For Biology Alumni

Many Bates graduates in the Natural Sciences attend graduate or medical professional schools within a few the first few years after graduation.

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Graduate School

Many students plan to attend graduate schools in a subdiscipline of biology, pursuing a program leading toward the Ph.D. or in some cases toward the Master’s. WE CANNOT EMPHASIZE ENOUGH THE IMPORTANCE OF UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH AS AN INVALUABLE EXPERIENCE PRIOR TO GRADUATE SCHOOL. Research at Bates will give you a taste of what graduate school will be like. You may find research very exciting, which in turn will strengthen your resolve to attend graduate school; or you may find that you dislike research, in which case you could apply this graduate training in some other way. In either case, doing an undergraduate research project will greatly enhance your chances of being accepted into a strong graduate program.

Students applying to graduate schools should realize that in most programs most graduate students in Biology and in many allied fields receive full tuition waivers and a significant stipend. Stipends can be research assistantships or teaching assistantships and generally are in the range of $8,000-12,000 per year. In addition, repayment of many federally guaranteed loans incurred during your years at Bates may be delayed until completion of graduate school. Thus, financial considerations should not inhibit you from applying to graduate school.

Currently, Bates graduates are enrolled in some of the most prestigious graduate programs in the country including Yale, Cornell, Michigan, Duke, Emory, and Columbia. Our graduates are receiving good stipend packages as well. Each year, the Biology faculty will spend one seminar noon luncheon discussing graduate school. You should plan to attend these sessions to ask questions. Graduate School information is posted on 3rd- and 4th-floor bulletin boards in the Carnegie Science Building.

Medical and Professional Schools

Professional schools offer degrees other than the Master’s and Ph.D., although many offer the Ph.D. as well as a professional degree. Typical professional degrees are: MD, DO, NP, PA, DMD, DVM, etc.

In the health-related fields are programs in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, public health, osteopathy, physical therapy, midwifery, optometry, nurse practitioner, physical and occupational therapy, pharmacy and physician’s assistant are all in the health professions. Admission to professional schools is highly competitive. Consistently high grades are essential, both within and outside of biology. IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO MAJOR IN BIOLOGY IF YOU PLAN TO APPLY TO HEALTH PROFESSIONS SCHOOLS, but there are several required science courses that must be taken prior to application so it is essential to plan carefully. Students interested in these areas should consult with the Medical Studies Program (contact: Professor Lee Abrahamsen; as early in their undergraduate careers as possible.

Getting some practical exposure to the health related-profession of your choice before applying is essential. This can be accomplished through shadowing, volunteering or internship experience. Information about current opportunities is available on the Bates Career Development Center website (, the Medical Studies website  (, and from Karen Daigler at the BCDC or Lee Abrahamsen in the Biology Department.

Community service is also a necessary part of the application, so check out volunteering options early. The Harward Center for Community Partnerships can help you find ways to contribute to the Bates and Lewiston/Auburn communities.