May 19, 2024  
2021-2022 University of Wyoming Catalog 
2021-2022 University of Wyoming Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Interdisciplinary Programs

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Biomedical Sciences, Ph.D. Program

Office of Graduate Education
Old Main 310
Phone: (307) 766-4128

Program Director: Sreejayan Nair, Ph.D.

Degree Offered

Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences

Biomedical sciences is the study of human biological processes; the complex interactions between physiological, genetic and environmental factors that influence disease and health. It spans the spectrum from fundamental discovery to innovation and application.

Areas of focus may include but not limited to cardiac health, nutrition, reproductive biology, toxicology, diagnostic & imaging and medical engineering.

The PhD program in biomedical sciences is designed to position graduates for long-term competitive success in the rapidly changing and multifaceted health-related arena in the 21st century. It is a comprehensive, interdisciplinary program, making connections between various disciplines to gain new insights, discover and apply new knowledge, and promote self-directed, life-long learning.

Biomedical Sciences is a research & discovery focused program balancing depth and breadth of content knowledge with “enabling” skills including problem solving, innovation, entrepreneurship, communication and leadership.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

1. Minimum requirements. Applicants who do not meet the minimum requirements may be conditionally accepted at the discretion of the BMS Admission Committee. Please submit the application packet comprising the following documents for pre-admission screening:

a. Faculty sponsor. Contact potential biomedical sciences graduate program faculty sponsor in your area of interest prior to submitting an application. NOTE: a letter indicating the sponsorship by a faculty is strongly recommended as the program does not have sufficient number of graduate assistantships to support all students.

b. Official academic transcripts. Successful completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution with one or more semesters of biology, physics, anatomy, physiology, chemistry, biochemistry/molecular biology, math are recommended. All applicants should have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA (scale of 4.0). While a master’s degree is not required for admissions into the biomedical sciences Ph.D. program, a master’s degree with a strong background in the research area of focus is a plus.

c. TOEFL/IELTS/Duoling: The minimum acceptable scores are 540 (76 iBT) and 6.5 for TOEFL and IELTS respectively. An applicant whose native language is English and is a citizen of one of the following countries or has earned a university level degree from a school in one of the following countries may be exempt from providing additional proof of English proficiency: Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia Dominica, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Australia, Bermuda, Canada (all provinces except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States. Due to COVID-19 related postponements/ cancellations of TOEFL/IELTS exams, we will be accepting Duolingo scores or 110 or higher as proof of English proficiency, until further notice.

d. GRE: A composite minimum score of 291 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE is recommended. The GRE may be waived at the discretion of the admission committee if the applicant already possesses a master’s degree, and/or documented research accomplishment in the chosen discipline.

e. Three letters of recommendation.

f. Statement of research interests and career objectives. A letter stating research & career interests and goals, prior research experience and outcomes, reasons for interest in BMS program. Include your contact information in the letter.

g. Current professional resume


2. Application Process. The BMS admissions committee reviews the completed application.

a. Contact faculty in your area of interest and obtain their endorsement. Faculty may choose to interview the candidate on-campus or via zoom.

b. Submit your application materials (pdf files of cover letter/statement of purpose, letter of sponsorship from the faculty, three letters of reference, transcripts, TOEFL/GRE scores to the admissions office via the University’s admission portal.

c. To ensure full application review for fall semester admission, applications should be received by February 15.

d. Review by BMS Admissions Committee.

e. Forward application packet with BMS recommendation to the faculty and host department.

f. Notification of decision to applicant by May 1.

Program of Study

Rationale: The program of study is designed according to student learning goals and research opportunities. It blends depth and breadth of preparation by providing broad core requirements with electives promoting specialization in a “parent” discipline. This is recognized on program documentation by a Doctorate in Biomedical Sciences/”specialization” area. For example, Doctorate in Biomedical Sciences/Reproductive Biology.

Student Learning Outcomes: The BMS program provides unique array of formal courses and informal discovery experiences focused on ensuring aptitudes, behaviors, and skills necessary for leadership and competitive success in the biomedical science arena.

Although the foundation enabling innovative, independent thinking and knowledge discovery is deep discipline knowledge, the BMS program is also designed to promote student competency in information assessment, synthesis and integration, communication and translation to the broader community, teamwork, leadership, and project management.

The BMS program trains graduates to be competent, skilled experimentalists, problem solvers, critical and independent thinkers, expert in their field, with both depth and breadth of knowledge.

