Biology M.S.

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


The research of Biology faculty is grouped into two clusters: Cell and Molecular Biology and Ecology-Evolution-Animal Behavior. Students will have the opportunity to mention from the outset of the application process whose research they are interested in. While faculty research interests fall into these two broad groupings, students are encouraged to consider research projects that cross disciplines.

Learning goals for the MS degree 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 field of study.

  • Have a broad factual and conceptual knowledge of biology.

Specific Requirements

Requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies for the Degree of Master of Science

An undergraduate major in biology or its equivalent. Acceptability to the faculty member with whom the candidate wishes to do thesis research. Taking the Graduate Record Examination is not required.

Minimum Degree Requirements

30 total credits, fifteen of which are graded credits including: Biology Graduate Colloquia, 4 credits; 11 to 18 additional credits in biology and related fields; thesis research (8 to 15 credits) and successful defense of thesis. Required courses are Scientific Survival Skills and Computational Biology. Each candidate must participate in the teaching of at least 1 undergraduate course.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination must be taken by the end of the second year. The examination will cover broad knowledge of the student's discipline. The details and format of the examination and its form (written or oral or both) are decided upon by the Studies Committee and will be discussed with the student well in advance of the exam.

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

All Biology M.S. students who are admitted to the Graduate College are admitted to candidacy for the degree.