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Masters Degree in Biology

 Boise State Students Elizeth Cinto Mejia, Michael Brownlee, Nate Acevedo, John Kelly photo
The Department of Biological Sciences offers graduate degree programs leading to either a Master of Science (MS) or Master of Arts (MA) degree in Biology. The department also offers a Master of Science Degree in Raptor Biology. Professional biologists, teachers in public and private schools, and others can use these programs to increase their knowledge base and to advance professionally. Completion of a degree program requires an average grade of B or better for all courses applied to the 30-33 credits required. All requirements for the degree and graduation must be completed within a period of seven years.

Master of Science (MS)

The M.S. is a research-based degree. The M.S. candidate will complete a thesis based on original research carried out by the student. Ideally, the thesis should make a significant contribution to the body of scientific knowledge and be of sufficient quality to warrant publication in a peer-reviewed journal. M.S. students are expected to produce a written thesis proposal and give an oral presentation of that proposal during their first year and, following completion of the thesis, give an oral defense of the thesis, and an exit seminar to present the results to the public.

Master of Science in Biology Requirements

Master of Science in Biology
Course Number and TitleCredits
BIOL 601 Biometry4
BIOL 598 Graduate Seminar OR
    BIOL 561-567 “Advanced Topics in” courses
2
BIOL 593 Thesis6
Electives from course offerings that follow:Electives may include a maximum of six credits of Directed Research, must be approved by the student’s thesis committee, and may not include workshop, pass/fail or practicum/internship credits.18
TOTAL30

Master of Arts (MA)

The M.A., Examination Option is a course work-based degree and is considered to be a terminal degree (except for students intending to attend professional school); students wishing to later pursue a Ph.D. should enroll in the M.S. program. The M.A. candidate will complete a wide range of relevant course work. At the end of course work, the candidate will be required to pass a comprehensive examination. The examination will be tailored by each candidate’s committee to emphasize the areas covered by course work. After the candidate has completed the written portion of the examination, the candidate will meet with the committee for an oral review prior to final approval or rejection of the written examination.

The M.A., Project Option is an application-based degree and is considered to be a terminal degree (except for students intending to attend professional school); students wishing to later pursue a Ph.D. should enroll in the M.S. program. In addition to completing substantial course work, the M.A. candidate will complete a project that may be an application or synthesis of original research carried out by others. Examples of such projects include development of biology-based curricula, compilation and analysis of studies on a range of species, review and the synthesis of a body of ideas or data, and development of a resource management plan based on relevant studies. Upon completion of the project the candidate will meet with the committee for an oral review and discussion about the project.

Master of Arts in Biology - Examination Option Requirements

Master of Arts in Biology, Examination Option
Course Number and TitleCredits
BIOL 598 Graduate Seminar OR
    BIOL 561-567 “Advanced Topics in” courses
2
BIOL 579 Research in the Biological Sciences
(for two semesters)
2
Electives to be chosen in consultation with advisor and committee:Electives for the M.A. may include up to a combined total of 6 credits of workshop credits, practicum/internship credits, directed research credits. A combined total of 9 credits may include approved courses taken outside the biological sciences, workshops, practicum/internship, and directed research. Workshop, directed research, and practicum/internship credits are limited to a maximum of 3 credits each.28
BIOL 690 Master's Comprehensive Examination1
TOTAL33

Master of Arts in Biology - Project Option Requirements

Master of Arts in Biology, Project Option
Course Number and TitleCredits
BIOL 598 Graduate Seminar OR
    BIOL 561-567 “Advanced Topics in” courses
2
BIOL 579 Research in the Biological Sciences(for two semesters)2
BIOL 591 Project.  Students will be expected to develop a written project proposal and give an oral presentation of their project upon completion.6
Electives to be chosen in consultation with advisor and committee:Electives for the M.A. may include up to a combined total of 6 credits of workshop credits, practicum/internship credits, directed research credits. A combined total of 9 credits may include approved courses taken outside the biological sciences, workshops, practicum/internship, and directed research. Workshop, directed research, and practicum/internship credits are limited to a maximum of 3 credits each.23
TOTAL33

How to Apply

The Biology graduate programs processes online applications through Hobson’s ApplyYourself. Please read the application instructions carefully. The Hobson’s ApplyYourself Program is available year-round for receiving application materials. Applicants are encouraged to submit their online application well in advance of the deadline to ensure that the application is complete by the deadline.

Application Materials

The following items are required for the MA Biology, MS Biology, and MS Raptor Biology application.

  1. GRE Scores – please request that official scores for the GRE general test are sent to Boise State (School Code 4018). The subject GRE is not required.
  2. Transcripts – please request official copies of all undergraduate and graduate transcripts be sent to Boise State.
  3. Cover Letter – discussing your professional goals, research interests, and reasons for wishing to study biology at Boise State University.
  4. Letters of Recommendation – Three letters of recommendation are required. Applicants should notify their recommenders using the “Recommendation” link in ApplyYourself.
  5. Pay the application fee – $65 Domestic or $95 International.
  6. TOEFL or IELTS scores – required for international applicants only.
Admission Requirements

All individuals admitted to REGULAR STATUS as a graduate students in biology must have:

  • An Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.00 on a 4 point system
  • Results that average in the 50th or higher percentile in the verbal, quantitative, and analytical portions of the general GRE exam
  • An undergraduate degree in biology or a closely related field

PROVISIONAL STATUS may be granted to those otherwise promising applicants who do not meet GPA or GRE requirements or who have undergraduate coursework deficiencies.

Applicants are encouraged to correspond with faculty concerning openings and potential research opportunities in their laboratories for graduate students.

Application and Materials Deadlines
Fall Semester: January 15th
Spring Semester: October 1

Enrollment in all masters programs is competitive, and achievement of minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission into the program.

Financial Aid

Teaching Assistantships that include a stipend, tuition and fee waiver, and student health insurance may be available to M.S. students on a competitive basis. Additional support for master’s research projects may be available from faculty members in the form of research assistantships. Other forms of financial aid, such as loans or the College Work-Study Program, are available to graduate students. Prospective students should contact the Financial Aid Office and consult the Boise State University catalog.

For more information please email: dbsgraduate@boisestate.edu or phone: (208) 426-4621


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