Master of Science in Biology

Graduate Student Funding Opportunities

Within the guidelines, the individual's program is developed by an advisory committee to ensure proficiency in the basic areas of zoology, botany, ecology and genetics. The thesis track is strongly recommended for anyone considering further research or graduate activities.

Graduate Programs Tuition and Fees

Degree Requirements

Total Course Requirements (30 total hours)

  • BIO 689 Introduction to Graduate Studies (1 credit hour)
  • BIO courses, 600 level (9-20 credit hours)
  • Graduate courses in related fields (0-11 credit hours)
  • BIO 696 Understanding Scientific Communication (2 credit hours)
  • BIO 697 Seminar (1 credit hour)
  • BIO 698-699 Thesis (6 credit hours)

Other Degree Requirements

  • Proficiency in quantitative methods through STA 665 or a graduate course in bioinformatics, such as BIO 657.
  • A preliminary examination will be given in the student’s first semester to assess the student’s understanding of principles across the diverse disciplines of biology.
  • Oral defense of thesis.

Total Course Requirements (36 total hours)

  • BIO 689 Introduction to Graduate Study (1 credit hour)
  • BIO courses, 600 level (16-32 credit hours)
  • Graduate courses in related fields (0-16 credit hours)
  • BIO 696 Understanding Scientific Communication (2 credit hours)
  • BIO 697 Seminar (1 credit hour)

Other Degree Requirements

  • Proficiency in quantitative methods through STA 665 or a graduate course in bioinformatics, such as BIO 657.
  • A preliminary examination will be given in the student’s first semester to assess the student’s understanding of principles across the diverse disciplines of biology.
  • BIO 695 Biological Research (4) with prior approval of the research topic by the student's graduate committee; results to be presented while enrolled in BIO 697 Research Seminar.

To apply to the Master’s program in Biological Sciences:

  1. Complete the application process on the graduate admissions webpage (domestic students; international students).

  2. Send a letter of intent to the biology graduate program coordinator. Instructions for the letter can be Biological Sciences Graduate Program Letter of Application.

  3. Contact potential mentors. You must meet all program requirements listed below (academic and language) and also must be accepted by a faculty mentor who will be your advisor. Finding a graduate mentor is typically the limiting factor for the Biology graduate program. Find the expertise and contact information for potential mentors.

Summary of Biological Sciences Graduate Program Admission Requirements:

  1. GRE: You must have GRE scores to be admitted. We require a score of ~300 (50th percentile Verbal and 50th percentile Quantitative) on the GRE for unconditional acceptance. For conditional acceptance, your scores in both Verbal and Quantitative sections must be above the 25th percentile. If your scores are below this level, you will not be admitted.

  2. Minimum GPA requirement: 3.0 for unconditional acceptance, if lower than 3.0, you can be accepted conditionally and must maintain GPA of 3.0 for the first 9 credit hours.

  3. Students can be accepted as ESL conditional:

Minimum score requirements for unconditional acceptance

    • IELTS: 6.0

    • Paper Based TOEFL: 527

    • Institutional Based TOEFL: 71

These scores are the same minimum requirements for the International Graduate Language admission requirements.

In addition to the requirements listed above, all students will be required to take the ETS Major Field Exam for Biology during their first semester at Murray State. Students will be tested in four areas:

  1. Population Biology, Evolution and Ecology

  2. Organismal

  3. Cellular Biology

  4. Molecular Biology

Students will be required to score no lower than ½ of 1 standard deviation from the national mean in a minimum of three areas determined by your advisor/committee. Scores recorded below the minimum in these three areas will require students to take remedial courses in the deficient area before completion of their degree. Applications will be reviewed prior to taking the test. Learn more about the ETS Major Field Exam for Biology.

For More Information Please Contact:

Dr. Tim Spier

Associate Professor, Graduate Coordinator
Department of Biological Sciences

2112 Biology Building

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