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Graduate Program

Master of Science

The primary goal of the M.S. program is to develop the student's ability to think creatively and critically about a range of biological subject matter and to become familiar with current research in biology. This is done principally through graduate courses, seminars, and research experience with a faculty member. Our program offers two options for the M.S. degree. Students should indicate which option they prefer in the application for admission.

The Open Choice M.S. (OC MS). This program is designed for students wishing to upgrade their expertise in the biology professions, explore or expand their interest in research, or broaden their base for making future career choices in the Biological Sciences. The degree requires 8 courses (10 courses, starting in Fall 2017) at the 100 level or higher, and can be done either full-time or part-time. Applications for the OC MS program are accepted for fall or spring semester, and OC M S students are eligible for tuition scholarships from the university. See the Frequently Asked Questions section for more information on admission to the OC MS program.

The Thesis M.S. (Th MS). This program is designed for students who wish to gain an in-depth research experience. Thesis MS students fulfill about half of their 8 credits (10 credits, starting in Fall 2017) in coursework and half by doing research, which is required as the basis for the thesis. To complete the research M.S., the candidate is required to prepare and defend a thesis based on original research done under supervision of a departmental faculty member. Research M.S. students are eligible for tuition scholarships and stipend support through a teaching assistantship. Applications for the Thesis M.S. option are highly selective and accepted only for the fall semester.

Entering M.S. students are assigned an advisory committee of three faculty members who work with the student to plan a suitable program. All M.S. candidates must complete eight graduate level course credits (10 starting in Fall 2017), including one required course (either Biology 243, Topics in Molecular and Cell Biology or Biology 244, Topics in Evolutionary Ecology). Courses must be completed with grades of B- or better to count towards the degree and no more than two credits may be transferred from another institution.