Mar 31, 2023  
2022-2023 University Catalog 
2022-2023 University Catalog

Biological Sciences, M.S.

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Program Overview:

The Master of Science in Biological Sciences prepares students for employment in a variety of careers (biomedical technician, natural resource manager, biology education) or for further study towards graduate or professional degrees. The program features coursework and research opportunities in areas ranging from cellular and molecular biology to ecology and environmental biology.

Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for MS Biological Sciences


Demonstrate fundamental knowledge in biology.


Develop critical thinking skills in biology.


Conduct independent research in a specific area of biology under the guidance of a faculty advisor and advisory committee.


Communicate research information in written and oral form.




In addition to meeting the minimum standards for admission to the Graduate School, applicants will be asked to provide additional material. For applicants to the non-thesis option, 1 recommendation letter from a professor familiar with the academic potential of the applicant is required along with a statement of purpose outlining professional and academic goals. For applicants to the thesis option, a statement of purpose outlining professional and academic goals, a current resume/CV and three recommendation letters are required.

Degree Requirements

Master of Science students are required to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate degree. The course requirement provides students with basic understanding and skills in the Biological Sciences, while allowing individuals to tailor the specific coursework to meet their needs. Two options are available: Thesis Option (Student pursuing Evolution/Ecology or Molecular Biology/Biochemistry concentration) or Non-thesis Option (students pursuing Biomedical concentration).

Thesis Option

Courses are selected in consultation with the student’s advisor and must satisfy the following requirements:

  1. 6 credit hours of Thesis Research (BIOS 7000 ).1
  2. 6 credit hours of 6000-level coursework.2,3
  3. 4 credit hours of Graduate Seminar (BIOS 6091 ).4
  4. The remaining 14 credit hours must be 5000 or 6000-level.2
  5. A minimum of 12 of the 24 non-thesis credit hours must be in the Department of Biological Sciences.

1Students generally enroll in BIOS 7000 every regular semester in residence, but only 6 credit hours may count toward the 30 credit hour degree requirement.

2A maximum of 3 credit hours of BIOS 6090  may count toward the degree.

3May not include BIOS 6091 .

4Students are expected to enroll in BIOS 6091  every regular semester in residence.

Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) in all required coursework. Any course in which a student earns a C will be reviewed by the graduate committee to determine whether it will count toward the degree requirements. In no case, will more than 6 credit hours of C be applied to the degree requirements.

Up to 10 hours of graduate-level credit taken previous to admission into the M.S. program may be applied towards the 30 hours required for the M.S. degree, subject to approval by the student’s advisory committee, the graduate coordinator, and the Graduate School.

Advisory Committee

Each M.S. student has an advisory committee that directs the course work and research. In the first semester in the Master of Science program, the student selects a faculty member from the Department of Biological Sciences to serve as chair of the advisory committee. By the end of the second semester, the advisory committee is expanded to a minimum of three members. Members of the advisory committee must be members of the graduate faculty and at least half must be from the Department of Biological Sciences.

Students will submit annual reports documenting progress in the program, which will be evaluated by the graduate committee. A Candidate Plan of Study that includes coursework completed, in progress, and remaining, must be approved by the graduate coordinator and submitted to the graduate school no later than the semester prior to the completion of the degree.


The Master of Science degree requires a thesis embodying original research in a specialized area. The thesis must be presented in a seminar open to the public, defended in an oral final examination, and approved by the student’s advisory committee. After the defense, the thesis is revised according to committee recommendations and approved by the College of Sciences and the Graduate School.

Non-Thesis Option

The Non-Thesis Master of Science Degree Program provides students the option of obtaining an M.S. degree in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Biomedical Sciences. The program requires coursework, an internship in research or the health professions, and a capstone scholarly research paper and oral presentation.

Course Requirements

The 30 credit hour coursework requirement must include a minimum of 15 credit hours of courses numbered 6000 or above and a minimum of 18 credit hours in Biological Sciences. These must include 1 credit hour of Graduate Seminar (BIOS 6091 ), 2 credit hours of internship (BIOS 6002 ). 3 credit hours at the Capstone Course (BIOS 6003 ), and the Biological Sciences core courses ( 12 credits. see below) The remaining 12 credit hours are selected by the student in consultation with the program director and will be subject to approval by the Department of Biological Sciences.

Curriculum Summary

1 If a student has earned credit as an undergraduate for one or more of these courses (equivalent to BIOS 4103 , BIOS 4113 , and BIOS 4153 ), then the number of elective hours will increase accordingly because students cannot earn credit for the same class twice. These electives must be at the 5000 level or above.

2 Electives may be chosen from any discipline relevant to health sciences. A minimum of 6 credit hours of elective credit must be at the 6000 levels.

Advisor/Committee: Prior to entering the program, and at regular intervals thereafter, students will meet with the program director who will advise students on elective coursework, internships, and progress through the program.

Examination Report: An Examination Report must be presented to the Graduate School as evidence of completion of the Master’s degree Capstone Course.

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