Master of Science Program

The Master of Science program is designed to prepare students to pursue careers in research, science education, industry, and government. The Department of Biology offers both thesis and non-thesis options. Courses are taught by award-winning, nationally recognized research and teaching faculty and cover a range of essential topics in contemporary biology. The program can be completed within two years and offers some flexibility for working students through a combination of evening, online, hybrid, and face-to-face modalities.

The University Catalog contains all UTA admission requirements for the Department of Biology master’s program.

Master of Science Thesis Option (MST)

The Master of Science with a major in Biology Thesis option [PDF] is a 30-hour research degree that requires 24 hours of formal course work, including BIOL 5314 Biometry, BIOL 5340 Bioinformatics, and BIOL 5101 Current Topics in Biology, plus a 6-hour thesis (BIOL 5698) and additional hours to complete the degree requirements. Students have the option to conduct research leading to a thesis in a variety of specializations, including aquatic biology, ecology, genetics, evolutionary biology, genomics, microbiology, and cell biology. The thesis option is intended to prepare students for Ph.D. programs and careers in research and industry by obtaining skills such as the collection and analysis of data, evaluation of primary literature, and essential laboratory techniques. An example sequential degree plan can be downloaded here [PDF].

Master of Science Non-Thesis Option (MSNT)

The Master of Science with a major in Biology non-thesis option [PDF] is a 30-hour program of formal coursework requiring BIOL 5314 Biometry, BIOL 5340 Bioinformatics, BIOL 5101 Current Topics in Biology, BIOL 5391 Individual Problems in Biology, and sufficient additional hours to complete the degree requirements. The non-thesis option is intended to meet the needs of students looking to advance in their careers or those seeking additional preparation for professional or health science programs. Graduates of this program can currently be found working in consulting, resource management, state and local agencies, and K-12 education. An example sequential degree plan can be downloaded here [PDF].


The following are minimal requirements for entrance into the graduate program in biology. However, satisfying or exceeding these requirements does not guarantee admission to the program. Admission to the program is determined solely by the Biology Graduate Studies Committee and the Graduate School and is based on an evaluation of all pertinent aspects of an applicant's record.

(see also The Department of Biology Graduate Catalog page)

  1. A Bachelor's degree in biology or a bachelor's degree in some other discipline with at least 12 hours of advanced level coursework (junior or senior level courses) in biology.
  2. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale, as calculated by the Graduate School. Applicants GPA in the Sciences will also be considered.
  3. Successful students in Biology generally have a minimum combined score of 296 (1000 on the old scoring system) on the verbal and quantitative sections of the exam, with a strong performance on the quantitative section.
  4. Favorable letters of recommendation from at least three individuals able to assess the applicant's potential for success in graduate school.
  5. Evidence of previous research experience may also be considered.
  6. International students whose native language is not English must provide a score on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) of at least 45, a minimum score of 23 on the Speaking portion of the TOEFL iBT exam or a minimum score of 7 on the Speaking portion of the IELTS exam. See the following website for complete details:

How To Apply

First, read the general instructions for applying to the graduate program and download the checklists available on the Office of Graduate Studies webpage:

The list below contains additional information requested by the Biology Department.

All applications are reviewed on the following schedule:

  • For entrance in the Fall semester:
    Completed applications will be under review starting January 10 (e.g., January 10, 2021 for Fall 2021 entry). Applicants are notified of admissions decision typically in the January through March time frame. 

  • For entrance in the Spring semester:
    Completed applications will be under review starting September 15 (e.g., September 15, 2021 for Spring 2022 entry). Applicants are notified of admissions decision typically in the September through November time frame.

Questions? Contact

  1.  Application, Scores, and Transcripts: Apply on-line through the UTA Office of Graduate Studies: As instructed, have your GRE scores and official transcripts sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies. If you are an international student, you will also need to have exam scores demonstrating English proficiency sent directly to the Office of Graduate Studies. See the webpage above for more information.

  2.  Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation are required for admission to the Biology MS Program. Ideally one or two letters should come from professors or instructors who can speak to your academic abilities, and the others may come from employers or other individuals who can comment on your work ethic and potential for graduate study. Recommenders should email letters directly Applicants are encouraged to ensure that all letters of recommendation are received prior to the application deadline. 

  3.  Letter of Intent: Please e-mail a Letter of Intent to the Graduate Program assistant ( and include the following information:

    • Indicate that you are seeking the M.S. degree, if you intend to pursue the thesis or non-thesis option, and if you intend to be a full-time student.

    • If thesis: tell us which research area you are interested in: Genomic Biology, Ecology and Evolution, or Microbiology and Molecular Biology; and indicate which faculty member(s) you hope will supervise your thesis research. Your letter will be forwarded to the faculty members you indicate, but you should also contact those individuals directly to determine if s/he is taking new students and has the resources to support your research. Please see who is research active for more information on individual faculty.

Check your application status: You can check your application and admissions status through the MyMav student portal, where you can also review if you have any missing items needed to complete your application.  CHECK YOUR STATUS IN MYMAV. To confirm receipt of letters of recommendation, first check with your recommenders before contacting the Graduate Program assistant at


 Email with any remaining questions you have about the MS program in Biology. Current UTA students should include their UTA Student ID # in the email.