Skip to main content

Become A Student

Application Procedures for Biology Graduate Programs associated with the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center
Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center Graduate Student Recruitment Poster

Prospective applicants are encouraged to contact a biology professor before submitting an application. Applicants for Christensen Fund Graduate Fellowships in Plant Conservation will need to secure admission to the Graduate Program of the Department of Biology. The deadline for applications to the graduate program is December 15th for admission in August of the following year.

Applications from International students must be reviewed by the International Student Office before they are reviewed by the Department of Biology. To facilitate the review process, we strongly recommend that applicants send a copy of all application materials to both the International Student Office and to the Department of Biology.

Files will not be released by the International Student Office until the application fee has been paid.

Applicants must submit:

  • completed application and personal data forms
  • three letters of recommendation from faculty members at previously attended colleges or universities, or other people qualified to assess the applicants' capabilities for graduate study
  • transcripts of all post-secondary academic work

Students applying for financial support from the Biology Department must also:

  • complete the TA/RA/Fellowship Application form
  • submit a 1-3 page letter describing their goals for graduate study
  • students wishing to be considered for a Christensen Fund Graduate Fellowship in Plant Conservation or the Whitney R. Harris and Saint Louis Zoo Fellowship in Animal Conservationmust also provide a one-two page statement describing how their experience and ambitions match with the aims of this special fellowship program

In addition, applicants to the Ph.D. program must submit:

  • Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical). Although not required for admission to Master's programs, GRE scores are strongly recommended.

Admission normally requires a minimum grade point average of 3.0 in biology and 3.0 (Ph.D.) or 2.75 (M.S.) overall, as well as an appropriate background for graduate work in biology, including courses in genetics, biochemistry, and evolution. Courses in organic chemistry, college physics, and calculus are expected, and statistics is recommended.

International students whose native language is not English and who have spent less than two of the last three years in an English-speaking country are required to submit:

  • scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) examination or the verbal portion of the GMAT before a decision is made on admission. A student with a total TOEFL score below 500 or a verbal GMAT score below the 30th percentile will not be admitted to the Graduate School. The student must retake the TOEFL examination and score 500 or above to gain admission to the Graduate School.

Review of applications for admission to the graduate program in biology will begin on December 15, for admission in August of the following year. Applications received after January 15 will be considered for the following year.

Please send copies of your full application to: 

Director of Graduate StudiesDepartment of Biology
University of Missouri-St. Louis
1 University Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63121-4499


For International Students:

International Student Admissions
International Student Services
304 Social Sciences Building
1 University Boulevard
University of Missouri-St. Louis
St. Louis, MO 63121USA

For US Citizens:

Graduate Admissions
University of Missouri-St. Louis
1 University Boulevard
St. Louis, MO 63121

To download Application Materials or apply online go to: Graduate Admission

Application form for Financial Support from the Department of Biology and HWEC (pdf.file)

Application materials can also be obtained by mail from:

Department of Biology
University of Missouri-St. Louis
1 University Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63121-4499 USA
Phone: 1-314-516-6203
Fax: 1-314-516-6233

Other Useful Contact Information

Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center

Director, Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center
University of Missouri-St. Louis 
1 University Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63121-4499 
Phone: 314-516-6203 
Fax: 314-516-7274

Graduate School, University of Missouri-St. Louis

Dean, Graduate School 
341 Woods Hall 
1 University Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63121 
Phone: 314-516-5900 
Fax: 314-516-6759 

Department of Biology Graduate Program
Department of Biology 
University of Missouri-St. Louis 
1 University Boulevard
St. Louis, Missouri 63121-4499 
Phone: 314-516-6204
Fax: 314-516-6233 

International Student Services

International Student Services
304 Social Science Building 
University of Missouri-St. Louis 
1 University Boulevard
St. Louis MO 63121 
Phone: 314-516-5229 
Fax: 314-516-5636 

Graduate Certificate in Tropical Biology and Conservation

The Graduate Certificate is intended for the following: those who wish to pursue a career in conservation biology from either a research or practical standpoint; those who already have careers in conservation or environmental biology who wish to enhance their background; those who are pursuing careers in related fields who could benefit from additional formal training in conservation biology. Cooperating groups include the Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis Zoo, the Center for International Studies at UM-St. Louis, and the departments of Chemistry, Economics, History, Political Science, Social Work, and Sociology.

