Master of Science in Biology (MS)

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Program Overview

The Department of Biology offers a Master of Science degree to students who wish to advance their knowledge in the field, to enhance their professional careers, or to prepare for subsequent post-master's programs.  The department offers graduate courses in most biological disciplines, in keeping with the philosophy that advanced work across the breadth of the field is appropriate at the master's level.  In addition, since research is the cornerstone of Biology, each student is required to complete a thesis based on original research.

Program Requirements

A student desiring a MS in biology must complete a minimum of 32 semester hours of graduate work.  A minimum of 26 hours will be in biology; the remaining hours can include cognate courses (e.g., in education, psychology, or computer science) approved by the graduate coordinator.  Twelve hours must be taken at the 600 level. The student must also pass a comprehensive oral exam focusing on basic biology content, the science content of the research proposal and the science content necessary for the student to successfully complete the proposed research. The student must also complete an independent research thesis and enroll for 1 hour of Thesis Proposal Development (BIO 500) and for 6 semester hours of thesis (BIO 699).  Please see the Graduate Catalog for complete program requirements.

Estimated Time to Complete the Program

Students carrying full-time course loads can reasonably complete the program in two to three years.  Part-time students may take up to a maximum of five years to complete the program.

Admission Requirements

Individuals seeking admission to the Graduate School to pursue a MS in biology must meet the minimum requirements for admission to the Graduate School.  In addition, applicants for the MS in biology should have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0/4.0 and meet the following prerequisites: 16 semester hours of biology beyond freshman biology, one semester of organic chemistry, one semester of physics, and one semester of calculus.  Applicants for the MS in biology must submit official test scores from the GRE.

Faculty Research Interests

Detail about individual faculty and their interests can be found on the department page.

Department Contact Information

Graduate Program Coordinator
Dr. Erich Stabenau, (309) 677-3012,

Department Chair
Dr. Sherri Morris, (309) 677-3016,

Department Secretary
Vicki Hencey, (309) 677-3020,