Comparative Biology PhD Application

Applications are currently closed. Please check back in Fall 2024.

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Summary of Application Requirements for Fall 2024 Admission Applicants

*Admissions offered for the fall semester only.

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
  • Statement of Academic Purpose-two essays: 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 the Comparative Biology Ph.D. Program 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). Get more information on TOEFL.
    • IELTS scores must be at least 7.0 in total. Get more information on IELTS.

Submission of Application

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

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.

Application Fee

There is a non-refundable application fee of $50 if you are applying to the RGGS Comparative Biology Ph.D. Program. You must pay this fee before your application will be processed. Specific directions will be provided when you reach the end of the application and are ready to submit.

Note: Our application fee should not discourage any student from applying to RGGS. If you feel the application fee will represent a substantial financial burden, please request a waiver by email to: [email protected] as soon as possible. If you request a waiver you will not be able to submit your application online until after it is approved.