Jan 22, 2022  
2016 - 2018 UTPB Graduate Studies Catalog 
2016 - 2018 UTPB Graduate Studies Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology, MS

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Administrative Unit

This program is administered by the Office of Graduate Studies and Research through the faculty of Biology, Department of Biology, College of Arts and Sciences.


The Master of Science program in Biology includes advanced education in experimental molecular, cellular and organismal biology. The program is designed primarily to prepare students for a professional career in an advanced field of biology. The program is used by students who want to gain additional background for teaching, as well by those who are preparing to go on to Ph.D. programs or professional schools.

Admission Requirements

Acceptance to the Master of Science program requires 16 credits of biology, eight credits of chemistry and three credits of mathematics at the undergraduate level. Depending upon the student’s undergraduate program and career goals, the advisory committee may require completion of additional courses at the undergraduate level. (see Program Recommendations below) In addition to a completed application for Graduate Studies, prospective students must also submit two letters of recommendation, at least one of which must be from an undergraduate faculty member in the sciences who can address the suitability of the applicant for advanced study. Applicants must also submit a statement of intent that addresses the reasons why they wish to pursue an advanced degree in biology and the area of biology they wish to study.

Regular Admission Status

  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university
  • A 3.0 cumulative GPA
  • GRE scores
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Write a statement of intent. This should explain reasons for applying to the biology program.
  • Student does not require any leveling course in mathematics, chemistry or biology

Conditional Admission Status

  • Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university
  • A 2.99-2.75 cumulative GPA
  • GRE scores
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Write a statement of intent. This should explain reasons for applying to the biology program.
  • Student may require leveling courses in mathematics, chemistry or biology if the student has not taken Calculus I and II, two semesters of organic chemistry, or biology courses in genetics, evolution, cell biology, and/or microbiology, organismal biology, or physiology.
  • OTHER EVIDENCE:  At least one of the following:
    • One (1) year of positive research undergraduate research experience
    • A combined GRE score on Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning of 310
    • A GPA of 3.0 or above in upper level biology and chemistry classes
  • The student will need to maintain a B or better in the first 12 hours of classes

Core Requirements for Thesis Option

A minimum of 30 graduate credits must be earned to qualify for the Master of Science degree. Of these, a minimum of 15-18 hours must be in Biology while 6-9 hours may be in supporting areas of study. The remaining 6 credits must be earned in independent study leading to an original thesis. This study is normally directed by the chair of the advisory committee. During the final semester of study, the student must defend the thesis before the advisory committee and other appropriate faculty. The first part of this defense, which consists of an oral presentation of the thesis work, is open to the public.

Core Requirements for Non-thesis Option

The requirements are the same as for the thesis option, except the students will replace thesis hours with 6-9 hours of BIOL 6392 Research in Biology  in order to obtain experience in biological research. In the final semester, students must present a seminar covering the results of their work to the Biology Department and their committee. Documentation of the research experience will be required. This option will allow those teaching biology in secondary schools to take night classes during regular semesters and to conduct supervised research during the summer.

Special Program Features

Where appropriate, individualized instruction is used in each student’s program so not all courses require regular attendance. Laboratory facilities are ideally suited for individualized instruction. Students will also be given an opportunity to gain experience in teaching by assisting in one or more undergraduate laboratory courses under the supervision of a faculty member.

Program Recommendation

If they have not already done so, students must complete organic chemistry I and II, calculus I and II, and physics before admission to regular graduate status. Students lacking specific upper level biology background such as biochemistry, genetics, animal physiology, or evolution may be approved by the advisory committee to take these undergraduate courses for 4000-level graduate credit (see list below).

Dual Degree Plan Option

This option allows students to obtain a BS degree in Biology and MS in Biology in a five year period. In this plan the student would begin taking graduate classes in their junior year of college. The student would still need to be admitted to graduate school at the appropriate time and meet the same admission requirements as for the thesis option. The student would be required to complete a thesis during their 5th year of college.. For details concerning this plan, see the Graduate Program Head for Biology.

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