Master of Science

Our on-campus program is designed to provide you with the knowledge and research skills necessary to attain your professional goals in several exciting core areas of the biological sciences. The program consists of two primary focal areas – coursework and original research. Coursework will prepare you to become a professional biologist by introducing you to the wide variety of skills needed to address current and future biological problems. The research emphasis will help further enhance your skills and contribute to the body of knowledge in the field of biology while preparing you for a PhD program or professional employment.

Program Objectives

You will develop research skills by investigating unanswered questions in the field of biology, becoming familiar with the latest biological methodology relating to your topic of choice, understanding the capabilities and limitations of these various methods, and learning to communicate biological concepts effectively both verbally and in writing. Our faculty in the biology department have exciting and vibrant research programs in fields of study including animal or plant physiology, animal behavior, neurobiology, molecular and cell biology, bioinformatics, genetics, microbiology, development, and ecology.


Contact the Graduate Admissions Office more information about applying to the MS in Biology. In addition to our standard admissions requirements, the following additional requirements apply:

  • Admission is competitive and dependent upon a faculty member agreeing to serve as your research advisor prior to submitting your application. Contact the program coordinator to discuss your research interests and possible funding opportunities prior to submitting your application.
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale
  • GRE Test Scores
  • Proper background in key areas, such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. Students may need to complete coursework in these areas before being admitted into the program.
  • Applications must be received by March 1 to be eligible for consideration for graduate assistant positions.
  • Requirements for international applicants

Graduate Assistantships

PSU offers a limited number of competitively awarded graduate assistantships each year to students who are pursing the thesis option.

Program Options

There are two options for the MS in Biology:

  • Thesis option – designed for students who wish to study full time. Classes are offered on-campus and will be completed in two years. Graduate assistant positions are available.
  • Non-thesis option – allows you to complete the program at their own pace while taking classes offered on-campus.

Curriculum Requirements

The MS in Biology requires a minimum of 30 credits with the following framework for thesis and non-thesis options:

  • Thesis: 18-24 credits of coursework and 6-12 credits of thesis research
  • Non-Thesis: 28 credits of coursework and 2 credits of independent study

Students in the thesis track are expected to accomplish a body of work of publishable caliber within their field of expertise. Those in the non-thesis track must coordinate the design and completion of a 2 credit independent study and an accompanying literature review.

Use the Course Planning Matrix to see when Biology courses will be offered.

Program of Study


Upon completion of the program you will have the skills necessary to read and write scientific literature, ask and answer life sciences questions, and direct independent research projects. In addition, you will be prepared to progress into a PhD program or professional employment in your field of study.

Please contact the program coordinator for more information.