Biology, MS

Program Description

Degree Awarded: Biology, MS

The MS in biology is a flexible degree program based around a student's individual interests, allowing them to explore areas of biology that thrive outside of traditional boundaries. This degree complements other, more specialized life sciences programs, allowing both interdisciplinary and traditional approaches. Courses include laboratory, field and theoretical work.

This program currently admits students to either a thesis-based pathway or a coursework and capstone option. Students in the thesis pathway receive hands-on training and craft an individualized plan of study focused specifically on their own research interests. They work closely with an advisor from ASU's faculty of top-tier scientists doing research at the cutting edge of their fields. Students develop foundational research skills in the course of designing and completing their own research project.

In the coursework and capstone pathway, students build an individualized curriculum from a wide variety of courses taught by global experts. In their final semester, they delve more deeply into their own area of interest by completing a capstone project. This option is ideal for students who do not need intensive research training but want to deepen and expand their biological knowledge and skills. The coursework and capstone pathway is also available in an online format.

At a Glance: program details

Degree Requirements

Required Core (3 credit hours)
BIO 541 SOLS Seminar Series (1)
BIO 542 SOLS Current Topics in the Life Sciences (1)
BIO 610 Introduction to Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) in Life Sciences (1) or BIO 611 Current Topics in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) in the Life Sciences (1)

Electives (21-27 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (0-6 credit hours)
BIO 593 Applied Project (3)
BIO 597 Capstone (3)
BIO 599 Thesis (6)
portfolio (0)
written comprehensive exam (0)

Additional Curriculum Information
Students choose one of five culminating experience options listed above. The credit hours required for the electives depends on the culminating experience chosen as all students must complete 30 credit hours for this degree program.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in biology or a related discipline from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or they must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. academic record form
  4. personal statement
  5. curriculum vitae or resume
  6. three letters of recommendation
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

It is desired that applicants have research experience.

Career Opportunities

This master's degree program prepares students for life sciences careers in educational, medical, industrial and governmental institutions.

The thesis pathway is ideal for those pursuing research-intensive careers in academic or business settings. The coursework and capstone option is for those seeking careers in which deeper biological knowledge is valuable, such as secondary school teachers reaching for higher certifications, biotechnicians who want to add conceptual depth or analytical abilities to their laboratory skills, and writers who want to expand their scientific expertise.

Career examples include:

  • food, agriculture and health care scientists in academic, private and industrial labs
  • instructors at community colleges
  • researchers and technicians in government labs and nonprofit organizations
  • science teachers in elementary and high schools
  • science writers
  • wildlife, animal and conservation scientists

Flexible Degree Options

Accelerated program options

This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years.
It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's and master's degree with:

BS - Neuroscience

Whether your career goal is in bioengineering, medicine or allied health professions, pharmaceuticals, clinical science, or pure neuroscience or neuroimaging research, this degree provides the foundations and the flexibility you need to help take your first steps. The program encompasses training across four foundational areas in neuroscience.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Biological Sciences (Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior)

Are you interested in animals and animal behavior? Do you plan to enter the neuroscience field, apply to medical or veterinary school, or conduct biomedical research? This concentration helps you build strong foundations in biology, chemistry, physics and math --- your first step toward your goals.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

BS - Biological Sciences

Your involvement in innovative research with award-winning faculty enables you to gain critical thinking skills and develop key lab techniques. You'll be prepared to jump-start your career in science or to continue on to graduate or professional education.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Biological Sciences (Conservation Biology and Ecology)

Are you concerned about environmental challenges such as climate change and habitat destruction? You can combine a biological approach to ecology with a human perspective rooted in the social sciences, to develop an understanding of the complex problems threatening our world. You'll also acquire the strong background necessary for advanced study.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Biological Sciences (Genetics, Cell and Developmental Biology)

Experience the excitement of scientific discovery. Learn how genetic information is organized and transmitted across generations and study how genes can affect change at the cellular level and in organisms.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Biological Sciences (Biomedical Sciences)

Are you passionate about attending medical school or doing biomedical research? Gain a strong foundation and experience in ground-breaking research for a valuable edge when you take the next steps toward your future.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Biological Sciences (Biology and Society)

How does science shape the way we understand our world? Explore the social context of science while developing the skills needed to navigate the ethical complexities of scientific discovery. Discover how policy decisions are shaped by biological research and investigate the significance of the sciences in understanding our complex world.

Website | Locations: TEMPE,ONLNE

BS - Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology

Do you want to make a difference in the world? In molecular biosciences, you can help produce ground-breaking research in biology, biochemistry, biophysics, genetics, genomics and immunology.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

BS - Microbiology

Are you fascinated by the incredible way the tiniest organisms can impact our lives? Are you eager to make a difference in science, health and medicine? Explore the wonders of microbiology, and set yourself up for success in your future career.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

BS - Microbiology (Medical Microbiology)

Is your goal to have a health-related career? When you possess the important critical thinking skills and competencies pertinent to the biomedical sciences and the curricular background that's applicable to the changing world of medicine, you'll be prepared for advanced education in the health area of your choice.

Website | Locations: TEMPE

Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. During their junior year, eligible students will be advised by their academic departments to apply.

Next Steps to attend ASU

Learn about our programs

Apply to a program

Visit our campus

Global Opportunities

Global Experience

With over 250 programs in more than 65 countries (ranging from one week to one year), study abroad is possible for all ASU students wishing to gain global skills and knowledge in preparation for a 21st-century career. Students earn ASU credit for completed courses, while staying on track for graduation, and may apply financial aid and scholarships toward program costs.

Attend Online

ASU offers this program in an online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. Applicants may view the program description and request more information here.

Program Contact Information

If you have questions related to admission, please click here to request information and an admission specialist will reach out to you directly.