Master of Science in Biology

The Department of Biology offers two Master's Degree tracks. Plan A (thesis option) is a program culminating in a research thesis for students interested in pursuing further advanced degrees or employment in biological research. The Plan B (non-thesis option) track leads to a non-thesis Master's Degree and is intended as the terminal degree for students seeking careers with government agencies, industry, education, or other areas.

Students in the Plan B track may select from one of the following three areas of emphasis from which to concentrate their study: (1) Cell and Molecular Biology, (2) Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology or (3) General Biology. View the University course catalog for more detailed information about the areas of specialization.

Admissions information

To apply for the M.S. in Biology program, you must follow the guidance provided below. 

Admissions review process

The Biology Graduate Admissions Committee will review all complete files and will consider all aspects of each student’s application. The committee aims to be inclusive and flexible for admissions decisions for students with a variety of backgrounds. Applicants will be notified of admittance, denial, or placement on a waiting list within three months of the application deadline. Admitted students will have one month to indicate acceptance. Students on the waiting list will be notified of final disposition as soon as possible after acceptances have been received. Applications completed prior to the application review date will receive first and full consideration). The academic requirements for admission are the same for both Plan A and Plan B tracks.

Before admission into the Plan A (thesis option) master's degree track, a full-time faculty member of the Department of Biology, must be identified and agree to serve as Faculty Advisor (and chair of the three-member advisory committee). Potential advisors can be identified by reviewing faculty research interests. If a mutually satisfactory match of student and faculty interests and field of study cannot be obtained, admission into the research thesis program (Plan A) cannot be granted. Alternatively, the student may apply to the Plan B (non-thesis option) track or undertake advanced studies as a Graduate Special student. Students accepted into the Plan B master's track will be advised by the Special Programs Committee during the first semester of study until an Advisory Committee is established.

Financial support

Acceptance into the Master's Degree program does not obligate the Department of Biology or University to provide financial support. It is the responsibility of students to provide for the expense of their studies. However, there are a number of research and teaching assistantships in the Department of Biology for which students may apply. A typical teaching assistantship includes a graduate stipend of $17,000.00 ($1,700 per month for 10 months) with the department or faculty often providing a stipend for the two summer months. You will also significantly benefit from the University’s full coverage of non-resident tuition and health insurance costs, based on the hourly level of assistantships. Check out the Graduate School tuition and fees table for details. In addition, there are opportunities for supplementary income working on faculty grants and contracts, and the University administers an extensive program of financial aid services. Potential students are advised to check with the graduate school and discuss options for support with their prospective faculty advisors. The Department of Biology does not guarantee financial support.

Discover Graduate student scholarships in the Department of Biology