Master of Science Program

The Master of Science (M.S.) in Biology is designed to prepare students to pursue careers in research, science education, industry, and government. Courses are taught by award winning, nationally recognized research and teaching faculty and cover a range of essential topics in contemporary biology. Our Biology Department offers two distinct Master of Science programs: the Master of Science with Thesis option (MST), and the Master of Science without a thesis, or “non-thesis,” option (MSNT). 



The Master of Science in Biology Non-Thesis option is our most flexible graduate degree program and can be completed on-campus, online asynchronously, or as a combination of the two modalities. The requirements include a capstone course, which can be satisfied by either BIOL 5349 Cooperative Program in Biology or BIOL 5391 Individual Problems in Biology, and 27 additional hours of 5000 level Biology courses (see below). The non-thesis option is intended to meet the needs of students looking to advance in their careers, for biology teachers wishing to expand their knowledge or be qualified to teach dual credit, or those seeking additional preparation for professional or health science programs.


The Master of Science in Biology Thesis option is a research-focused degree, intended to prepare students for careers in research and industry. MST students obtain skills such as the collection and analysis of data, evaluation of primary literature, and essential laboratory techniques. MST 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. All MST students will complete a master’s thesis under the guidance of their faculty advisor, and complete 30 credit-hours of advanced biology coursework. The MST degree is not a prerequisite for admission to the Ph.D. program. Students who are interested in a Ph.D. should apply directly to that program.



  • BIOL 5314 Biometry (3 credits)

  • BIOL 5340 Bioinformatics (3 credits)

  • BIOL 5101 Current Topics in Biology (taken twice, 2 credits)

  • BIOL 5391 Individual Problems in Biology (3 credits)

  • BIOL 5698 Thesis (6 credits, taken in the last semester)


Biology Master’s Degree Courses*

  • BIOL 5101 Current Topics in Biology**

  • BIOL 5303 Microbiomes: Health and the Environment

  • BIOL 5304 Virology

  • BIOL 5307 Neurobiology

  • BIOL 5309 Immunology

  • BIOL 5310 Selected Topics

  • BIOL 5311 Evolution

  • BIOL 5314 Biometry 

  • BIOL 5317 Bacterial Pathogenesis

  • BIOL 5319 Human Genetics

  • BIOL 5335 Genomics

  • BIOL 5336 Molecular Evolution

  • BIOL 5340 Bioinformatics

  • BIOL 5349 Cooperative Program in Biology

  • BIOL 5354 Limnology

  • BIOL 5355 Toxicology

  • BIOL 5359 Medical Molecular Biology

  • BIOL 5391 Individual Problems in Biology***


*Select courses are available in an online asynchronous modality for students in the MSNT program. See the current schedule of classes or ask your advisor for details. 

**BIOL 5101: Weekly seminar on current biological research by visiting speakers.

***BIOL 5391: Requirements vary but may include an extensive research project and/or research paper(s) based on scientific literature. Instructor permission required to enroll.

Subject to written approval by the Graduate Advisor and within the limitations stated in the General Graduate School Regulations, a student may take up to nine hours of coursework from courses listed under Biology at the 3000 or 4000 levels in support of career goals.


Master’s students can use this Degree Planning Worksheet for planning and/or meeting with advisors.


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 online 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 M.S. 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 to: 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 M.S. program in biology. Current UTA students should include their UTA student ID # in the email.