Admission Requirements: Students enrolled in UMSL who intend to receive a Graduate Certificate in Tropical Biology and Conservation must complete an application form available from the Department of Biology Graduate Studies Secretary. Students not enrolled in a course of graduate studies at UMSL must apply simultaneously to the University's graduate admissions office. Students who have a baccalaureate degree or are enrolled in graduate work elsewhere may apply to admission to the certificate program without regular admission to a graduate program at UMSL. The minimum admission requirements include: 1) at least a 3.0 GPA for undergraduate course work or a 3.2 GPA for 12 credits of graduate course work; 2) current enrollment in the graduate program in Biology at UMSL or current enrollment in a graduate program at UM-St. Louis with satisfaction of prerequisite requirements of a certificate program or 3) completion of a baccalaureate degree with satisfaction of prerequisite requirements of the certificate program. The minimum prerequisites are undergraduate courses in ecology, evolution, and genetics.

General Requirements: The certificate is awarded after completion of 18 credit hours of core courses and electives with a minimum of 12 credits at the 400 level. Up to 3 credits may be taken at the 200 level upon permission of the Graduate Committee. Electives must include a minimum of 3 credits outside biology with a maximum of 7 outside biology. A maximum of 3 credits may be taken elsewhere than UMSL. Students may simultaneously earn a graduate degree and count credits earned in their degree program toward the certificate when appropriate. View the list of courses.

Certificate in Conservation Biology

The Certificate in Conservation Biology is a multidisciplinary program of study integrating theoretical and applied topics associated with conservation biology. The certificate is intended for undergraduate students with majors in biology or in any other field who wish to develop a specialization in conservation. The certificate is offered by the Department of Biology in cooperation with the departments of Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, Social Work, and Sociology. Building on a core curriculum, students can elect courses from these departments to complete their requirements. Regularly enrolled undergraduates at The University of Missouri - Saint Louis or individuals with baccalaureate degrees who wish to receive a Certificate in Conservation Biology are eligible to participate in the conservation certificate program.

To participate, students must apply to the certificate program. Application forms are available from the Biology Department or on the links below. Guidelines for admission to the certificate program are also available. Individuals with baccalaureate degrees who are interested in this certificate must apply to the university as unclassified undergraduates. The certificate requires completion of 20 credit hours, Download course requirements. Students should consult the Bulletin with regard to prerequisites for any of the courses listed here.

Please fill out the appropriate application form below (word document) and send it to:

Conservation Certificate Application Form
The Harris Center provides support in terms of travel costs and course fees for UMSL graduate students to participate in Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) courses.  OTS offers field courses in Costa Rica (and several other tropical countries) that cover a wide range of topics from field biology to conservation to public policy, and course credits can be transferred to UMSL.  Contact Dr. Nathan Muchhala or Dr. Zuleyma Tang-Martinez, the current UMSL faculty representatives to OTS, for further information on the courses. To apply for Harris support, send your CV to Ashley Johns along with a short paragraph explaining how the OTS course will be beneficial at this point in your career.  Priority will be given to applicants who have applied for tuition scholarships from OTS as well. 

Since summer 1992, the Harris World Ecology Center at the University of Missouri-St. Louis has facilitated the placement of graduate students in conservation internships.  International students from Argentina, Australia, Belize, Bhutan, Brazil, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, Guatemala, Indonesia, Ireland, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Spain, Venezuela and Zambia have completed internships.  Internships have been conducted in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Kenya, Germany, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Puerto Rico, as well as in Missouri, Louisiana, New York, Utah, and Washington, DC.  Internships have been conducted with international non-governmental conservation groups (e.g....., Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Fund), multinational institutions (e.g....., The World Bank), federal agencies (e.g....., Smithsonian Institution), and private organizations (e.g....., Costa Rica's National Institute of Biodiversity, Missouri Botanical Garden, Saint Louis Zoo).  A number of the graduates of this program have obtained positions in conservation-related fields.  The conservation internship has been instrumental in securing post-graduate school employment for a number of interns.  For example, Monica Romo joined Conservation International (based in Lima, Peru), Pedro Lopez-Valencia joined World Wildlife Fund in Washington, DC (Pedro is now working with a national research agency in Bogota, Colombia), Kevin Cool works for the State of Missouri as a Geospatial Analyst and Patricia Baiao now works for Conservation International in Brazil.

