Masters Program

Admissions Guidelines

Graduate Student Forms

The Master of Science (MS) degree in Biology offers a flexible curriculum that can incorporate courses from other Departments and Colleges at Georgia State. Earning an MS degree in Biology can be a stepping stone to a career in the bio-sciences or in preparation for a further professional degree.

Students can get an MS in General Biology, but for students who need more structure, concentrations are offered. Although we do have concentration options, a concentration is not required.

Upon admission, a Master’s student is assumed to be non-thesis until acceptance into the thesis option. A non-thesis can either be literature based or laboratory-based. A thesis is research-based. Students must complete at least 40 credit hours of approved coursework. A complete description of the Master of Science program is found in the MS Policy Document and the University Graduate Catalog.

Curriculum

Required for All MS Students

One course in biochemistry of at least 3 hours [normally Chem 6600 (5 hours) or 6610 (3 hours)] although higher-level courses may be selected. This requirement may be waived if the student has successfully passed an equivalent undergraduate course with a B or better (in case that the biochemistry work is waived, the student must still complete requisite hours of coursework).
Biol 8700 Seminar covers current research topics in biology.There are also other seminar courses available, Biol 6960 and Biol 6870, however, those are optional. Biol 8700 is required.

Non-thesis or Thesis (choose 1 option)


At some point during their program, all non-thesis students should speak to the non-thesis advisor or graduate coordinator to talk about their career/academic goals.

Non-thesis students must complete a capstone paper or project. In the case that the paper/project will take longer than one semester, the student should register for Biol 8888 in the semester that they are ready to submit.

Biol 8888: Non-thesis Guide

  1. SELECT YOUR TOPIC. Choose a topic in Biology that you are interested in studying. Students can either write a laboratory based paper or literature based paper. The laboratory based paper covers a research project that you have done. The literature based paper is a critical analysis of a topic from current scientific literature.
  2. FORM YOUR COMMITTEE. The non-thesis committee consists of two faculty. One committee member serves as the mentor, while the other committee member serves as the reader. Your mentor needs to have a background in the topic that you chose to write about. Fill out the Committee Selection Form and submit it to the Graduate Coordinator.
  3. REGISTER FOR BIOL 8888. Once the committee is approved, the graduate coordinator will provide instructions on how to register for the appropriate section of Biol 8888. The student should view the guidelines for a non-thesis paper prior to starting the paper. The student should work closely with their non-thesis mentor to determine what style of writing is appropriate for their paper/project.
  4. COMPLETE THE PAPER. Preparation of the paper is done under the supervision of the student’s faculty mentor and should involve regular meetings with the mentor. The student's mentor is expected to review, make editorial and organizational suggestions of the first draft.
  5. SUBMISSION. The edited version will then be distributed to the mentor and the other reader of the committee for evaluation and grade assignment. The assigned grade will be the grade the student receives for Biol 8888 (a passing grade of C or better is required).
  6. FINAL APPROVAL. The paper, along with signed Non-thesis Approval Form, must be submitted to the Graduate Coordinator on or before the due date required by the department.

Do not submit the Non-thesis Approval Form until the capstone paper or capstone project is complete.


Attempting to complete all thesis requirements in one semester is not recommended. The whole process will take at least two whole semesters.

Biol 8999: Thesis Guide

  1. SELECT YOUR TOPIC & FIND A THESIS CHAIR.Choose a topic in Biology that you are interested in studying. Find a graduate faculty with a background in the field of interest. Do research with them. Fill out and submit the Research Requirement Form. Inquire about getting a graduate assistantship with the faculty member.
  2. THESIS PROPOSAL. Acceptance into the thesis track requires that the student writes and defends a thesis proposal. The student should follow the guidelines for the thesis proposal. Once the student is done writing the proposal, the thesis chair must review it and sign the Proposal Cover Page. The student must provide a copy of the proposal, along with the signed Proposal Cover Page to the Graduate Coordinator. The student and their thesis chair should set up a time for the student to defend the proposal. The Graduate Coordinator will help the student find a location for the proposal defense. The student must successfully present and defend a proposal for their thesis research to their committee before work on the thesis can commence. Upon successful completion and defense of the thesis proposal, the student's thesis chair must sign the Proposal Approval Form.
  3. REGISTER FOR BIOL 8999 & BEGIN THESIS WORK. The student should submit the Proposal/Prospectus Approval Form to their graduate coordinator. Work for the thesis can commence once the student has completed their proposal. The graduate coordinator will provide instructions on how to register for the appropriate section of Biol 8999.
  4. FORM YOUR COMMITTEE. A complete thesis committee consists of three faculty, two of whom must be considered graduate faculty. Only one committee member serves as the thesis chair. Once the student has a complete committee, they must submit the Appointment of Thesis Committee Form.
  5. COMPLETE THESIS WORK & THESIS PAPER. Once the work for the thesis is complete, the student can begin writing their actual thesis. The student should attend a thesis formatting workshop to learn more about how the thesis should be formatted. The student should also view the guidelines for a thesis prior starting the thesis. Once the thesis is complete, the student should schedule a defense date and time with their committee. Once a date and time are decided, the student should notify the graduate coordinator.
  6. DEFENSE & FINAL APPROVAL. Send the final thesis paper, including the abstract to the graduate coordinator. The graduate coordinator will help the student find a location for the defense. The student will defend their thesis. At least two-thirds of the committee must approve the dissertation/thesis for it to be acceptable as a fulfillment of degree requirements. Once the student is able to successfully defend their thesis, the student's committee will need to sign the Thesis Approval Form.
  7. SUBMISSION. The student will then receive an e-mail with the instructions on how to submit their thesis onto ScholarWorks.

