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Description of M.S. Biology Plan 1: Research Literacy Paper


Biology offers a primarily coursework Master’s degree, also called “Plan 1”, designed for students seeking additional exposure and training in sub-disciplines of Biology without the emphasis placed on original research by the thesis track (Plan 3) M.S. degree. Through this program students can develop additional technical skills, expand understanding of major areas of biology, and prepare themselves for various career opportunities or promotions. Although thesis research is not required, non-thesis students may gain research experience through research topics courses carried out in collaboration with faculty. For information on how to apply and admission requirements click here.

Plan 1 Requirements:

Please check the bulletin for the most up-to-date requirements. 

Students selecting Plan 1 will demonstrate literacy in science, scientific writing, and oral communication by successfully completing 8 hours of core course requirements targeted at these goals. Students must demonstrate mastery of basic scientific and biological principles by successfully completing 28 hours of elective courses and passing an oral exam administered by an exam committee consisting of three graduate faculty. All candidates must maintain a minimum scholastic average of “B” (3.0) on all graduate courses completed and must give an oral presentation that summarizes scientific literature. The latter is typically accomplished in BIOL 5000 and BIOL 5735, but other venues deemed appropriate by the faculty advisor may suffice.

In their first semester, Plan 1 students will be assigned an advisor selected from the Biology Graduate Faculty with interests overlapping those of the student. This advisor will help the student chart and plan their coursework. The advisor will also form an exam committee in the students last semester that will administer the oral exam.


BIOL 5000 - Methods of Biological Research 4

BIOL 5735 - Contemporary Issues in Biology 3

BIOL 5915 - Seminar in Biology 1


Required Core Total Hours: 8

 28* (see list of elective course below)


BIOL 5020/5021 - Biological Sciences and Geographic Information Systems (and lab) 4

BIOL 5030/5031 - Plant Taxonomy (and lab) 4

BIOL 5070/5071 - Animal Behavior (and lab) 4

BIOL 5100/5101 - Biostatistics (and lab) 4

BIOL 5200/5201 - Developmental Biology (and lab) 4

BIOL 5230/5231 - Advanced Topics in Genetics (and lab) 4

BIOL 5300/5301 - Bacteriology (and lab) 4

BIOL 5310/5311 - Advanced Microbiology (and lab) 4

BIOL 5315/5316 - Virology (and lab) 4

BIOL 5330/5331 - Aquatic Biology and Water Quality Control (and lab) 4

BIOL 5335/5336 - Microbiology Pathogenesis (and lab) 4

BIOL 5340/5341 – Algal Ecology (and lab) 4

BIOL 5410/5411 - Reproductive Physiology (and lab) 4

BIOL 5440/5441 - Cell and Molecular Biology (and lab) 4

BIOL 5450/5451 - Biotechnology (and lab) 4

BIOL 5500 - Special Problems (variable credit)

BIOL 5540/5541 - Plant Ecology (and lab) 4

BIOL 5550/5551 - Ichthyology (and lab) 4

BIOL 5560/5561 - Aquatic Macroinvertebrates (and lab) 4

BIOL 5600/5601 – Parasitology (and lab) 4

BIOL 5610/5611 - Herpetology (and lab) 4

BIOL 5620/5621 - Ornithology (and lab) 4

BIOL 5630/5631 - Mammalogy (and lab) 4

BIOL 5650 - Field Studies in Biogeography and Biodiversity 3

BIOL 5700 - Topics in Biology (variable credit)

BIOL 5910 - Seminar in Biology 1

BIOL 5925 - Topics in Health Science 3

BIOL 5950 – Research Paper 2

BIOL 5991 - Research Completion Requirement (variable credit)

*Up to 9 hours of graduate coursework may be transferred from other programs, at the discretion of the Biology Department Chair. A minimum of 75% of elective hours must come from Biology courses.

 M.S. students are typically supported through graduate teaching assistantships that include a tuition waiver and stipend.