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The College of Natural and Applied Sciences offers a Masters of Science Degree in Biology. Courses for the Master of Science Degree are taught by faculty from the College and Applied Sciences, the Marine Laboratory and the Water and Environmental Research Institute. The program is designed to serve those students who are pursuing a research-oriented career at the master’s level, those using the master’s degree as a stepping stone to a doctorate, a career in natural resource management or environmental consulting, and biology teachers who have fulfilled requirements for teacher’s certification but seek a broader knowledge of biology.

In addition to obtaining the Master of Science in Biology, candidates have the opportunity to study in one of the most interesting regions in the Western Pacific. The Graduate Program in Biology has many facets comparable to mainland programs and provides outstanding opportunities in tropical marine science (see the section on the Marine Laboratory in this Bulletin).


BIGGS, Jason, Assistant Professor, Biochemical Ecology
CAMACHO, Frank, Assistant Professor, Freshwater Biology
DENTON, Gary, Professor, Environmental Toxicology
DONALDSON, Terry, Associate Professor, Ichthyology
FIEDLER, Curtis, Assistant Professor, Biology
GHOSH, Subir, Associate Professor, Biology
KERR, Alexander, Associate Professor, Marine Biology
LINDSTROM, Dan, Assistant Professor, Freshwater Biology
LOBBAN, Christopher, Professor, Biology
MARLER, Thomas, Professor, Pomology
MILLER, Ross, Professor, Entomology
MOOTS, Kate, Assistant Professor, Marine Biology
RAYMUNDO, Laurie, Associate Professor, Marine Biology
RIGHETTI, Tim, Associate Professor, Biology
ROWAN, Robert, Associate Professor, Marine Biology
SCHILS, Tom, Associate Professor, Marine Biology
YANG, Jian, Associate Professor, Food Science



Students accepted as pre-candidates by the University Graduate School may apply for admission to the Biology Program. This can be done concurrently when submitting the initial application. Specifically one must do the following in order to achieve candidacy:

  1. Completed all the pre-requisites for the program; (1) term (semester or quarter) of Calculus, two (2) terms of Physics or Geology, four (4) terms of Chemistry and four (4) terms of Biology, of which at least two (2) are upper division. Students may take these pre-requisites while at UOG; however courses taken to make up any deficiencies shall not be applied to the total credits required for a graduate degree.
  2. Submit three letters of reference to the Graduate Biology Program Chair from academics or professionals who are familiar with the student’s qualifications.
  3. Establish a thesis committee that is composed of a minimum of three (3) members; at least two (2) Biology Program Graduate Faculty members and one (1) outside member. The outside member is compulsory and can either be from the UOG Faculty (Graduate or otherwise), or from off-campus. If the latter, then these individuals may serve as committee members after submitting a CV documenting their qualifications for approval by the Biology Program Chair. The advisor or Committee Chair must be a listed Biology Program Graduate Faculty member.
  4. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (general and biology) test scores must be submitted with a score greater than the 50% percentile rank for the biology test before a student may be admitted to the Program. The GRE examinations must be taken within the last five years prior to application for admission.

Applicants must then complete and submit Form A (steps on how to do this are given on the Program website) which is then signed by the Graduate Biology Program Chair and Assistant Vice President for Graduate Studies, Research and Sponsored Programs. It is advised that Form A is submitted before completion of 12 credit hours of graduate courses so that these courses count towards graduation.



Students enrolled in the Graduate Biology Program are required to complete all coursework and the degree requirements within seven (7) years of admission to the Graduate School. Students requiring leave of absence must write to the Program Chair and provide evidence (e.g. medical certificate) to support their claim. If approved, the time in absence does not count towards the 7-year rule (a definition of this rule is in the General Admission Requirements section).


Course requirements

The degree program requires a total of 30 hours of graduate credit, at least 18 of which must be at the 500 or 600 level including six (6) hours of Thesis Research (BI695). A maximum of six credit hours may be accepted in related graduate-level courses. Graduate students must maintain a B average (3.0) and make no more than one grade of C (2.0) or lower to be admitted to the degree program. Once admitted, students must meet the same criteria in order to continue in the Program. A student whose cumulative grade-point average (GPA) falls below 3.0 has one semester of probation to raise the average back to at least 3.0 before being dismissed from the program. Cumulative GPA is calculated each semester by the Admissions and Records Office.

Required Courses: (20 credit hours)
BI/EV507Advanced Statistical Methods4
BI503Biological Literature and Scientific Writing2
BI505Advances in Tropical Ecology3
BI520Current Topics in Cellular Biology3
BI691Seminar (1) at least twice2
 Electives(at least 10 credit hours)



The first step is the preparation and defense of a thesis proposal, which must be done within 12 months of entering the Program. The proposal consists of a written document outlining the proposed thesis work. This document is edited and approved by the student’s thesis committee and should comprise an Introduction, Methods, and Literature Cited sections. Guidelines for the thesis proposal are available on the Program website. Oral defense of the approved proposal is via a public seminar open to the University community.

The student must write and successfully defend (via an oral exam) original research in the form of a thesis approved by the thesis committee. The thesis committee, especially the thesis committee chairperson, guides the student throughout the development of the research problem, data acquisition and analysis, and writing the thesis.

On completion of the thesis students are then required to pass the oral exam. Should the student fail this exam they can take it a second time. Two failures on this examination will result in the student being dismissed from the Program.

What careers are available to someone with a degree in Biology?

  1. Clinical Laboratory Technologists
  2. Educators
  3. Forensic Scientists
  4. Medical Scientists
  5. Research Scientists
  6. Science Technicians
  7. Veterinarians