These options are available in biology:
- Option I - Thesis. A minimum of 30 hours including BIOL 801 Introduction to Research, at least one hour in BIOL 800 Seminar and BIOL 890 Research and Thesis (4-6 hours) is required. All full-time graduate students are required to attend seminar. With the approval of the advisor and chairman, up to nine hours may be taken outside the Department of Biology.
- Option II - Problem. A minimum of 32 hours including BIOL 801 Introduction to Research, at least one hour of BIOL 800 Seminar and BIOL 891 Research Problems (3 hours) is required. All full-time graduate students are required to attend seminar. With the approval of the advisor and chairman, up to 15 hours may be taken outside the Department of Biology. This option is primarily recommended for science teachers at the secondary school level.
- Option III - Professional Masters. This option is intended for science professionals (e.g. those entering or currently serving as in-service teachers, and those in environmental/ ecological/ biotechnological careers) who need more experience in their areas of biological science and more focused preparation for work outside of their academic advancement. Requirements: A minimum of 36 hours. BIOL 800 Seminar (1 hour), BIOL 801 Introduction to Research (3 hours) with a grade of B or better, BIOL 803 Biometry (3 hours), BIOL 892 Professional Experience (3 hours) is required.
Typically, the degree is obtained within two years of matriculation. Individual master's programs are developed by the student in consultation with her or his advisor and a graduate committee. Areas of study depend on the research interests of individual faculty.
Admission to Graduate Studies in Biology
Basic Departmental Academic Admission Requirements: Students who begin work in biology for the degree of Master of Science must have completed a minimum a BS in Biology with at least 25 hours of acceptable undergraduate courses in biology. These should include fundamental courses in botany, ecology, zoology, genetics, microbiology, and physiology. A cumulative total of 13 hours of chemistry, including organic chemistry is required. However, a student may apply certain senior-graduate or graduate level chemistry on the degree requirements upon the recommendation of the advisor.
The final admission requirement is a faculty member who will accept you as a graduate student. So, begin the admission process by identifying biology faculty members whose research interests are in the area of your interest. Contact these faculty with your interests and see if they are taking new students and are interested in following up with you. Avoid generic correspondence to all faculty - focus on those whose research area is one in which you are interested and be clear about your experience and interest in that area. Take some time to learn about the faculty member's work.
When a faculty member has agreed to work with you, then complete the online or paper requirements for (1) admission to the PSU Graduate School and (2) admission to the Biology department.
Obtain admission information and application forms from the PSU Office of Continuing and Graduate Studies and obtain the Dept. of Biology graduate admission information and forms. You will need the Acrobat Reader to use this PDF document.
See the most recent or applicable PSU catalog for more information.
A limited number of graduate teaching assistantships become available each year in the Department. These provide a small stipend and valuable teaching experience. Assignments are usually made into the laboratory sections of General Biology, General Zoology, General Botany, Anatomy and Physiology, and Environmental Life Science. You will receive an application for an assistantship with your admission packet of information.
Additionally, sponsored research is conducted by various faculty in which there are funded graduate research assistantships. This research may be ongoing or may result from a grant proposal initiated considering the student's interests. Contact individual faculty for information about their research programs.