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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: a course work M.S. for which research is optional, and a research M.S. for which research is required as the basis for the thesis. Students should indicate which option they prefer in the application for admission. Applications for the M.S. thesis option are accepted only for the fall semester; 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 assistantships from the university.

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, including one required course (either Biology 243, Topics in Molecular and Cell Biology or Biology 244, Topics in Evolutionary Ecology). For the research M.S., two of the credits must be for research courses (Biology 295 and 296); the other six are regular courses, which must be completed with grades of B- or better. For the course work M.S., seven of the eight credits must be regular courses completed with grades of B- or better. No more than two credits may be transferred from another institution.

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.