MA in Biology

The goal of the Biology Department is to train students at the highest level in one of three broad sub-fields within modern biology: cell and molecular biology, neurobiology, and marine biology and ecology. Two programs lead to the MA: a research and a non-research track. In both programs, students are assigned faculty advisors in the area of special interest during the first semester in the program.

Upon completion of the master’s program, students should be prepared for further graduate training or to eventually assume teaching and/or research positions in academia, industry, government, or nonprofit agencies. The program accepts post-bachelor’s applicants with degrees in related disciplines where the focus has been on biology or a relevant field.

Course Requirements

Research Track

Students must complete eight 500-level and above full-semester courses (32 credits) with a minimum grade point average of 3.0. At least five courses must be lecture, laboratory, or seminar courses. Courses will vary depending on program discipline.

Cell and Molecular Biology

  • CAS BI 552: Molecular Biology
  • GRS BI 621: Biochemistry I
  • One Cell Biology Course
  • Five Electives


Neurobiology

  • GRS BI 755: Cellular and Systems Neuroscience
  • GRS BI 756: Systems and Cognitive Neuroscience
  • GRS NE 500: Frontiers of Neuroscience
  • GRS NE 501: Frontiers of Neuroscience
  • Five Electives


Marine Biology and Ecology

MA in Marine Biology and Ecology coursework is highly variable. Students, in consultation with advisors, develop a plan of coursework and research.

Non-Research Track

Students must complete eight 500-level and above full-semester courses (32 credits) with a minimum grade point average of 3.0. At least seven courses must be lecture, laboratory, or seminar courses. Ordinarily, these courses will be selected under the mentorship of the faculty member who is serving as the student’s primary library research paper reader.

Language Requirement

There is no foreign language requirement for this degree.

Thesis/Research Project

Research Track

In addition to the requirements listed above, the student must complete a program of research acceptable to his or her thesis committee that leads to the preparation of a thesis. This thesis must be approved by a committee of three faculty members that includes at least two faculty members from the Biology Department.

Non-Research Track

In addition to the course requirements listed above, the student must prepare a major paper, based on recent literature and with adequate bibliography. This paper will generally be a document of approximately 30–80 pages on a selected research topic in current biology and will usually include several chapters and extensive literature references. This paper will be written in consultation with a faculty member from the Biology Department who will serve as the primary reader. This paper is presented for approval by the student’s faculty committee of two readers.