May 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology Major

The graduate program in the Department of Biology offers courses that can be used to fulfill requirements for the Master of Science degree. The mission of the Department of Biology is to educate students to become competent, confident, and compassionate individuals within their chosen careers. The Department of Biology faculty is committed to providing instructional and research experiences for students to develop skills of inquiry, abstract and logical thinking, and critical analysis of natural science phenomena. The Department is also committed to meeting the needs of students by providing professional and academic tracks for degree completion.


Biology offers a primarily coursework Master’s degree, also called “Non-Thesis/Plan 1”, designed for students seeking additional exposure and training in sub-disciplines of Biology without the emphasis placed on original research by the thesis track (Plan 3) M.S. degree. Through this program students can develop additional technical skills, expand understanding of major areas of biology, and prepare themselves for various career opportunities or promotions. Although thesis research is not required, non-thesis students may gain research experience through research topics courses carried out in collaboration with faculty.

Total Hours 8

Major Guided Electives

Total Hours 28-36

Total Program Hours 36


Students selecting the Thesis track will demonstrate literacy in research, scientific writing, and oral
communication by successfully completing 14 hours of core course requirements targeted at these
goals. Additionally, students must submit a thesis based on an original, scientific investigation
conducted under supervision of the student’s thesis committee chair and committee members. This
research will refer specifically to that performed in connection with BIOL 5990. The graduate
committee must approve the thesis prior to submission to the College of Graduate Studies. Students
must demonstrate mastery of scientific and biological concepts by successfully completing 18 hours
of elective courses, presenting and defending their thesis research in a public seminar, and passing
an oral thesis defense exam administered by the thesis committee. All candidates must maintain a
minimum scholastic average of “B” (3.0) on all graduate courses completed.


With approval of the thesis research mentor, students will develop a plan of study that outlines
coursework and identifies two additional Biology Graduate Faculty to serve on the thesis committee
by the end of their first semester. The committee will advise the student in research activities
throughout their degree and administer the oral thesis defense upon approval of the thesis by the
thesis committee chair.

Total Hours 14

Major Guided Electives

Total Hours 18-30

Total Program Hours 32