Jul 17, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

5 Year Combined Degree Program in Biology (BS/MS)

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5 Year B.S./M.S. Combined Degree Program in Biology
Department of Biological Sciences
College of Science

Science Building 330 ~ 260-481-6305
Jordan M. Marshall, Graduate Program Director

By combining the traditional 4 year B.S. degree in Biology with the 2 year M.S. degree, the 5 year combined degree program in Biology provides students with a competitive edge in their career development and admission to professional or further graduate school. While it is an accelerated pathway to an advanced degree, the combined degree program still maintains all of the degree requirements for both the B.S. in Biology and the non-thesis option M.S. in Biology.

Students accepted into the combined degree program will be able to apply up to 12 credit hours of 500-level graduate courses (with a grade B- or above) in the M.S. degree plan of study to reduce the total number of additional credits in the M.S. degree to 18 credit hours.


Students are admitted to the B.S. with the existing admission standards. In their third year, students become eligible to apply for the non-thesis M.S. program, provided they have completed at least 75 credit hours (including two of the three 200-level Biology core courses - BIOL 21700, BIOL 21800, or BIOL 21900). Successful applicants will have a minimum overall and Biology GPA of 3.3, a grade of B- or above in Biology core classes completed, and a grade of B- or higher in any graduate courses taken.  Admission to the M.S. program will be conditional until the student demonstrates that these standards are met at the conclusion of their senior year.

Degree Requirements

Required Course: Credit 1

  • BIOL 66201 - Professional Development  Cr. 1  (course description available in Graduate Catalog)

Non-Thesis Option

The non-thesis option M.S. in Biology requires at least 30 credit hours of graduate course work. Up to 12 credit hours of 500-level courses can be included in the M.S. plan of study, reducing the required additional credit hours to 18 for the M.S. in Biology. At least 15 of the credit hours must be at the 500-level within the Department of Biological Sciences (may include the 12 credit hours shared with the B.S. degree). The remaining 15 hours can be fulfilled by some combination of the following: additional BIOL courses at the 500-level; up to 9 credit hours of BIOL 59500 Special Assignments; up to 6 credit hours of undergraduate courses at the 300- or 400-level taken from other departments (B- or better grade is required) or 400-level BIOL courses (B- or better grade is required) (these undergraduate courses cannot be shared with the B.S. degree); or up to 15 credits of 500-level courses in other departments. Students also must satisfactorily complete a written examination prepared by each committee member during the student’s last semester. A passing grade of B must be earned on the final exam. Students will have two attempts to pass the exam.

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the Master of Science in Biology with the non-thesis option, students will:

  1. demonstrate an ability to acquire new knowledge and skills;
  2. demonstrate the ability to locate and critically evaluate scientific information and apply new and existing knowledge;
  3. effectively communicate scientific research results, both verbally and in writing;
  4. explain the relationships between scientific research, biological principles, and global economic, environmental, and societal issues.

Graduate Program Courses:

Total Minimum Credits (MS): 30

Total Minimum Credits (BS): 120

See Baccalaureate Program Descriptions:  Biology (B.S.)

Student Responsibility

You are responsible for satisfying the graduation requirements specified for your selected program.  Thus, it is essential that you develop a thorough understanding of the required courses, academic policies and procedures governing your academic career.  If you cannot complete all program requirements by your stated graduation date but fail to remove those from your plan of study, the Registrar’s Office in consultation with your academic advisor will remove unmet pursuits from your plan of study.    All requests for exceptions to specific requirements must be made in writing and may be granted only by written approval from the Graduate Director.

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