MS in Biological Sciences

Our MS program provides a foundation in biological research for students who have not had previous research experience. Students build on foundational coursework to complete a research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor.


Program Features

  • Hands-on training: Students develop essential laboratory skills by working in research labs with faculty in a variety of life science disciplines.
  • Course-based training focused on your needs: Flexible degree program allows you to choose courses that provide you with the background knowledge in your area of interest.
  • Develop ancillary skills: Build other relevant skillsets such as data preparation, oral presentation, and scientific writing to become a well-rounded, competitive job candidate.
  • Option to transfer to PhD: MS students who excel can transfer seamlessly to the PhD track in Biological Sciences.
  • Opportunities for funding: MS candidates are eligible for teaching assistantships that provide a stipend.

Program Requirements

As a foundation for the research experience, MS candidates complete 18 credit hours of coursework. Courses cover advanced topics in the biological sciences and teach critical thinking, analysis of primary scientific literature, and experimental design.

To develop oral presentation skills, MS candidates enroll in a seminar course each semester of their first two years.  Each student presents one seminar.  MS candidates also attend the departmental seminar series, featuring distinguished scientists from inside and outside the university.

In the first year, MS candidates perform two or three 10-week research rotations prior to joining a laboratory and embarking on a research project. Rotations consist of small research projects that are designed to introduce the student to research opportunities available in that laboratory.

Research Experience
In the second year of the program, MS students complete an original research project under the supervision of a faculty mentor.  A written report describing this project is submitted at the end of the program.