:

Thank you for your interest in applying to our graduate program within the Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University. Please note that you must also submit a separate application for admission to the University as a graduate student. See the Graduate School website at http://www.depts.ttu.edu/gradschool/ for additional information. Information about our department and individual faculty members can be found on our own website at http://www.biol.ttu.edu/ .

What graduate degrees are offered?

The Department of Biological Sciences offers the following:

Master of Science Degrees in:
  1. Biology
  2. Biological Informatics
  3. Microbiology
  4. Zoology
Doctor of Philosophy Degrees in:
  1. Biology

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Choosing an Advisor

To be admitted into our M.S. and Ph.D. graduate programs, you will need to identify a professor in your area of interest who is willing to serve as your Major Advisor. It is your responsibility to make initial contact with prospective Major Advisors. A faculty member who agrees to serve as your Major Advisor must verify this commitment in writing to the Graduate Student Selection Committee before your completed application is evaluated, or else you will not be admitted.

How do I apply?

Apply directly to the Graduate School for admission to Texas Tech University as a graduate student. Briefly, this includes submission of a completed ApplyTexas application form, non-refundable application fee, official transcripts for all previous college-level study, and official GRE score reports. International students must also submit official TOEFL scores and a bank statement that indicates sufficient funds to cover the student's education and living expenses. Submit these application materials directly to the Graduate School. See the Graduate School web site at http://www.depts.ttu.edu/gradschool/ for the most up-to-date instructions.

You must also provide several additional application materials to the Department of Biological Sciences for admission into one of the M.S. or Ph.D. degree programs listed above. There is no application fee for the departmental application. The application includes submission of a completed departmental application form, goals statement, and three reference forms with accompanying letters of recommendation. The application form includes a field for your goals statement. The goals statement should explain in detail what your future career plans are and how earning a graduate degree from Texas Tech University will advance those plans. The reference forms and letters of recommendation should come from individuals who are able to evaluate your potential for success in graduate courses and, if applicable, research. For Ph.D. applicants with the Master's degree, one of the reference forms and letters must come from your M.S. Major Advisor. All letters of recommendation must be on official letterhead.

Links to the departmental application form and the reference form (in pdf format) may be accessed on the appropriate Degree Program page on the Graduate School web site at http://www.depts.ttu.edu/gradschool/DegreePrograms/index.php  Submit the completed application form on-line. Reference forms and letters of recommendation must not be submitted by you, but directly by your recommenders themselves to the Graduate School.

Before you are admitted into a degree program, a faculty member in Biological Sciences must agree to serve, at least provisionally, as your Major Advisor. This means that it is your responsibility to become familiar with the faculty working in your area of research interest and to contact them before your application for admission is considered. Otherwise, your application will be rejected for lack of a Major Advisor.


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Online Departmental Application

Application deadlines

For international applicants and domestic applicants who wish to be considered for any scholarships or fellowships offered through the Graduate School, application deadlines are January 15 for admission in the next Summer/Fall Semester and June 15 for admission in the next Spring Semester. The application deadlines for domestic students who are not interested in being considered for scholarships or fellowships are March 1 for the next Summer/Fall Semester and October 1 for the next Spring Semester. The application must include all of the materials required by the Graduate School and the Department (described above) before we can consider it. To inquire about the status of your application, you may telephone the Graduate Secretary at (806) 742-2715 or send an e-mail message to gradadm.biol@ttu.edu .

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How is my departmental application evaluated?

Your application will be evaluated by using a combination of the following four criteria:
(1) your GRE general test scores (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing);
(2) your GPA for the last 60 hours of undergraduate course work and/or for formal graduate courses;
(3) your goals statement; and
(4) three reference forms and letters of recommendation.
You should choose referees who are able to comment on your potential for success in graduate courses and research (if applicable). Ph.D. applicants with the Master’s degree must have their M.S. Major Advisor send a letter. Please instruct your referees to send the completed reference forms (blank forms can be downloaded from our departmental web site) and recommendation letters to: Graduate Secretary, Department of Biological Sciences, Box 43131, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409-3131 . The reference letters must be mailed directly by the referees themselves, not sent together with your application materials.
Your goals statement is a very important part of your application. You should indicate how the attainment of the advanced degree is related to your long-term career plans. In addition, the Graduate Student Selection Committee is interested in any other information you can provide to help them evaluate your potential for success in research and graduate course work. Such information might include a brief description of your previous research experience, pertinent communications with your prospective Major Advisor, and ideas about possible research projects that you might work on with your Major Advisor. For Ph.D. applicants with an M.S. degree, the goals statement should contain a general description of the M.S. thesis study and the conceptual and/or technical foundation it may have provided for your future Ph.D. research project.

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Financial assistance

Individual faculty members may be able to offer research assistantships based on the extent of their current research funding. Contact your prospective Major Advisor to inquire about this possibility. Teaching assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis from the Department of Biological Sciences. Offers are not made until after admission into the graduate program. All international students for whom English is a second language are required by the State of Texas to attend an English language workshop that is held on campus in July. You must pass an evaluation of ability to speak English before you can teach at any Texas university. Unfortunately, no other scholarship opportunities are available from the Department at this time.

