Graduate Degree Program

The Department of Biology offers two paths toward earning the Master of Science degree in Biology.


The thesis option is the traditional, and preferred, option for earning the MS degree in our department. This option is highly recommended for any student planning to continue work toward a higher degree (e.g., PhD) or contemplating a career that involves any aspect of research (i.e., collecting, analyzing, or interpreting biological data; e.g., government agencies, lab technicians, environmental consulting, etc.)

Students in the thesis option must complete 30 hours of coursework. These courses are organized as follows:

Required Core (8 credits)
Biometry (3 credits)
Research Methods (3 credits)
2 Graduate Seminars (1 credit each)Specialty Course (3 credits)
Evolutionary Ecology (3 credits)
Cell/Molecular Biology (3 credits)
Applied Biology (3 credits)Research Courses (6 credits)
Research (3 credits)
Thesis (3 credits)
Electives (13 credits)
Courses at the 5000G or 7000 level

In addition to 30 hours of coursework, a student in the thesis option completes a written thesis describing and interpreting the results of an independent research project. Each thesis student is advised by a committee of at least three graduate faculty members, one of whom is the major advisor or committee chair. At the end of the student’s course of study, a public exit seminar describing the thesis must be presented before the Department of Biology and then defended before the thesis committee.


The non-thesis option is designed for individuals who wish to expand their biological knowledge via coursework. This option is appropriate for individuals already in a professional setting, such as teachers or people in industry. (Note: Teaching assistantships are awarded to students in the thesis track. If all slots cannot be filled by thesis degree seeking students first, then a non-thesis student could receive a teaching assistantship.)

Students in the non-thesis option must complete 36 hours of coursework. These courses are organized as follows:

Required Core (8 credits)
BIOL 5000G (4 credits)
BIOL 5000G process course (4 credits)

Specialty Courses (6 credits)
Evolutionary Ecology (3 credits)
Molecular Biology (3 credits)
Applied Biology (3 credits)Other Requirements (5 credits)
2 Graduate Seminars (1 credit each)
Directed Individual Study (3 credits)Electives (17 credits)Courses at the 5000G or 7000 level

Non-thesis students do not write a thesis. However, they are required to complete a directed individual study course in which the student completes an independent project and writes a report on this project. Non-thesis student are not required to have an advisory committee, but they must select a faculty advisor upon admission to the program.

DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY • P.O. Box 8042 • Statesboro, GA 30460 • (912) 478-5487