Source: Nicole Yamase

How to Apply

A complete application for the Marine Biology Graduate Program has 8 steps (see below).

Annually, the application deadline is December 8 (for consideration for admission for the following fall). Only applications accepted between October 1 and December 8 will be consider for admission for Fall 2024 admission.

  • Applications for Fall 2024 will be accepted starting in October 1, 2023. The deadline to apply for Fall 2024 is December 8, 2023.
  • Applications are only accepted for fall semesters.
  • The Marine Biology Graduate Program has a required intensive (8am-5pm), in-person core course in AUGUST (tentatively July 29 through August 9—before the start of the Fall 2024 semester), with an anticipated cost of up to $500. If applying, be sure you are able to attend and complete this course.
  • Carefully review the MBIO admissions requirements and the Admissions FAQ page.

    Identify and email potential MBIO Faculty Sponsors
    The most successful applicants to the MBIO graduate program identify a potential faculty sponsor before/during the application process. This step is required and is essential to your application process.


    Applicants should first identify a few Regular Graduate Faculty in the MBIO grad program with complementary research interest. Contact these faculty to determine if there is mutual interest in joining their laboratory starting in Fall 2024.


    The Supplemental Information Form (see Step 5, below) will ask you to identify 1–3 faculty members whom you have contacted with with whom you would like to study.


    For tips on identifying and contacting faculty relevant to you and your interests, see our Admissions FAQ page.
    Sign up for the MBGP applicant e-mail list
    Go to and submit your e-mail address. If you joined the list before Fall 2022, your email address may no longer be on the e-mail list.


    If we have announcements for applicants about any updates to the admissions process, we will send it to e-mails on this list. Any announcements would come from


    In the event your organization blocks access to Google Forms, you may e-mail; we could e-mail you the required fields for you to send back via reply e-mail.


    Please note that this is a one-way announcement listserv; there is no Google Group to log into for past messages, etc.
    Complete the UHM Graduate Application and pay the Fee (preferably by December 1)
    Applicants must submit an application to the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's Graduate Division for graduate admission, and pay the application fee.


    • As you complete the application, you will need to know that the Marine Biology Graduate Program is part of the
      • Institution: University of Hawaii at Manoa
      • Site: UH Manoa Main Campus
      • Make sure you are applying for Fall 2024
    • Make a note of the Login ID and PIN you create when starting the application; you'll need to use these to access the Upload site (see below)


    The Supplemental Materials Upload site

    Completing the Graduate Division application will give you access to the Supplementary Materials Upload Site (needed for several steps below), so we recommend applicants complete Step 3 as soon as you are committed to submitting an application.


    Note about the fee

    As of Sept. 27, 2021, Graduate Division notes: "No application fee waivers or deferments are granted. Application fees are NON-REFUNDABLE and may not be used for an application submitted at a later date. "


    Please observe the December 8, 2023 deadline

    Please note that the Graduate Division online application is active year-round since it serves all programs on campus—all of which have different deadlines and application periods. Thus, while their site will allow you to start an application for the MBGP after the December 8, 2023 deadline, those applications are not eligible for consideration for Fall 2024.
    Upload transcripts from any post-secondary school attended (preferably by December 1)
    Upload a transcript for each post-secondary (i.e., after high school) institution attended to the Supplementary Materials upload site (if you attended any University of Hawai'i campus, you do not need to submit a transcript for that campus as Graduate Division can access your records through STAR).


    We recommend applicants upload either (1) a scan of an official transcript or (2) an official e-transcript.


    • Because scanners vary in quality and output, please examine the pdf file you plan to submit to ensure your courses and grades are clearly visible.
    • Because transcripts need to be evaluated by Graduate Division before they are sent to the MBGP, upload the transcript(s) as soon as possible, and preferably by/before December 1 (we will still accept transcript uploads until the official deadline, but with the holidays and end of semester, the review of your transcript will likely be slower than usual, which in turn, delays when your application could be available for review by the admissions committee)


    If, for some reason, an official transcript is difficult to secure in time to meet deadlines (e.g., cost, timing, etc.), we do allow unofficial transcripts to be uploaded to the Supplemental Materials Upload site and used for admissions review; however, applicants choosing to use an unofficial transcript must ensure the document shows both (a) the applicant's full name and (b) the name of the institution.

    • Processing delays will occur should Graduate Division find the data is missing and need to follow up with the applicant to ask for an official transcript.
    • The unofficial transcript may only be used for admissions review. Applicants who are offered admission will still need to have an official transcript sent directly to Graduate Division (or have an official e-transcript sent) from the institution(s) attended to be able to matriculate at UH
  • Step 5: MBIO SURVEY
    Complete and submit the MBIO Applicant Survey
    Complete the online MBGP Applicant Survey via this *link to be announced.*

    The survey must be completed in one sitting, so set aside 20 - 30 minutes and have ready access to the following materials to make answering

    • CV
    • transcripts
    • names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of the 3 people who will write letters of recommendation for you
    • any relevant test score reports
    • the aspect(s) of the field of Marine Biology are of interest to you
    • the names of current MBGP Level 3 Regular/Cooperating faculty you have contacted about your interest in applying (see Step 1, above)

    Regarding the "MBGP Faculty" section of the survey: Although the wording is "indicate any faculty you have contacted," the intent is not for you to e-mail several faculty members, even if they do not do research in an area that meshes well with your own interests. Only list the faculty with whom you are interested working. Do not skip this step.

