Jul 03, 2022  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Working Draft] 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Working Draft]

Biology - General [M.S.]

This program provides students with the opportunity to design a Master of Science program that meets their unique needs. 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 other professional careers.

This is a designated STEM program (See OPT Extention).


Program Admission

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis; students may start the program in Summer, Fall, or Winter.


After reviewing the admission requirements below, please select the appropriate application. Please keep in mind that some programs require applicants to submit all application materials by a posted deadline and/or admit students one time each year.

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
  • Submit a personal statement introducing the applicant and reasons for applying to the program.

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 441C Mark Jefferson, 734.487.0212

Anne Casper, PhD, Department Head

Advising Information

Cara Shillington, PhD, Graduate Coordinator, 441 Science Complex, 734.487.4242

Students will receive initial advising from the graduate coordinator and/or the principal research advisor upon admission to the program. 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 committee’s chair, and the chair chooses the other two members in consultation with the student. Additional committee members 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 will prepare the student’s program in consultation with the student, which the graduate coordinator must approve. The student may select a third member of the guidance committee from faculty within the Biology Department.

Degree Requirements: 30-34 hours

At least 30 hours of approved graduate-level work is required, including a minimum of 24 hours within the Biology Department. To ensure the scheduling of appropriate research experiences, internships, and specialized coursework, students must, before the start of their first semester, formulate a specific program of study in consultation with their faculty guidance committee. In addition to the common requirements, students must opt for one of two alternative degree plans: thesis or non-thesis. Students can switch between these options at any time during their program.

Thesis or Non-Thesis: 24-28 hours

In addition to completing the required courses above, students must satisfy one of the following options.

Non-thesis Option: 28 hours

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.

Students will complete an additional 28 credit hours of coursework. This includes coursework in Biology, and up to six credit hours may be taken outside the department as cognates. See the elective course list below.

All candidates are encouraged to include research or practical experiences by enrolling in three to six credit hours of the following:

Thesis Option: 24 hours

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.

Elective Courses:

Critical Graduation Information

Each graduate student is responsible for fulfilling the requirements or their equivalents of the Eastern Michigan University catalog in force at the time of their initial registration or a subsequent catalog, including the one in effect at the time of their graduation.

Master’s degree requirements must be completed within six (6) years of first enrollment in the master’s degree program.

In the event a student does not complete the master’s degree requirements within six years of the date of their original registration, the student may be required to have their credits re-evaluated by the academic department(s) of their degree in keeping with catalog requirements in force during the year of their graduation.

The following are minimum requirements for all master’s degrees awarded by Eastern Michigan University. Some programs require more than the minimum in one or more areas below.

  • A master’s degree must require a minimum of 30 credit hours.
  • No more than six credits of independent study courses, and no more than 12 credit hours of special topics and independent study courses combined, may be applied to a graduate degree.  
  • Residency Requirement:
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 36 or fewer required hours, at least 24 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere). 
    • For students admitted to master’s degree programs of 37 or more required hours, at least 30 new graduate hours beginning the semester of acceptance and enrollment into the degree program must be earned at EMU. Minimum degree hours must still be met for graduation. The remaining program requirement hours may be met through transfer or prior degree credit (EMU or elsewhere).
    • Residency and enrollment in multiple programs: Students enrolled in multiple master’s/specialist degree programs must have 24 unique credit hours in each degree program.
  • Only credits from one completed graduate certificate may be applied to a master’s or specialist degree in a relevant field of study, as determined by the Graduate School and with the approval of the degree-granting academic department, and be included in the residency hours above.
  • Students must maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA in all graduate-level courses taken at EMU and in their program of study to remain in good academic standing and be eligible for graduation. Students do not need to be registered for classes during the semester of graduation.
  • The Graduate School does not permit the use of undergraduate courses (499 and below) to meet degree requirements on graduate programs of study.
  • Some master’s programs require a thesis; others require a special project or internship; others require students to pass a final exam. See the Graduate School website for Thesis and Dissertation Manuals, all forms, and information about research and human subject approval. Every completed thesis or dissertation must be submitted to Digital Commons. Any form of graduate student work submitted to Digital Commons must first be approved by a faculty advisor and the Graduate School.