Biological Sciences

Graduate Degree Program Summary

Graduate programs offered

Earn a Graduate Degree

  • MS in Biological Sciences (30-36 cr, Option I only) with a specialization:
    • Ecology, Evolution and Behavior
    • Genetics, Cell and Molecular Biology
    • Plant Pathology
  • PhD in Biological Sciences (90 cr) with a 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.

  • Biology Education and Science Communication
  • Human Health
  • Mathematical Modeling
  • Microbiology
  • Parasitology
  • Virology

Online and Distance Opportunities

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

Contacts for Biological Sciences

Ask a question

Other Ways to Connect

On the Web
Biological Sciences

Department Chair
Dr. Michael Herman

Graduate Chair
Dr. Wayne Riekhof

Graduate Recruitment Coordinator
Joel Stranberg

Campus Address
402 Manter Hall
Lincoln NE 68588-0118

Promo image for Biological Sciences

Application checklist and deadlines

1. Required by Graduate Studies

2. Required by Biological Sciences

  • Entrance exam(s): GRE (optional)
  • 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, our institution code is 6877 and a department code is not needed.

Application Deadlines for Biological Sciences
  • December 1 for Fall. This is for an August start; we only accept new students once a year.

Application/admission is for entry in a specific term and year. Our academic year is divided into 3 terms: Fall (August-December), Spring (January-May), and Summer (multiple sessions May-August). Some programs accept new students only in certain terms and/or years.


The School of Biological Sciences provides interdisciplinary training and professional development opportunities for students interested in a career in the life sciences. Research interests of our faculty range from analyzing molecular and cellular processes to studying the ecological & evolutionary determinants of biological form and function. Faculty conduct research on a diversity of biological systems, including viruses, bacteria, fungi, plants and animals, representing all major groups of living organisms.

Our School offers interdisciplinary programs leading to both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. Our program is highly flexible allowing you to tailor your curriculum to meet your individual interests and goals. Following receipt of their degrees, students are competitive for a wide range of positions. Former students now hold positions at academic institutions, in government, and in private industry.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is a member of the Big Ten Conference, and our students benefit from research collaborations and exchange agreements among member institutions as well as on campus research collaborations with Cedar Point Biological Station, Center for Biotechnology, Center for Plant Science Innovation, Ecosystem Analysis Laboratory, Manter Laboratory of Parasitology, Nebraska State Museum, Nebraska Center for Virology and Nebraska Innovation Campus.

Biological Sciences Graduate Program Requirements

Courses and More

Faculty and research

For a full list of our research areas of interest and faculty, please see our Research Areas

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

Peter Angeletti

DNA Replication and Maintenance of Particular Human Papillomaviruses (HPVs)

Audrey Atkin

Regulation of Gene Expression; RNA Biology; Cell Communication

Alexandra Basolo

Evolution of Behavior, Morphology and Life History Traits; Evolutionary Genetics

Paul Blum

Hyperthermophilic Archaea; Pathogenic Enteric Bacteria

Chad Brassil

Mathematical Modeling of Ecological Interactions

Heriberto Cerutti

Functional Genomics; Epigenetics; RNA Interference; Biotechnology; Renewable Biofuels

Catherine Chia

Protein Targeting; Cytoskeletal-Membrane Interactions

Alan Christensen

DNA Damage and Repair, Plant Mitochondrial Genomes, Repeats of Unusual Size, Recombination

Brian Couch

Assessment in Undergraduate STEM Courses

Clay Cressler

Disease Ecology and Evolution

John DeLong

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

Scott Gardner

Parasite Mammal Biodiversity

Robert Gibson

Animal Behavior; Ecology; Evolutionary Biology

Eileen Hebets

Evolution and Function of Animal Communication, Sensory Systems and Mating Systems

Qingsheng Li

HIV; Transmission; Vaccine and Prevention

Kate Lyons

Species and Community Level Responses to Climate Change; Extinction and Extinction Risk; Macroecological Patterns Across Space and Time; Macroevolution of Body Size in Mammals; Biases in the Mammalian Fossil Record

Colin Meiklejohn

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

Kristi Montooth

Evolution of Genes, Genomes and Physiology

Etsuko Moriyama

Bioinformatics; Molecular Evolution; Molecular Population Genetics

Hideaki Moriyama

Electrophysiology and Structural Biology; Molecular Biology and Biochemistry; Bioinformatics

Kenneth Nickerson

Quorum Sensing and Fungal Dimorphism in Candida albicans

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 and Fungal Biology; Metabolic Regulation and Biochemical Genetics

Sabrina E. Russo

Biodiversity; Plant Ecology & Ecophysiology; Plant-Microbe Interactions; Seed Dispersal

Daizaburo Shizuka

Evolutionary and Behavioral Ecology; Social Networks; Ornithology

Jay Storz

Evolutionary Genetics; Genomes and Phsyiology

Brigitte Tenhumberg

Plant and Insect Ecology; Life History Evolution; Population Management and Demography

Peter Wagner

Phylogenetics; Sampling Theory; Evolutionary Rates; Evolutionary Trends

William Wagner

Evolution of Male and Female Reproductive Behavior

Eric Weaver

Virology, Microbiology, Immunology

Karrie A. Weber

Microbiology of Soil, Sediment and Water Biogeochemical Cycling; Geomicrobiology of Modern and Paleo-Environments; Physiology of Novel Microorganisms and Metabolisms Using Culture Dependent and Independent Techniques

Charles Wood

Human Viral Infection Associated Diseases including Cancers

Bin Yu

RNA Silencing and Epigenetics

Anthony Zera

Physiological, Biochemical, Molecular, and Endocrine Bases of Adaptation

Chi Zhang

Computational Systems Biology; Bioinformatics; Gene Protein Interaction Network; Omics Data Integration

Luwen Zhang

Virus-host Interaction; Pathogenesis of Human Herpesviruses; Host Innate Immunity

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 Kurt Mueller.