Biology AMP

All students must meet the Requirements for the Accelerated Master's Degree Pathway


An accelerated master's degree in biology can be earned in a shortened time by applying and being accepted in the junior year of undergraduate work. Interested life science majors should discuss this possibility with the department’s graduate program director as soon as they think they might be interested in the program. The  M.S. is expected to be earned in 1 additional year following completion of the bachelor's degree for students entering the M.S. through the AMP.

Learning goals for M.S.  students are:

  • Be able to execute scientific experiments, analyze and communicate experimental results orally and in writing.

  • Have a working knowledge of the fundamental literature, concepts and ideas of their field of study.

  • Have a broad factual and conceptual knowledge and understanding of biology.

Following formal admission to the Accelerated Master's Entry Pathway, up to 9 credits of subsequent Biology course work at the graduate level (5000-level or higher) can be double counted toward the undergraduate and graduate degree requirements. 

Specific Requirements

Requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies for the Degree of Master of Science for Accelerated Master's Students

To be eligible for the Accelerated Master’s Entry Pathway, a student must be a declared life science major, and have identified a biology faculty sponsor. Other requirements include a GPA typically higher than 3.10 overall and 3.30 in biology courses. After graduation with a bachelor's degree, the M.S. degree becomes their primary curriculum. There is no GRE requirement for any Biology graduate program.

Minimum Degree Requirements

A total of 30 credits, 15 of which must be graded course credits. 9 of these credits can also be applied to the undergraduate degree. Following completion of the bachelor's degree, students may take up to 3 credits of 3000- or 4000-level course for graduate credit with approval of the course instructor, the Director of Graduate Studies, and the Graduate College. Courses at the 3000- or 4000- level taken before completion of the bachelor's will not count toward the master's degree. Thesis research (6 to 15 credits) and successful defense of a thesis is required. 

Required Courses (10 credits)
BIOL 6005Graduate Seminar1
BIOL 6000Scientific Survival Skills2
BIOL 6100Computational Biology4
BIOL 6015Proposal Writing2
BIOL 6020Foundations in Eco & Evo1
or BIOL 6025 Foundations in Cell & Dev
Electives (Minimum of 5 credits)
Research (6-15 credits)
BIOL 6391Master's Thesis Research6-15

Comprehensive Examination

Students take Proposal Writing the spring semester of their final undergraduate semester during which they prepare a written research proposal. The comprehensive exam evaluates the written proposal and has 2 oral parts. The first oral part is a defense of the written proposal. The second oral part evaluates the student's understanding of the broad range of concepts in the student's discipline. 

The comprehensive examination takes place before the end of May following the student’s undergraduate graduation.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Science

Successful completion of the comprehensive examination is required for advancement to candidacy.