A student conducting research in the RNA lab in UAlbany's Life Sciences building.

Master of Science 


Program of Study


The master’s in biology program at UAlbany has a Molecular, Cellular, Developmental and Neural Biology (MCDN) concentration.

The MCDN concentration focuses on concepts like neural development, molecular virology, mutation, and gene flow and cell biology.

Note: Admissions to the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology concentration for the MS Biology program have been suspended effective August 2020.

MCDN Core Biology Courses

  • Cell Biology I and II
  • Biochemistry and Biomolecular Structure
  • Advanced Molecular Biology

Additional Coursework

  • Responsible Conduct and Skills in Research
  • Responsible Conduct and Skills in Scientific Communication
  • At least 3 additional credits at the 500 level or above (not including Master’s Research)

Master’s Research Thesis

Supporting Courses

  • Anthropology
  • Mathematics
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Psychology 

Satisfactory completion of core and final examinations in biology


Additional Information

See the Graduate Bulletin for details.

For more information, contact Cheryl P. Andam at [email protected] or Dr. Melinda Larsen, Director of Graduate Programs at [email protected].


You will perform hands-on research and deliver presentations about your findings in the field of your choice.  The research you conduct may involve concepts like new approaches to cancer drug discovery, viral pathogenesis, host-parasite interactions, animal ecology and behavior, cell signaling, and RNA folding. Biological Sciences Faculty Research Interests

UAlbany’s collaborative relationship with nearby facilities like the Wadsworth Center from the New York State Department of Health, Albany Medical Center (AMC), Neural Stem Cell Institute (NSCI), and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) will give you the unique opportunity to pursue your research in a professional context. These facilities may also lead to internships, participation in field studies, and ultimately job opportunities.

Researcher in the molecular core facility in the Life Sciences Research Building
Career Outcomes

With your master’s degree in biology you will have the training and skills to excel in a wide range of biology-related careers.  

With the growth of life science occupations in the healthcare, business, government, and academic sectors, you can pursue a career as a:

  • Lab Technician and Manager
  • Research Scientist
  • Bioanalytical Scientist
  • Science Writer/Journalist
  • Conservation Scientist
  • Environmental Consultant

Graduates may also use their biology training to go on to professional schools including business, law, medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, and veterinary schools.

Researcher in the molecular core facility in the Life Sciences Research Building



International Students

This degree is designated as a STEM program. International students maintaining F-1 status are allowed to apply for up to 12 months of post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) following completion/graduation from their degree program. Currently, this degree program is also designated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as an eligible degree for the F-1 STEM OPT work authorization extension; students who secure qualifying employment may be eligible to apply for the STEM OPT extension for a cumulative total of up to 36 months of F-1 OPT work authorization.

Accelerated Undergraduate/Graduate Option

If you’re a current UAlbany undergraduate student with at least a 3.2 GPA, you can save time and money by beginning your graduate degree coursework as early as your junior year. Up to 12 academic credits, billed at the undergraduate rate, will count towards both degrees – so you can complete your combined program in only 5 years and spend less than you would if you completed each program separately.

Contact your undergraduate advisor to see if you’re eligible and learn about your combined graduate program options.

UAlbany graduate with confetti at Commencement.
Admissions Requirements
  • Fall: March 1
  • Spring: October 1
  • Summer: Not Available

There is no departmental assistantship consideration for this program.

Required Application Materials
  • Transcripts from all schools attended
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Statement of goals

The statement is generally one to two pages discussing what you have to offer the program and what you wish to get out of the program.  It should include a brief description of the applicant's field of interest, related background, desired area of study and research emphasis or career goals. 

Student Learning Objectives

Learning objectives that UAlbany students are expected to attain through their course of study within their academic program.

Master of Science
  • •    Obtain general knowledge of representative fields in biology such as molecular biology, cell biology, developmental biology, and neurobiology, with a detailed knowledge of one or more areas of interest.
    •    Read and understand the primary scientific literature, to keep abreast of major developments, and to synthesize and integrate the literature in their chosen area of expertise.
    •    Integrate factual knowledge and problem-solving skills.
    •    Recognize and define a scientific problem.
    •    Demonstrate oral and visual communication skills.
    •    Demonstrate written communication skills.
    •    Understand scientific ethics as practiced in Western societies, including the topics of human subjects, animal use in research, and plagiarism.