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Department of Biology
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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. With the approval of the advisor and chairperson, up to nine hours may be taken outside the Department of Biology. All full-time graduate students are required to attend graduate seminar when offered.
  • 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 (3-6 hours) is required. With the approval of the advisor and chairperson, up to nine hours may be taken outside the Department of Biology. All full-time graduate students are required to attend graduate seminar when offered.
  • 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.

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See the most recent or applicable PSU catalog for more information.


Assistantships

Teaching

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.

Research

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.