Biology Graduate Programs

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The Department of Biology at Brigham Young University (BYU) welcomes applications from highly motivated students interested in joining one of our MS or PhD programs each Fall.  The department comprises a large and dynamic faculty spanning a diverse array of research areas including informal and collaborative research groups in ecology, evolutionary ecology, molecular systematics, bioinformatics, conservation biology, and biological science education.

The ecology and evolutionary ecology group is a diverse set of faculty working on plants, fungi, animals, and microbes in the areas of evolutionary ecology, conservation biology, biogeography, phylogeography, population and community ecology, biogeochemistry, environmental monitoring, evolutionary and ecological stoichiometry, and ecosystem ecology.  There is a focus on integrating modeling, theory, and experimentation.

The molecular systematics group features faculty working in both model and non-model systems in experimental laboratory and field applications.  Specific areas of research include genomics (experimental and computational), molecular evolution, population genetics, quantitative genetics, biogeography, phylogeography, and the evolution of genetic and infectious diseases.

Faculty in the bioinformatics group maintain research programs in the genetics of human disease, systems biology, molecular evolution, and computational biology, including solutions for next generation sequencing applications.

The biological science education group involves research at all levels of education, focusing on inquiry teaching, learning theory, and assessment of science pedagogy.  Faculty in this focal group also use this platform for various outreach activities, including K-12 collaborative projects with the Utah State Office of Education.

Each of the focal groups in our department maintains strong collaborative ties with each other, as well as with other departments on campus, including Plant and Wildlife Sciences, Microbiology and Molecular Biology, Statistics, Computer Science, and the McKay School of Education.

Exceptional facilities and resources for carrying out research are available through the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum, Lytle Ranch Preserve, DNA Sequencing Center, Research Instrumentation Core Facility, Microscopy Lab,  and Fulton Supercomputing Lab.  We recently moved into a new Life Sciences building with state of the art research facilities (experimental, wet lab, bioinformatics, etc.).

BYU is located in Provo, Utah, where opportunities for world-class skiing, snowboarding, fly-fishing, kayaking, hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and many other outdoor recreational activities are less than 20 minutes from the lab.  There are several festivals during the year in different areas of the county, and Provo is home to a vibrant music scene.  Salt Lake City is only 45 minutes travel by car or commuter rail.

For full consideration, complete applications should be received by January 15th, but late applications can be considered through the first part of February.  We strongly encourage prospective applicants to contact faculty members as soon as possible to discuss their research interests.  Financial support for graduate students is competitive and comes from a variety of sources, including teaching assistantships, research assistantships, fellowships, and external research funds. Faculty Profiles can be accessed here.

BYU is a private institution run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Students are required to uphold a standard of personal conduct. For more information on this standard, please visit the Honor Code Office website.


The Biology Department offers three graduate programs: MS in Biological Science Education, MS in Biology, and PhD in Biology. Each program integrates the knowledge in biology with research. Students work with their adviser to complete coursework, for example, writing and presenting a thesis and an oral exam. Students are given the opportunity to do many of the same things that occupy the time of professional scientists. For more information about each individual program and for admissions information, see the links above on the side menu.

Other Resources:

Application Information
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Biology Department Graduate Handbook
Graduate Studies Catalog