In addition, the program aims to instill characteristics that are essential to long-term professional success, preparing scientists who are effective and dedicated mentors and teachers, organized administrators, exemplars of high ethical standards, and effective collaborators.

Upon completion of the program, graduates will demonstrate:

  • Independent, critical thinking skills
  • Ability to identify appropriate biographical resources
  • Knowledge of recent advances in discipline and related areas
  • Understanding of a broad spectrum of research methodologies and their applications
  • Ability to critically analyze research findings
  • Ability to design and independently execute research
  • Ability to use appropriate information technology to record, manage, and disseminate information
  • Understanding of issues related to researcher and subject rights
  • Motivation and aptitude needed to acquire knowledge
  • Communication skills that are appropriate for a range of audiences and purposes
  • Ability to construct and articulate arguments to a wide range of audiences
  • Ability to effectively support the acquisition of knowledge by others when teaching or mentoring students
  • Willingness to assume responsibility for their work
  • Ability to design and teach undergraduate or graduate courses
  • Ability to publish single/first authored papers in peer-reviewed journals. 

Program in Ecology, Ph.D. Program

Office of Graduate Education
Old Main 310
Phone: (307) 766-4128

Program Director: Melanie Murphy, Ph.D.

Degree Offered

Ph.D. in Ecology

The Program in Ecology prepares doctoral students to lead the discipline of ecology during the coming decades. The program is grounded in the natural history of organisms in their environment, but incorporates tools and perspectives from across the biological, physical, mathematical, computational, and earth sciences. Students develop conceptual, historical, and philosophical perspectives spanning the entire range of subdisciplines in ecology, while receiving advanced training in the subdiscipline of their individual interest.

The program fosters long-term career development by exploring the linkages of ecology with other disciplines, and by scanning the ecological horizon for emerging questions, concepts, and approaches that will shape the field in years to come.

Faculty members from 11 departments and 3 colleges participate in the Program in Ecology. Their interests span the full range of topics covered in the field of ecology, and students in the program reflect this diversity.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

The Program in Ecology (PiE) is an interdisciplinary graduate program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Ecology. Students and faculty from multiple departments and colleges at the University of Wyoming participate in the Program. Graduate students admitted to the Program will have a home department, which will typically be the home department of the respective committee chair or co-chair. Those interested in graduate study in this program, are encouraged to contact individual faculty members in the potential student’s area of interest ( and the Program in Ecology (307-766-4128; for more information and guidance regarding applying.

In order to apply:  1) Contact: Identify a faculty advisor (all PiE students must be sponsored by a faculty advisor (​)).  These contacts are generally made in the fall the year before submission, but successful contacts may be made later.  2) Admission to home department: Apply to the University of Wyoming  via the online application system ( letter of intent, CV, transcripts, and three letters of recommendation.   For department, please select the department of the potential advisor.  A minimum of three letters of recommendation are required and up to two additional letters may be submitted. A suggested deadline for application is January 31 to be considered for fall admission, but applications will be continued to be considered.  A minimum of a 3.0 undergraduate cumulative GPA is required for admission or MS degree.  International applicants, who are not native English-speakers, must submit TOEFL (recommended minimum 525)or IELTS scores. If an international applicant wishes to be considered for Graduate Assistantship funding, the applicant should also submit the results of an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). Please contact the UW English Language Center ( if you have questions regarding the English proficiency requirements. 3) Admission to PiE: Submit a letter of interest to the Program in Ecology (, stating explicitly why you would wish to be considered for PiE and identifying the faculty advisor immediately after completing your online application.  Admission to PiE requires admission is predicated on admission to home department.  All applications to the Program will be reviewed by the Graduate Affairs Committee, which has authority on admissions. Students applying to the Program who lack a Master’s degree must show exceptional promise and commitment (e.g., through undergraduate or post-graduate research experiences, peer-reviewed publications, and/or success in competing for research fellowships). Such students are encouraged to consult with their prospective advisor on whether to apply directly to PiE or to Master’s programs in individual home departments of PiE faculty.

