Masters Degree in Biology: Program Overviews
Students seeking master's degrees in biology have numerous choices in areas of concentration including molecular biology, ecological and evolutionary biology, neurobiology and marine biology. Based on their areas of concentration, students who complete master's degree programs in biology may be qualified to enter a variety of fields.
Master's Degree in Biology
Offered as both a Master of Science and Master of Arts in Biology, such a degree can be earned from either a thesis or a non-thesis program. Thesis programs have vigorous research requirements and are most suitable to students who will pursue Ph.D. degrees or careers in research. Non-thesis programs may better suit the needs of pre-med or pre-dental students or students who are not sure of career goals. Concentration areas may include genetics, immunology, microbiology, physiology and population biology.
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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