Comparative Biology PhD Application

Application for Fall 2022 enrollment will be available late October 2021.

Please note: The instructions and FAQ below are for last year's application cycle for Fall 2021 admission and to be used as an exemplar only.

Please check back later in October for the Fall 2022 admission instructions.

Next Deadline

December 15, 2021

*Enrollment is for the fall semester only.

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Summary of Application Requirements for Fall 2021 Applicants

Important Notes: 

RGGS has eliminated the GRE test requirement for Comparative Biology PhD admissions and partner institution Graduate Fellowships. We will not accept GRE test scores or consider them in our evaluation process.

Applicants for partner institution Graduate Fellowships: be aware that each partner institution will have its own testing requirements and may or may not require GRE scores for their applications. Be sure to check and comply with their admissions requirements in your application(s) to the partner universities.


  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science or equivalent degree, from an accredited institution
    • Applications will be accepted from students who have completed some graduate work or an advanced degree at another institution. All applicants, however, will be required to complete the core courses of the RGGS program, regardless of their prior background.
  • Official transcripts: from all undergraduate/graduate institutions attended
  • Three letters of support: from instructors, research advisors, or other mentors
  • Essay: description of research interests/experience
  • Interview: final candidates will be interviewed
  • Faculty sponsor: Through student contact or assigned by the AMNH
  • Application fee of $50: Required with application; non-refundable
  • Proficiency in English:
    • TOEFL or IELTS (Academic Exam) scores are required for non-native English speakers unless they have earned a graduate or undergraduate degree in a program using English as its official language of instruction. TOEFL or IELTS tests must have been taken within the past 2 years. 
    • TOEFL scores generally must total 600 or higher, typically with 60 or greater on each subsection (PBT), or total 100 or higher, typically with 25 or greater on each subsection (iBT). For more information on TOEFL go to
    • IELTS scores must be at least 7.0 in total. For more information on IELTS please go to:

Submission of Application

The application for admission, together with supporting materials must be uploaded online through the admissions portal.

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Application Fee

There is a $50.00 USD application fee that must be paid before we can consider your application. You may use a credit card to pay this fee. 
This fee is non-refundable and your application will not be considered until it is paid. It is due December 15, 2021. Please contact Anna Manuel ([email protected]) with any questions or concerns, or to pay by credit card.

To pay using PayPal:

In the field below enter your name EXACTLY as it appears on your application so that we can match your name. This is especially important if you are having someone else use your credit card. Then hit "enter" on your keyboard or click the "Buy Now" button below this field to complete your PayPal payment.

First & Last Name of Applicant

Please note that all applications and supporting materials become the property of the Richard Gilder Graduate School. Since the applicant is responsible for sending official transcripts to the RGGS in sealed envelopes and securing letters of recommendation, it is important that the applicant requests supporting documents as early as possible, to ensure that all supporting materials are secured well in advance of the application deadline.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to contact a member of the faculty prior to application. Final candidates will be invited to the Richard Gilder Graduate School for interviews, whenever possible. The interview process represents the graduate school’s commitment to finding students that will most benefit from and contribute to the Ph.D. Comparative Biology program. It also enables the Graduate School faculty to make the very best matches between students and faculty advisors - part of the Richard Gilder Graduate School’s deep commitment to personal advising, mentorship, and guidance of students.

Notice of Non-Discrimination

The American Museum of Natural History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. The Museum does not discriminate with respect to employment, or admission or access to Museum facilities, programs or activities on the basis of race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, marital status, partnership status, gender, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, pregnancy, alienage or citizenship status, current or former participation in the uniformed services, status as a veteran, or national or ethnic origin, or on account of any other basis prohibited by applicable City, State, or Federal law. If special accommodations are needed in applying for a position, please call the Office of Human Resources. 

Inquiries or complaints regarding any form of harassment, discrimination or retaliation may be directed to Benjamin Marzolf, the Museum’s Title IX Coordinator / Equal Opportunity Specialist, at [email protected] or 212-769-5316, or Kala Harinarayanan, Vice President of Human Resources, at [email protected] or 212-769-5226.

Individuals may also file complaints, as applicable, with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights, which has its regional enforcement office at Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 32 Old Slip, 26th floor, New York, NY 10005-2500, 646-428-3900, or [email protected] and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, located at 33 Whitehall Street, 5th floor, New York, NY 10004, 800-669-4000.