Students already admitted to doctoral programs in individual departments at the University of Wyoming may apply to transfer to the Program.  Students who wish to transfer into the Program from department-based doctoral programs must submit a formal application and must satisfy all the admission requirements specified above.  Such application will consist of copies of all the application materials originally submitted to the program in which the student is currently enrolled, as well as a letter of recommendation from their prospective PiE advisor. In addition, they must submit a letter stating their reasons for seeking this transfer. All applications will be reviewed by the Graduate Affairs Committee. In addition, the following apply to transfer students: 

  • Students enrolled in departmental programs who have not yet taken their preliminary examinations may pursue the PhD in Ecology provided they (a) appoint an Advisory Committee under Program rules before they take their preliminary examinations, and (b) fulfill the curricular requirements.
  • Students who have been admitted to departmental programs, and who have already taken their preliminary examinations, may pursue the PhD in Ecology provided they (a) appoint an Advisory Committee under Program rules within one month of admission to the Program, and (b) fulfill the curricular requirements. The student’s Advisory Committee has the option of requiring a new preliminary examination.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

Advisory Committee

Before the end of the second semester of study, the student should nominate a (minimum) five-member advisory committee to the Office of the Registrar. At least three members of the committee, including the committee chair (usually the student’s adviser), will be members of the PiE faculty. One other member, who will serve as Graduate Faculty representative, must be from outside the home department of the major adviser, although (s)he can be a faculty member in a department that participates in the program and/or a faculty member of PiE. The committee will advise the student on his/her program of graduate study, execute and evaluate the student’s preliminary examination, evaluate the student’s dissertation proposal and dissertation, and conduct the student’s dissertation defense.

Program of Study

All students are required to take ECOL 5100 or equivalent. This course should be taken during the first year of residency. Exceptions or substitutions of these requirements are subject to approval by the graduate affairs committee.

The program of study must include at least 6 credit hours aimed at developing a tool skill, which except for rare cases shall be in the quantitative/analytical domain (e.g., statistics, modeling, GIS, remote sensing, bioinformatics). Courses relating to research tools should be taken early in the student’s residency to ensure that they can be used in thesis research and advanced studies. Specific coursework and tool-skill development for the student’s program of study will be developed in consultation with and subject to approval by the student’s advisory committee.

Admission to Candidacy

Admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. requires two steps: 1) providing evidence that the student is prepared to identify a research question, design an approach for investigating that question, and a plan for executing the approach, all in the format of an NSF-style research proposal, and 2) illustrating adequate proficiency in the subject matter of ecology through a process involving both written and oral exams.


Students must submit a NSF-style proposal to their committee outlining their project, typically by the end of the fourth semester. Each committee member will provide feedback to the student on the proposed research and indicate approval of the proposal or request revision. The proposal must be approved by all committee members prior to starting the preliminary exams.

While this proposal should be a plan for actual dissertation research, unforeseen circumstances may require altering the student’s dissertation work after the proposal has been approved by the committee. In the case of a major alteration, the student should reformulate a research plan and submit it to the committee in writing for committee approval.

Preliminary Exam

Passing the preliminary exam is the official admission to candidacy.

Written Portion of the Preliminary Exam. The student will take the written exam portion of the preliminary exam no fewer than two weeks following approval of the research proposal. The goal of this exam is to test breadth of knowledge in ecology. The design of this exam will be coordinated by the graduate committee under the leadership of the adviser. Each written exam will cover the following topics:

Ecological topics ranging from organismal/evolutionary to ecosystem-level perspectives, integrating concepts and perspectives from across the discipline, over a wide range of spatial and temporal scales.

The philosophical and historical development of ecology.

The conceptual background of the student’s area of specialization.

The exam will consist of four to six questions developed collectively by the committee and organized by the student’s major professor. The exam will be open book; however, the answers will be solely the work of the student. Answers should be fully cited and collectively should be no longer than 30 pages double-spaced exclusive of references cited. Students will have one full week (seven days) to complete the exam. Committee members will indicate pass/fail within one week following completion of written exams. Four of five passing votes are required.

Oral Portion of the Preliminary Exam. No sooner than two weeks after successfully passing the written exam, the student may proceed to an oral exam administered by his/her graduate committee. Oral exams center around three goals from which questions will be derived:

To verify that the student is prepared, conceptually and methodologically, to carry out successful dissertation research.

To evaluate the student’s ability to conceptualize specific questions in a broad, integrative context.

To evaluate the student’s ability to think spontaneously and creatively and to articulate responses about unexpected or novel questions.

The advisory committee will discuss and organize specific questions based on these goals in a short session at the beginning of the exam period before admitting the student to the examination room and starting the exam. Following the exam each committee member will provide non-binding paper votes of pass/ fail for each of the three goals of the oral exam. Following discussion of the student’s performance, committee members will each assign a grade of pass/fail for the overall exam. Four of five committee members must vote for passing the overall oral exam.

