PhD in Biological Sciences

Become trained in modern scientific research and biology teaching excellence

The Department of Biological Sciences offers a rigorous and intellectually driven PhD program that aspires to train scientists suited for careers in research and teaching. Students are trained to achieve academic excellence by triggering their innate curiosity and by gaining an appreciation for the rigor of the scientific method. This program provides excellent training in modern biology suitable for careers in academia, industry, and government. Our Ph.D. in biological sciences is a STEM-designated program, which means international students are eligible to apply for 36 months of Optional Practical Training, allowing employers to potentially hire international students for up to three years instead of only one.

Multi-disciplinary research areas

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology and Genetics
  • Microbiology
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology  
  • Physiology and Neuroscience   
  • Biochemistry and Structural Biology



Credit Hours*


Years to Complete


Student-Faculty Ratio






Why choose the biological science graduate program at Marquette? 

Small Student Faculty Ratio

Small Student-Faculty Ratio

Our graduate program offers a student-faculty ratio less than 2:1, which means individualized attention and interaction among faculty and students while maintaining the resources and expertise to train individuals in the theoretical and experimental aspects of modern biology.

Teaching Opportunities

Teaching Opportunities

Serving as teaching assistants provides students invaluable training in instructional methodologies.  In the lab students gain leadership experience as training mentors for our talented undergraduate student researchers.

Biological Sciences Graduate Student

Collaborative Learning/Research

Our students are exposed to cutting-edge research methodologies through faculty collaborations across campus and locally with the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee School of Engineering, UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee along with many other national and international laboratory connections.

 Financial Support available for our biological sciences graduate program

Full Financial Support

Each year, we offer generous benefits in the form of research assistantships or teaching assistantships with tuition credits and a competitive stipend. Students also receive funds for travel to conferences and meetings.

Take the next step toward your future


  • Request Information
  • Admission Requirements
  • Application Details
  • Application Deadline
  • Financial Aid & GAANN

Ready to learn more about Marquette's biological sciences graduate programs? 

Request more information now or schedule an on-campus visit.

Graduate Program Recruiter

Jack Nortman

(414) 288-5986

Email the Graduate School

*required field


To be eligible for admission to the Graduate School at Marquette University, applicants must meet the following requirements:

Applicants are expected to have completed a bachelor's degree in biology or related field. Only in exceptional circumstances are students admitted to the master's program. A master's degree is not a prerequisite for admittance to the doctoral program. Prior to applying, prospective applicants are encouraged to have an idea of what type of research they would like to work on if admitted into the program.

Application Requirements

Read all application instructions prior to beginning an application.

  • Three letters of recommendation that give evidence of the applicant's scholarly promise.
  • For international applicants only: TOEFL score or other acceptable proof of English proficiency.
  • Optional application requirements: GRE scores (General Test); GRE scores (Subject Test).

1Upon admission, final official transcripts from all previously attended colleges/universities, with certified English translations if original language is not English, must be submitted to the Graduate School within the first five weeks of the term of admission or a hold preventing registration for future terms will be placed on the student’s record. 

2Upon admission, an official course-by-course transcript/academic record evaluation must be submitted to the Graduate School within the first five weeks of the term of admission or a hold preventing registration for future terms will be placed on the student’s record. 

December 1: Priority application deadline for admission and funding opportunities. 

After the priority deadline, applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis as space permits and may be submitted any time before the following dates:

  • Fall term admissions- August 1 (June 1 for international applicants)

Financial Support

The Department of Biological Sciences is committed to the full 12-month support of each graduate student in good academic standing, including an 18-credit tuition scholarship and stipend. Ph.D. students are supported by teaching assistantships or by federal grant-supported research assistantships. Additional fellowships provided by the University or by private foundations are awarded on a competitive basis to Ph.D. candidates that qualify. A select number of Ph.D. students may be supported by GAANN Fellowships.

Travel funds are available for students who present their data at conferences or participate in specialized courses off campus, including courses at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory. Additional funds are awarded to students for research and academic excellence.

GAANN Fellowships

The Department of Biological Sciences at Marquette University has been granted Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) fellowships by the U. S. Department of Education. The fellowships provide a stipend of up to $34,000 per year, depending on financial need. (Financial need is determined by a FAFSA needs analysis.) In addition, the fellowship pays all tuition and fees. Certain other educational expenses (books, supplies, travel to conferences, etc.) are included as well.

Eligibility requirements:

  • Full-time student pursuing the PhD degree.
  • United States citizen or permanent resident of the United States

Fellowships are open to all students with demonstrated financial need. Members of underrepresented minorities in biological sciences (African-Americans, Alaskan Natives, Native Americans, Hispanics, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders) are especially encouraged to apply.

Other factors considered in determining awardees:

  • Excellence of academic record
  • Plans for an academic career

For further information, contact:

Michael Schläppi, Ph.D., Director of the GAANN program
Phone: (414) 288-1480