Department of Biology

Graduate Programs Offered

The Biology Department offers personalized programs of graduate study designed to meet the needs of students having diverse interests, life goals, and career objectives. Programs may be tailored to provide academic preparation for persons seeking:

  • service-oriented careers in private enterprise and/or State or Federal agencies;
  • research-oriented careers in private enterprise and/or State or Federal agencies;
  • careers in teaching at the secondary and/or college level;
  • preparation for professional school and/or doctoral studies in the life sciences.

Degree programs may terminate in the Master of Science (MS) with a major in biology. The MS degree serves individuals with varied interests and career objectives by emphasizing scholarly research and coursework tailored to the needs and interests of the individual candidate. Requirements are flexible enough to support both general and specialized programs of study.


Requirements for the Master of Science

Degree candidates must:

  1. Complete a minimum of 30 graduate semester hours with at least 21 hours at the 6000 level (no more than 30% of the total hours can include 5000 level courses).
  2. In addition, complete six semester hours of approved research tools (see page 7 of the Graduate Handbook for example courses),or complete six hours of foreign language (French, German, or Spanish).
  3. Complete a biology major of at least 16 semester hours which includes the following 9 required hours:
BIOL 6620 Biological Research 3
BIOL 6640 Thesis 3
BIOL 6650 Seminar 1
BIOL 6660 Seminar 2

Candidates may "specialize" in an area of Biology. A minimum of nine (9) semester hours must be completed in the area of specialization. Remaining required hours will include approved graduate courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, or other related disciplines.

A minor is optional, but if elected, must include a minimum of 12 semester hours (these 12 hours may be included in the 30 total required hours).

  1. Complete BIOL-6620; Biological Research and file a Research and Thesis Approval Form (Appendix A) with the Graduate Coordinator prior to completion of the second semester of graduate study.
  2. File a Candidacy Form in the College of Graduate Studies Office prior to completion of 24 credit hours.
  3. Successfully complete both written and oral comprehensive examinations (may be taken only twice). The comprehensive exam should be completed the semester prior to the semester of anticipated graduation.
  4. File the Graduate Notice of Intention to Graduate form in the College of Graduate Studies office during the first week of the semester of intended graduation.
  5. File the completed thesis with the biology office at least one week prior to the thesis defense.
  6. Present and successfully defend the thesis in a public forum.
  7. Submit the final version of the signed thesis and the completed Thesis/Dissertation Checklist to the College of Graduate Studies by the submission deadline for the semester of intended graduation.

Program Options for the MS Degree
Although MTSU does not offer the MS degree in the various sub-disciplines of biology, requirements are sufficiently flexible to permit either specialized programs of study or broad, general ones. Areas of specialization currently available within the department include: BOTANY, CELL and MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, ECOLOGY, GENETICS, MICROBIOLOGY, PHYSIOLOGY, and ZOOLOGY.

Master of Science in Professional Science
Also see information on Master of Science in Professional Science , an interdisciplinary degree that combines the business management skills commonly found in the traditional MBA type program with advanced learning in specific science fields. The Professional Science Masters (as it is commonly called) includes a business core with specific concentrations in the areas of biotechnology, biostatistics, and health care informatics.