Students whose performance is unsatisfactory will be given one opportunity for retaking the oral examination. This retake will occur no later than the academic-year semester following the first examination.

Public Seminars

Students are required to give two oral presentations on their research. The purposes of these presentations are to provide the student with practice in oral presentations and to keep the PiE community informed of the student’s progress. The first will describe the student’s dissertation research proposal. This presentation will be given before the student submits his/her thesis proposal. The second presentation will summarize the student’s completed dissertation research, and will normally be given the same semester as the student’s dissertation defense. Under extraordinary circumstances (subject to approval by the Graduate Affairs Committee), this presentation may be given at an earlier time. These presentations must be open to the public, and may comprise part of a departmental or Program in Ecology seminar or brown-bag series.

Hydrologic Sciences (WRESE), Ph.D. Program

Office of Graduate Education
Old Main 310
Phone: (307) 766-4128

Program Director: Scott N. Miller, Ph.D.

Degree Offered

Ph.D. in  Hydrologic Sciences

The Water Resources/Environmental Science and Engineering (WRESE) program facilitates Ph.D. level course offerings in water-related disciplines, and coordinates offerings of these courses. Furthermore, the WRESE program serves as a focal-point for water-related graduate research and education at the University of Wyoming.

This interdisciplinary degree program encourages cross-department and inter-college coordination for research and education in hydrology and water resources.

The WRESE Program grants a PhD in Hydrological Sciences.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

The WRESE Program only admits students seeking a doctoral degree.

Minimum criteria for admission to the Program are:

  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.000
  • Agreement by a faculty member affiliated with the WRESE program to sponsor the student
  • Admission to a home department at the University of Wyoming

Typically, students admitted into the program will have previously obtained a Masters-level degree. Under exceptional circumstance, students may be admitted directly after an undergraduate degree if they show exceptional promise and commitment. Students already admitted to doctoral programs in individual departments at the University of Wyoming may apply to transfer to the program.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

Students in the WRESE Program are expected to create their graduate committee within the first year of study. The committee should be composed of three faculty members within the PhD program in Hydrology and 2 should be from the student’s departmental home. A committee shall be composed of no fewer than 5 members, of which only one may be from outside the University. Additional committee members may be added to support the student’s learning and objectives on the discretion of the committee and WRESE Program chair.

Program of Study

Students enrolled in the Program should complete their Program of Study within the first 3 semesters. The student shall work with his/her research advisor and committee to determine the appropriate course of study relative to the student’s research agenda. Students are expected to complete a rigorous course of study in quantitative hydrological sciences. Minimum requirements for the PhD include:

  • Coursework credits: 42 hours (26 can be from an MS)
  • Total credits: 72 hours
  • Math expectations: students are encouraged to pursue a high level of math proficiency, with typical students progressing through differential equations. Individual math expectations will be determined by the committee and program chair.

A dissertation proposal should be approved by the end of the 4th semester. Students shall submit their proposal to their committee for review two weeks prior to a holding a committee meeting where the student (a) presents their proposal in a public presentation and (b) defends the proposal to the committee in a closed meeting. After the meeting, the student shall amend the proposal as required by the committee within a timely manner.

Admission to Candidacy / Preliminary Examination

Advance to candidacy is attained by passing preliminary exams within 3 years of initiating a degree program. Students should complete their preliminary exams as close to the end of their primary coursework as possible. Preliminary exams consist of two parts. The first part is a written examination wherein committee members shall submit written questions to the student. Once the student has passed their written exams, they will be administered an oral examination. 

The written exam shall be administered by the student’s research adviser, who will coordinate the questions so as to obtain a comprehensive review of the student’s knowledge of the materials the student has learned in the classroom and needs to complete his/her research topic. Written questions should cover both conceptual and theoretical underpinnings in hydrological sciences and technical questions related to the student’s research area.

The written exam will consist of a series of questions as decided upon by the committee and should take no more than two weeks to complete.

Each committee member shall grade their portion of the exam as pass/fail. The student shall be viewed as passing the written exam if no more than one person grades their portion of the exam as failing.

The oral examination will be held no sooner than two weeks after the written exams, and only after the student has passed their written examinations. The oral exam should be no less than 90 minutes long and no longer than 3 hours. 

