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Division of Natural Sciences & MathematicsDepartment of Biological Sciences

Graduate page

Admissions & Financial Aid

What do our graduate programs offer? How do they compare?

Confocal microscope

The Master of Science program is typically a two-year program. 

The PhD program is typically a 4- to 5-year program. 

Both the MS and the PhD require thesis research, a written thesis, and a thesis defense.  The PhD also requires qualifying and thesis exams. 

In both programs students are given the opportunity to begin their thesis research project in the first year.  Generally, students work full-time on their research project during the summer months and over the interterm break (between Thanksgiving and New Year's) with stipend support from their faculty advisor's research grant.

Greenhouse research

An MS offers the experience and the credentials to continue in more advanced graduate or medical training, to enter industry or academic research as a research technician at a more advanced level than with a Bachelor's degree alone, or to enter secondary teaching at a more advanced level.

The doctoral degree offers traditional preparation for academic research and teaching.  In the life sciences, the PhD is the "terminal degree".  If your interest is academic research, you may continue your research training with a post-doctoral position after completion of the PhD.  Many colleges and universities require both the doctoral degree and post-doctoral experience of prospective faculty.

Learn more about the graduate programs by selecting a link to the left.