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The Department of Biological Sciences offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Biology and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Biological Science. Both curricula are designed to prepare scholars for the pursuit of research careers in academia, government, and industry, and to improve the level of competency of high school, college, and university teachers. The Ph.D. in Biological Science is a degree program offered by the Department of Biological Sciences, the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in the College of Agriculture, Human, and Natural Sciences. Programs of study involve cellular and molecular biology, plant and environmental sciences and biochemistry. The emphasis of this program is to train scientists in biological research who will be highly competent to teach in higher education and who can work in industry and with other biologists, biochemists, engineers, agricultural scientists, and others to develop solutions to problems that have an impact on our quality of life. Admissions procedures for the Ph.D. program are outlined under the Department of Biological Sciences. The major advisor will be appointed by the department offering the student’s primary emphasis. Course descriptions are listed under the respective departments.

The Department offers both thesis and non-thesis options in the master of science degree program. A minimum of 36 semester hours of approved courses is required for the M.S. degree under the thesis option, and a minimum of 39 semester hours is required under the non-thesis option. Students who choose the non-thesis option must pass a comprehensive examination (passing score 70% or above) taken no earlier than the term in which they complete their course work. Students interested in pursuing research careers in academia, government or industry are highly encouraged to take the thesis option.

Elective Courses 

13 hours in thesis option, 20 hours in non-thesis option Selection of elective courses must be made in consultation with the student’s thesis committee or non-thesis advisor. Often, depending on the career direction or research interest of the student, a student may be advised to take elective courses in other departments or at other institutions. Included in the elective courses must be a physiology and a genetics course. In addition, only three (3) semester hours of Special Problems courses will be credited toward the M.S. degree.

Program of Study

M.S. Program The degree candidate must file a program of study after completing at least nine semester hours of graduate credit, but before completing fifteen hours of graduate credit. The program lists the courses which will be used to satisfy degree requirements, and details how other requirements will be met. The student may later change the program of study with the written approval of the Department and the Graduate School.


Unconditional admission to the M.S. program requires the applicant to have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university, a minimal score of 1250 calculated from the GPA multiplied by 200 and added to the GRE combined verbal and quantitative scores, two letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Also required is that the student will have accumulated a minimum of 24 acceptable semester hours in biology plus a minimum of four semester hours of biochemistry. The Departmental Admissions Committee will base admission upon these materials and additionally, will evaluate the applicant’s science course GPA and may request a personal interview to determine the applicant’s potential for success in the program.

Conditional admission may be granted to applicants prior to the completion of the 24 semester hours of biology and four semester hours of biochemistry, but the student must complete these courses with a GPA of 3.0 or better. The student must remove conditional status by earning at least a B (3.0) average in the first nine hours of graduate courses; failure to achieve this average will result in withdrawal from the program.

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