Biology M.S.

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


Students pursue coursework and conduct their thesis research with Biology Graduate Program faculty in one or several biological sub-disciplines. 

Learning goals for the M.S. degree students:

  • 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

Specific Requirements

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

An undergraduate major in the life sciences. Acceptability to the faculty member with whom the candidate wishes to do thesis research. 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. 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. Thesis research (6 to 15 credits) and successful defense of thesis are required. 

Required Courses (10 credits)
BIOL 6005Graduate Seminar1
BIOL 6000Scientific Survival Skills2
BIOL 6100Computational Biology4
BIOL 6015Proposal Writing2
or BIOL 6025 Foundations in Cell & Dev
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 second semester during which they prepare a written research proposal. The comprehensive exam evaluates the written proposal and has two 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 of their second semester.

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

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