Apr 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog

Biology, M.S. (Thesis)

Location(s): Statesboro, Armstrong-Savannah

Degree Requirements: 30 Credit Hours


Students are selected for the Master of Science in Biology degree program on a competitive basis. Meeting minimum requirements does not guarantee admission. Applications are usually evaluated during the eighth week of the semester prior to the semester of admission. Applications for graduate assistantships must be received by March 1 to receive full consideration for fall. Assistantships are awarded for a maximum of five semesters and are reviewed each semester. Students must comply with the College of Graduate Studies degree completion time line for a master’s degree. A student who has not matriculated for three or more consecutive semesters must re-apply and meet all admission requirements in effect at the time of the new application for admission.

Admission Requirements

For unqualified admission to the College of Graduate Studies to pursue graduate work leading to the Master of Science degree in Biology, the applicant must have:


  1. Completed requirements for the bachelors degree in a college accredited by the proper regional accrediting associations.
  2. A 2.80 (4.0 scale) cumulative grade point average or higher on all undergraduate work.
  3. An undergraduate major or the equivalent appropriate to the proposed field of study. Adequately prepared applicants will typically have completed 24 credits of biology, 9 credits of mathematics, 16 credits of chemistry (including organic chemistry), and 8 credits of physics (or geological science).
  4. Two letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant’s potential to complete successful graduate work.
  5. A statement of career goals to explain why you are interested in pursuing the degree and to explain your long term career plans.
  6. Applicants are strongly encouraged to identify a thesis adviser and submit the name to the graduate program director prior to the application deadline.


Students who fail to meet one of the requirements 2-4 above may be admitted provisionally. To be converted to regular status, provisional students must earn a “B” or higher in their first six (6) credits of Biology graduate courses, approved by the Biology Program Director, with at least three (3) credits at the 7000-level. Directed Individual Study (BIOL 7890 ) or Biological Problems (BIOL 7893 ) cannot be taken for these six (6) credits. Students on provisional status may not hold a graduate assistantship.


Non-degree students are accepted on an individual basis as space is available.

Thesis and Non-Thesis options are possible for the M.S. degree in Biology.

Program of Study (Thesis Option)

The graduate student and their graduate committee shall jointly develop a Program of Study that includes 24 credits in graduate course work including the required courses listed below, plus three (3) credits of research and three (3) credits of thesis.

Thesis Option, 30 Credit Hours

Other Requirements

Total Credit Hours: 30

1 This course Graduate Seminar (BIOL 7610 ) must be taken a minimum of two times.

2 Note that a limit of six (6) credits of any combination of Directed Individual Study (BIOL 7890 ) and Biological Problems (BIOL 7893 ), and a limit of four (4) credits of Graduate Seminar (BIOL 7610 ) can be used toward the 30 credit degree requirement.

Other Program Requirements (Thesis Option)

  1. Each candidate for the Master of Science Thesis option in Biology must have accomplished the following by the end of their second term to earn or maintain their eligibility for a graduate assistantship:
    1. Identified an adviser within the Biology Department
    2. Formed a Steering Committee of the adviser and two other Biology Department Faculty
    3. Written a thesis proposal and submitted any necessary IACUC / IBC / IRB applications
    4. Met with the Steering Committee formally, submitted and received approval for their thesis proposal (i.e., prospectus) and Program of Study with appropriate signatures.
  2. Each candidate must receive approval from their Steering Committee and the Director of the Biology Graduate Program to take courses that do not apply to the MS Thesis Degree in Biology, or are taught outside of the Department of Biology.
  3. Each candidate for the Master of Science degree in Biology must complete a thesis on a subject approved by their steering committee.
    1. This thesis must be presented at a public exit seminar and, within 2 weeks following the seminar, defended before the thesis committee.
    2. The thesis defense is a comprehensive examination that may include questions on the thesis, and subject matter related to the thesis, and course work.
    3. In addition to the thesis, the student must provide the adviser with all forms of the data that were collected, including electronic files, and a written document detailing the contents of the data files (or other forms).
    4. The degree is conferred at the end of the semester, after the student has passed the thesis defense and the final written version of the thesis has been approved by the committee.
  4. Students entering the Master of Science Thesis option in Biology can apply to switch to the Non-Thesis option within their first two academic semesters by completing the appropriate change of degree paperwork assuming that they are in good standing (See the Graduate Program Director for the required paperwork). After their second academic semester, applications to switch to the Non-Thesis degree can occur, but a student cannot transfer more than twelve (12) credits of coursework from the thesis option to the non-thesis option. Additional criteria required to switch programs after the second semester are:
    1. Email the Biology Graduate Committee via the graduate program director a request to switch programs. This email should include an explanation and justification for the request. The request must receive approval for the switch from the Biology Graduate Committee. Approval to switch degree programs is not guaranteed.
    2. Complete the Department of Biology Change of Degree Plan checklist, including all signatures.
    3. If any thesis-related and/or grant-related research has been undertaken, providing the faculty mentor with the following (all in hard copy and electronic format whenever possible and relevant):
      • A written one page document detailing the objectives of the initiated research
      • A complete description of the methods used to collect data
      • All forms of data that were collected
      • A written document detailing the contents of all the data files (or other forms)
    4. If data were gathered to meet the obligation of a grant (completely or in part), then the student must waive all rights and ownership over the data and any publications forthcoming from the use of the data.
    5. With the College of Graduate Studies file
      • a new Program of Study form, and
      • a Change of Major or Study Concentration form.

Note the Directed Individual Study (BIOL 7890 )/Biological Problems (BIOL 7893 ) course, and course title, requirements described under the non-thesis program.


Graduate students are advised by their program. Graduate students should reach out to their graduate program director for information regarding the structures in place to facilitate advisement. For more information visit Graduate Academic Advisement .

Graduate students can also contact the Jack N. Averitt College of Graduate Studies for more information about their program director.
Phone: 912-478-COGS (2647)
Email: gradschool@georgiasouthern.edu