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Master of Science in Biology

Format: In person on the Statesboro Campus or the Armstrong Campus in Savannah
Thesis Credit Hours: 30
Non-Thesis Credit Hours: 36
Entry Terms: Fall and Spring

No matter what career in biology you aspire to, our masters degree program has the path to suit your needs.

Georgia Southern University’s Department of Biology is the largest center for biology research and education in southern Georgia. The Master of Science in Biology degree provides access to cutting-edge, hands-on training that will prepare you for doctoral work or a successful career in the biological sciences.

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Master of Science in Biology
Thesis Option

The thesis option is the traditional, and preferred, option for earning the MS in biology 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.)

Thesis Curriculum at a Glance

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.

Master of Science in Biology
Non-thesis Option

Non-Thesis Credit Hours: 36

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.)

Non-Thesis Curriculum at a Glance

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.

Welcome to the graduate program in Biology at Georgia Southern University

Our Master of Science degree is designed to provide cutting-edge training in biology that will prepare students for challenging professional careers or entry into competitive PhD programs. Over 92% of our alumni are working in the biological, environmental, or health sciences; one out of every three graduates goes on to receive a terminal degree (e.g., PhD, MD). Our graduates work in 32 states and 10 countries.

Our masters program offers a number of unique advantages for students considering graduate training in biology:

  1. The Department of Biology at Georgia Southern is a “full-service” department. The broad expertise of our faculty provides the opportunity to train in areas ranging from molecular biology to ecosystems. This diversity of expertise means that graduate students can work creatively across subdiscipline boundaries.
  2. You will not get lost in the crowd. Our master’s program comprises approximately 50 graduate students and 39 faculty. You can expect close interaction with peers and mentors. Graduate students in our program get a level of personal attention that is rare or nonexistent in larger graduate programs.
  3. Georgia Southern’s location provides easy access to the amazing biodiversity of the southeastern United States. We are a 1-hour drive from coastal beaches and estuaries. Major rivers and bottomland forests are minutes from campus. The southern Appalachians are only 3 hours away.
  4. For research opportunities based regionally, nationally, and internationally, students in our program are able to take advantage of our department’s many affiliations. In the recent past our graduate students have worked closely with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Army (Fort Stewart), Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Sapelo Island Estuarine Research Reserve, National Park Service, Gray’s Reef National Marine Sanctuary, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, The Nature Conservancy, and many more agencies abroad.

If this sounds like a graduate experience that you want to be a part of, then explore this webpage in more detail. We are also happy to hear from you or arrange a visit.

John Carroll

Do You Have Questions? Contact Us!

Department of Biology


Georgia Southern University
4324 Old Register Road
Statesboro, GA 30460
Phone: 912-478-5487


Science Center 1505
11935 Abercorn Street
Savannah, GA 31419
Phone: 912-344-3330


175 West Memorial Drive
Hinesville, GA 31313
Phone: 912-877-1906

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Last updated: 5/22/2023