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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 ten (10) graduate-level courses 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-MS students are eligible for tuition scholarships from the university. The OC MS program is the primary MS program in the department, accepting ~10-12 students per year. 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 M.S. students fulfill about half of their ten (10) credits in graduate-level 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 (0-2 students per year), accepted only for the fall semester, and only for a particular laboratory. Th-MS candidates are highly encouraged to identify a potential lab in their application. See the Frequently Asked Questions section for more information on admission to the Th-MS program.

Entering M.S. students are assigned an advisor who works with the student to plan a suitable program. All M.S. candidates must complete ten graduate level course credits, including one advanced seminar course (100 or 200 level). Courses must be completed with grades of B- (B minus) or better to count towards the degree and no more than two credits may be transferred from another institution.