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Admissions Requirements and Recommendations


Review all sections below to ensure that minimum requirements are met when you apply for admission.

To see the actual steps, forms, etc. required for admission, please see our How to Apply page. You should also read through the Admissions FAQ page.

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  • MBGP Faculty Sponsor

    Well before the December 15 deadline, it is in your best interest to contact a select group of potential MBGP faculty sponsors (i.e., a "sponsor" is a member of the Regular/Cooperating Faculty in the Marine Biology Graduate Program who would become your advisor/committee chair if you are admitted) who have complementary research interests to yours. See our FAQ page for tips on contacting faculty productively.

    The interest/support of a current faculty member is important to your admission chances, so it is to your benefit to contact 1-3 faculty before applying.

  • Recommended Courses

    Students admitted into the MBGP are expected to have strong undergraduate or MS training in Biological Oceanography, Environmental Science, Marine Science, Marine Biology, Zoology, Microbiology, Botany, Biology, or other life sciences.

    In addition, applicants are expected to have strong undergraduate background in Math, Chemistry, and/or Physics.

    Students are encouraged to prepare themselves academically before applying to the program. Needing to take prerequisite/foundational courses after enrollment takes up time and will hinder a student's progress in the program.

    Suggested course preparation may include the following:

    • Calculus* (1 semester)
    • Physics (2 semesters)
    • General Chemistry (2 semesters)
    • Organic Chemistry (1 semester)
    • Biochemistry or Molecular Biology (1 semester)
    • Biology (~18 credit hours)

    *Calculus is required for ZOOL 631 (Biometry) and OCN 682 (Programming and Statistics in R). Because Biometry or Statistics is required of both the MS and PhD (w/o prior MS) degrees, Calculus is a highly recommended course.

  • GPA

    The minimum required GPA for applicants to the MBGP is 3.2
    In recent years, the average GPA of students admitted to the MBGP has been ~3.47

  • GRE General Test (Optional in most cases)

    The GRE General Test score is not required of all applicants (starting with the Fall 2021 cycle); however, individual faculty may choose to recommend/require GRE General Test scores when considering students for their particular lab. The list of faculty currently requiring/preferring that an official GRE score be submitted can be found on our How to Apply page.

    If the faculty an applicant is interested in working with do not require the GRE, no score needs to be submitted with an application at all. However, if the applicant has not contacted the faculty (and asked about GRE preferences) or if an applicant wants to have his/her materials eligible for consideration by the highest number of faculty, the general recommendation would be to submit an official GRE General Test score.

    Official test scores should be sent by ETS to the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's Graduate Division.

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