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What is required to complete a graduate degree?

Requirements for completing the thesis M.S. degree include coursework (30 credit hours), a research thesis, and a final oral examination. A 36-credit hour non-thesis option is also available. The Ph.D. degree requires 60 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate (including formal courses, seminars, and research credits), passage of a comprehensive qualifying exam (written and oral), and completion and oral defense of a dissertation.

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What courses will I need to take?

During your first semester in the graduate program, you will select the members of your Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee (chaired by your Major Advisor) will meet with you regularly to advise and assist you toward the completion of your degree. The Committee will individually tailor the course plan to your academic background, research interests, and career goals.

Courses available in the Department of Biological Sciences cover a broad range of subjects spanning the diversity of life from microorganisms through higher animals and plants, and all levels of organization from the molecule to the ecosystem. The diversity of courses available is further expanded by offerings in other departments in the College of Arts and Sciences (including Chemistry and Biochemistry, Environmental Toxicology, Geosciences, Mathematics and Statistics, and Physics) as well as in other academic units of the University (such as the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, College of Engineering, and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center).

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Graduate Research

An important decision is the choice of a thesis or dissertation topic, one that is both of interest to you and complementary to your Major Advisor’s research program. Following discussions with your Major Advisor, you will submit a research proposal to your Advisory Committee for their approval. Typical times for completion of the M.S. degree are 2-3 years and for the Ph.D. degree are 4-5 years.

The Department of Biological Sciences has a continuing commitment to support quality scientific research among its faculty members and graduate students. The faculty include established leaders in biological sciences who have held editorships of scientific journals and offices in scientific societies, as well as newer faculty with promising research careers. Intradepartmental organization for research is centered around the areas of animal physiology and biomedical science, ecology, evolutionary biology, microbiology, plant physiology and biotechnology, and quantitative biology.

In addition to these departmental research groups, there are several University- wide research centers, institutes, and associated Federal research laboratories that promote and facilitate collaborative research. These include:

Resources for research come from University funds and from federal, state, and private foundation grants to faculty and graduate students. The Biological Sciences faculty have a strong record in obtaining grant funds from numerous agencies including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Texas Advanced Research Program, and the Texas Advanced Technology Program. Graduate students are likewise encouraged to seek funding that can help increase their research productivity and provide experience in grantsmanship. The National Science Foundation’s Dissertation Improvement Grant Program and the Sigma Xi Grants-In-Aid of Research Program are avenues especially appropriate for support of graduate student research. A number of Biological Sciences graduate students have succeeded in obtaining funding from these and other sources. The Graduate School and the Department also provide summer research grants, awarded on a competitive basis to currently enrolled graduate students.

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Whom should I contact if I have questions?

For questions regarding your application to the Graduate School, including transcripts, test scores, application fee, and issues relating to the status of international students, contact the Graduate School directly. Questions regarding your application to the Department of Biological Sciences can be addressed to the Graduate Advisor at the e-mail address listed on this web site.

To request information via email about our Graduate programs in the Department of Biological Sciences: Email Us

Phone Contacts:
Chairperson: 806/742-2715
Graduate Programs: 806/742-2715
Graduate Admissions: 806/742-2787
International Student Affairs: 806/742-3667

Department Mailing Address:
Department of Biological Sciences
Texas Tech University
Box 43131
Lubbock TX 79409-3131

General University Inquiries:
Graduate Admissions
Texas Tech University
Box 41030
Lubbock TX 79409-1030

International Inquiries:
International Student Affairs
Texas Tech University
Box 41036
Lubbock TX 79409-1036

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Graduate Studies in the Biological Sciences

Download this file (PDF format)

This document was written by Dr. Kurt Reinhart, then a graduate student at the University of Montana. It is presented in three parts:

  1. Getting into Graduate School
  2. Philosophy and Tactics for Graduate Studies in Biology
  3. Tips Every Graduate Student Should know from the Start

The first two parts contain information/advice that the Biology Department¹s Curriculum Committee considers valuable for undergraduates who are thinking about pursuing graduate studies in the biological sciences. The Graduate Student Affairs Committee recommends that current graduate students be aware of the information/advice in Part 3. These issues might provide the basis for a beneficial discussion with your major advisor and/or committee.

We thank Dr. Reinhart for his permission to use this document to assist our students.

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Graduate School Links

  • Official Publications - TTU Graduate Catalog, Course descriptions
  • Graduate School at Texas Tech University
  • TTU Association of Biologists - The Texas Tech University Association of Biologists (TTUAB) is a graduate student organization designed to: (1) promote camaraderie and scientific interaction among graduate students within the Department; (2) promote scientific interaction among Departmental graduate students and members of other Universities through attendance at scientific meetings; (3) promote graduate students' scholarship; and (4) act as a service organization for the Department and the University.

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Graduate Student Handbook

The Department of Biological Sciences is pleased that you are considering Texas Tech University for your graduate education. Please contact the graduate advisor at lou.densmore@ttu.edu if you require any further information about the application process.

Department of Biological Sciences

  • Address

    Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Box 43131 Lubbock, TX 79409
  • Phone

  • Email