Closeup view of a microscope in a Biology lab at BU.

Biology (MS)

Our M.S. in Biology program provides advanced training in biological science. Whether currently employed as a biologist or teacher, planning to pursue employment in a biological field, or intending to enter a doctoral or professional program in biology, a solid grounding in advanced biology is essential.

Degrees & Offerings
  • M.S.
Department
College
Program Contact
Associate Professor of Biology, Graduate Program Academic Coordinator
illustration of Carver Hall

Program Details

  • Program Length - Program curriculum includes 10 courses (30 credit hours). Thesis and Non-Thesis options are available.
  • Flexible Start Dates - Applications are accepted for the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters.
  • Course Delivery - Includes a combination of in-person, blended, and online classes. Offered at the 果冻传媒官网, Lock Haven, and Mansfield campuses. Also, a variety of courses are taught at Wallops Island, VA.
  • Faculty Expertise - A broad array of disciplines is represented among the faculty, allowing considerable flexibility in the selection of independent research topics. Thesis research may be carried out on campus, or at an off-campus site.
  • Graduate Assistantships - Available for qualified applicants.
  • Doctoral Degree Preparation - Can also serve as excellent preparation for advanced study, with recent graduates pursuing doctoral degrees at Rutgers University, Lehigh University, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, University of Michigan School of Osteopathic Medicine, and the University of Rochester.

Courses and Curriculum

  • Directed Study:    /  
  • Thesis:    /  

*Please see the CU degree requirements effective Fall 2023. All enrolled students can also review their degree program requirements and track progress to degree completion in .

53.546 鈥 Biostatistics OR 80.525 鈥 Research Methods
50.593 鈥 Master of Science Thesis (required for students in the thesis option)
50.591 鈥 Directed Study in Biology (required for students in the non-thesis option)

Elective Courses
A minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate-level courses is required for graduation.

All other courses are considered elective courses, but require the approval of the student's adviser and advisory committee.

50.411 鈥 Radiation Biology
50.455 鈥 Environmental Microbiology
50.457 鈥 Entomology
50.472 鈥 Animal Cell Physiology
50.474 鈥 Vertebrate Systems Physiology
50.477 鈥 Plant Physiology
50.478 鈥 Microbial Physiology
50.479 鈥 Integrated Physiology Laboratory
50.530 鈥 Evolution
50.531 鈥 Developmental Biology
50.532 鈥 Microbial and Molecular Genetics
50.535 鈥 Bioinformatics and Genomic Analysis
50.550 鈥 Mycology
50.551 鈥 Conservation Biology
50.552 鈥 Limnology
50.559 鈥 Ornithology
50.560 鈥 Population Biology
50.561 鈥 Animal Behavior
50.570 鈥 Medical Parasitology
50.571 鈥 Endocrinology
50.575 鈥 Cell Physiology
50.576 鈥 Neurophysiology
50.580 鈥 Comparative Animal Physiology
50.589 鈥 Current Topics in Biology
50.591 鈥 Directed Study in Biology
50.593 鈥 Master of Science Thesis

Marine science courses offered at Wallops Island, Va.
55.431 鈥 Ecology of Marine Plankton
55.432 鈥 Marine Evolutionary Ecology
55.464 鈥 Biological Oceanography
55.490 鈥 Marine Aquaculture
55.491 鈥 Coral Reef Ecology
55.492 鈥 Marine Mammals
55.500 鈥 Problems in Marine Science
55.540 鈥 Environmental Science Education
55.541 鈥 Biology of Mollusca
55.570 鈥 Research Cruise-Biology
55.593 鈥 Behavioral Ecology
 

 

  • Thesis Option 鈥 This option is recommended for students planning to continue their graduate studies or professional training. Students must complete a total of 30 credit hours of graduate course work, with at least 18 semester hours at the 500 level. A thesis is required for this option. Normally a student in this option will take 6 hours of thesis, and 24 hours of formal classroom course work. The thesis must be defended orally. Students in the Thesis Option do not carry out a Directed Study, as that experience is intended for the Nonthesis Option.
  • Nonthesis Option 鈥 Students must complete a total of 30 credit hours of graduate course work, with at least 18 hours at the 500 level. Students choosing this option will not carry out a thesis. There are two suboptions within the nonthesis option.
  • Directed Study Suboption 鈥 Students must complete at least 27 credit hours of graduate course work, and 3 credit hours of Directed Study in Biology. A directed study is a hands-on research experience smaller in scope than a thesis. Typically the directed study is completed within one semester. A written report is prepared, and presented orally to the Department.
  • Departmental Paper Suboption 鈥 Students must complete at least 30 credit hours of graduate course work. They must complete a literature-based paper on a topic selected by the student and the academic advisor or mentor for the paper. The BAHS Departmental Paper carries no credit hour equivalent. The paper must be presented orally to the BAHS Department.

