M.S. in Biology

Application deadline for admission for Fall 2024: March 1, 2024. You can apply through the Texas A&M University Graduate CAS.

DEGREES

We offer two Master of Science degrees in Biology that are tailored to the student’s individual career goals.

The first is a one-year non-thesis M.S. degree that entails formal coursework, with no research requirement. This one-year professional degree is designed to prepare students for careers in biomedical sciences in universities, industry, and government, and to provide an in-depth educational experience to improve the probability of admission into a postgraduate professional school, such as medical, dental, or veterinary schools.

The second is a thesis M.S. degree that requires significant laboratory research, and a written thesis. The research option helps students develop scientific research skills for improved preparation for entry into PhD programs, or for direct employment in research laboratories in academia, government, and industry.

REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION

Applicants should have completed an undergraduate degree in one of the life sciences, with at least 3 semesters of Biology, 4 semesters of Chemistry, including Organic Chemistry, 1 semester of Biochemistry, 2 semesters of Physics, and one advanced Mathematics course beyond algebra and trigonometry.

Applications from students lacking any of the general requirements will be considered, but any deficiencies must be resolved before completion of the program. Qualified students are admitted to the Biology M.S. program under the non-thesis option.

For consideration, applications must be received by March 1, 2024.

Submit online in the Texas A&M University Graduate CAS application portal.

In addition to the online application, you will need to submit the following:

  1. A Statement of Purpose:
    1. For students applying to the Non-Thesis Option, the statement of purpose should then explain why you want to pursue graduate studies, your future goals, and how you believe this program will help reach your goals.
    2. For students applying to the Thesis Option, the statement of purpose should then explain why you want to pursue graduate studies, why you are applying to our department, your research interests, and a description of your previous research experience.
  2. Transcripts can be sent directly to the Texas A&M Office of Admissions (address below). You can upload unofficial transcripts to CAS; however, if you are admitted to the biology program, you must have official transcripts sent to the Office of Admissions before the start of the fall semester.
  3. Two letters of recommendation should be submitted through CAS.
  4. TOEFL/IELTS scores:
    1. Have TOEFL scores (for international applicants) sent to the Texas A&M Office of Admissions. The Institute Code for Texas A&M University is 6003 (there is no department code needed).
    2. IELTS scores need to be sent electronically to Texas A&M University (College Station and Galveston). Texas A&M University only accepts scores submitted electronically by the IELTS test center. No paper Test Report Forms will be accepted.
  5. C.V.: Upload your resume or C.V. to CAS.
  6. Letter from Faculty Member: For student’s applying to the thesis-option program, please upload a letter from the faculty member with whom you will work that states she/he will be your primary advisor.
    1. Applicants should visit the Faculty Research Interests page to identify the most suitable labs and contact the faculty directly.
  7. Additional Information: We no longer take the GRE.

Please do not send any materials directly to the Department of Biology. Everything should go to the Office of Admissions or uploaded through CAS.

FUNDING

Biology master’s students are eligible for teaching assistantships through the Department of Biology. In order to placed on a list to receive a teaching assistantship, students must enroll in and successfully complete BIOL 697: Methods in Teaching Biology Laboratory. The course will take place in the two weeks prior to the start of the fall semester.

Biology master’s students will teaching three sections of a biology lab (e.g. BIOL 111 Lab, BIOL 112 Lab, etc.). The assistantship will give students in-state tuition and pay a monthly salary of $3,000.

DEGREE PLAN

One Year Non-Thesis Masters: Requires up to 33 credit hours of course work and up to 6 hours of directed studies, with the total number of credit hours not exceeding 36. Students will enroll in BIOL 685 (Directed Studies) during their final semester in order to complete their final exam. The final exam is a comprehensive written paper over a topic of interest that connects to course work done over the year.

Thesis Masters: Requires 32 credit hours, including at least 8 hours of research and 24 hours of coursework. The degree will take 2 years to complete.

NON-THESIS OPTION

Fall Semester Courses for Non-Thesis Students

Full Time Students enroll in 16 hours total (17 hours if taking BIOL 697), and Part-Time Students enroll in 6 hours.

Course Title Credit Hours Description
BIOL 613 Cell Biology 3 Consideration of the eukaryotic cell as a functional, integrated unit in living organisms including structure, composition, function and biogenesis of subcellular components; dynamic processes and interactions of cells, including division, communication, and death; experimental approaches in modern cell biology and selected applications of experimental cell biology to problems in medicine.
BIOL 610 Evolution 3 Fundamentals of evolutionary biology with an emphasis on evolutionary theory.
BIOL 651 Bioinformatics 3 Introduction to applications related to information processing in biological research with practical training exercises; includes internet databases, sequence alignment, motif prediction, gene and prometer prediction, phylogenetic analysis, protein structure classification, analysis and prediction, genome annotation, assembly and comparative analysis, and proteomics analysis
BIOL 681 Departmental Colloquium 1 Tuesday Seminar
BIOL 697 Methods in Teaching Biology Laboratory 1 Introduction to teaching methods associated with the teaching of undergraduate biology laboratories; emphasis on effective preparation and delivery of laboratory course content, clear instructions for procedures and laboratory safety.

