BA/MS in Biological Sciences


The BA/MS in Biological Sciences is a combined degree program that provides an accelerated path to the Master of Science degree in Biological Sciences. Normally six years are needed to achieve both degrees (four years for the BA and two additional years for the MS).   The combined program can be completed in five years. The BA degree is conferred after the fourth year, and the MS degree is conferred upon completion of the program.

Program Description

The combined BA/MS program is a research-intensive degree program.  Students enrolled in the program integrate laboratory and classroom learning experiences.  Upon completion of the program, graduates will be prepared for entry into the research workforce or for further PhD level education in the biological sciences or related fields.

Program Structure

Students pursuing the BA/MS degree enroll in undergraduate courses during the first three years of the program, completing essentially the same courses as other undergraduate biology majors (see course listing and timetable below).  A total of 68 credit hours of required coursework in the sciences is to be completed in the undergraduate phase of the program.

In the fourth year of study, students are formally admitted into the BA/MS program, and the rigor of classroom work shifts to the 500/600 level.  In addition, emphasis is placed on laboratory research, culminating in the completion of a research project under the supervision of a mentor from the faculty in Biological Sciences.

Application Procedures and Standards

Students should apply to the BA/MS program during their fifth semester in residence.  Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.2 in both science and general education courses and three supportive letters of recommendation from faculty.

The combined Bachelor of Arts/Master of Science degree program summary:

  • 30 Required credit hours in biological sciences (undergraduate)
  • 32 Required credit hours in biological sciences (graduate)
  • 38 Required credit hours in chemistry, physics and mathematics
  • 100 Total credit hours required for the combined Bachelor of Arts/Master of Science degree

Required lecture courses in biological sciences:

  • BIO 200 Evolutionary Biology
  • BIO 201 Cell Biology
  • BIO 303 General Physiology
  • BIO 305 Biological Chemistry
  • BIO 319 Genetics

Required laboratory courses in biological sciences (choose three)

  • BIO 313 General Physiology Lab
  • BIO 315 Biological Chemistry Lab
  • BIO 329 Genetics Lab
  • BIO 332 Adv. Molecular Biology Lab
  • BIO 370 Developmental Biology Lab
  • BIO 400 Bioinformatics
  • BIO 420 Cytogenetics Lab

Successful completion of either BIO 497 Honors Research or BIO 498 Undergrad Research (2 or 3 credits) may be used in place of one lab course.

Required courses in chemistry, physics, and mathematics:

  • CHE 101 General Chemistry
  • CHE 102 General Chemistry
  • CHE 201 Organic Chemistry
  • CHE 202 Organic Chemistry
  • MTH 121 or 141 Calculus I
  • MTH 122 or 142 Calculus II
  • PHY 101/151 General Physics I and PHY 102/152 General Physics II OR PHY 107 General Physics I and PHY 108/158 General Physics II

Required graduate courses in the biological sciences for MS degree:

  • BIO 600 Problems in Biology
  • BIO 610 Graduate Student Seminar
  • BIO 614 Departmental Seminar
  • BIO 680 Graduate Research
  • BIO elective courses (18 credits of 500 and 600-level courses)

Minimum of 32 graduate credits

Possible timetable for the completion of the combined BA/MS degree program for students entering fall 2016 and after.