Master of Science in Biology

Why should I pursue a Master's degree in biology?

The Master of Science in Biology is an advanced academic degree that will prepare you to

  • pursue a more advanced degree, such as a PhD
  • work as a research associate in a biology-related field
  • teach at the secondary level with a deeper understanding of research and the field of biology

What are the main components of the MS Biology degree?

The program is built around 3 core components.

  • Coursework
    • Includes Issues in Origins and Speciation (BIOL550), Research Methods and Biology Seminar (BIOL681/682), and five other courses selected in consultation with your faculty advisor (22 credits). GPA must be ≥ 3.0 (B), and no course with a grade below C counts toward the degree.
  • A written comprehensive exam
    • Taken before the end of the 3rd semester (0 credits; 1 registration of BIOL670). This exam will cover all areas of biology, including cellular and molecular biology, organismal biology, population biology, and philosophical biology, as they pertain to your research area of interest.
  • A written thesis
    • Based on original research that culminates in a final oral examination (8 credits; 2 registrations of BIOL699).

What are the requirements for admission into this program?

  • Baccalaureate degree: A four-year degree in biology or a related discipline from an accredited United States institution, or its equivalent from an institution outside the U.S.
    • Must include full-year courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics.  Mathematics through calculus level is encouraged.
    • Minimum GPA of 3.0 (applicants with lower GPA may be admitted upon consideration of the composite profile).
  • Documents required
    • Transcripts (unofficial transcripts sufficient until acceptance)
    • GRE score
    • Two letters of recommendation
    • Resume or professional history
    • Statement of purpose

How can I pay for it?

  • Tuition Support
    • All MS Biology students receive a 50% reduction in published tuition rates. Some students may be eligible for further tuition reductions provided by the Department of Biology on a competitive basis. This means that your tuition costs for the MS in Biology degree may range from nothing to only about $16,000.
  • Teaching Assistantships
    • All MS in Biology students who apply by April 31st can receive a teaching assistantship: you can earn about $500/month for working about 12 hours/week as a teaching assistant. 

A summer research assistantship of $600/month may also be available when pursuing full-time thesis research through the summer. In some cases students are supported through the external grants of faculty members.

When can I begin?

All students begin in the Fall semester (starting in August). Although in the past we have admitted students for the Spring semester (starting in January), our program is currently organized with a Fall start in mind. If you are considering applying for the upcoming Fall semester, the application deadline is July 15. HOWEVER, we will begin evaluating applications in January. You will benefit if you submit your application early.

Where can I get more information?

More details on admission to this graduate program can be found at the School of Graduate Studies webpage.

If you have specific questions, please contact the Biology Graduate Coordinator, Dr. Marlene Murray, at or 269-471-6243.

If you are interested in applying, the entire application process can be completed online.