***This course is optional for students who would like to be considered for a TAship.

Electives 6 Students may choose 2x 3-hour courses for electives

 

Spring Semester Courses for Non-Thesis Students

Non-Thesis Students: Full-time students will enroll in 14 hours total, and part-time students will enroll in 6 hours.

Course Title Credit Hours Description
BIOL 601 Biological Clocks 3 Introduction to the formal properties of biological rhythms; cellular and molecular bases for rhythmicity; temporal adaptations of organisms using clocks.
BIOL 650 Genomics 3 Modern genomics as a tool for understanding biological systems; review of gene structure and organization and the history of sequencing technologies; focus on transcriptional, translational and functional genomics.
BIOL 681 Departmental Colloquium 1 Tuesday Seminar
Electives 9 Students may choose 3x 3-hour courses for electives

Summer Semester Courses for Non-Thesis Students

Non-Thesis Students: Full-time students will enroll in 14 hours total, and part-time students will enroll in 6 hours.

Course Title Credit Hours Description
BIOL 685 Directed Studies 3-4 Students will enroll in BIOL 685 under their committee chair to write their final paper, which is a comprehensive written paper over a topic of interest that connects to course work done over the year.

THESIS OPTION

First Fall Semester Courses for Thesis Students

Thesis Students: Enroll in 9 hours your first semester and talk with PI about research expectations.

Course Title Credit Hours Description
BIOL 613 Cell Biology 3 Consideration of the eukaryotic cell as a functional, integrated unit in living organisms including structure, composition, function and biogenesis of subcellular components; dynamic processes and interactions of cells, including division, communication, and death; experimental approaches in modern cell biology and selected applications of experimental cell biology to problems in medicine
BIOL 683 Experimental Design 3 Design of scientific research projects in the field of biology; a wide range of biological experiments designed with the appropriate statistical technique for analysis; design biological studies that are statistically tractable and perform basic statistical analyses using the statistical programming language R
BIOL 681 Department Colloquium 1 Tuesday Seminar
BIOL 691 Research Hours 1-2 Enroll in 1 -2 hours of research with your research advisor (PI). You will take 1 hour if you enroll in BIOL 697 and 2 hours if you do not.
BIOL 697 Methods in Teaching Biology Laboratory 1 Introduction to teaching methods associated with the teaching of undergraduate biology laboratories; emphasis on effective preparation and delivery of laboratory course content, clear instructions for procedures and laboratory safety.

***This course is optional for students who would like to be considered for a TAship.

First Spring Semester Courses for Thesis Students

Thesis Students: Enroll in 9 hours

Course Title Credit Hours Description
BIOL 609 Molecular Tools 3 Interactive lecture course in molecular biology for beginning graduate students; introduction to tools and methodologies used in prokaryotic and eukaryotic molecular labs; choosing the appropriate experimental technique for a given scientific question; virtual experiments will reinforce the applications and introduce useful bioinformatics tools.
BIOL 601 Biological Clocks 3 Introduction to the formal properties of biological rhythms; cellular and molecular bases for rhythmicity; temporal adaptations of organisms using clocks. Prerequisite: Graduate classification or approval of instructor.
BIOL 696 Ethics & Responsible Research 1 Instruction on what constitutes fraud in science, how to recognize it and avoid committing fraud; includes basis of ethics and plagiarism; negotiation techniques and conflict management; regulations and ethics covering animal and human experiments; record-keeping; data management; peer review
BIOL 681 Department Colloquium 1 Tuesday Seminar
BIOL 691 Research Hours 1 Enroll in 1 hour of research with your research advisor (PI).

First Summer Semester Course for Thesis Students

Course Title Credit Hours Description
BIOL 691 Research Hours 1 Enroll in 1 hour of research with your research advisor (PI).

Second Fall Semester Courses for Thesis Students

Course Title Credit Hours Description
BIOL 610 Evolution 3 Design of scientific research projects in the field of biology; a wide range of biological experiments designed with the appropriate statistical technique for analysis; design biological studies that are statistically tractable and perform basic statistical analyses using the statistical programming language R
BIOL 651 Bioinformatics 3 Introduction to applications related to information processing in biological research with practical training exercises; includes internet databases, sequence alignment, motif prediction, gene and prometer prediction, phylogenetic analysis, protein structure classification, analysis and prediction, genome annotation, assembly and comparative analysis, and proteomics analysis
BIOL 681 Journal Club 1 Please consult your PI to determine which journal club you need to take
BIOL 691 Research Hours 2 Enroll in 2 hours of research with your research advisor (PI).

Second Spring Semester Courses for Thesis Students

Course Title Credit Hours Description
Elective 3 Please contact your PI about an elective to take
BIOL 681 Journal Club 1 Please consult your PI to determine which journal club you need to take
BIOL 691 Research Hours 5 Enroll in 5 hours of research with your research advisor (PI).

Second Summer Semester Course for Thesis Students

Course Title Credit Hours Description
BIOL 691 Research Hours 1 Enroll in 1 hour of research with your research advisor (PI).