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Information from the Graduate Coordinator

I appreciate your interest in the graduate program of the Department of Biological Sciences of Eastern Kentucky University. I encourage you to apply on line to The Graduate School. Please make sure that you include all of the required documentation, see below. When the Graduate School has a complete application package (application, transcripts, 3 letters of reference, Graduate Studies Advisor Agreement Form, GRE scores and departmental experience & essay form), your file will be sent to our department for evaluation.

Your entire application package must consist of the following for the department's evaluation process. To be sent directly to the graduate school:

  1. Completed application for admission, including a statement of personal and professional objectives
  2. Application Fee
  3. Scores on the verbal, quantitative, and analytical portions of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE)- Due to COVID-19, the department is waiving GRE score requirements.  
  4. Your grade point average (GPA) & official transcript(s)
  5. Three letters of recommendation
  6. The departmental experience & essay form.
  7. The Graduate Studies Advisor Agreement Form.

Applicants are expected to have verbal scores of 146 or above, quantitative scores of 140 or above, and analytical writing scores of 3.0 or above on the Graduate Record Exam- SCORES ARE BEING WAIVED AT THIS TIME DUE TO COVID19. Applicants should have an undergraduate major in an area of the biological sciences, and supporting courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics are recommended. Any deficiencies in a successful applicant’s undergraduate training will be specified by the Department’s Graduate Affairs Committee at the time of admission.

Prior to admission, applicants must have a faculty member from the Department of Biological Sciences agree to serve as their advisor should they be accepted to the program. Information concerning the research interests of faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences is available online at Applicants should contact faculty with similar research interests to determine if they are accepting new students and would be willing to serve as their advisor. Once an advisor has been identified, applicants and/or advisors should inform the Graduate Coordinator. Applications will not be considered complete until an advisor has been identified.

All applicants must meet the general requirements established by the Office of Graduate Education and Research for clear admission. Final acceptance of an applicant is determined by the Graduate Affairs Committee of the Department of Biological Sciences.

About the Department of Biological Sciences
The Department of Biological Sciences includes 29 faculty members, with 15 that mentor graduate students. The current graduate student enrollment is about 35. The department is well-equipped to support our graduate program. Graduate students have ready access to equipment needed for ecological, behavioral, aquatic, botanical, cellular, and molecular studies. For field studies, several potential study areas are located nearby, including old-growth forest at Lilley Cornett Woods (one of three sites managed by EKU's Division of Natural Areas), the Central Kentucky Wildlife Management Area, the Blue Grass Army Depot, and the Daniel Boone National Forest.

Areas of special strength in the Department include aquatic biology, animal ecology and behavior, plant systematics and ecology, wildlife and conservation biology, structural biology, cellular and molecular biology, and microbiology. The research interests of faculty members are described on each faculty members' web page, available through the faculty/staff directory.

Graduate Assistantships
Several teaching assistantships are awarded each year. Please note that the department's deadline is now earlier than in years past. In order to receive full consideration for a competitively-awarded graduate assistantship, your file must be complete (i.e. completed application, transcripts, and letters of recommendation) and you must be accepted into our program by February 1, 2021. Meeting this deadline will ensure full consideration for an assistantship starting in Fall of 2021. 

About the area
Eastern Kentucky University is located in Richmond, Kentucky, a city of about 24,000. Richmond is located 26 miles south of Lexington, 110 miles southeast of Louisville, 112 miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio, and 150 miles north of Knoxville, Tennessee. Numerous recreational opportunities may be found nearby, with the Daniel Boone National Forest and Red River Gorge and the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area each about 1.5 hours from Richmond and Mammoth Cave National Park just 3 hours away. Great Smoky Mountain National Park can be reached in about 4 hours. For those interested in attending cultural or sporting events, Richmond, Lexington, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Knoxville offer many events throughout the year, and there's the EKU Center for the Arts.

How to start
I suggest that you contact faculty members to discuss details of a program of study suitable to your interests. Review the faculty home pages and feel free to send them an e-mail or write them at: Department of Biological Sciences, Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, KY 40475. We believe we have an excellent department and hope to have the opportunity to meet you personally. Feel free to contact me at 859/622-3057 or at if you have any questions about your application or our graduate program.


Oliver Oakley
Coordinator of Graduate Studies
Department of Biological Sciences
Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, KY 40475

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