Following the exam, each committee member must vote pass/fail. The student will be deemed as passing if they receive no more than one failing vote.


The student will prepare a dissertation and make the document available to the committee at least two weeks in advance of an oral defense of the document. The oral defense must be at least 15 weeks after the student has been advanced to candidacy. Students shall present a public defense to the university community that is expected to be approximately 45 minutes long, with a public question-and-answer period after the presentation. If the committee determines that the student has presented a suitable oral presentation of his/her research findings, a closed session meeting will be held in which the student defends their research to the committee. At the conclusion of the defense, each committee member must vote pass/fail. The student will be deemed as passing if they receive no more than one failing vote.

Other information:

Students in the WRESE Program may participate from any college, with the expectation that their program of study and dissertation will focus on quantitative issues of hydrology and water resources. The Program welcomes academic diversity, and students in WRESE have entered into the Program from a wide range of academic backgrounds and have hailed from numerous home departments, including Ecosystem Science and Management, Civil and Architectural Engineering, Botany, Zoology and Physiology, and Geology and Geophysics.

Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences, Ph.D. Program

Office of Graduate Education
Old Main 310
Phone: (307) 766-4128

Program Director: Daniel Levy, Ph.D.

Degree Offered

Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Life Sciences

This interdisciplinary program with more than 30 faculty participants spans a wide range of research topics, such as:

Biotechnology-bioengineering, biomaterials, pharmacology, cell biology and signaling, genetics and development, genomics, proteomics, computational biology, microbiology and infectious disease, structural biology, and biophysics.

Coursework focuses on core courses in biochemistry and molecular biology, with electives that include such diverse courses as:

Topics in Genomics, Biophysics, Microbial Physiology and Metabolism, Cell and Developmental Genetics, Mass Spectrometry and Analytical Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Mammalian Endocrinology, Cell Culture and Virology, Introduction to Bioinformatics, Protein Structure and Function, Microbial Genetics, Computational Biology, and Quantitative Microscopy.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

1. Applicants should apply through the online graduate application link. This process requires uploading a statement of purpose, a CV, academic transcripts, and test scores. The statement of purpose should include a brief narrative that describes the applicant’s motivation to pursue graduate studies in the life sciences, relevant experiences, and specific reasons for applying to the MCLS program at the University of Wyoming. The program does not adhere to strict test score minimums, however, for international applicants minimum suggested scores are 540 (76 iBT) and 6.5 for TOEFL and IELTS, respectively.  An applicant whose native language is English and is a citizen of one of the following countries or has earned a university level degree from a school in one of the following countries will be exempt from providing additional proof of English proficiency: Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia Dominica, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Australia, Bermuda, Canada (all provinces except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom, and the United States. Due to COVID-19 related postponements/cancellations of TOEFL/IELTS exams, we will be accepting Duolingo scores of 110 or higher as proof of English proficiency until further notice. More information for international applicants can be found on the University of Wyoming graduate admissions website. The application also requests that three reference letters be submitted in support of the candidate’s application. Completed applications are due on January 1.

2. The MCLS admissions committee reviews completed applications starting in early January of each application cycle. Promising applications are selected based on research experience, grades, test scores, and reference letters. The most compelling statements of purpose convincingly describe why the applicant is interested in pursuing graduate studies in the life sciences, detailing relevant past research experience and how it has prepared the student for PhD studies. Reference letters that include specific details and anecdotes about the applicant are most useful. The committee generally looks for grades of B or better in life science and chemistry courses, although lower grades can be balanced by a sufficiently strong research background. Successful applicants will be notified of admission decisions by May 1 at the latest, although the majority of decisions will be made by March 15.

3. Following the initial reviews, selected applicants are invited for a Zoom interview. Applicants will be provided with a primary research paper that they should read in preparation for the interview.

4. Zoom interviews are conducted with at least two members of the admissions committee. Applicants are asked a variety of questions, including why they are interested in the MCLS program, how their previous research experience has prepared them for PhD studies, their perceived strengths and weaknesses as a scientist, and future career goals. The interviewers also ask questions about the research paper and more general molecular biology questions to determine if the applicants have a sufficiently strong background to succeed in the MCLS program.

