Biological Sciences

Graduate Degree Program Summary

Graduate programs offered

Earn a Graduate Degree

  • MS in Biological Sciences with optional specialization:
    • Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
    • Genetics, Cell and Molecular Biology
    • Plant Pathology
  • PhD in Biological Sciences with optional specialization:
    • Bioinformatics
    • Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
    • Genetics, Cell and Molecular Biology
    • Plant Pathology
Areas of Study

These informal areas of focus may help to shape your course of study but they will not appear on transcripts.

  • Ecology Evolution
  • Animal Behavior
  • Genetics, Genomics, Bioinformatics
  • Plant Biology
  • Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • Microbiology
  • Virology

Online and Distance Opportunities

Some online coursework may be available for your program; contact dept. for details.

Contacts for Biological Sciences

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Other Ways to Connect

On the Web
Biological Sciences

Department Chair
Dr. John Osterman

Graduate Chair
Dr. Deborah Brown

Graduate Secretary
Mindy Peck

Campus Address
402 Manter Hall
Lincoln NE 68588-0118

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Application checklist and deadlines

1. Required by Graduate Studies

Submit these items as part of the standard steps to admission.

2. Required by Biological Sciences

After you apply, allow one business day for us to set up your access to GAMES, where you'll complete these requirements.

  • Entrance exam(s): GRE
  • Minimum English proficiency: Paper TOEFL 565, Internet TOEFL 85, IELTS 6.5
  • Three recommendation letters
  • Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • Statement of purpose

When sending GRE or TOEFL scores, UNL's institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed.

Application Deadlines for Biological Sciences
  • December 15 for Fall.

Application/admission is for entry in a specific term and year. UNL's academic year is divided into 3 terms: Fall (August-December), Spring (January-May), and Summer (multiple sessions May-August). Some UNL programs accept new students only in certain terms and/or years; if your desired entry term isn't mentioned here, you may want to consult the department for clarification.


The School of Biological Sciences (SBS) is the major unit in Nebraska responsible for comprehensive instruction in the basic biological sciences. Students are encouraged to develop personalized programs of study and research in the areas of ecology and evolution, behavior, microbiology, molecular biology, genetics, genomics, bioinformatics, parasitology, plant systems biology, and plant pathology. Specialized research infrastructures include animal facilities and the Nebraska Center for Virology.

The School of Biological Sciences also benefits from other core facilities administered by the Center for Biotechnology. In Western Nebraska, the Cedar Point Biological Field Station offers field courses and research opportunities. Individuals in the program may also utilize the resources of the Nebraska State Museum, including the Manter Parasitology Laboratory. In addition,the Center for Plant Sciences Innovation houses the Plant Sciences Program and offers a unique opportunity to study basic and applied aspects of plant biology.

Cost of attendance

Cost differs from one student to another. For details see Tuition, Fees, and Funding or try our Cost Estimator.

Courses and More

Admitted students will choose courses from the Course Catalog, typically in: During the first half of their coursework, students will work with an advisor to create a plan of study — one of the essential Steps to Degree Completion.

Faculty and research

Where available, faculty names link to bios or homepages and conversation icons () link to directory listings with address, phone, and email.

Peter Angeletti

DNA Replication and Maintenance of Particular HPVs

Audrey Atkin

Molecular Mechanism of mRNA Decay

Zoya Avramova

Chromatin Structure and Gene Function

Gwen Bachman

Influence of Energy Supply and Demand on Animal Behavior

Alexandra Basolo

Evolutionary, Behavioral, and Ecological Processes

Paul Blum

Hyperthermophilic Archaea; Pathogenic Enteric Bacteria

Chad Brassil

Mathematical Modeling of Ecological Interactions

Deborah Brown

Host Immune Response to Viral Infections

Heriberto Cerutti

Regulation Gene Expression; Genomics; RNA Interference; Algal Biotechnology; Renewable Biofuels

Catherine Chia

Membrane-Cytoskeleta Interaction; Membrane Protein Interactions

Alan Christensen

Plant Mitochondrial Genetics

Brian Couch

Biology Education Research

John DeLong

Ecological and Evolutionary Energetics; Human Population Ecology; Body Size Evolution; Predator-Prey Ecology

Scott Gardner

Neotropical Rodents, Marsupials, and Parasites

Robert Gibson

Animal Behavior; Ecology; Evolutionary Biology

Lawrence Harshman

Genetic and Physiological Factors of Drosophila Melanogaster

Eileen Hebets

Evolution and Diversification of Animal Communication Systems

Johannes Knops

Plant and Ecosystem Ecology

Qingsheng Li

HIV; Transmission; Vaccine; Prevention

Colin Meiklejohn

Genetic Basis of Speciation, Regulatory Evolution and Co-Evolution between Nuclear and Mitochondrial Genomes

Kristi Montooth

Evolutionary Genetics of Physiological Adaptation; Population & Comparative Genomics; Evolution & Development of Metabolism; Mitochondrial Evolution

Etsuko Moriyama

Bioinformatics; Molecular Evolution; Molecular Population Genetics

Hideaki Moriyama

Mechanisms of Biological Adaptation; Atomic Description of Biological Macromolecules

Kenneth Nickerson

Fungal Dimorphism; Quorum Sensing in Fungi; Bacterial Detergent Resistance; Microbial Insecticides

John Osterman

Gene Structure and Function in Plants

Diana Pilson

Natural Selection; Genetic Basis of Ecologically Important Traits

Wayne Riekhof

Lipid Metabolism, Transport, and Storage; Algal Biology; Fungal Biology; Metabolic Regulation; Biochemical Genetics; High-Throughput Screening

Sabrina E. Russo

Plant Community Ecology

Daizaburo Shizuka

Elucidating the Mechanisms of Parent-Offspring Recognition; How this Mechanism Affects the Process of Coevolution between Avian Brood Parasites and their Hosts.

Jay Storz

Evolutionary Genetics; Genomes; Phsyiology

Brigitte Tenhumberg

Population Ecology; Behavior and Life History Theory; Mathematical Modeling

William Wagner

Evolution of Animal Communication Systems

Eric Weaver

Vaccinology, Virology and Molecular Biology

Karrie A. Weber

Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Physiology

Charles Wood

Molecular Biology of HIV and Human Herpesviruses

Bin Yu

Mall RNA Metabolism and Function

Anthony Zera

Physiological, Biochemical, Molecular, and Endocrine Bases of Adaptation

Chi Zhang

Computational Systems Biology; Bioinformatics; Plant Cell and Pathogens Interaction; Gene Protein Interaction Network

Luwen Zhang

Functions and Regulations of IRF-7 in EBV Transformation; Interaction Between EBV and HHV8; Human Cancers

This summary page is maintained by Graduate Studies.
For additional details check out the dept./program website: Biological Sciences.

Departments: Have an update for this summary? Contact Stacy Dam.