Biology, Research and Thesis, MS

The ASU School of Life Sciences Master's of Science in biology is a flexible, research-intensive program designed to prepare you to be competitive in a changing job market. You'll receive hands-on training and craft an individualized study program focused specifically on your research interests.

Do you have an adventurous spirit? This program is highly recommended for those who want to pursue a degree that encompasses a greater breadth of research or explore a career path that falls between traditional program boundaries. You'll develop foundational research skills, as well as design and complete your own research project.

ASU has been named as one of the top 100 most powerful global universities for research and teaching. Our students receive unparalleled support from their mentors and advisory committees during their time in the program. 

Our master's in biology program will equip you with problem-solving and critical-thinking skills. You'll be prepared for a variety of careers including professional research positions in medical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields. Other career paths include teaching positions at high school and community college levels, further studies in a PhD program or medical school, or working in other industries in biological research and development.

1 Core course
22 students
16 labs

Degree Overview

The Master's of Science in biology offers students with a sense of adventure a place to explore the life sciences through multiple lenses. With only one core course and more than a dozen exciting research areas, you'll be able to craft a science niche of your very own. This degree requires the completion of 30 credit hours comprised of core and elective courses, research hours, and a thesis. 

How to apply

The Master of Science in biology program admits one group of students each year to begin study in the fall semester.

For the BS/MS program only, applications are accepted on a rolling basis for admission at any time. Top candidates are usually interviewed prior to admission to the program. Before applying, we encourage you to read our Tips for Applying.

To apply, follow the Apply Now link.
You will be asked to:

  • review university standards, degree program timelines and application requirements

  • complete graduate admission application

  • send official transcripts

  • send language tests (international students only)

  • complete the academic record form

  • submit a non-refundable application fee

Application Deadline
Applications are accepted Sept. 1 - Dec. 15 to begin the program the following August. There is no guarantee that applications received after Dec. 15 will be reviewed. We will notify you of your admissions status by April 15. 

Desired qualifications

  • research experience 
  • undergraduate GPA minimum 3.0 (on 4.0 scale)
  • international students: TOEFL score of 100, or IELTS score of 6.5

Note: Your application is evaluated based on your entire application package.

Choose from more than one dozen major research areas including urban ecosystems, plant ecology, entomology, biomedical sciences, neuroscience, and more.

I must say that I like the flexible requirements we have for this degree program because it lets me choose what I want to learn! I can build the skills I want and I usually don’t have to sit through lectures I don’t need.

Brian Reily, MS student


The Master's of Science in biology program supports research in your specific area of interest. You'll work with an advisor and your search committee to develop a program of study that includes the required coursework and research training but also focuses on your particular study area. To complete the program, you will be required to submit and defend a thesis by presenting your work in a public lecture, followed by an evaluation by your committee.


 Credit Hours

Core courses


Elective courses






Total hours required


Courses and electives

With a flexible curriculum, you will be able to create an adaptable and general master's degree that encompasses both traditional and interdisciplinary approaches in any area of biology. You'll take one core course, electives, research a thesis. Because our program is adaptable, you may choose from electives in areas that are outside of biology. 30 credits are required.

  • ASM 401 Health and Human Biology (4)
  • ASM 503 Evolutionary Medicine and Global Health (3)
  • ASM 506 Clinical Gross Anatomy (6)
  • ASM 543 Primatology (3)
  • ASM 525 Primate Paleobiology (3)
  • ASM 560 Human Growth and Development: An Evolutionary Perspective (3)
  • BIO 411 Quantitative Methods in Conservation Biology and Ecology (3)
  • BIO 423 Population and Community Ecology (3)
  • BIO 436 Sociobiology and Behavioral Ecology (3)
  • BIO 461 Comparative Animal Physiology (3)
  • BIO 462 Endocrine Physiology (3)
  • BIO 465 Neurophysiology (3)
  • BIO 467 Neurobiology (3)
  • BIO 503 Bioimaging Lab (2)
  • BIO 504 Bioimaging (2)
  • BIO 507 Advanced Evolutionary Medicine (3)
  • BIO 510 Evolution and Medicine (3)
  • BIO 514 Statistical Methods for Biology (4)
  • BIO 521 Landscape Ecology (3)
  • BIO 522 Populations: Evolutionary Ecology (3)
  • BIO 530 Scientific Teaching in Higher Education (3)
  • BIO 531 Advanced Scientific Teaching (3)
  • BIO 533 K-12 STEM Education and Outreach (1)
  • BIO 539 Computing for Research (3)
  • BIO 543 Molecular Genetics and Genomics
  • BIO 546 Principles of Human Genetics (3)
  • BIO 551 Cell Biotechnology (3)
  • BIO 561 Environmental Physiology (3)
  • BIO 570 Fundamentals of Complex Adaptive Systems Science (3)
  • BIO 584 Internship: Prison Biology Education (1-12)
  • BIO 591 Success in the Biology MS (3)
  • BIO 592 Research
  • BIO 601 Principles of Evolution (3)
  • BIO 620 Research Prospectus Writing (3)
  • CHM 460 Biological Chemistry (3)
  • EVO 501 Current Topics in Evolutionary Biology (3)
  • EVO 557 Practical Applications in Computational Life Sciences (3)
  • EVO 610 Research Areas of Evolution (1)
  • KIN 412/512 Biomechanics of the Skeletal System (3)
  • KIN 414 Electromyographic Kinesiology (3)
  • KIN 440 Exercise Biochemistry (3)
  • KIN 443/533 Exercise Endocrinology (3)
  • KIN 522 Exercise Psychology (3)
  • MAT 450 Mathematical Models in Biology (3)
  • MAT 451 Mathematical Modeling (3)
  • MAT 591 Topic: Math Biology (3)
  • MCB 500 Research Methods (3)
  • MCB 501 Molecular and Cellular Biology Colloquium (1)
  • MCB 540 Functional Genomics (3)
  • MCB 555 Adv Molecular and Cellular Sciences (3)
  • MCB 556 Adv Molecular and Cellular Biology II (3)
  • MIC 501 Foundations in Microbiology (3)
  • PLB 502 Perspectives in Plant Biology (3)
  • PLB 419/519 Physiological Plant Ecology (3)
  • PSY 420 Analysis of Behavior (3)
  • PSY 424 Genetic Psychology (3)
  • PSY 426 Neuroanatomy (4)
  • PSY 434 Cognitive Psychology (3)
  • PSY 512 Advanced Learning (3)
  • PSY 515 Quantitative Research Methodology and Statistics 1 (3)
  • PSY 526 Neuroanatomy (4)
  • PSY 528 Sensation and Perception (3)
  • PSY 530 Intermediate Statistics (3)
  • PSY 531 Multiple Regression in Psychological Research (3)
  • PSY 532 Analysis of Multivariate Data (3)
  • STP 530 Applied Regression (3)