This FAQ covers questions specific to the graduate program, and is organized by category. If you would like a question answered that isn’t covered here, email Christina Neumann or call (907) 474-5840.
Index of questions
- When is my application due?
- What should I include in my statement of purpose?
- How will I be evaluated by SFOS faculty as a potential student?
- How does my application get reviewed? What is involved in the departmental review process?
- At which campus would I be doing my studies?
- How do I pick my advisor?
- What are the minimum GRE requirements for fisheries, marine biology, and oceanography programs?
- How long, typically, should it take to get my Masters?
- How much will a Fisheries masters student get paid?
- How much will an Oceanography or Marine Biology masters student get paid?
- How long, typically, should it take to get my Ph.D.?
- How much will a Ph.D. Fisheries student get paid?
- How much will a Ph.D. Marine Biology or Oceanography student get paid?
Questions and answers
When is my application due?
Fall Semester: June 1st for Fisheries, May 1st for Marine Biology or Oceanography
Spring Semester: October 15th for Fisheries, September 15th for Marine Biology or Oceanography
These are current deadlines for submitting the graduate application online or by mail. The Statement of purpose, reference letters, transcripts and other miscellaneous application materials may follow shortly after.
What should I include in the statement of purpose?
The statement should focus on you and your goals. You should include your short term goals (graduate school), long term goals (career), why you are interested in this field of study, what excites you about it, why have you chosen this particular university, whether or not you have a specific professor you would like to work with and why.
How will I be evaluated by SFOS faculty as a potential student?
Dr. Katrin Iken, Professor of Marine Biology, explains:
“Our program evaluates potential students on a variety of factors including GPA, GRE, type of classes taken, references, and personal statement. There is no fixed list of classes you would need to have completed in order to be reviewed for or accepted into the program. However, it does help and would make your application much stronger if you could show a good and solid science background. This includes chemistry (usually inorganic and organic), physics and math, and ideally also statistics. If you have a special field of interest, it would be good to have a class in these interest fields. Another good thing to keep in mind is any kind of research experience. If you have a chance to work in a research lab at your university or participate in some field work, this will definitely be a plus.”
How does my application get reviewed? What is involved in the departmental review process?
First, the Academic Programs Coordinator will work closely with the central UAF Admissions Office to collect all application materials. The Coordinator enters the applicant’s information into the SFOS-internal applicant database which is accessible to SFOS faculty online. Once all application materials are received, the Coordinator will notify faculty that the file is ready for review.
(Note: Occasionally, faculty may review application files that have at least two of the three required letters of recommendation. Also, while official transcripts and GRE scores are required, unofficial transcripts and GRE scores may be used in the interim until the official transcripts and GRE score report(s) arrive at the UAF Admissions Office. This helps to speed up the departmental review process.)
Each application file needs at least three SFOS faculty reviews before the Program Head can write a recommendation to the SFOS Dean. The Program Head (for either Fisheries or Marine Biology/Oceanography) assesses all the faculty reviews that have been submitted for the applicant, and compiles a recommendation to the Dean to either accept or deny the applicant.
The application file is then reviewed by the SFOS Associate Dean. The Associate Dean will review all the applicant’s materials, faculty reviews, and the Program Head’s recommendation. The Associate Dean then makes a final recommendation to the Graduate School Dean to either accept or deny the student.
Finally, the applicant’s file and the Associate Dean’s final recommendation is forwarded to the UAF Graduate School Dean who makes the final decision of acceptance or denial. The Graduate School then coordinates with the UAF Admissions Office to prepare an official letter addressed to the student with notification of the final decision.
Have more questions about the application review process? Please e-mail SFOS Academic Programs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At which campus would I be doing my studies?
The deciding factor of where you will conduct your studies and research work is where your major professor and your research is located, and what your degree program is. You may spend a couple of semesters taking classes in Fairbanks or Juneau and do majority of your research in Seward or Kodiak or at other locations around the state.
How do I pick my advisor?
Prospective students are encouraged to do some preliminary research on SFOS faculty by viewing their web pages. A list of faculty who may serve as a graduate student’s major advisor can be found here: Fisheries, Marine Biology, or Oceanography.
If a faculty’s research and area of expertise matches your interests, you may contact the faculty directly to discuss potential graduate projects and to see if the faculty are taking new students. If the faculty expresses interest in you and your potential as a graduate student, you should mention this in your Statement of Goal/Purpose. When your application materials are received, we will know which faculty member(s) to contact for a written review of your application file. This helps to streamline the departmental review process substantially.
In fact, contacting faculty directly and gaining their interest in you is the #1 action you can take as an applicant to greatly increase your chances of acceptance to a graduate program at SFOS. If a faculty member wishes to accept you as their student, they will champion your application file and recommend you for acceptance to the UAF Graduate School. Only in very rare circumstances are students accepted without a major advisor having already been identified.
Have more questions about the application review process? Please e-mail the Academic Programs Assistant for SFOS at email@example.com.
What are the minimum GRE requirements for fisheries, marine biology, and oceanography programs?
An applicant must have scored at the 55 percentile or better in at least two of the three areas (verbal, quantitative, analytical) of the Graduate Record Examination.
How long, typically, should it take to get my master’s degree?
On average, students actively enrolled in a master’s degree program in SFOS complete their degree in 3 years. There is a maximum time limit of 7 years to complete a M.S. at UAF.
How much will a Fisheries masters student get paid?
A Fisheries student accepted as a Research or Teaching assistant, as of the fall 2013 semester, starts out at $19.67 per hour their first year in the program. After the student completes the majority of his or her coursework, the pay increases to $21.34 per hour. During the academic year a students is allowed to work up to 20 hours per week. Depending on the availability of funding and on the research a student is eligible to work up to 40 hours a week during the summer months.
How much will an Oceanography or Marine Biology masters student get paid?
An Oceanography or Marine Biology student accepted as a Research or Teaching Assistant starts out earning $19.67 per hour for up to 20 hours per week during the academic year. Once the student passes their comprehensive exams (usually taken during the second year of studies) they are eligible for an increase in pay to $21.34 per hour. Depending on availability of funding and the research, a student is eligible to work up to 40 hours a week during the summer months.
On average, students actively enrolled in a Ph.D. degree program in SFOS complete their degree in 5-6 years. There is a maximum time limit of 10 years to complete a Ph.D. at UAF.
How much will a Ph.D. Fisheries student get paid?
A Ph.D. student accepted as a Research or Teaching Assistant is eligible to work up to 20 hour per week during the academic year and depending on the availability of funding can work up to 40 hours per week during the summer. A Ph.D. Research and Teaching Assistant starts out at $23.02 per hour and after successfully passing the comprehensive exam the stipend will increase to $25.53 per hour.
How much will a Ph.D. Marine Biology or Oceanography student get paid?
A Ph.D. student accepted as a Research or Teaching Assistant is eligible to work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and depending on the availability of funding can work up to 40 hours per week during the summer. A Ph.D. Marine Biology or Oceanography Research and Teaching Assistant will start out at $23.02 per hour and after passing their comprehensive exam the stipend will increase to $25.53 per hour.