American Museum of Natural History, New York
Lorena Calvo, M.S. (Guatemala)
Education of public through displays

American Zoo & Aquaria Association
Peter Taylor, M.S. (US)
Snake conservation

Associaciao Pro-Carnivora, Brazil
Frank Wolff, M.S. (Luxembourg)
Jaguar-human conflict

Bureau of Land Management, Department of the Interior
Casey Burns, M.S. (US)
Environmental Protection Specialist

Tori Stobbe, M.S. (US)
Analysis of pit-fall trap data, Mojave Desert; GIS mapping of desert tortoise mortality on roads

Center for Plant Conservation 
Jacqueline Bratten, M.S. (US)
GIS application for rare plant conservation

Nuala Caomhanach, M.S. (Ireland)
Public policy and plant conservation

Liessa Thomas, M.S. (US)
Conserving California's rare plants

Centro para Conservación de Biodiversidad de Guatemala
Elma Kay, M.S. (Guatemala)
Preparation and teaching of a plant/animal interaction and conservation course for K1-6 children

Charles Darwin Research Station
Monica Soria, M.S. (Ecuador)
Invasive plants

Caroline Duffie, M.S. (US)
Health monitoring of Galapagos penguins and flightless cormorants, Galapagos Islands

CONABIO Mexican Commission on Biodiversity
Jorge Uribe, Graduate Certificate (Mexico)
Analysis of priority areas for the conservation of mammalian diversity

Conservation International 
Jaqueline Goerck, Ph.D. (Brazil)
RAP in Ecuador, transcribing notes of Theodore A. Parker III into an accessible database

Carlos Reynel, Ph.D. (Peru)
Member of RAP team visit to Tambopata

Monica Romo, Ph.D. (Peru)
Member of RAP team visit to Tambopata

Monica Romo, Ph.D. (Peru)
Established conservation plan for Madre de Dios region, Peru

Dresden Zoo - Germany 
Joline Lalime, M.S. (Australia)
Conserving the endangered red-tailed parrot, Atlantic Forests (Brazil)

Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago 
Jorge Perez-Eman, Ph.D. (Venezuela) 
Conserving biodiversity

Fundacion ProYungas
Jose Fabara Rojas, M.S. (Argentina)
Identifying areas of conservation importance in Department of Oran, northwest Argentina

Nicole Wulff, M.S. (US)
Tourism potential: Tilcara-Calilegua corridor, Argentina

Institute of Tropical Forestry, US Forest Service, Puerto Rico
Silvio Marchini, Ph.D. (Brazil)
Sustainable use of tropical forests

Inter-American Development Bank (Washington, DC)
Carlos Reynel, Ph.D. (Peru)
Program evaluation & development, Environmental Division

The Leatherback Trust, Costa Rica
Jeffery Norris, Ph.D. (US)
Turtle conservation education

Litzsinger Road Ecology Center
O’Kongo Akura, Ed.D. (Kenya)
Development of EarthLinks curriculum materials

Maryville University
Tony Piccinni, M.S. (US)
Role of the teacher in environmental education in a traditional classroom

Missouri Botanical Garden 
Susana Benedet-Perea, Graduate Certificate (Spain)
Rare plant conservation

Monica Carlsen, Ph.D. (Venezuela)
GIS mapping of Araceae collections

Sangay Dema, M.S. (Bhutan)
Plant conservation, Bhutan

Trish Distler, M.S. (US) 
Developing methods to conserve germplasm of rare plants

