Jun 23, 2024  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology, M.S.

The Master of Science degree program in biology is designed to provide a strong foundation in biological sciences within the discipline.

All applicants for admission must have completed at least 33 semester hour credits of undergraduate biology or biology-related courses (e.g. forestry, horticulture, environmental studies), and have taken at least three chemistry courses with labs, including both inorganic and organic chemistry or biochemistry. In addition, it is recommended applicants have completed a course in evolution, mathematics through calculus, and one year of physics.

After admission to the graduate program in biology, the student will meet with their graduate advisor to complete a proposed course of study form.

Each candidate for a degree must complete a minimum of 31 semester hour credits. At least 25 of these 31 credits must be earned in biology courses (including courses offered by the Marine Science Consortium at Wallops Island) and must include BIO 593 - Biometry and BIO 515 - Scientific Communication in Biology. The remaining 6 credits may be selected, with advisement, from courses such as chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, or geography/earth science. Candidates simultaneously working towards secondary certification may count EDU 440 - Teaching of Science in Secondary Schools and EDU 441 - Curriculum and Evaluation in the Secondary Science Classroom towards these remaining credits. No more than 12 semester hours of 400-level courses may be counted toward the 31 semester hours of credit required for the master’s degree.

Specific Requirements

Master of Science in Biology (non-thesis): In addition to completing BIO 593  and BIO 515 , candidates must complete 27 semester hour credits, including at least one capstone experimental course.  The capstone course may be either three credits of internship (BIO 609 ) or three credits of graduate research (BIO 605 BIO 606 ).  This should normally be undertaken during the second year of enrollment for full-time students, or after at least 18 credits have been accumulated in the program.  If opting for internship, students are strongly encouraged to complete this during the summer.  A maximum of 6 total credits of internship, research, or a combination of internship and research may be counted toward the degree.  For students simultaneously pursuing secondary certification, student teaching (EDU 495 ) may be counted as the capstone experience, but no credit will be awarded for this toward the M.S. in Biology degree. 

Master of Science in Biology (thesis): In addition to completing BIO 593 and BIO 515, candidates must complete 27 semester hour credits including six semester hour credits of Thesis I and Thesis II (BIO 612 and BIO 613). Candidates may also elect up to three of these 27 semester hour credits  as graduate research (BIO 605, 606) or internship (BIO 609).

Other Requirements

  1. All candidates must complete 31 semester hour credits with a 3.0 QPA in a program of study and research approved by the student’s special committee.
  2. The thesis must be written in manuscript style format with any material not appropriate for a scientific manuscript (i.e., voluminous tables) included as appendices. The specific style will depend on the requirements of the individual journal to which the manuscript will be submitted.
  3. An oral thesis defense, advertised and open to the university community, is required.
  4. A formal seminar based on the thesis research must be presented to the biology department by thesis candidates.
  5. One copy of the thesis will be housed in the biology department office.

Course Requirements



BIO 515 , BIO 593 , BIO 612 , BIO 613 : Required