Master's Programs in Biology

The University at Albany Master’s Degree in Biology prepares students for success as technicians in research, industrial, and forensics laboratories, as well as in environmental and public policy agencies. The Biology Master’s Degree is not required to pursue a Ph.D. in Biology.

Master’s students can choose from three options in the Department of Biological Sciences:

M.S. in Forensic Biology

With courts giving greater weight to physical DNA evidence, the need for forensic biologists has grown substantially. Accordingly, this program’s emphasis on theory and technique prepares students for productive careers in both forensic and conventional analytical laboratories, including positions as DNA analysts. Students with sufficient work experience could qualify for positions as laboratory supervisors, managers, or directors. At the heart of the master’s program in Forensic Biology is a collaboration between the Department of Biological Sciences and the New York State Police Forensic Investigation Center (located next to the campus in upstate New York).

M.S. in Biodiversity, Conservation and Policy

Biologists who understand public policy are key players in the world’s conservation efforts—and sought after by organizations in resource management, land conservation, education, and research. Using a multidisciplinary approach, this program equips students to examine decision-making processes as both scientists and policy analysts. Students learn the basic concepts in conservation biology, politics, policy, and planning and how these fields interact in the real world. The program combines classes from the Department of Biological Sciences and the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy.

M.S. in Biological Sciences

What Students Say…
  • “The department encourages collaborations within and outside the department, which allows graduate students to broaden their scope of thinking.”
  • “It has been a great first year where I have been able to meet many inspiring individuals, both faculty and students, who have generously helped me with their advice and guidance.”
  • “...my research experience has been extremely rewarding.”
  • “...continuing my education was necessary to explore my own ideas and questions in the field”
  • “I felt very fortunate that the RNA Institute was opening, and the Life Sciences Research Building at UAlbany was quite impressive.”
  • “I was able to try different types of research working with different model organisms and methodologies”
  • “The location of the university and the opportunities for collaborations with different departments and institutions is a major attraction.”

This degree is specifically designed to prepare students for careers as laboratory technicians in research, government, or industry. It is often combined with other training in the medical sciences, business, politics, law, or education.

Students must obtain a research mentor in the department prior to acceptance. Students should not apply to this M.S. program until they obtain a research mentor from the Biology Department faculty. The name of the mentor should be clearly stated in their statement of purpose on their application.

The program offers two concentrations:

  • Molecular, Cellular, Developmental and Neural Biology (MCDN)
    In studying systems that range from bacteria and viruses to mammals, students gain multidisciplinary expertise while working with leading faculty in state-of-the-art facilities. Many professors in the program are recognized for their research in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, RNA biology, and neuroscience.
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB)
    In this core area, students study a wide range of topics ranging from fundamental evolutionary questions to some of the most challenging environmental questions of our time, from population dynamics theory to freshwater ecology. Several faculty members are distinguished for their research in such fields as aquatic ecology, ecosystem organization, genetic mehanisms of adaptation, and biological invasions. Openings are currently limited; please contact Ing-Nang Wang before applying.

Next Steps

Note: No financial assistance is typically available for students seeking a Master’s Degree in Biology at the University at Albany.

Find out about tuition and the costs of attending the University at Albany, review the requirements for admission to the Master’s Degree programs or find out about How to Apply to a Master’s program in biology.