Graduate Advisement | Biological Sciences


The Master's of Science program in Biology involves a combination of course work and original research. There is no comprehensive examination option. Students work closely with a faculty mentor who is their primary source for academic advisement.

Graduate Flow Chart

Program for the Masters of Science Degree in Biology

Graduate Flow Chart

MS Degree Program in Biology Information Sheet

General Requirements for the MS Program

Graduate Student Handbook

This handbook contains information about important policies and services for graduate students, financing your education, and tips for success in your program.

Graduate Flow Chart General Graduate Student Handbook

Graduate Flow Chart

Department Graduate Student Handbook

Graduate Research Prospectus

Graduate students must prepare a prospectus that describes the proposed research on which the master's thesis will be based. The research prospectus must be approved by the student's thesis advisor, their thesis examining committee, and the departmental Graduate Affairs Committee. Students may enroll in BIOL 5940 while they are preparing the prospectus. This prospectus must be approved within two semesters of the date they receive classified graduate standing in order for a student to remain eligible for assistantships. Students normally submit their research prospectus after their second semester of graduate study. Students first enroll in BIOL 5970 and BIOL 5990 once their prospectus has been approved by the thesis committee and submitted to the Department Office by the start of the semester.

Guidelines for the Research Prospectus

The document below provides guidelines for the preparation of the graduate research prospectus.

Prospectus Guidelines Prospectus Guidelines

Rubric for Prospectus Evaluation

The document below is a rubric used by members of the department Graduate Affairs Committee to evaluate a student's graduate research prospectus.

Rubric for Prospectus Evaluation Rubric for Prospectus Evaluation

Common Pitfalls in the Preparation of a Prospectus

The document below describes some of the more common mistakes encountered in the evaluation of a graduate research prospectus.

Common Pitfalls for the Research Prospectus Common Pitfalls for the Research Prospectus

Master's Thesis

Graduate students must write a master's thesis based on their research. The Department also requires a thesis seminar followed by an oral defense of their thesis. You may invite friends and family to the public seminar. The oral defense is a one to two hour closed-door session with members of your thesis committee. You should allow at least three weeks for your committee to read the final draft of your thesis prior to the defense.

Guide to Preparation of the Master's Thesis

The page below is the University's guide to the preparation of a master's thesis.

Master's Thesis Guide Master's Thesis Guide

Master's Thesis Forms

Below are the forms for establishing a thesis committee and committee approval of the Master's thesis. 

Request for Thesis Committee Request for Thesis Committee (GS-12)
Report of Oral Defense of Thesis Report of Oral Defense of Thesis

Other Forms

Below are a few additional forms related to the graduate program that may be useful.

Request for Transfer Course Level Evaluation

This form is used if you are requesting approval to use transfer courses on your master's degree program

Request for Transfer Course Level Evaluation Request for Transfer Course Level Evaluation (GS-1A)

Request for Course Substitution on Graduate Program

This form is used to request a course substitution in your graduate program. Note that course substitution requests must be submitted before the student completes the courses to be substituted.

Course Substitution on Graduate Program Request for Graduate Credit for Undergraduate Work

Graduate Student Status Change

This form is used as a change of status for a graduate student. An example of a status change would be an advancement to candidacy.

Graduate Student Status Change Graduate Student Status Change (GS-8)