 

  • Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in biology or its equivalent.
  • Two letters of recommendation from previous science faculty.
  • At least one letter should be from a faculty member who instructed the applicant in an upper-level biology course.
  • Applicants with research experience should submit at least one letter from a research adviser.
  • Others may submit a letter from any professor with the ability to evaluate the applicant's laboratory research potential.
  • Undergraduate deficiencies must be addressed prior to admission to the program or during the first semester in consultation with the program coordinator.
  • Deficiencies may be addressed by undergraduate course work without credit earned toward the degree, by graduate course work when suitable, or by outside readings. The method of satisfying deficiencies is decided by the student and graduate program coordinator in consultation with the departmental graduate committee.
  • A minimum of two weeks is required for review of a completed application by the department's graduate committee.
  • Q: Do I need a degree in biology to be admitted? 
    A: No - Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in the sciences. Common undergraduate majors include - biology, chemistry, environmental science, and health science. Students may be asked to address important areas of study which were not addressed as an undergraduate, but this is resolved as part of the program planning, which is a normal part of the unique plan every student develops with their Advisory Committee. 
  • Q: How is the program delivered? 
    A: Many formal classes meet once or twice a week for 15 weeks in the spring, all, and summer semesters. However, the core of the Program revolves around the student鈥檚 independent Thesis Research, which is a continuous effort throughout the student鈥檚 tenure in the graduate program. Formal class meetings are on the 果冻传媒官网, Lock Haven, and Mansfield campuses and may be delivered in person, online, or in a blended format. 
  • Q: What are the career options for students graduating with this degree? 
    A: Alumni have moved into full-time positions in a number of roles, but largely determined by their area of interests. Recent alumni are working in roles like - Aquatic Invasive Species Specialist at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission, Research Technician in the Florida Everglades, Research Technician at Geisinger Medical Center. Some students will also continue their educational career. Recent alumni are enrolled in Medical Genetics PhD - Rutgers University; Paleontology PhD - Lehigh University; West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine.
  • Q: When can I start? 
    A: Applications are accepted for the Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters.
  • Q: Do I need to take the GRE in order to apply? 
    A. No - the GRE is not required for admission.
果冻传媒官网 Initial - B -  inside a keystone shape

Practical Learning

Research

Graduate studies entail a close working relationship between a student and a faculty member who acts as their Major Professor. The universal core of the program is an independent scholarly project which is planned, executed, and presented to the public under the direction of a Major Professor. Elective courses are also offered to develop specific competencies. This is designed to be completed in two years, with full-time effort split roughly equally between research and course work.

Every effort is made to closely match students with a faculty mentor and research advisor who is able to satisfy their interests and provide the resources necessary to support students鈥 scholarly work. Browse our Research gallery to see the research being conducted by Biology faculty and current students.

Biological Science Research Overview

The Husky Difference

#1
National Biological Honor Society
has recognized our chapter as the best in the nation.
Biology major studies in the Academic Biology Learning Environment lab
From day one, you'll have a resource as you take your first graduate-level biology courses to study individually or in groups, get tutoring, and learn together with faculty.

Careers

The Master of Science Degree is rapidly becoming the professional working degree in biology while the U.S. Department of Labor predicts substantial growth in openings for biological scientists in the coming decade.

Potential Job Opportunities

  • Microbiologist
  • Zoologist
  • Wildlife Biologist
  • Physician
  • Research Technician
  • Interpretive Naturalist
  • Genetic Counselor
  • Veterinarian
  • Botanist
  • Professor
  • Biochemist
  • Conservation Specialist
  • Fisheries Biologist
  • Public Health Specialist

Continue to Explore

MS Biology Student SCUBA Diving

M.S. Biology student dives into coral restoration project

Caitlyn Collins has reached new depths in her study of marine biology. Quite literally. The second-year biology (M.S.) graduate student spent part of her summer research work at the Roatan Institute of Marine Science in Honduras where she not only helped with a coral restoration project but learned to SCUBA dive to fully participate in the underwater data collection.

Alumna takes accelerated plan to medical school

Accelerated plan to medical school

It was five years ago when Oriana Balascio '21/22M discovered another meaningful way to focus her passion for science. Her initial interest in pursuing a Ph.D. in cancer biology shifted to medicine. After completing 果冻传媒官网鈥檚 3+2 accelerated B.S./M.S. biology program her next step landed at West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine, her top choice.

Applying to Graduate Programs

Apply

  • Application Process

    Review the step-by-step application process for graduate school at Commonwealth University. (Note that Physician Assistant has a specific application through CASPA which can be located on the program webpage)

  • Begin your application online. ( Note: This link applies to most graduate programs, but if applying to Physician Assistant, please access the CASPA link on the program webpage).

  • Contact Us

    If you have questions, we have answers. Contact us today!

Explore More

  • Grad Assistantships

    Help finance your grad degree. Gain professional experience. Grow your network.

  • Earning an advanced degree is an investment in your future. See just how affordable BU's Grad School can be for you.

  • Financial Aid

    Our Financial Aid team is your guide to navigating the aid process for your graduate degree at BU.

Biology Graduate Program Contacts