Thank you for your interest in the Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Program. A master’s degree provides you with experiences and skills beyond those you gain as an undergraduate, and helps you to find ways to apply your theoretical knowledge practically and intellectually. Your master’s degree will prepare you to directly enter the workforce as a natural resource or lab technician, compliment other degrees in law or education, or allow you to enter some educational positions directly. It can also prepare you to enter highly competitive Ph.D. programs in your journey to leading the next generation of scientific discovery. Finally, it can help you secure admission to professional schools.
The Department of Biological Sciences offers Master of Science and Master of Arts degrees. The Department awards Graduate Assistantships on a competitive basis that include a tuition waiver and stipend. Interested and motivated students can find application instructions and additional information here.
The focus of the Master of Science (M.S.) is a research project, culminating in a written thesis, that you will perform with a Biological Sciences faculty advisor. The Department includes faculty with diverse research interests, from molecular mechanisms to paleobiology to ecology, and students are strongly encouraged to contact any or all whose research seems of interest, to ensure that a suitable position will be available. Brief descriptions of faculty research interests and contact information can be found by following the link to the right. A MS degree opens more doors to direct employment, and is the best stepping-stone to a Ph.D. program.
The focus of the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree is advanced coursework, although it may include a smaller research project. There is no written thesis; however, the ultimate requirement is a passing grade on a comprehensive oral exam. MA degrees provide additional training and education that may help with admission to professional schools. These degrees can also help undecided students focus their career or educational goals. If an MA student becomes interested in a specific research area, and is accepted into a faculty member’s lab, the MA track can be converted to an MS track.
Please contact Dr. Herman Mays, head of the Graduate Committee, with any questions: