Dec 08, 2021  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year] 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [Current Academic Year]

Biology - General [M.S.]

This program provides students with the opportunity to design a Master of Science program that meets their unique needs. As such, it can accommodate students with a wide range of backgrounds and career goals. It may be particularly suitable for providing an additional background in biology for secondary teachers, preparing a broad background for students interested in community college teaching, or intent on entering or in other professional careers.

This is a designated STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program.

Program Admission

Graduate School Application

After reviewing the admission requirements below, please select the appropriate application. The University is transitioning application platforms; pay close attention when selecting the application below.

The program you are applying to may not accept applicants every semester.

For additional information regarding the application process, please see Graduate Admissions or International Admissions.

Admission Requirements

Minimum Graduate School Requirements

A four-year baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or an equivalent degree from a non-U.S. institution. In addition, a minimum cumulative undergraduate grade point average of 2.7 on a 4.0 scale, or 3.0 in the last half of the undergraduate program, is required for full admission. Applicants who do not meet minimum admission requirements may be considered for conditional admission. See International Admissions for international applicant requirements.

Applicants must also meet the following program requirements:

  • At least 20 hours in biology, with a course in genetics
  • One year of general chemistry
  • One semester of calculus or statistics
  • An academic record of B (3.0) or better during the junior and senior years
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A personal statement

Conditional Admission - Students deficient in a requirement for admission to any of the programs may be granted conditional admission, subject to removal of the deficiency while beginning graduate study. Hours earned in making up deficiencies are in addition to those normally required for the degree.

Department Information

Biology | Thomas Mast, Ph.D., Department Head | 403D Science Complex, 734.487.6916,

Advising Information

Cara Shillington, Ph.D., 441 Science Complex, 734.487.4242,

Upon admission to the biology program, students will receive initial advising from the graduate coordinator, the principal advisor in their selected concentration, or the departmental graduate committee. Students are responsible for forming a permanent guidance committee and developing a program of study approved by that committee before registering for their second semester. After the first semester, if no program of study is on file, the guidance committee is not obligated to include any unapproved courses taken as part of the student’s final program. The guidance committee for Thesis students will include at least three faculty members from the Biology Department. The student usually selects the chair of the committee, and the other two members are chosen by the chair in consultation with the student. Additional members of the committee may be added from inside or outside the department by agreement between the chair and the student.

The guidance committee for Non-thesis students will consist of the principal graduate advisor for the selected concentration and the graduate coordinator. The graduate advisor, in consultation with the student, will prepare the student’s program, which must be approved by the graduate coordinator. The student may select a third member of the guidance committee from faculty within the Biology Department.

Program Requirements

At least 30 hours of approved graduate-level work is required, including a minimum of 24 hours within the Biology Department. To ensure scheduling of appropriate research experiences, internships and specialized coursework, students must, by the end of their first semester, formulate a specific program of study in consultation with their faculty guidance committee. After approval, this program is kept on file by the graduate coordinator and may not be changed without the written approval of the guidance committee.

In addition to the common requirements, students must opt for one of two alternative degree plans: thesis or non-thesis.

Thesis: This plan is most appropriate for students intending on a research career in biology. A candidate completes an original investigation under the supervision of a guidance (thesis) committee. This research must be suitable for publication, written in a form acceptable to the Graduate School and defended in an oral examination. The plan requires a minimum of 30 credit hours including a minimum of six credit hours and a maximum of 10 credit hours in research (thesis and independent study). A maximum of six hours may be earned in BIO 690 /691 /692 - Thesis  for thesis research.

Non-thesis: This plan is most appropriate for students intending on a professional career that does not emphasize research or for those interested in obtaining a broader understanding of biological theory. All students in this plan must complete 34 credit hours of course work. All candidates are encouraged to include research or practical experiences by enrolling for three hours in either BIO 587 - Cooperative Education in Biology , BIO 686 /687 /688 - Practicum in Biology  or BIO 697 /698 /699 - Graduate Research in Biology .

Degree Requirements: 30-34 hours

This concentration in general biology requires a minimum of 30 credit hours for thesis students and 34 credit hours for non-thesis students. As many as six hours may be taken outside of the Biology Department as cognates. All courses in the program of study must be approved by the student’s guidance committee.