Coolidge, Baldwin, 1845-1928, "1895 Zoology Course Photograph on Schooner". Embryo Project Encyclopedia (1895). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/3484.

Biology and Society

Within our biology MS and PhD degrees, you may concentrate in an area where “biology intersects with society” – to learn how biosciences shape and are shaped by societal values and traditions.

In this concentration, you can tailor your program to meet your specific interests, while at the same time, receive a solid life science foundation.

The Biology and Society concentration draws from many areas to help you develop critical thinking and analytical skills. You may further specialize in one of three tracks:

Bioethics, Policy, and Law (BPL)

This track focuses on pressing moral, policy and legal issues raised by biosciences and biomedicine, and on the methods needed to address them.

History and Philosophy of Science (HPS)

This track focuses on the conceptual foundations of science, including the epistemological and methodological assumptions that shape science.

Ecology, Economics, and Ethics of the Environment (4E)

This track focuses on the theory and empirical methods for understanding, analyzing, and shaping policy that steer us toward a more productive, equitable and sustainable ecological future.

Note: The biology subject GRE is not required, however, you must submit a writing sample and statement of interest relevant to this degree concentration.

Contacts

Director Jane Maienschein

Master’s of Science

This master's research degree culminates in a thesis, which must draw on multiple disciplinary perspectives grounded in life sciences.

Degree requirements

Your program of study, committee, research prospectus and thesis must focus on your concentration. Your advisory committee must approve all coursework.

Bioethics, Policy and Law (BPL) track

Core Courses

  • 3 hours – Bioscience ethics
  • 3 hours – Science policy
  • 3 hours – Law (related to science or technology)

Additional courses related to life sciences

  • 6 hours – Two seminars (including research methods, as appropriate)
  • 3 hours – Readings and conference

Thesis

  • 6 hours – Research
  • 6 hours – Thesis

Total: 30 hours
Contact: BPL Director Jason Robert

History and Philosophy of Science (HPS) track

Core Courses

  • 3 hours – History of Science
  • 3 hours – Philosophy of Science
  • 3 hours – Supporting coursework in history or philosophy (e.g. logic, decision theory, epistemology, environmental history)

Additional courses related to life sciences

  • 6 hours – Two seminars (including research methods, as appropriate)
  • 3 hours – Reading and conference

Thesis

  • 6 hours – Research
  • 6 hours – Thesis

Total: 30 hours
Contact: HPS Director Richard Creath

Ecology, Economics, and Ethics of the Environment (4E) track

Core Courses

  • 3 hours – Ecology
  • 3 hours – Environmental or Natural Resource Economics
  • 3 hours – Environmental Ethics or Environmental Policy

Additional courses related to life sciences

  • 6 hours - two seminars (including research methods, as appropriate)
  • 3 hours - reading and conference

Thesis

  • 6 hours - research
  • 6 hours - thesis

Total:  30 hours
Contact: 4E Director Charles Perrings

Doctor of Philosophy

This PhD research degree culminates in a dissertation, which must draw on multiple disciplinary perspectives grounded in life sciences.

Degree Requirements

84 hours. At least 24 hours are for research study and dissertation. 30 hours may be transferred from an appropriate masters degree. The remaining hours should focus on areas relevant to your selected concentration track. Your advisory committee must approve all coursework.

Bioethics, Policy, and Law track

Core Courses

  • 3 hours – Bioscience ethics
  • 3 hours – Science policy
  • 3 hours – Law (as related to science or technology)

Additional courses related to life sciences

  • 9 hours

Other research, seminars, and readings courses

  • 42 hours (including research methods, as appropriate)

Dissertation

  • 12 hours – Research
  • 12 hours – Dissertation

Total: 84 hours
Contact: BPL Director Jason Robert

History and Philosophy of Science track

Core Courses

  • 3 hours – History of Science
  • 3 hours – Philosophy of Science
  • 3 hours – Supporting coursework in History or Philosophy (e.g. logic,                decision theory, epistemology, environmental history)

Additional courses related to life sciences

  • 9 hours

Other research, seminars and readings courses

  • 42 hours (including research methods, as appropriate)

Dissertation

  • 12 hours – Research
  • 12 hours – Dissertation

Total: 84 hours
Contact: HPS Director Richard Creath

Ecology, Economics, and Ethics of the Environment (4E) track

Core Courses

  • 3 hours – Ecology
  • 3 hours – Environmental or Natural Resource Economics
  • 3 hours – Environmental Ethics or Environmental Policy

Additional courses related to life sciences

  • 9 hours

Other research, seminars and readings courses

  • 42 hours (including research methods, as appropriate)

Dissertation

  • 12 hours – Research
  • 12 hours – Dissertation

Total: 84 hours
Contact: 4E Director Charles Perrings

Application Process

Application Process

The Biology and Society master’s and PhD programs admits one cohort annually for programs of study that begin in the fall semester. The target date for applications is Oct. 1 through Dec. 15 for students who want to begin a study program the following August. There is no guarantee that applications received after Dec. 15 will be reviewed.