5. Shortly after the interview sessions, the MCLS admissions committee discusses the results of the Zoom interviews and ranks applicants for offers of admission, conditional upon approval by the Office of Admissions.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

MCLS doctoral students must fulfill the minimum requirements outlined by the university. In addition, students must obtain a high level of proficiency in the core foundations of the molecular and cellular life sciences through required courses in biochemistry/ molecular biology, scientific literature analysis proficiency, and the MCLS cornerstone course. Because of the broad range of research interests pursued by MCLS faculty and students, considerable flexibility will be exercised regarding the specific nature of the graduate level elective courses that students may take.  Students must successfully complete four eight-week rotations in MCLS laboratories of their choice during the first year.  Additionally, students must pass a comprehensive assessment exam at the end of the first year. Near the end of their second year in the program, students will undertake a qualifying examination in order to be formally admitted to graduate degree candidacy. This exam will have both written and oral components and will cover areas of science that are relevant to the students’ proposed research.  Annual meetings with a research-specific dissertation committee will facilitate and evaluate the research progress of MCLS students beginning in the second year.  Students must also attend weekly outside seminars on topics in the molecular life sciences for the durations of their studies.  For more information, please see the program’s Website at:


Neuroscience, Ph.D. Program

Office of Graduate Education
Old Main 310
Phone: (307) 766-4128

Program Director: Kara Pratt, Ph.D.Degree Offered

Ph.D. in Neuroscience

The Graduate Neuroscience Program offers training leading to the Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience. The Neuroscience Program emphasizes systems and integrative approaches, and our goal is to provide the students with the necessary background to be broadly trained research neuroscientists and to carry out independent research in neuroscience. The Neuroscience Program emphasizes continuing interaction with faculty from several departments and we have a low student to faculty ratio. Advisors spend considerable time supervising and training each doctoral student. The educational philosophy of the Neuroscience Program is to encourage a problem-oriented rather than a strict discipline-bound approach to research. You will emerge from this program with the scientific and experimental training needed to comprehensively address a very wide range of research questions using a variety of techniques and analytic tools.

The Graduate Neuroscience Program is designed to enable graduate students to acquire competence in the various disciplines necessary for research and teaching careers in neuroscience. The current interests of the Neuroscience faculty include sensory neurophysiology, behavioral neuropharmacology, neurodevelopment, neurodegeneration, and synaptic plasticity.

Students and faculty have access to outstanding resources established by NIH Neuroscience and Sensory Biology Core grants. The Microscopy Core houses both light (Zeiss laser scanning, fluorescent) and electron (Transmission and Scanning) microscopes. Resources needed to conduct research ranging from molecular, cellular circuit level to behavior are readily available within the Neuroscience Center.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

Steps for applying to the Program in Neuroscience:


Step 1: Contact faculty whose research is of interest.

Although not mandatory, applicants are encouraged to read through the faculty research summaries to identify faculty that they are interested in training with. It is strongly recommended that prospective students contact individual faculty for more information regarding their research programs and openings in their laboratories before submitting an application. This initial step is recommended because, due to the limited availability of Graduate Assistantships (GA’s), graduate students are oftentimes recruited directly into a laboratory and supported straight away by the advisor’s NIH or NSF funding.  

Step 2: Submit the online application packet via the University of Wyoming’s online application system (

For full consideration for fall and spring admissions, applications should be submitted by January 1 and June 30, respectively. The application packet is comprised of the following items:

  • Application form
  • Official academic transcripts: Applicants should have at least a 3.0 cumulative GPA (scale of 4.0), and a bachelor’s degree in a discipline that is related to neuroscience such as biology, psychology, physiology, chemistry, physics, or chemical or bioengineering. We encourage motivated applicants from degrees in diverse areas that are interested in transitioning to neuroscience. Students with an MS degree in neuroscience or related fields are also encouraged to apply.
  • GRE scores: Accepted but not required
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • TOEFL/IELTS: For international students whose native language is not English. The minimum acceptable scores are 550 (79 iBT) and 6.5 for TOEFL and IELTS, respectively. (The University of Wyoming’s school code for TOEFL = 4855.)
  • Personal statement: A 1-3 page personal statement describing the student’s motivation for pursuing a PhD in the field of neuroscience. Please describe areas of interest and any specific research topics or techniques with which you have experience. If your interests are still broad, indicate your general interests and graduate training goals.
  • We are also interested in learning about your long-term career goals. What do you aspire to do after graduation? What are you specifically interested in the University of Wyoming? Finally, if you have established a potential faculty advisor (step 1), this should be clearly stated here in the personal statement.

