Montana State University

Department of Ecology

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173460
Bozeman, MT 59717-3460

Tel: (406) 994-4548
Fax: (406) 994-3190
Location: 310 Lewis Hall

Department Chair

Dr. David Roberts

ecology@montana.edu

Admissions to Ecology Graduate Degree Programs

Qualifications / Application / Deadlines

student on cycle

Pre-application Basics

To help students locate an advisor and determine eligibility, the department uses Preliminary Application form. To be considered for the program, fill out the online preliminary application form, specify the degree and program in which you are interested, and return the form to the Ecology Department.  The information provided in the preliminary application form will enable the department to decide if you qualify as a graduate student.  

Qualified students must secure an agreement from a faculty member who is willing to serve as major professor or graduate academic advisor.  We do not accept students into the program unless an advisor has agreed to supervise the students. Generally, the major professor will identify a research project and possible sources of funding as part of the admission process. We highly recommend that you formally apply only after a faculty member indicates that he or she is willing to serve as your graduate advisor and requests the full application through the Division of Graduate Education.

Only a limited number of graduate students are admitted to our program each year.  There is an excellent article written by Dr. Al Zale, Director of the Fishery Cooperative Research Unit, "How to Surpass the Competition," which you may find helpful as you think about applying for admission. We accept students into the program based on their academic performance, graduate record examination scores, recommendation letters, experience, and potential for scientific and professional excellence.  Students must meet the minimum entrance requirements to be considered by an advisor.


 

Program Qualifications

An applicant must fulfill the following four qualifications. In exceptional cases, at the request of the students advisor, the Department Head may waive one of the qualifications.

  1. A composite of the applicant's letters of recommendation must indicate the student has good prospects of success in graduate school. 
  2. The applicant should have at least the equivalent of three-fourths of the science courses required in the undergraduate curriculum at Montana State University in the option chosen for graduate study. 
  3. Official Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test scores must be submitted at the time the student submits the full application to the Department of Ecology. The sum of the verbal and quantitative scores should be at least 1100 for GRE scores before July, 2011. The sum for the verbal and quantitative scores should be a minimum of 300 for the current GRE tests. (For information regarding the GRE, check out their website at: http://www.gre.org/ ) Generally the scores should not be more than five years old but exceptions have been made.
  4. The applicant should have maintained the following minimal undergraduate grade-point averages: 3.0 average in all biology courses; 3.0 average in all courses taken during the junior and senior years; and 2.5 average in all chemistry, physics and mathematics courses. For international students a minimum TOEFL score of 550, 230 on the CBT, 7.0 on the IELTS test, or 80 on the iBT is required for admission.

Once the application has been accepted at a departmental level, it will be sent on to the Graduate School where the Graduate Dean will give final approval. 

International students have some additional qualifications to meet for approval from the Division of Graduate Education. The Office of International Programs can provide assistance to international applicants.


 

Application Dates and Procedures

The application process for acceptance into a degree program in the Department of Ecology begins with a required Preliminary Application. These may be submitted at any time during any semester though it is recommended to allow a full semester for the complete process.

In order to be considered for the program, first fill out the online preliminary application form, specify the degree and program in which you are interested, and return the form to the Ecology Department.  A paper copy of the preliminary application form may be requested from the Ecology Department (310 Lewis Hall, Bozeman, MT 59717).  The information provided in the preliminary application form will enable the department to decide if you qualify as a graduate student.  Identifying a previous contact within the faculty, who has interest in your possible research, will make your preliminary application more viable, but it is not required. If you are interested in the PhD in Ecology and Environmental Sciences please click for a specialized preliminary application for this degree.

Qualified students must identify a willing graduate advisor from our list of willing graduate advisorsWe do not accept students into the program unless an advisor has agreed to supervise the students. Generally, the major professor will identify a research project and possible sources of funding as part of the admission processPlease do not send, or cause to be sent, any formal application, or additional materials such as transcripts or letters of recommendation, until you have confirmed an advisor.  We recommend that you formally apply only if a faculty member confirms that he or she is willing to serve as your graduate advisor. 

The interested faculty member should be the one to request that you complete a formal application for the department and the Division of Graduate Education for the admissions decision. The formal application includes the completed full application form, official transcript(s), official GRE test results, three letters of recommendation, and an essay. You will receive all of the details of the final procedures at the time you are invited to submit the formal application.

Applications are accepted and evaluated year round, though many students begin studies in the fall semester. To be admitted for a specific term, the formal application must be completed before a specific date in the previous semester.  The Ecology department application deadlines are listed below (and, generally, fall a week before those listed by the Division of Graduate Education). Deadlines for completed applications do change, and you should verify these dates either with the Ecology department office or with the The Division of Graduate Education.  The Division of Graduate Education lists application deadlines on their web page, or you can call them at 406-994-4145.  Simply, remember that the Ecology department will need to see your application at least one week prior to listed Division of Graduate Education deadlines. 

Ecology Department Application Deadlines

Domestic Degree Seeking Applications

Fall Semester:                  July 8

Spring Semester:              November 24

Summer Semester:           March 25

International Degree Seeking Applications

Fall Semester:                   May 8

Spring Semester:               November 24

Summer Semester:            January 25

To be considered for teaching assistantships for the following fall semester, all application materials must be received by March 1st.