Source: Chris Wall

Admissions Requirements


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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  • Faculty Sponsor

    Well before the December 15 deadline, it is in your best interest to contact a select group of potential faculty sponsors (i.e., 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. In your introductory e-mail, you should plan to discuss your interest in their work and your research intents and goals, and inquire if they might be taking on any graduate students in the fall semester you want to start the program.

    Identification of a sponsor is not required before you apply (all completed applications are reviewed before final selections are made); however, contacting potential sponsors before-hand is strongly encouraged.

  • 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 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 required the GRE, no score needs to be submitted with your application. 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 directly by ETS to the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Graduate Division.

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