Corneille Ewango, M.S. (Democratic Republic of Congo)
GIS – Plant conservation of inselbergs, DRC

José R. Hidalgo (Ecuador)
GIS – Plant conservation 

M. Carolina Israel, M.S. (Peru) 
Research internship with Ericaceae-Colombia project

Cynthia Hong-Wa, Ph.D. (Madagascar)
GIS – Plant conservation, Madagascar

David Kenfack, Ph.D. (Cameroon)
GIS – Plant conservation

Karen Meldrum, M.S. (US)
Recovery of Dr. Alwyn Gentry's temperate plot data

Rosa del C. Ortiz-Gentry, Ph.D. (Peru)
Checklist of vascular plants of Antioquia, Colombia

Seema N. Sheth, M.S. (US)
Applying IUCN criteria and Red List categories to Bignonieae

Homero Vargas, M.S. (Peru)
Species distribution modeling of Araceae in the Neotropics

Missouri Coalition for the Environment
Robert McHale, M.S. (US)
Developing white paper on illegal toxic burnings in cement kilns in Missouri

Missouri Department of Conservation
Alejandro Martinez-Abrain, M.S. (Spain)
Missouri Forest Ecosystem Project

John Lawler, M.S. (US)
Conservation outreach education

Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Kevin Cool, M.S. (US)
GIS coverage mapping of Cuivre River State Park

Jared Holtmeyer (US)
Monsanto Campus biodiversity study

National Biological Survey
Jose G. Tello, M.S. (Peru) 
Using natural history collections to answer evolutionary and biogeography questions: a case study with Pipridae

National Herbarium of Malawi
Zacharia Magombo, Ph.D. (Malawi)
Native forest regeneration on Ulumba Mountain, southern Malawi

National Institutes of Biodiversity (INBio) (Costa Rica)
Yeshey Dorji, M.S. (Bhutan)
Database management and biodiversity inventories and monitoring

Alvero Herrera, M.S. (Costa Rica)
Conservation application of GIS

Raul Medina, M.S. (Peru)
Cataloging biodiversity for Coleoptera subgenus

National Museums of Kenya
O'Kongo Akura, M.S. (Kenya) 
Curriculum development of medicinal plant use in Kenya

The Nature Conservancy
Sandra Arango, Ph.D. (Colombia)
Developing conservation priorities for Choco region of Colombia

Patricia Baiao, Ph.D. (Brazil)
Conservation policy, non-governmental organization management

Adrian Brown, M.S. (US)
Grand River Grasslands Conservation Action Plan

Julia Brownlee, M.S. (US)
Land management policy

Emily Feinberg, M.S. (US) 
Prairie chicken conservation

Kelly Halbert, M.S. (US)
Conservation easements

Alex Martinez, M.S. (Costa Rica)
Supporting conservation initiatives in the Brazilian cerrado

Gabriel Picon, M.S. (Venezuela) 
Using GIS to establish conservation priorities in the Gran Sabana, Venezuela

Office of Surface Mining, US Department of Interior
Leonard Meier, M.S. (US)
Bat conservation

Organization for Tropical Studies
Miriam Ramos-Escobedo, Graduate Certificate (Mexico)
Environmental impact and policy of serial hydroelectric schemes on the aquatic organisms in the Sarapiqui River, Costa Rica

Population Action International
O’Kongo Akura, Ed.D. (Kenya)
Development of curriculum materials for Kenyan schools

Powder Mill Nature Center, PA
Enoch Kaledimimo, M.S. (Papua New Guinea)
GIS vegetation survey of nature reserve, Pennsylvania

Prairies Forever
Kelly Bailey, M.S. (US)
Prairie creation key

Real Jardín Botánico (CSIC)
Paty Feria, Ph.D. (Mexico)
Ecological modeling

Saint Louis Zoo
Carolina Valdespino, Ph.D. (Mexico)
Captive breeding, reproduction and conservation of the Fennec Fox

Eli Baksir, M.S. (US)
Animal behavior: Cheetah, Grevy’s zebra, Channel Island fox and of Somali wild ass

