General Information on the Masters Programs

Learning Objectives

The Master of Science program is intended to prepare students for professional positions and further graduate studies. Graduate school provides a wonderful opportunity to develop fine skills in the following areas:

Research, Critical Thinking, Content Knowledge

Critically apply theories, methodologies, and knowledge to address fundamental questions in your primary area of study. Pursue research of significance in the discipline or an interdisciplinary or creative project. Students plan and conduct this research or implement this project under the guidance of an advisor while developing the intellectual independence that typifies true scholarship.

Service

Demonstrate, through service, the value of their discipline to the academy and community at large.

Communication

Demonstrate skills in oral and written communication sufficient to publish and present work in their field and to prepare grant proposals. Writing and discussing a thesis is an integral part of the MS program.

Entrepreneurship and Leadership

Interact productively and pro-actively with people from diverse backgrounds as both leaders/mentors and team members with integrity and professionalism.

Ethics

Follow the principles of ethics in your field and in academia.

What Would the MS Degree Help Me Prepare for?

The main reason to get a MS in this field is to have the qualifications to be fluent with hands on experimental activities and have an understanding of the daily demands in a biology lab, including day-to-day administrative tasks. The MS also allows you to get research experience and be more competitive for Medical School, ultimately boosting your CV. In other cases, the MS allows you to be a more attractive candidate to join private companies. An example of jobs that people with MS degree perform is provided below:

  • Animal physiotherapist
  • Biotechnologist
  • Dentist
  • Gain research/professional experience for medical-related schools
  • General practice doctor
  • Health promotion specialist
  • Higher education lecturer
  • Lab manager
  • Lab tech
  • Marine biologist
  • Microbiologist
  • Nanotechnologist
  • Nature conservation officer
  • Nature conservation officer
  • Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
  • Pharmacologist
  • Physician associate
  • Research scientist (life sciences)
  • Science writer
  • Scientific laboratory technician
  • Secondary school teacher
  • Soil scientist
  • Sustainability consultant
  • Teaching laboratory technician
  • Teaching positions
  • Veterinary nurse
  • Zoologist Laboratory technician
    < >< > in research and educational institutions or private companies

Find your MS Mentor

The MS mentor plays a key role in the success of your internship. For this reason, it is important that you do some research and familiarize with the fields of expertise of available Faculty. If you get the opportunity to meet a prospective mentor in person, then do so. Let them know that you are interested in doing a MS in his/her area and make an appointment to discuss common topics of interest. Make a shortlist of mentors you are interested in and check their availability for you MS internship. The Department of Biology offers ample room to let you explore a wide variety of research areas, through which you can strengthen your research skills and boost your creativity in new topics that you did not explore during your undergraduate studies. A list of current full-time faculty in the Department of Biology can be found here.

Research Opportunities

There is a broad array of research opportunities available for MS students in Biology at the University at Albany. The following labs are currently interested in interviewing and recruiting prospective MS students.

Researcher Research Topics
Tom Begley DNA repair and genetic toxicology.
Andrew Berglund Identification of potential biomarkers and potential therapeutic molecules for microsatellite diseases such as myotonic dystrophy types 1 and 2, spinocerebellar ataxias, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
Marlene Belfort One research project relates to intron dispersal under cell stress, and to the structure and function of a catalytic RNA that is related to mammalian introns and retrotransposons. The second project researches inteins as biological sensors of cell stress, and their role in infectious disease and biotechnology.
Haijun Chen Ion channel function and human diseases
Daniele Fabris Structural determinants of HIV 1 5’- UTR in virions and infected cells
Paolo Forni Projects in our lab focus on molecular signals defining cell identity and neuronal migration during embryonic development. Research opportunities are available for graduate students interested in developmental biology, molecular biology, imaging and use of genetically modified animal models.
Gaby Fuchs Ribosomes, translational regulation, genome editing and single-molecule fluorescence
Melinda Larsen The Larsen lab studies organ development and regeneration using the salivary gland as a model. Opportunities are now available to study salivary gland organ development using organoids and salivary gland regeneration in an in vivo regeneration model using transgenic animals
Pan Li Single molecule study of alternative folding of a retroviral untranslated RNA
Cara Pager Projects in our lab examine the interactions and mechanisms by which RNA viruses such as hepatitis C virus exploit host microRNAs and RNA granules to promote infection.
Prashanth Rangan We want to define a dynamic RNA regulatory network for germline development by determining structures of 3'UTRs in vivo and how they change during development.
Morgan Sammons We use genomic and computational approaches to dissect how genome structure and chromatin architecture influence transcription using the p53 tumor suppressor family as model.
Annalisa Scimemi We are interested in understanding how the brain functions, using a variety of experimental and theoretical approaches including: electrophysiology, imaging and optogenetics, computer modeling and behavioral approaches. We currently have three main areas of active investigation: (1) Determine the biophysical mechanisms that regulate synaptic transmission in the brain; (2) Study the function of neuronal circuits implicated with neuropsychiatric disorders; (3) Determine how brain injury affects the functional properties of neurons and astrocytes.
Ben Szaro Our research focuses on embryonic and regenerative axon outgrowth in an animal model that successfully recovers from traumatic injury to the Central Nervous System - the frog Xenopus laevis. Recent work includes studies of cytokine signaling pathways, RNA-binding proteins that control cytoskeletal gene expression, and epigenetic modifications to chromatin structure after CNS injury.
Wendy Turner The Turner lab studies the ecology and evolution of wildlife diseases, with a focus on environmentally transmitted infections.
Alex Valm The mouth microbiome

Logistics of the MS Program

Housing

Currently, the University at Albany does not offer housing for MS students. The Department of Residential Life maintains a Housing Registry, however, that can help with your search for off-campus housing (click here for more information).

