Master Student Requirements

Masters Student Requirements
Masters Student Requirements


Required Courses
  • BIOS 809 Professionalism
  • BIOS 915A OR BIOS 915E Specialization Seminar Course (minimum of 3 credit hours)
  • Minimum of 30 semester hours of credit
  • Includes 20-24 hours of course work excluding seminars and P/NP courses, 6-10 hours of thesis and 8 hours must be taken at the 900-level or 800-level with no 400 counterpart.

Important Deadlines

  • Meet with MS Examining Committee - It is your responsibility to call meetings with your committee to discuss your academic progress, research progress, and your individual development plan
  • Make a presentation to the School of Biological Sciences Community - All students are required to present their work (either proposed, in progress, or completed) to the School of Biological Sciences community each year. Student presentations may be oral as part of one of the specialization seminars or as a poster at the annual Biology Graduate Students Association symposium. **Please see Specialization Requirements for additional requirements regarding presenting research**
1st day of fall semester, every year:
  • Submit Annual Progress Report - All students beyond their first semester in the program must submit an Annual Progress Report. This report summarizes the academic & research progress in a given academic year. Failure to submit the Annual Progress Report constitutes grounds for dismissal from the School of Biological Sciences Graduate Program.
Within the first week on campus:
  • Submit MS Guidance Interview Form - Meet with your faculty advisor to review graduate school and specialization requirement and procedures.
By the last day of classes in the 1st academic year:
Before the beginning of the 2nd academic year:
  • Complete Comprehensive Exam - This exam is intended to assess your mastery of the fundamentals in your field and evaluate your potential to conduct Masters level research. The exam will consist of written and/or oral presentations on the topic of your research. (Format follows Specialization specific guidelines.)
At the beginning of the 2nd academic year:
  • Complete Individual Development plan - All students are required to produce an IDP, which documents long- and short-term professional goals, strengths and talents, development opportunities and an action plan. Students are expected to update the IDP regularly and have an IDP meeting with their faculty advisor at least once a year. You can also find an Online IDP Tool here. Both the template and this tool are also available on the Graduate Studies IDP Resource page.
At least four weeks prior to Final Oral Examination:
Within last semester:
  • Complete Oral Comprehensive Exam (thesis defense) - You present a public talk describing your thesis research, followed by a closed-door examination by your MS Examining Committee
  • Submit Application for Advance Degree in order to graduate (deadlines vary per semester)
As needed:
  • Submit Change in Master's Examining Committee Memo - Should the faculty advisor or other member remove themselves from the committee, submit a memo to the SBS Graduate Chair with the new committee make-up.

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