Biology – Master of Science

Graduate students pursuing the Master of Science in Biology may elect to follow a thesis or a non-thesis route. An advisory committee of at least three faculty members, versed in the student's specific area of interest, guides the student's graduate career.

With the approval of the student's advisory committee, up to nine credit hours of graduate work in biology or closely related fields may be taken outside the department or transferred as part of the student's program. Transfer credits may include up to nine hours of graduate credit from the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs, Miss., with which the University is affiliated or other universities.

Additional information regarding specific courses and program possibilities can be found at or by writing the Chair, Department of Biology and Chemistry, Morehead State University, Morehead, KY, 40351. On-campus students can inquire at 103 Lappin Hall.

Admission Requirements

  1. General admission to graduate study (for criteria, refer to "Admission to Graduate Study").
  2. Completion of an undergraduate major or minor in biology, environmental science or an equivalent course of study.
  3. Minimum GPA of 2.5 with a minimum GPA of 3.0 in all upper division biology courses.
  4. Acceptable proficiency in chemistry, mathematics and physics as determined by the biology graduate admissions committee.
  5. Minimum GRE score of 286 for verbal plus quantitative sections.
  6. Minimum TOEFL score for international students is 525. Computer-based test score of 173. Internet-based score is 70.

Program Competencies

  1. All students are expected to demonstrate:
    1. The mastery of course work considered fundamental to the training of a biologist. Required competencies may include the accumulation of knowledge in molecular biology, botany, zoology, microbiology, physiology, ecology and evolution. A thesis-track student may elect to specialize in one of the above areas.
    2. The mastery of supplementary courses selected to enhance the training of a biologist. Supplemental course work generally includes statistics and/or computer skills.
    3. The use of equipment and instruments required for biological research.
    4. The ability to think analytically, and have a thorough understanding of the scientific method. Students are expected to evaluate published research with respect to experimental design, strengths and weaknesses of data and validity of research conclusions.
    5. The ability to write a formal proposal of their intended research projects. The proposal will consist of a literature survey, research objectives, materials and methods, significance, bibliography and an itemized budget for the research (thesis students).
    6. The ability to design original experiments, collect and analyze data and report the findings through oral and written presentations (thesis students).
  2. Students preparing for post-master's degree professions must develop those competencies required for admission to professional schools or Ph.D. level graduate programs.


  1. Students must pass both a written exit examination prepared by the biology and chemistry departmental committee and an oral examination given by the student's graduate committee. It is expected that students attain an 80% performance level on the written exit examination and unanimous approval by the student's graduate committee concerning performance on the final oral examination and research component. Students failing to reach the 80% performance level on the written exam may retake the exam one time after a seven-day period.
  2. In-class evaluation of journal research occurs in all graduate courses, and interpretation of scientific articles associated with the student's thesis or non-thesis research is evaluated.
  3. All research proposals are evaluated by the major professor and the graduate coordinator.
  4. Every thesis track student is expected to perform original research and present the data in a formal seminar (BIOL 671) setting to the faculty and students of the biology and chemistry department. This oral seminar is graded by the faculty in attendance and the averaged score must be 80% or above. Students failing to reach the 80% performance level must give the seminar to their committee after a seven-day period.

Requirements for the Degree (Thesis)

  1. Satisfy University degree requirements.
  2. Must be unconditionally admitted.
  3. Complete an approved thesis.
  4. Complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of 600-level course work, including six credit hours for the thesis and one credit hour for graduate seminar.
  5. At least 24 of the 30 hours must be completed in biological science. The remaining hours may be selected from biology or related fields (if approved by the student's advisory committee).
  6. Take final written/oral examinations as determined by the student's advisory committee.

Biology Thesis Requirements

BIOL 699Thesis


BIOL 671Graduate Seminar


BIOL 600-levelElectives


Total Credit Hours:30

Requirements for the Degree (Non-thesis)

  1. Satisfy University degree requirements.
  2. Must be unconditionally admitted.
  3. Complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate (600-level) work.
  4. Complete a minimum of 21 approved credit hours in biology (of the 30 required). The remaining nine hours may be selected from biology or related fields (with the approval of the student's graduate committee; e.g. education, RAPP, mathematics and psychology).
  5. Successfully complete (with a minimum score of 80 percent) three final written examinations over the student's biology coursework.

Biology Non-Thesis Requirements

BIOL 600-levelElectives


Any 600-level or higher course


Total Credit Hours:30