    Regarding the "Acknowledgment Statement" in the survey: As part of the applicant survey, you will need to acknowledge that you understand that MBGPʻs academic program starts on July 28, 2024 for applicants admitted for Fall 2024. The program commences with a mandatory, in-person 2-credit course that meets roughly 8am-5pm, every weekday July 28 1–August 9, 2024. Program admittees must pass this course required course to stay in the program.

    A course-related grant should defray tuition charges, but there will be course fees of up to $500 that students must pay before the start of the course.

    If you do not already have housing on ʻOahu, plan to arrive by or before July 22, 2023 to search for and secure housing. Anticipate that the intensive introductory course will occupy most of your time July 29 - August 9 and that orientation activities will occupy a significant ammount of time the following week. .

    Request at least three letters of recommendation.
    1. Log in to the Supplementary Materials Upload site
    2. Click on the tab for letters of recommendation.
    3. Type in the e-mail addresses of three people who you've asked to write letters of recommendation for you. The system will then send them an e-mail with a personalized link to enable them to upload a letter of recommendation for you to your folder in the upload site.


    Missing recommendations is the most common cause of incomplete applications. Incomplete applications will not proceed in the review process. Help ensure your recommendations are submitted by the deadline by:

  • 1. Request recommendations early in the application process. Most individuals prefer at least one month to prepare a recommendation letter.
  • 2. Personally notify the individuals from who you are requesting recommendations. Include clear and succinct information about the deadline and the process (ie, to expect an email from UH*) Consider attaching your CV to this email, so that the letter writer has background information at hand.
  • 3. Log into the Supplementary Materials upload site to confirm if recommendation letters have been submitted.
  • 4. Follow up with your letter writers if they have not submitted a recommendation.

    *The e-mail that the Upload system sends to your recommendation writers will be fairly generic, so you should e-mail these three people separately to tell them to expect an e-mail from the UH system and the personalized link to upload their letter (Also, encourage them to save their letters as .pdf files, when possible.)

    Strong recommendation letters address one or more of the following topics: the applicant's preparation for graduate school, ability to perform collaborative and quality research, potential to pursue a successful career following completion of a graduate degree, and the potential ability as a graduate research assistant or teaching assistant.

    Upload a pdf statement of your graduate school objectives to the Supplementary Materials upload site.
    Write a response to the following prompt:


    Describe your objectives within the Marine Biology Graduate Program, including a possible research topic or interest, faculty you have contacted and might want to work with, your intended area of specialization within Marine Biology, and how a graduate degree will contribute to your long-range professional goals. Include any additional information that will assist the selection committee in evaluating your application.

    Include your name in the header (for example "First Name Last Name, Statement of Objectives") so that the document may be easily identified.

    Upload the statement as a pdf file with the file name stucture "LastNameFirstName_ObjectivesStatement.pdf" to Supplementary Materials Upload site:


    Upload your CV to the Supplementary Materials upload site
    Upload a CV/resume to the Supplementary Materials Upload site.

    • We encourage you to upload the CV in the .pdf file format (Any .docx/.doc files that are submitted would be converted to .pdf, and this conversion process may alter your intended formatting and/or introduce digital artifacts).
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    Some applicants may need to submit additional materials:

    A. International students: Complete any applicable additional requirements

    International applicants (i.e., non-US citizens or permanent residents) have additional materials that must be submitted. Please see the requirements specified by Graduate Division at this link. This may include a TOEFL/IELTS and/or proof of funding.

    We recommend you submit TOEFL scores (if required) by December 1.

    B. Applicants interested in doing research with certain faculty: GRE General Test

    The Marine Biology Graduate Program does not require official GRE scores for all applicants; however, applicants may submit a GRE General Test score as part of their application.

    • The following MBGP faculty prefer a GRE General Test score for any applicants interested in joining their labs (other MBGP faculty do not expect or require a GRE score): Brian Bowen, Mark Hixon.

    • If you are not sure if a faculty member you might want to work with requires GRE test results for their lab, or if you want to be considered for the widest variety of faculty/labs, we recommend you take the GRE General Test no later than November 15.

    • Have ETS send scores directly to the University of Hawaii at Manoa (ETS Online Score Recipient Code: University of Hawaii at Mānoa: 4867) (This can be done when signing up for the exam or after results are released)

    • Graduate Division will forward these official scores to our office; do not upload unofficial scores/score reports

    • Before you submit your GRE score request to ETS, double check that you're indicating to ETS that you're applying to a graduate-level program. (ETS also sends scores to the undergraduate admissions office, but the two admissions offices at UH are not connected—the UHM Grad Division system will not receive any scores sent to the UHM undergraduate admissions office).

    If you have questions, visit the Admissions FAQs page or e-mail