Campus Locations

Currently, the University at Albany offers coursework at three campus locations in New York’s Capital Region: Uptown Campus, Downtown Campus and East Campus.

Interactive Virtual Tour

If you have never visited the Campus, do not miss the opportunity to take an interactive virtual tour. There is a lot to see, do and be part of! If you are ready, click here.

FAQs

FAQ ("Frequently Asked Questions") about the Graduate Program

What can I do with an MS degree in Biology?

The main reason to get a MS in this field is to have the qualifications to be fluent with hands on experimental activities and have an understanding of the daily demands in a biology lab, including day-to-day administrative tasks. The MS also allows you to get research experience and be more competitive for Medical School, ultimately boosting your CV. In other cases, the MS allows you to be a more attractive candidate to join private companies. An example of jobs that people with MS degree perform is provided below:

Animal physiotherapist
Biotechnologist
Dentist
Gain research/professional experience for medical-related schools
General practice doctor
Health promotion specialist
Higher education lecturer
Lab manager
Lab tech
Marine biologist
Microbiologist
Nanotechnologist
Nature conservation officer
Nature conservation officer
Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
Pharmacologist
Physician associate
Research scientist (life sciences)
Science writer
Scientific laboratory technician
Secondary school teacher
Soil scientist
Sustainability consultant
Teaching laboratory technician
Teaching positions
Veterinary nurse
Zoologist Laboratory technician in research and educational institutions or private companies

What are the minimum application requirements/pre-requisites for the MS program in Biology?

  • BS degree from an accredited institution
  • Undergraduate preparation should preferably include
    • 18 credits in biology
    • 2 courses in mathematics (at least 6 credits)
    • 2 courses in physics with laboratories (at least 6 credits)
    • 4 courses in chemistry with laboratories of which 2 courses must be in organic chemistry with laboratories (at least 12 credits)
  • For MCDN: Students are expected to have completed, with a passing grade of C or better, an undergraduate course (or the equivalent) in the following subjects: Genetics, Biochemistry, and Organic Chemistry.
  • For EEB: Applicants should have taken Ecology, Genetics and Evolution.

What GRE scores are needed for graduate school?

Only the GRE General Test scores are required. Other tests such as GMATs or MCATs are not applicable or accepted.

What are the English Proficiency requirements and policies for international students?

  • TOEFL is required for ALL international students except for students that have completed 2 semesters of coursework in English.
  • All students are encouraged to take ZESL 001 (Oral Communication for International Students) and/or other courses offered through the Intensive English Language Program during their first year of study to improve upon their English.

What are the GRE and TOEFL Codes for the UAlbany Biology Department?

  • The GRE institution code is 2532.
  • The TOEFL institution code is 2532 (same as above).

How many credits are required to complete the MS program?

A total of 60 credits are required for the MS program.

Can I transfer credits to your graduate program?

Yes. For the MS program, which is a 60 credit program, at least 50% of the program requirements must be completed while in residence.

How can I get an application?

All applications are handled by the Office of Graduate Education. Please follow the instructions on How to Apply. All applications must be submitted online.

How much is the application fee?

The current processing fee for MS applications is $75 and must be paid for an application to be considered complete and reviewed by the department. There is a fee of $20 to process applications for Non-Degree status.

What type of financial support is available?

None.

What type of research is available?

Go to the "Research Opportunities" tab (above) to view labs with openings for students. Also try selecting keywords that interest you and peruse the research interests of the Faculty.

How are admissions decisions made?

Once an application is complete [application form, fee paid, 3 letters of reference, all prior transcripts, statement of goals] the file is transmitted to the department office. The entire file and all required components are reviewed by a committee of faculty and a recommendation is sent forward to the University Graduate Admissions Office. Students should expect at least 2 weeks for a file to be reviewed once the file is received in the department office.

Where do I submit my application?

Please follow the instructions here. All applications for graduate programs at the University at Albany are submitted online. DO NOT submit materials to the department office. This will significantly delay review of your file.

What type of housing is available?

The University at Albany does not offer on-site housing for graduate students. However, the Department of Residential Life maintains a Housing Registry that can help with your search for off-campus housing (click here for more information). Off-campus apartments are the most popular choice for graduate students and are available in a variety of urban, suburban and rural settings.

What are the deadlines for application?

I want to make a visit to the department, whom do I contact?

Please contact the Admissions Committee Chairperson Dr. Greg Lnenicka

Can prospective graduate students admitted to the available programs for the Spring semester?

Although Spring admissions are not typical, there may be opportunities to do this. Please contact the Admissions Committee Chairperson, Dr. Greg Lnenicka, for additional information.

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