Anne Bolte, M.S. (US)
Endangered species management

Kate Huyvaert, Ph.D. (US)
Teaching Assistant, Field course in Panama

Bruce Read, Ph.D. (US)
Coordinate and co-teach conservation courses applicable to zoo community and captive breeding centers

Gena Sbeglia, M.S. (US)
Primate house keeper

Carolina Valdespino, Ph.D. (Mexico)
Captive breeding, reproduction and conservation of the fennec fox

Sierra Club, Local Chapter, Missouri
David Crigger
Assessment of impacts of updating new housing energy codes

Daniel Kasten, M.S. (US)
Influencing and educating policy-makers

Simon Bolivar Zoo
Patricia McDaniel, M.S. (US) 
Development of an environmental education program for Zona Norte on primates and tropical forests, Costa Rica

Smithsonian Institution
Samoa Asigau (Papua New Guinea)
Mammals of Papua New Guinea

Gerardo Aymard, M.S. (Venezuela)
Conducting biodiversity inventories and establishing protocols for biodiversity research

Gilbert Barrantes, Ph.D. (Costa Rica)
Curation and maintenance of biodiversity collections

Nidia Cuello, M.S. (Venezuela)
Development of GIS vegetation maps for new Venezuelan park

Kenneth Yhuanje (Papua New Guinea)
Small mammal conservation

Muse Opiang, M.S. (Papua New Guinea)
Echidna conservation, Papua New Guinea

Sonia Sandoval, M.S. (Ecuador)
Cataloging biodiversity

Grace Servat, Ph.D. (Peru)
Research scientist with BIOLAT program, Peruvian Amazon

Southeastern Louisiana University
Tibisay Escalona, Ph.D. (Venezuela)
Field research with endangered yellow-blotched map turtle

Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance
Carol Langner, M.S. (US)
Endangered mammals of Kaiparowits Plateau

University of Leicester
Michelle Crenshaw, M.S. (US) 
Wetland ecology of Lake Naivasha, Kenya

University of Missouri-St. Louis
Miriam G. Ramos-Escobedo, M.S. (Mexico)
GIS Los Tuxtlas Region, Mexico

US Army Corp of Engineers
Craig Litteken, Graduate Certificate (US)
Floodplain environmental management

US Peace Corps, Costa Rica
Greg Basco, Ph.D. (US)
Natural forest management

Wild Canid Survival and Research Center
Elise Beyer, M.S. (US)
Captive breeding of endangered canid species

P. Christie Johnson, M.S. (US)
Captive breeding of endangered red wolf

Wildlife Conservation Society 
Banak Gamui, M.S. (Papua New Guinea)
Conservation planning and administration, Crater Mountain, Papua New Guinea

Monica Romo, Ph.D. (Peru)
Establish conservation plan for Madre de Dios region, Peru, Conservation International - Peru

World Aquarium in St. Louis
Christy Clemenson, M.S. (US)
Coral growth and colony maintenance

The World Bank (Washington, DC)
Guillermo Paz y Miño Ph.D. (Ecuador)
Setting priorities of GEF funding, preparation of white paper in conjunction with NGOs

World Bird Sanctuary
Tamsen Rizzardo, M.S. (US)
Education program

World Wildlife Fund (Washington, DC)
Rose Makano, MPPA (Zambia)
Forestry policy analysis, Zambia

Luis Miguel Renjifo, Ph.D. (Colombia)
Developing conservation priorities - Hispanic South American program

Pedro Lopez Valencia, M.S. (Colombia) 
Conservation science program; NGOs responses to priority setting for GEF funding

The Harris Center offers two scholarships intended specifically for undergraduates:

  • The Marcelle Kranzberg Undergraduate Research Scholarship
  • The Thomas F. George Undergraduate Research Scholarship

These scholarships support research conducted by undergraduate students with UMSL faculty or graduate students in one or more of the following fields: population biology, ecology, evolution, systematics, behavior, behavioral ecology, biogeography, conservation biology, conservation policy, politics or socioeconomics of conservation, and sustainable development.

Application procedures for undergraduates

The Harris Center offers various funding opportunities for Graduate Students: