Dec 08, 2022  
2020-2021 Graduate Bulletin 
2020-2021 Graduate Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Biological Science, Thesis, M.S.

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Return to the Department of Biological Science 

See also Biological Science, Non-Thesis, M.S.  

The thesis Master of Science (M.S.) in biological science degree option is designed for graduate students who wish to undertake a significant research project and write a thesis. Although class work is required, the focus of this degree option is research and writing. The thesis involves not only a scientific report on the research performed for the degree, but also a comprehensive literature review on the subjects related to the thesis research. The thesis M.S. degree option is for those students focusing on a career that involves biological research, and gives participants hands-on training to be scientists.

Learning Objectives

The focus of the program is to offer quality graduate level courses in advanced topics in biological science and graduate M.S. students prepared for an advanced degree program (e.g. M.D., D.O., Pharm.D., D.D.S) including those with a research focus (e.g. Ph.D.), or research technician positions in industry or academic. Graduating students will be able to:

  • conduct original research of significant magnitude for publication,
  • exhibit knowledge of the scientific study undertaken beyond that expected of a technician, and
  • write-up and defend research results.


Application for graduate degree programs in biological science must be made through the Graduate School. An undergraduate G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required. The application must also contain:

  • results from the General Test of the Graduate Record Exam;
  • a statement of purpose describing the applicant’s background, specific interests in biology, and long-term professional objectives;
  • reference letters (evaluations) from three individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic and/or technical background; and
  • TOEFL or IELTS exam scores for students from countries where English is not the primary language. Minimum TOEFL score to be considered for graduate school is 90 on the internet-based exam or 575 on the paper exam. The minimum IELTS score is 6.5.

Students not meeting the specific course requirements at the time of application may be admitted on conditional grounds. In such cases, coursework required to make up deficiencies will be determined by the departmental Graduate Committee and should be undertaken during the first year of graduate work. Credit for courses required to correct deficiencies cannot be applied to the graduate degree requirements.

Curriculum Requirements


The thesis M.S. in Biological Science requires 30 hours of coursework with no more than 40 percent at the 6000 level.

Graduate Seminar 6 hours  
Coursework 9 hours in an area of specialization  
Research/Thesis Courses 15 hours  
Total 30 hours  


The research should be of adequate originality and quality to be recognized by the faculty as meeting criteria applied for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals.


An advisory committee chaired by the faculty member supervising the research should be formed at the end of the first year of study. It should have two other members of the graduate faculty of biological science.

Thesis Defense

The thesis defense consists of a departmental seminar that details the results of the research followed by a satisfactory defense of the thesis in an oral exam administered by members of student’s thesis committee.

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