How to Apply

Apply for Spring or Fall 2022

Application deadline for spring 2022 is October 15, 2021, and March 15, 2022 for fall 2022 admission.

Start Your Application

More Information:

Naupaka Zimmerman

Program Director

Areas of Research

Unlike other programs, students are required to apply for a concentration and an opening in a specific faculty member’s laboratory. To qualify for admission to the biology program, you must be interested in pursuing research in one of the following areas:

Please contact the corresponding faculty member to discuss the program, his/her research, and your interest in attending USF.

Application Instructions

The application process is entirely online. You upload all of these items to your application account. Please do not mail items to USF.


Bachelor's Degree
Applicants who hold a bachelor's degree in biology are preferred. An overall GPA of 3.2 or higher, and also in upper-division biology coursework. Students with a degree in other scientific fields (e.g., biochemistry, chemistry, physics) may also apply; additional coursework at USF might be required.

Tests and GPA Requirements
The GRE general test score is required.

Average GRE general exam scores:

  • Verbal – 153 (54%)
  • Quantitative – 156 (63%)
  • Analytical Writing – 4.3 (68%)

USF school code for GRE and TOEFL is 4850

For international applicants, an English Language exam score (TOEFL, IELTS or PTE) is required.

Transcript (Academic Record)
Upload a copy of your transcript from each university and college attended. Please ensure the institution's name and your name is on the document you upload. Transcripts from any schools and study abroad programs must be submitted since Bachelor's Degree institutions typically do not list transfer and study abroad courses with grades. If still enrolled in your Bachelor's program, submit a copy of your transcript showing in-progress courses. If admitted, an official transcript with proof of admission review is required. USF undergraduates upload their unofficial transcripts for admission review and do not need to send an official USF transcript.

Statement of Purpose
A two-page statement that describes your reasons for choosing a particular area of Biology research for graduate study, your science background and experience, and your educational and professional goals.

Resume or CV
Your current resume or CV lists and describes your educational history, work or job history, coursework related to this graduate program, and any experiences relevant to your pursuit of graduate studies - including internships, published articles or other published materials, volunteer/community service experience, study or work outside of your home country, and any interests or activities related to this graduate program.

Letters of Recommendation
A minimum of two recommendation letters are required for your application. Additional letters of recommendation are accepted. Follow the instructions in the online application to provide the contact information for your recommenders.

You may submit your application before your recommenders upload their letters.

International Applicants

There are additional items and instructions for international applicants

Notification of Admission Decision

Applicants are typically contacted four to six weeks after the priority application date about an admission decision, and any scholarship or teaching assistantship awarded by the program. Once the class is filled, other qualified applicants may be placed on a waiting list.

Contact Info

Biology MS

Naupaka Zimmerman, PhD Graduate Director

Harney Science Center 219C 2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 422-4082