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Biology, M.S.

Minimum Totals for Graduation: 30 - 36 hours

The Department of Biology offers both the Plan A and the Plan B Master of Science degree. Plan A requires completion of 6 to 9 credit hours in BIO 798 (Thesis), one (1) credit hour in BIO 730 (Seminar), 20 to 23 hours of graduate course work approved by the student's advisor and advisory committee, and an oral defense of the thesis. Plan A is recommended to those students preparing for research-oriented careers or for doctoral study. Plan B requires the completion of 36 credit hours of graduate-level course work approved by the student's advisor and advisory committee and a written and/or oral comprehensive examination over the course work. Students enrolled in the M.S. conservation concentration program may pursue a Plan A (thesis) option only.

Admission Requirements, Retention & Termination Standards

Admission Requirements Snapshot

GPA: 3.0 (and 3.0 in major)

Commitment of faculty advisor


See Admission Requirement Details Below

To be eligible for Regular Admission to the graduate program in biology, applicants should have completed an undergraduate degree with a major in a biological science with a 3.0 or better grade point average in their major and a 3.0 GPA overall. Applicants must submit statement of interests, transcripts, and three letters of recommendation as specified in the Biology Department Web page ( In addition, chemistry is required while mathematics and physics are highly recommended. Admission to the program is contingent upon advisor acceptance. An applicant who does not meet the foregoing requirements may be granted Admission with stipulations by the department graduate committee.

Fifteen credit hours (seminar and thesis or research in biology included) must be earned at the 600-level or above.

Program Requirements

Select one of the following options:

Biology - Plan A (30 hours)

Required Courses (12-15 hours)

BIO 500Biological Statistics


BIO 630Art of Scientific Communication


BIO 730Seminar


BIO 798Thesis


Note: At least 6 hours of BIO 798 required. Also requires oral defense of thesis.

Electives I (8-18 hours)

Select graduate course work approved by the student's advisor and advisory committee.

Electives II (0-10 hours)

Additional courses in cognate areas selected in consultation with student's advisor and advisory committee.

Total: 30 Semester Hours

Biology - Plan B (36 hours)

Thirty-six (36) hours of graduate-level coursework approved by the advisory committee. Up to 10 hours may be in one or more cognate areas, subject to approval by the advisory committee. Students must submit an approved Plan B paper demonstrating either research, independent study, or internship. A comprehensive oral and/or written examination over the coursework administered by the advisory committee.

Total: 36 Semester Hours