How to apply

Application information can be found at the Graduate Student Admissions. However, if you have any questions or if we can help you at all, please contact our office for information 406-243-5292 or by email at

Prospective Wildlife Biology graduate students should submit application materials to:
Wildlife Biology
W.A. Franke College of Forestry & Conservation
University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812

A complete application must include:

  1. non-refundable application fee ($60) submitted with on-line application electronically
  2. completed online application form*;
  3. one official transcript of all college and university courses;
  4. a short statement of your interests and goals;
  5. a resume detailing work experiences from college entry to present;
  6. three letters of recommendation* (under separate cover);
  7. GRE scores for verbal, quantitative, and analytical;
  8. international students must include TOEFL as well as GRE scores.

*Paper applications and other forms are available from the Graduate School Office, 406-243-2572 or Grad School Forms.

NOTE: No special application form is required for financial assistance. Financial assistance is considered for all acceptable applicants.

Application Deadline

Applications for fall semester admission will be reviewed beginning January 31 preceding the fall in which admission is desired. There is only one review per year for Wildlife Biology. No action will be taken on incomplete application files.

Admission Requirements

Most applicants to the Ph.D. program have completed or are completing masters degrees. Students without Master of Science degrees will be considered if these applications demonstrate strong potential to complete a Ph.D. program. All successful applicants generally have at least one degree in Wildlife Biology or a closely related field; students with other backgrounds may be accepted depending on an appropriate level of ecological expertise and an advisor willing to supervise the student.

Preliminary decisions regarding acceptance into the Ph.D. program will be made using the following criteria:

  • minimum grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 in undergraduate work and 3.5 in graduate work;
  • minimum Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores of 60th percentile or higher on each of the verbal, quantitative, and analytical sections; and a minimum TOEFL score of 550 is required for international students.

Further evaluation is based on three (3) letters of recommendation, the applicant’s statement of specific interests and goals, and a resume detailing work experiences from college entry to the present. The final criterion for accepting an applicant is the willingness of a faculty member to serve as advisor. The statement of specific interest is used to identify faculty members whose interests most closely match those of the applicant. Therefore, students are encouraged to communicate with potential advisors. Under no conditions are applicants accepted without the agreement of a faculty member who will serve as the major professor.

The Graduate Admissions Committee will determine acceptability of applicants based on the above criteria (exceptions to these minimums must be approved by a vote of the WBIO faculty). Faculty who want to accept a Ph.D. student may select from the entire pool of applicants deemed “acceptable” by the Graduate Admissions Committee. Students must enroll in the semester stated in their acceptance letter or in the subsequent semester. Unless prior arrangements have been made, students not initiating degree work within this time period must reapply for admission.

Additional Information for International Prospective Students:

Applying for International Admission to the UM Graduate School
Foreign Student & Scholar Services
International Student Association (ISA) of The University of Montana
UM Housing - International Students

Find a faculty advisor

Applicants to the Wildlife Biology graduate program may apply without first having an advisor. However, we highly recommend that prospective graduate students contact faculty that they are interested in working with before they apply. Faculty information can be found on the faculty page of this site. We receive approximately 100 applications each year for fall admissions and only accept those students for whom we have available funding, usually in the form of a teaching or research assistantship. Exceptions to this are rare. We expect all of our applicants to at least meet the minimum requirements for admission. Our Graduate Committee reviews all applicant files within two weeks of our deadline, so having all materials to the university by January 15 is paramount. Having experience in the field is beneficial as well for your application but the Graduate Committee reviews your file for all requirements.

If you have any questions or if we can help you in any way, please contact our office for information: 406-243-5292 or by email at