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Graduate study in Biology is designed to prepare students for careers in teaching and research in state, federal, and private institutions, including colleges, universities, and research laboratories or for further study.

Graduate study in Biology leads to the Master of Science (M.S.) degree. Students with undergraduate majors in other science areas are also encouraged to pursue graduate work in Biology. Additional work may be required of students whose undergraduate program in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics was too narrow or limited. A student might complete the degree requirements in one year and a summer; however; a two-year program is recommended. The student-faculty ratio is usually low and there is adequate opportunity for faculty advising, counseling, and research supervision.

Admission Requirements

For unconditional admission, the student must present a GRE Score of 700 (350 in each area.) All applicants must have in their undergraduate program a minimum of thirty two semester hours of biology.

Additionally, a minimum of eight semester hours of general chemistry and four semester hours of organic chemistry is required for this program. Six semester hours of mathematics is also required. Applicants not possessing the above requirements may be admitted to the program but will be expected to make up deficiencies on a collateral basis.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 30 semester hours including the thesis is required for the M.S. degree. Each student, with a faculty advisor, plans a tentative graduate program early in the first semester. Students are encouraged to begin their independent research in the second semester of their first year. Every effort is made to plan the graduate program around the needs and interests of the students.

A non-thesis option is also available. Each student enrolled in the non-thesis option must complete a minimum of thirty six semester hours and the Licensure Regulations by the Virginia Department of Education to become endorsed to teach biology. The candidate must also pass a written and/or oral comprehensive examination.