How to apply

  • Fill out UM Graduate School application and pay fee.
  • Submit the following to the online application portal, unless otherwise noted:
    • A statement of interest that describes the intended area of study.  The statement of interest should include the name(s) of at least one FCFC faculty member whose research interests most closely align with the applicant’s, and briefly describe how/why.  When relevant, applicants should note whether they have spoken with any faculty in FCFC about graduate work, and especially if any faculty have invited application.
    • A resume or Curriculum Vitae.
    • E-mail addresses for three (3) references who have agreed to provide letters of recommendation.  (Please be sure to check the box to indicate that your references receive the automated email from CollegeNet.)
    • Unofficial transcripts uploaded into CollegeNet or by email to
    • Official English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores if English is not your first language.

The GRE will no longer be required as part of our application materials.

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

Application Deadline

January 31 for admission to the fall semester of that same calendar year.

August 31 for admission to the spring semester of the following calendar year.

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;
  • For applicants whose native language is not English, the applicant must have a minimum TOEFL score of 79 or an IELTS score of 6.5.

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 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 deadlines. 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