The Biology and Society master’s and PhD programs usually notifies applicants of admissions status no later April 15.

For the BS/MS program only, applications are accepted on a rolling basis for admission at any time. Top candidates are usually interviewed before being admitted to the program. Please read our Tips on Applying for graduate study in the School of Life Sciences.

  1. Initiate an online ASU Graduate Admissions Application through the Graduate College’s web site.
  2. Complete the “General Information Section.” You will be asked to enter information on universities that you’ve attended, GPAs, and GRE scores.
  3. Select Biology and Society as the program you are applying to.
    1. Click the link “Find Your Degree/Certificate Program.”
    2. Under “Search for,” select “Degree.”
    3. For “Category,” select "Biological Science, Health and Wellness."
    4. For “Campus,” select “Tempe.”
    5. Click “Search.”
    6. Select “Biology (Biology and Society) (MS)” or “Biology (Biology and Society) (PhD)” as your degree program.
  4. Complete the Biology and Society supplement to the main ASU graduate application.
    1. Identify the specific Biology and Society Program faculty member(s) you are interested in working with. This will ensure these faculty members see your application and participate in admissions and funding decisions.
  5. You will need to three letters of recommendation from people who can speak to your academic experiences, qualifications and potential. Recommendation letters are completed online. Hard copy letters are not necessary.
    1. You will need to provide current emails for your recommenders.
    2. Let your recommenders know to expect an email from ASU with instructions on how to upload a letter of recommendation for you.
  6. Prepare and upload a Statement of Research Interests and Goals.
  7. Prepare and upload a current Curriculum Vitae or Resume.
  8. Prepare and upload the Biology and Society Academic Record Form. (Word format)
  9. Prepare and upload a Writing Sample.
  10. Submit the online ASU Graduate Admissions Application.
  11. Pay the application fee.
  12. Have your university mail official, paper transcripts to ASU.
    1. Send one transcript from each college or university you have attended to:
      Arizona State University
      Graduate College Admissions
      Interdisciplinary Building, B-Wing, Room 170
      PO Box 871003
      Tempe, AZ 85287-1003
    2. More information on international academic credentials.
  13. Have ETS (Educational Testing Service) provide ASU with official GRE scores. The ETS Institutional Code for ASU is 4007. Enter the Department Code as 0000.
  14. International StudentsStudents applying from outside of the U.S. will need to submit additional documents. Students from countries whose native language is not English must provide evidence of English proficiency with acceptable scores on the TOEFL or IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores must be current, with the test date within two years of the first day of classes of the semester you enroll at ASU. If you want to attend ASU while holding a student visa (F–1 or J–1), you need to submit a Financial Guarantee Form to:

Arizona State University

Graduate College Admissions

Interdisciplinary Building, B-Wing, Room 170

PO Box 871003 Tempe, AZ 85287-1003

 

Program Faculty
Jane Maienschein
Program Director
Regents’, President’s, and Parents Association Professor; Dir., Center for Biology and Society; Faculty Leader, Human Dimensions

Joshua Abbott
Associate Professor, School of Sustainability
Brad Armendt
Associate Professor, School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies
Page Baluch
Academic Professional
Sara E. Brownell
Assistant Professor
Matthew Chew
Assistant Research Professor
President's Professor; Director, History and Philosophy of Science Program
Associate Director, Center for Biology and Society
Professor
Image of Hoffman
Professor Emeritus
Assistant Professor
Ann P. Kinzig
Professor
Bernard Kobes
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy
Manfred Laubichler
President's Professor
Jane Maienschein
Regents’, President’s, and Parents Association Professor; Dir., Center for Biology and Society; Faculty Leader, Human Dimensions
Regents’ Professor; Lincoln Professor of Emerging Technologies, Law & Ethics
Ben Minteer
Arizona Zoological Society Chair; Senior Sustainability Scholar
Professor
Stephen J. Pyne
Regents' Professor; Senior Sustainability Scholar
Jason Robert
Associate Professor
Daniel Sarewitz
Professor of Science & Society; Co-director, Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes
President’s and Parents Association Professor
Hoyt Tillman
Professor, School of International Lettters & Cultures
Professor