Jun 24, 2018  
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog 
2015-2016 Graduate Catalog

Biology, MS

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Graduate Programs

The Master of Science Degree in Biology

On admission, the student will be assigned an academic advisor, who must be a full-time member of the Biology Department faculty. Within six months, the student and academic advisor will choose an academic advisory committee (AAC) and will submit this proposed committee for approval to the biology graduate program director (GPD) and the biology graduate committee, which oversees all aspects of graduate study in biology.

The AAC will be comprised of the academic advisor and at least two additional members in the student’s area of interest. The student, in consultation with the AAC, will plan an appropriate course of study. The AAC will monitor the student’s progress. The academic advisor and the student will provide a yearly progress report to the GPD and the biology graduate committee. With the approval of the GPD, the student may change his/her academic advisor or rearrange his/her AAC.

The MS student may choose either of two options:

  1. a program of study with a thesis, designed to provide competence for teaching, research, or further study; or
  2. a program with a library research project,  designed to meet the needs of a generalist. Under either option, students may gain valuable experience through supervised participation in the teaching of undergraduate laboratory courses.

Course Work Requirements

Thirty credits are required for the master of science degree in biology. Students may select courses at the 600 level or above, subject to the permission of the instructor. As part of the course work, all students must take BIOL 650 Scientific Communication  (3 credits). Students choosing option “a” will have a thesis advisor and committee (often the same as the advising committee) and must enroll for at least ten credits in BIOL 699 Thesis Research . These students are required to fulfill the remainder of their course work with electives acceptable to their AAC. Students choosing option “b” must enroll for at least six credits in BIOL 698 Projects in Biology  and will work with a faculty member to develop their library research project. All students must fulfill the remainder of their course work (17 credits for option “a” students, 21 credits for option “b” students) with electives acceptable to their academic advisory committees. All candidates for the master’s degree must take a general oral examination. Each option “a” student must submit a thesis draft to his/her AAC for approval before taking the master’s oral examination, which is not limited to the thesis topic. Option “b” students will present their library research to their AAC.

Admission Requirements

Please see the general statement of admission requirements for all graduate studies programs in the


Submission of General Graduate Record Examination scores is required of applicants to the MS Program in Biology and to the PhD Program (environmental biology; and molecular, cellular, and organismal biology tracks).

An applicant is expected to have a grade point average of 3.0 in all undergraduate science and mathematics courses. The stated interests of a prospective student must coincide to an acceptable degree with faculty specialties represented in the program. The biology graduate committee is responsible for reviewing applications and for recommending candidates to the dean of graduate studies.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Graduate Programs