MS in Biology
The biology master of science degree program is a research degree that prepares students for a variety of careers in the life sciences and may also serve as an intermediate degree for those intending to pursue further graduate study. Graduate students have the opportunity to gain experience in scientific methods and experimental design in the laboratory and in the field.
The Department of Biology offers courses in the life sciences, emphasizing advances in molecular genetics, development, disease, and evolutionary biology. Faculty members conduct research in developmental biology, evolutionary biology, neurobiology, microbiology, ecology, oceanography, immunology, and molecular biology.
The biology MS program emphasizes the development of research techniques. Master’s students conduct their own research projects and benefit from one-on-one mentoring from their faculty advisor. Research and teaching laboratories are well equipped and constantly updated. Students also have the opportunity to collaborate with investigators at some of the nation's most prestigious biological research centers, including the National Institutes of Health and the Smithsonian Institution.
Teaching assistantships are available on a competitive basis and provide a stipend and tuition remission, as well as the opportunity to gain teaching experience. Additional funding opportunities for research are available from the College and the department. Assistantships include tuition remission and supplemental income; there are also $5000 per year stipends for highly qualified candidates.
Admission to the Program
In addition to meeting the minimum university requirements for graduate study, applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination, including the General Test and the Advanced Test in Biology. International applicants whose first language is not English are required to submit results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Applicants must submit two letters of recommendation. Preference is given to applicants with a clear interest in working in the research laboratory of one of the full-time faculty members in the department.
The application deadline to be considered for a merit award is March 1. See also: How to Apply
- 30 credit hours of approved graduate work
- Comprehensive examination
- Advancement to candidacy, which requires the acceptance of a research proposal by the student’s advisor, the graduate studies committee, and the chair of the department at least one semester prior to the oral defense of the thesis.
- Completion, oral defense, and the acceptance of thesis by the thesis committee, chair of the department, and the university
- BIO-566 Evolutionary Mechanisms (3)
- BIO-583 Molecular Biology (3)
- BIO-677 Special Topics in Developmental Biology (1) or BIO-679 Topics in Evolutionary Biology (1)
- BIO-697 Research Methods in Biology (3)
- BIO-797 Master’s Thesis Research (5)
- STAT-514 Statistical Methods (3) (satisfies tool of research requirement)
- An additional 12 hours of approved graduate course work