Biology Master of Science Degree

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

General Sequence

A minimum of 30 graduate credits is required for the master's degree in biology.

  1. Biology (20 credits, minimum):
    1. Courses as advised by a faculty advisor and/or the departmental Graduate Admissions Committee, including Bio 515a and 515b for 2 credits and at least 6 additional credits at the 500 level or above (not including Bio 699);
    2. Research: Bio 699. Satisfactory completion of a thesis in biology, for which 12 to 18 credits will be awarded at the discretion of the thesis committee. Although a student may register for as many credits in research as advised by the faculty advisor, a maximum of 18 credits for Bio 699 can be credited toward the total 30 credits required for the master's degree. A thesis committee composed of an advisor selected by the student and one additional member who may be nominated by the student, but who must be approved by the Graduate Examinations Committee, should be approved not later than the end of the first year of full-time study. Each student is expected to present an oral research progress report each semester to the faculty of the appropriate core area. There will be an oral public defense of the thesis.

  2. Supporting courses (0-10 credits). Courses in anthropology, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and psychology as advised; courses in other fields with the formal consent of the advisor.

  3. Satisfactory completion of core and final examinations in biology.

Admission for M.S. Programs

Applicants must have a bachelor's degree from an accredited University or College, and are required to submit a University at Albany standard graduate application, 3 letters of recommendation, and all transcripts. Students applying for the Forensic Biology sequence must have completed, with a grade of C or better, the following courses: genetics, biochemistry, immunology, and molecular biology; and have received a baccalaureate in a natural science.

Core and Final Examinations in Biology

The graduate training program in the department is divided into two core areas: (1) Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB), and (2) Molecular, Cellular, Developmental, and Neural Biology (MCDN).  Students lacking undergraduate courses in any of the four core areas may be required, at the discretion of their master's committees, to make up these deficiencies.

Students are expected to acquire and demonstrate by means of an examination a comprehensive insight into the current state of knowledge and the current problems in one of these core areas. They will choose this area in consultation with their advisor.

To assist in preparation for the core examination, the appropriate faculty groups will provide a reading list of textbooks and original papers directed to the more significant aspects of the field.

Core area examinations will be administered at the end of spring session of the student's first full year of study. Based on the student's performance, the appropriate core area faculty will recommend that the student: 1) pass; 2) be dropped from the departmental graduate program; 3) be allowed to continue and retake the examination at the next offering. Failure of this examination a second time necessarily will result in the academic dismissal from the master's program.

A final written or oral examination in the student's area of specialization (for students not registered for Bio 699), or an oral defense of the thesis (for those registered in Bio 699) must be passed prior to the receipt of the degree.