Step 3:  The interview

The graduate advisory committee reviews submitted application packets. Only complete packets are reviewed. Applicants deemed strong by the committee will be invited to participate in either an in-person or virtual (via zoom or phone) interview. The interview allows for the committee to learn more about the applicant, and, likewise, for the applicant to interview the committee. 

Step 4: Verification of admittance by UW Admissions Office. Applicants that are chosen for admission to the Program in Neuroscience will then be requested to complete the application process through the University of Wyoming Admissions Department. Eligibility for enrollment will be verified by the UW Admissions Office, including the receipt of official transcripts and documents.

Program Specific Degree Requirements

Doctoral Program

All doctoral Neuroscience students are required to complete a program of core classwork that includes the following required courses: Introduction to Neuroscience, Structure and Function of the Nervous System and Neurophysiology. Students are required to take one course in Statistics (e.g. STAT 5050, STAT 5210) and the course that meets this requirement will be arranged with the student’s committee. The Neuroscience Program is a research-oriented program and students are expected to take a minimum of 2 to 3 credit hours of research per semester. Students are also expected to enroll in an on-going Seminar in Neuroscience. The Neuroscience Seminar, which meets weekly and is attended by students and faculty members, provides an opportunity for intellectual and social exchange, as well as for the development of professional skills in critical thinking. The topic for seminar and the faculty member directing the seminar changes each semester. The remainder of the coursework for the doctor of philosophy degree is selected from designated courses in Neuroscience, physiology, pharmacology, and molecular biology. A grade of B or better is required for all Neuroscience courses.

A student is expected to have a graduate adviser at all times. The faculty adviser must be a participating member of the Neuroscience faculty. The adviser is responsible for directing the student’s research and academic coursework. During the second year, the student will have an advisory committee. The advisory committee will consist of at least three neuroscience faculty members and an outside member. Normally, the student’s adviser will chair the committee and help identify members of the committee who best match the student’s area of interest. The role of the advisory committee is to oversee all aspects of the student’s education after the first year.

Students give two public research presentations 6-12 months before the preliminary and final defense exams. In the student’s second or third year, the advisory committee will set and evaluate the student’s qualifying examination. After successful completion of the preliminary examination the student will profess to Ph.D. candidate status.

The dissertation is the single most important component of the graduate program. It reports the results and significance of the student’s research. In addition to the written dissertation, the doctoral candidate will deliver a formal seminar based on their research. The seminar will be followed by an examination by the student’s advisory committee.

Science and Mathematics Teaching Center Master’s Degrees

Office of Graduate Education
Old Main 310
Phone: (307) 766-4128

Program Director: Sylvia Parker

The Science and Mathematics Teaching Center (SMTC) was established in 1970 and is committed to excellence in science, mathematics, technology and STEM education. As part of the Office of Graduate Education in Academic Affairs, the SMTC, in cooperation with the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) and the Professional Teaching Standards Board (PTSB), serves as a resource and professional development center for the state. The SMTC offers transdisciplinary graduate degree programs with multiple degree concentrations, certification options, and endorsement options. All of the programs emphasize both strong content knowledge and instructional practices. The affiliate faculty for the SMTC includes faculty from the Colleges of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Arts and Science, Education, and Engineering and Applied Science, and the Haub School of Environment and Natural Sciences.

The SMTC provides extensive off-campus professional development that serves teachers, students, administrators, school districts and communities throughout Wyoming and the region. SMTC in-service and extension courses, workshops, institutes, and conferences are designed collaboratively to improve science and mathematics teaching in Wyoming.

The SMTC administers and supports five master’s degree programs:

(1) the Master of Science degrees in Natural Science with concentrations in Middle Level Math (MMA) and

(2) Middle Level Science (MSC); these programs are designed for Wyoming’s in-service elementary, middle, and high school teachers. They focus on general science and mathematics content with an emphasis on teaching middle school level learners. The course work leads to middle level endorsement provided by the Wyoming PTSB. Teachers must have two years of teaching experience to participate in these programs.

(3) Master of Science in Teaching - Natural Science (MST - Natural Science). This is a self-directed master’s degree program working with the SMTC, SER, and the Haub School as well as other colleges. The program is developed individually with the guidance of a graduate committee based on the interests of the graduate student.  This program may be used by teachers to take the 18 graduate-level credits often needed to teach Advanced Placement and community college courses. 

