The MS program in Biology allows for a more in-depth study of biology, primarily by completion of a research project. Students work in conjunction with faculty in an area of research that is closely aligned with both the student’s interests and the faculty member’s research.
Departmental Eligibility Requirements
The MS program in Biology is intended for Biology students and for students majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BCMB) or Environmental Science/Environmental and Conservation Biology (ES/ECB). Students should be in contact with a biology faculty member regarding their research interests no later than the beginning of the junior year.
Students are required to meet with the Biology Accelerated Degree Program adviser as a formal part of the admissions process. This meeting is intended to assist prospective students in assessing the appropriateness of the degree to their professional aspirations. The student applies to the MS program by completing the Online Application no later than May 1 of the junior year. Please note that application deadlines differ for students who are graduating off cycle (either a semester early or late) or who have advanced standing; such students should contact Graduate Admissions for alternative dates.
Program of Study
The Biology Master’s degree requires a total of 10 course units and a defended thesis.
All courses required for the B.A. must be completed by the end of the senior year. In addition to major requirements, students must complete two 300-level directed research courses that count toward the 10 credit master’s degree. These two courses may count toward the 32 credits needed for graduation, but not toward the undergraduate major requirements.
Students must have initiated a research project with the faculty member who has agreed to work with them. Research may be conducted outside of the Biology Department as long as a faculty member in Biology serves as the supervising faculty member.
Graduate Year: During the fifth year of study, the student is enrolled in eight graduate-level courses, typically fulfilled by directed research, directed reading, and the graduate seminar. These courses must be completed with a grade of B- or better.
A thesis, written under the supervision of the student’s adviser, is based on the student’s completed original research. The thesis must be successfully defended. The defense includes a public presentation and an oral examination administered by the Advisory Committee.
Students in this program typically take longer than the fifth year to complete the culminating requirement (i.e. thesis/master’s paper). Students must register as a non-resident if they do not complete the requirements in time for August degree conferral. Students have up to one year of non-residency status (fall and spring) to complete all requirements for the master’s degree.
Master’s degree candidates must have an Advisory Committee, which is responsible for administering the thesis defense and approving the thesis. The Advisory Committee includes the student’s advisor, who must be a full-time or adjunct faculty member in the Biology Department, and at least two additional members that may include full-time faculty, research faculty, and post-doctoral fellows. One of the two additional members must be full-time faculty or research faculty in the biology department. The other member may be external to the department or the University. Such additional members must be approved by the chair of the Biology Graduate Studies Committee. Additional scholars may be invited to join the Advisory Committee.
Student will pay a one-time program fee of $1,000 in the first semester of graduate study. Students also pay a $20 activity fee in the fall and spring semesters as well as a one-time enrollment fee of $100. Students are responsible for paying for housing, food, books, and other personal items.
Students in the Accelerated Degree Program are allowed one year of non-residency status after the fifth year presumably to complete research and the master’s thesis. Please note there is a $200 fee (per semester) associated with the non-residency status registration. There is a $500 lab fee, in addition to the non-resident fee, for students conducting research in the labs.
Students pay a fee of $25 for ProQuest to provide the University with a copy of the thesis that is cataloged in Goddard Library.
Students are required to meet with the designated program adviser and have them sign the Accelerated Degree Program Adviser Form. The signed form confirms that the student and program adviser have discussed the requirements of the program. This form is also available on the Graduate Admissions website.
The designated program adviser is:
Professor Nathan Ahlgren
Lasry Center for Bioscience
Your academic adviser will be the faculty person with whom you are conducting your research.
Any students considering applying to the Accelerated Degree Program should read and understand the Accelerated Degree Program Policies and Procedures .