Admission Requirements

  • Comply with the regular admission requirements of the College of Graduate Studies and Research, which includes an undergraduate grade point average of 3.0, and
  • have either:
    a) a bachelor's degree in the biological sciences, or
    b) a minimum of 24 credit hours in undergraduate Biology courses, or equivalents, with a minimum GPA in these courses of 3.0. Transcripts of applicants will be evaluated on an individual basis.

Applicants are also expected to have a background in other sciences, with a total of 16 credits of coursework from at least two of the following areas: chemistry (general chemistry, organic chemistry, or biochemistry), geography (geographic information systems), geology (physical geology, soils or hydrology), physics or statistics. At least 12 of these credits are expected to be accompanied by a lab. Other courses may be accepted with the approval of the department.

Applicants and/or their potential advisors may request special consideration for admission of students with backgrounds that do not meet these expectations. Written requests should be directed to the Biology Graduate Committee, which after consideration will make recommendations to the Department for final approval of admission recommendations. The Department may admit students with deficient backgrounds with conditions that need to be met in a defined period of time.

All Applicants must submit:

  1. Graduate admission application and fee.  (Applications closed for Fall 2024; Winter 2025 apps due by December 1)
  2. Official transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary institutions.
  3. An essay indicating their background, career goals and research interests.
  4. Three letters of recommendation.

Applicants must have a thesis adviser prior to admission. Applicants are strongly encouraged to communicate with the thesis adviser early in the application process. To identify the adviser, students should contact a faculty member and establish the willingness of that person to serve as the adviser, as indicated by a memorandum from the faculty member to that effect.

Application Due Dates

Fall Semester Program Start - Applications will be reviewed from March 1 through May 1. Applicants interested in being considered for a fall‐awarded teaching assistantship must have all materials submitted by March 1.  (Applications closed for Fall 2024)

Winter Semester Program Start - Applications will be reviewed from September 15 through December 1. Applicants interested in being considered for a winter‐awarded teaching assistantship must have all materials submitted by September 15.

Applications must be complete to be considered for admission. Late applications may be considered at the discretion of the department and only under extreme circumstances.

MS in Biology Curriculum

For department information or additional degree requirements, go to the Biology department page.

Total Credits Required 32
 *A minimum of 20 credit hours of biology courses are required.  A minimum of 16 credit hours must be 500‐level courses in biology.  A maximum of 16 credits can be earned through courses of unspecified content (i.e. BI 589, BI 598, BI 599A).

Required Course2
BI 500 Planning and Proposing Scientific Research2
Choose 14-28 credits of graduate level courses with the BI prefix. AIS 535 (Using Scholarly Library Resources in Support of Graduate Research; 2 credits) can also be taken as an elective. Graduate courses from other departments can be used, but must be approved by the student's advisor on their plan of study.  
Capstone Project2-16
BI 589 Research in Biology (1-12)1-12
BI 599A Thesis in Biology (1-4)1-4


Graduation Requirements

Graduates must meet the requirements of the College of Graduate Studies as outlined in the Graduate Bulletin in addition to the following:

  • Complete the minimum number of credits for the degree 
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA
  • Successfully complete their capstone thesis