Biology, M.S.

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Application Deadline

Application deadline for fall admission: May 1
Application deadline for spring admission: October 15


The Master of Science degree in biology is primarily for students with a strong undergraduate preparation in biology who desire to prepare for advanced study, teach at the college level, and/or pursue a career in research. Our program offers comprehensive preparation in general biology with a curriculum balanced in three content areas (Ecology & Biodiversity, Cell Molecular Biology, and Human Biology).

A student desiring admission must have an undergraduate major in biology or a related science consisting of a minimum of 50 credits in science, of those a minimum of 30 credits in biology, 6 credits in chemistry, and one semester of college mathematics.

To be admitted into the Office of Graduate Admissions:

Once admitted to the program, students will meet with the Graduate Coordinator to discuss exit options and program requirements in the catalog.

The following required courses (totaling 5 credits) must be complete during the first year of study; Research
Methods in Biology (BIO 550; 3 credits), Scientific Communication: General Seminar (BIO 560; 1
credit), and Scientific Communication: Special Topics Seminar (BIO 561; 1 credit). In addition, each planned program will demonstrate the 'exit' option chosen by the student in consultation with the graduate coordinator.

In addition to the 3 required courses, each student will follow the requirements associated with their chosen exit option. Courses taken outside of the department will not count toward the MS-Biology degree unless explicitly approved by the graduate coordinator.

Three exit options exist:


The thesis track requires completion of 30 credits of coursework including: BIO 560 (1 credit), and BIO 590 (Thesis Research, 6 credits taken over one or two semesters). All remaining credits will be taken from biology 500 level classes listed below, not to include BIO 600. Thesis completion requires satisfactory oral defense to the thesis to the department.

Comprehensive Examination

Students are required to complete 30 credits of coursework including: BIO 550 (3 credits), BIO 560 (1 credit), and BIO 561 (1 credit). All remaining credits taken from biology 500 level classes below, but not to include BIO 590 or BIO 600. Students must pass a final written comprehensive examination administered by the department. The comprehensive examination is given once of twice a year depending on need.

Special Project

The special project requires completion of 30 credits of coursework including: BIO 550 (3 credits), BIO 560 (1 credit), BIO 561 (1 credit), and BIO 600 Special Project Research Independent Study (3 credits). All remaining credits will be taken from biology 500 level classes below, but not to include BIO 590. Special Project completion requires satisfactory presentation of a final product (typically a poster to be presented at the departmental symposium) as determined by the faculty mentor.

All coursework must earn a "B" or better average (GPA=3.0) and must come from Biology Coursework in the three concentrations of, Ecology/Biodiversity, Cell and Molecular Biology, and Human Biology.

Ecology/Biodiversity: BIO 501, BIO 502, BIO 504, BIO 512, BIO 513, BIO 525, BIO 526, BIO 534, BIO 536, BIO 537, BIO 540, and BIO 582.
Cell and Molecular Biology: BIO 518, BIO 541, BIO 551, BIO 552, and BIO 556
Human Biology: BIO 519, BIO 529, BIO 542, BIO 545, BIO 547, and BIO 555 

Program Sequence - 30 Credits Minimum

As sequencing changes, it is highly recommended that students meet with their program advisor to finalize a list of requirements for graduation.  

Required Courses
BIO 560 – General Topics Seminar – 1 credit
BIO 561 – Special Topics Seminar – 1 credit

Choose One of the Following Required Sequences:

Master Thesis Track
BIO 590 Thesis Research – 6 credits taken over one or two semesters

Comprehensive Exam Track
BIO 500-589 electives – 3 credits each

Special Project Track

BIO 600 – Special Project Independent Study and Research – 3 cresdits

*A maximum of 6 credits can be BIO 300 or 400 level upon approval of the graduate coordinator.

**Students may use a total of 9 credits taken as a non-matricualted student toward the degree.