Graduate Program

Master of Science in Biology

The Department of Biological and Health Sciences offers a Master of Science degree in Biology. We offer a variety of courses and research opportunities in Biomedical Science, Organismal Biology, Field Biology, and Ecology. Our faculty are experts in a wide range of disciplines, such as Genetics and Epigenetics, Molecular Biology, Microbiology, Infectious Diseases, Cancer, Plant Biology and Taxonomy, Ecological Modeling, Neurobiology, Cell Biology, Cell and Animal Physiology, Nerve Regeneration, Ornithology, Herpetology, Mammalogy, Marine Ecology, Invertebrate Biology, Animal Behavior and Icthyology. 

There are three Master’s degrees options. The Plan I (Thesis Option) program is research-oriented and requires completion of a thesis. This program is for students who plan to pursue a Ph.D. or who want research experience. The Plan II (Project Option) program is content-oriented, and a shorter research problem is required. This program is for those needing more background in formal course work. The Plan III is a Courses‐Only Option. For additional information, contact the Graduate Coordinator Dr. Weimin Xi ( or Department Chair Dr. Enrique Massa (

Graduate Faculty

Molecular, Cellular Neurobiology & Genetics 

Dr. Rudolph Bohm
Dr. Enrique Massa
Dr. Rafael Perez-Ballestero
Dr. Chang Sung

Associate Members:

Dr. Haeyoung Kim
Dr. Richard Laughlin
Dr. Maria E. Velez
Dr. Fang He

Evolution, Systematics, Ecology & Organismal Biology

Dr. Jon A. Baskin
Dr. Cynthia M. Galloway
Dr. Glenn H. Perrigo
Dr. Randy Powell
Dr. Manuel A. Soto
Dr. Weimin Xi

Biology Master’s Curriculum (Total 36 credit hours)

Semester 1 BIOL 5104 (1), Designated Elective (1-4), Designated Elective (1-4), Free Elective (3)

Semester 2 BIOL 5104 (1), Designated Elective (1-4), Designated Elective (1-4), Free Elective (3)

Semester 3 BIOL 5104 (1), Designated Elective (1-4), Free Elective (3)

Semester 4 BIOL 5104 (1), Designated Elective (1-4), Free Elective (3)

Designated Electives are Graduate Biology Courses. A maximum of six credit hours of research problems (BIOL 5320, BIOL 5202, and BIOL 5102) and four credit hours of seminar (BIOL 5104) may be applied to the degree. A maximum of twelve credit hours may be taken in supporting areas outside of Biology (Free Electives).

For Thesis or Graduate Research Project, 30 hours and a maximum of six credit hours can be taken outside of biology.

Biology Courses and Seminars

BIOL 5102 - Research Problems I
BIOL 5104 - Graduate Seminar
BIOL 5202 - Research Problems II
BIOL 5301 - Research Methods
BIOL 5302 - Advanced Topics in Biology

  • Molecular Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology
  • Biology of Forensic Science
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Systems Neurobiology
  • Cancer Biology
  • Graduate Readings in Molecular Biology
  • Genetics of Human Disease
  • Epigenetics

BIOL 5305 - Graduate Research Project
BIOL 5306 - Thesis
BIOL 5316 - Advanced Biological Concepts
BIOL 5320 - Research Problems III
BIOL 5318 - Investigations in Biology
BIOL 5401 - Molecular Biology
BIOL 5402 - Advanced Topics in Biology

  • Cell Physiology
  • Curation of Vert and Collect
  • Mammology
  • Vertebrate Embryology
  • Advanced Biology of Forensic Science
  • Histology
  • Herpetology
  • Onithology
  • Cellular Physiology
  • Plant Systematics
  • Principles of Ecology
  • Human Ecology and Health

Awards and Scholarships


Graduate students are actually admitted to the College of Graduate Studies to work on MS degree program in our department.  Graduate Coordinator in our department review applications and make recommendations to the College of Graduate Studies regarding the admission of applicants to our department. In general, outstanding students with backgrounds in the biology are admitted directly into graduate program in Biology. Any necessary background courses in undergraduate science, mathematics and specialty areas can usually be completed as part of the graduate student program. 

Apply for Admission via Apply Texas Application. For more information on applying to MS in Biology graduate program, visit the Graduate Admissions. Many questions regarding admissions details (where to send GRE scores, official transcripts, and more) can be answered there.

Admission Requirements

Full Admission:

1. Have an undergraduate cumulative grade point average between 2.3-2.59 and a minimum GRE composite (Q+V) score of 294.
2. Have an undergraduate cumulative grade point average between 2.6 and above or an undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 or higher for the last 60 semester credits (or 90 quarter credits) and a minimum GRE composite (Q+V) score of 284.
3. Your VITA to the department graduate coordinator.
4. Statement of research and academic interest areas to the department graduate coordinator, including academic backgroud, professional goals, specific area of interest; Master’s degrees option (Courses-only or Thesis/Proejct options), and if for Thesis/Proejct options, faculty member contacted as prospective advisor.
5. Three letters of recommendation to the department graduate coordinator, from former professors if a recent graduate. One letter may be from an employer if employed for more than one year since graduation.

Please note for admission as Thesis or Project option, students is contingent upon acceptance by an graduate faculty advisor. Therefore, students are strongly advised to contact graduate faculty in advance to their application.

Full Admission with Stipulations:
Students who have earned a baccalaureate degree from a recognized college or university, but do not satisfy Full Admission Requirements, may be fully admitted with stipulations on a case by case basis. To be accepted in this status, a student’s credentials will have to be reviewed and accepted by the graduate program to which the student is applying and approved by the graduate dean. Students are fully admitted, but may have additional stipulations to be met during the course of their study. Stipulations will be specified in writing by the graduate program to which the students have been admitted. These stipulations must be satisfied within the period indicated by the admitting graduate program. Failure to satisfy stipulations may result in the student being dismissed from the program.

International students

We welcomes graduate students from universities all around the world. For international students, the College of Graduate Studies requires:
1. Acceptable TOEFL scores of at least 550 (paper -based), 213 (computer-based), or 79 (internet-based). All international students are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS unless they qualify for a waiver.
2. A Visa Clearance Form and a Certificate of Financial Responsibility before a final admission decision can be made.

Graduate School application deadlines are as follows.  In most cases, applicants are advised to submit materials as early as possible.



International Students

April 1

October 1

US Students

May 1

November 1

Career Opportunities

Students have great exibility in their course of study and are encouraged to structure their program to t their chosen career paths. Many of our students use their master’s degree as a stepping stone to medical school, dentistry, pharmacy school, and Ph.D. programs, as well as other advanced health professions. Students who complete the MS in Biology program often go into academia for Ph.D., M.D., Pharm.D. Program, positions in biotechnology, biomedical industries, healthcare, and forensic science, careers in forestry and environmental conservation and biology education. 

Contact US

For additional information, contact the Graduate Coordinator Dr. Weimin Xi ( or Department Chair Dr. Enrique Massa (

This page was last updated on: October 24, 2017