Graduate Student Advisement

The Master's of Science program in Biology involves a combination of coursework and original research. There is no comprehensive examination option. Students work closely with a faculty research mentor who is their primary source for academic advisement and will guide the student on a 2-year academic plan that includes course selections.

The graduate student and faculty research mentor should consult with the Graduate Advisor when they have questions about program requirements and for signatures on required forms throughout the program.

BIOLOGY MS Graduate Advisor 2023-2024: Dr. Patrick Krug

The Office of Graduate Studies provides service to graduate students including funding opportunities. Through the office's Graduate Resource Center (GRC) students can receive support for writing and attend workshops and events. The GRC oversees the thesis formatting and submission process. Graduate students can enroll in the GRC Canvas course for access to important information.

Program Requirements 

Requirements for the MS Program can be found in the University Catalog.

Each graduate student should meet with their faculty research mentor to devise a 2-year academic plan in their first semester. Course offerings can change so graduate students and mentors should return to the plan for revisions and to track progress toward degree. The academic progress can also be tracked in a student's GET account through the "Academic Requirements" feature. There are important milestones that should be considered when planning. Graduate Students cannot enroll in research and thesis units until they are advanced to candidacy. The requirements for advancement to candidacy are completion of 12 units on the program with a 3.0 GPA. Note that BIOL 5970 does not count toward the 12 program units. Students should plan for advancement to candidacy after completion of Spring semester of their first year after grades are posted.


Graduate Student Handbook

This handbook contains information about important policies and services for graduate students, financing your education, and tips for success in your program.

General Graduate Student Handbook (2021-2022)

NSS Graduate Student Handbook (old)

Graduate Research Prospectus

Graduate students must prepare a prospectus that describes the proposed research on which the master's thesis will be based. The research prospectus must be approved by the student's thesis advisor, their thesis examining committee, and the departmental Graduate Affairs Committee. Students may enroll in BIOL 5970 while they are preparing the prospectus. Students normally submit their research prospectus after their second semester of graduate study. Students who have been advanced to candidacy will be allowed to register for BIOL 5990; to remain enrolled in BIOL 5990, the Department must receive a student’s committee-approved research prospectus before the add-drop deadline of the semester in which they wish to take BIOL 5990.

Guidelines for the Research Prospectus

The document below provides guidelines for the preparation of the graduate research prospectus.

Prospectus Guidelines

Common Pitfalls in the Preparation of a Prospectus

The document below describes some of the more common mistakes encountered in the evaluation of a graduate research prospectus.

Common Pitfalls for the Research Prospectus

Master's Thesis

Graduate students must write a master's thesis based on their research. The Department also requires a thesis seminar followed by an oral defense of their thesis. You may invite friends and family to the public seminar. The oral defense is a one to two hour closed-door session with members of your thesis committee. You should allow at least three weeks for your committee to read the final draft of your thesis prior to the defense.

Guide to Preparation of the Master's Thesis

The page below is the University's guide to the preparation of a master's thesis, including deadlines and information for submission of thesis.

Graduate Thesis Guidelines

Master's Thesis Forms

Below are the forms for establishing a thesis committee and committee approval of the Master's thesis. 

Request for Thesis Committee (GS-10) - Follow the instructions to fill out the form and submit electronically to faculty research mentor, graduate advisor, and to Biological Sciences Department for Department Chair for signatures. The department will forward to the College for the Associate Dean's signature.

Approval Page for Graduate Thesis GS-13 - The GS-13 page is submitted with the thesis when filed.