Masters Degree in Biology: Program Overviews
Learn about the program requirements and courses for a master's degree program in biology. Find out about specialization areas, some popular career choices and continuing education at the graduate level.
In a master's program in biology, students can specialize in an interest area, such as molecular biology, evolutionary biology or immunology. Programs are available in both thesis and non-thesis formats. Thesis programs have vigorous research requirements and are geared towards students who will pursue Ph.D. degrees and/or research careers. Non-thesis programs may better suit pre-med or pre-dental students and those who are still exploring career goals.
A bachelor's degree in biology or a related area is typically necessary for admission consideration. In most cases, students must meet a set list of coursework requirements established by the graduate program to which they're applying. Graduate entrance exams, official transcripts showing a strong grade point average, letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose are usual requirements.
Research is a primary focus of biology thesis programs. Coursework supports the research which in turn leads to writing and defending the master's thesis. Programs may include presenting seminars and discussing seminars presented by others. A teaching practicum that includes assisting faculty in delivering undergraduate courses is a requirement for some programs. Courses may include:
- Cell biology
- Experiment design
- Thesis research
Popular Career Options
Biology students at the master's degree level have a wide variety of research and specialization opportunities that can lead to multiple career paths and professional areas of study. Graduates from these programs may work as:
- Wildlife biologists
- Marine biologists
- Biochemists or biophysicists
Doctoral programs in biology offer further research opportunities for candidates. Conducting original research prepares students to work in medicine, industry and academia within biological systems ranging from mammals to microorganisms.
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