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Masters in Raptor Biology

The Master of Science in Raptor Biology is designed for students, holding or expecting a bachelor degree in one of the disciplines of the biological sciences, to enhance their knowledge and understanding of raptor biology and ecology. The Snake River Birds of Prey Natural Area, with the largest concentration of nesting raptors in North America, is a unique resource for the study of raptor biology and ecology. Furthermore, the Intermountain Bird Observatory, a trapping and banding station, offers opportunities to study raptor migration. Raptor biologists working for state, federal, and private organizations located in Boise offer additional expertise and research opportunities. The Raptor Research Center at Boise State supports the graduate program and research on raptors.

The M.S. in Raptor Biology 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. Completion of a degree program requires an average grade of B or better for all courses applied to the 30 credits required. All requirements for the degree and graduation must be completed within a period of seven years.

Master of Science in Raptor Biology

Course Number and TitleCredits
BIOL 601 Biometry
BIOL 605 Applied Raptor Biology
BIOL 606 Raptor Ecology
BIOL 598 Graduate Seminar  OR BIOL 561-567 “Advanced Topics in” courses2
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.13

Admission Requirements

All individuals admitted to REGULAR STATUS as 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.

The Graduate Coordinating Committee evaluates applicants and makes decisions about who will be accepted into the graduate program. For those applicants admitted to the program, this committee also will, in cooperation with the student’s major professor and advisory committee, assess progress in thesis/project research, progress and performance in coursework, and performance as a teaching assistant (where applicable). Continuing enrollment in the program requires a 3.0 GPA and satisfactory progress toward completing the degree.

Each student will form a thesis/project advisory committee, which will consist of at least three members: the student’s major professor (a Boise State University faculty member) and two other members from the Boise State University faculty or other institutions. The committee will determine if academic deficiencies exist that must be remedied, help design thesis/project research, help choose appropriate graduate coursework, evaluate the thesis/project, and conduct the final defense.

Financial Aid

Teaching Assistantships that include a stipend, a tuition and fee waiver, and student health insurance may be available 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.

To Apply

For the M.S. Degree in Raptor Biology:

  1. Submit an on-line graduate application along with the application fee to the Graduate Admissions Office. The online application will require:
    • Contact information for three individuals who can supply academic or professional letters of recommendation.
    • A cover letter discussing your professional goals, research interests, and reasons for wishing to study biology at Boise State University
  2. Have the following sent to: Graduate Admissions Office, Boise State University, 1910 University Drive, Boise, ID 83725.
    • Have the Registrars of ALL post-secondary institutions attended send official transcripts.
    • Have your GRE scores for the General Test forwarded.
    Applications for fall admission are due the previous January 15th. Applications for spring admission are due the previous October 1st. Enrollment in all masters programs is competitive, and achievement of minimum admission requirements does not guarantee admission in the program.

For information, contact Dr. Ian Robertson, Interim Director of Graduate Studies