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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 Course work M.S. (CW MS). This program is designed for students who desire additional graduate level education in Biology, in preparation for a career 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 M.S. coursework program are accepted for fall or spring semester. Course work M.S. students are normally not eligible for tuition scholarships or research or teaching assistantships from the university. See the Frequently Asked Questions section for more information on admission to the CW 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 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.