(4) Master of Science - Natural Science (MS - Natural Science). This is a self-directed master’s degree program working with the SMTC, the College of Arts and Sciences, SER, and the Haub School and other colleges. The program is developed individually based on the interests of the graduate student and may emphasize formal or informal learning settings.  Interdisciplinary study is encouraged.

(5) Master of Science in Natural Science with a concentration in Natural Science Education (NED). This Master’s degree program is designed for students pursuing careers as environmental and natural science educators in non-public school or non-formal education settings. These students spend one year at the Teton Science Schools (TSS) in Jackson. A long-standing MOU between the SMTC and TSS allows students to use 15 graduate credit hours earned at TSS towards a master’s degree if they are accepted into the second year at UW within the SMTC.

SMTC Student Learner Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the MS degree program in Natural Science, a student will be able to:

• Engage in teacher research to transform STEM instruction:

  - Design and implement a research project that asks and answers a question using appropriate materials, concepts and methods, and ethical practices, and
  - Effectively communicate all aspects of the research project in both oral and written forms.

• Use professional and academic standards to ensure high-quality interdisciplinary instruction (i.e., place-based, culturally relevant, and/or social justice pedagogy) to maximize learning for all students.

• Engage in mathematical and/or scientific discourse and scientific thinking as active participants in communities of practice.

• Use emerging technology and science investigations as tools to engage students.

Program Specific Admission Requirements

For the MSC, MMA, MST and MS-Natural Science Master’s Degrees:

Two years of teaching experience and a valid teaching license (required for MSC and MMA; may be waived for MST and MS-Natural Science)

Application Fee, unless a UW Graduate

Official Transcripts from all Institutions attended and Bachelor Degree conferring institution

3.0 undergraduate grade point average; provisional admission with a lesser GPA only with consent from Academic Affairs

GRE (minimum 292 score) or an Alternative Portfolio including evidence that supports the potential success of the candidate as a graduate student and a document that interprets the evidence (These items are not required of applicants who hold a prior master’s degree)

Writing Sample in response to three provided questions


Three Letters of Recommendation including a letter from the teacher’s principal and two other colleagues.


The NED Degree - First Year Application:

Official Transcripts from all institutions attended and Bachelor Degree conferring institution Application Fee, unless a UW Graduate

Acceptance and admission by the Graduate Program at the Teton Science Schools in Jackson, WY

The NED Degree - Second Year Application:

GRE (minimum 292 score) or an Alternative Portfolio including evidence that supports the potential success of the candidate as a graduate student and a document that interprets the evidence

Writing Sample in response to three provided questions


Three Letters of Recommendation including a letter from a TSS Graduate Program Faculty Member, one from another TSS employee such as a Classroom Instructor or Field Instructor, and one from the first year application

Applicants complete a UW graduate application and upload all of the information on the Admissions Office website (  Application packets are reviewed by SMTC Admissions Committees and recommendations for admissions are submitted to the University of Wyoming Admissions Office.  Any of the above requirements plus the university’s minimum 3.00 grade point average may be waived if proper documentation and reasoning are given by the SMTC and approved by the Associate Vice Provost of Graduate Education.

International applicants,who are not native English-speakers, must submit TOEFL or IELTS scores. If an international applicant wishes to be considered for Graduate Assistantship funding, the applicant should also submit the results of an Oral Proficiency Interview (OPI). Please contact the UW English Language Center ( for more information.

Please see the Graduate Admissions and Graduate Student Regulations and Policies entries in the front section of the UW Catalog for more information.

Application Due Dates for Master of Science - Natural Science with Concentrations in the following areas:

Middle-level Science (MSC): applications are accepted on an ongoing basis; new students may begin only in summer each year; final due date for admission in summer is April 1.

Middle-level Mathematics (MMA): applications are accepted on an ongoing basis; new students may begin any semester (fall, spring, summer); final due date for admission in fall is July 1; summer is April 1; spring is November 1.

Natural Science Education (NED): applications deadlines for Year 1 are established by Teton Science Schools (; due date for admission to begin Year 2 in the fall at UW is February 1. 

MST and the MS- Natural Science Masters Degree: applications for these self-designed programs are accepted on an ongoing basis; new students may begin any semester (fall, spring, summer); final due date for admission in fall is July 1; summer is April 1; spring is November 1.

Graduate Assistantships and Scholarships

The SMTC often has scholarships and graduate assistantships available for graduates accepted for the above Master’s degree programs. More information upon admission and acceptance.




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