Do not submit the Thesis Approval Form until the student has successfully defended the thesis.

If the student wishes to graduate in the current semester, the upload must be completed before the last day of final exams that semester.

Applicable Coursework

Course availability changes each semester. Students may view available courses online.

  • Students must complete a minimum of 40 credit hours of applicable coursework.
  • Students should take graduate level biology coursework.
  • Master's students should take Biol 6000 level courses. Biol 8000 level courses are not recommended for Master's students.
  • Undergraduate Coursework is not applicable toward a graduate degree.
  • Biol 6900 and Biol 7000 level courses are not applicable toward the degree program.
  • If a student wishes to take courses offered outside of the Biology department, the student should consult the graduate coordinator to make sure the course is applicable to the degree program.
  • If a student wishes to take a course offered outside of the Biology department, they may have issues registering. Students should contact the department that offers the course to register.

Concentrations (optional)

Recommended Pre-reqs
Biol 3800/7800 Molecular Cell Biology
Biol 3810/7810 Molecular Cell Biology Laboratory-CTW
Biol 4458/6458 Microbial Ecology and Metabolism
Chem 2400 Organic Chemistry I
Chem 3410 Organic Chemistry II

Core Courses (8 credit hours)
Biol 6484 Laboratory Techniques in AEM (4 credit hours)
Biol 8800 Research (4 credit hours)

Electives (at least 8 credit hours the following)
Biol 6458 Microbial Ecology and Metabolism (4 credit hours)
Biol 6428 Medical Microbiology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6451 Aquatic Pollution and Toxicology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6580 Microbial Pathogenesis (4 credit hours)
Biol 6694 Biosafety: Principles and Practice (4 credit hours)
Biol 6696 Laboratory of Molecular Biological Techniques (4 credit hours)


Recommended Pre-reqs
Biol 3800/7800 Molecular Cell Biology
Biol 3900/7900 Genetics

Core Courses (8 credit hours)
Biol 6564 Advanced Genetics (4 credit hours)
Biol 6640 Fundamental of Bioinformatics (4 credit hours)

Interdisciplinary Courses (9 credit hours)
CSC 7350 Programming for Bioinformatics (3 credit hours)
CSC 7351 System Programming for Bioinformatics (3 credit hours)
CSC 7352 Data Structure for Bioinformatics (3 credit hours)

Interdisciplinary Electives (at least 6 credit hours from the following)
CSC 6310 Parallel and Distributed Computing (4 credit hours)
CSC 6730 Scientific Visualization (4 credit hours)
CSC 6350 Software Engineering (4 credit hours)
CSC 6710 Database Systems (4 credit hours)
CSC 8630 Advanced Bioinformatics (4 credit hours)
Math 6544 Biostatistics (3 credit hours)
Math 6548 Methods of Variance and Analysis of Regression (3 credit hours)
Stat 8540 Multivariable Methods in Biostatistics (3 credit hours)


This concentration is designed for non-thesis students. Students who plan to do a thesis and have this concentration may take longer to complete their program.

Recommended Pre-reqs
Biol 3800/7800 Molecular Cell Biology
Biol 3900/7900 Genetics
Chem 2400 Organic Chemistry I
Chem 3410 Organic Chemistry II
Chem 4600/6600 Biochemistry I

Core Courses (4 credit hours)
Biol 6696 Laboratory Techniques in Molecular Genetics (4 credit hours)

Laboratory Practica (at least 15 credit hours)
Biol 6440 Practicum in Biotechnology (Minimester; 5 hours each time taken)
Both technique-based and project-based rotations will be offered. Students will meet with an advisory upon entrance into the concentration to determine rotations that best suit the student’s goals and needs. A series of intensive courses designed to provide a student with working “hands-on” knowledge and experience in selected areas of current interest/importance in biotechnology. Hands-on experience will be integrated with theory and current best-practices. Upon completion of each rotation, the student will submit a progress report covering activities engaged in during the rotation. An advisor will mentor the student in the writing process. The three progress reports will constitute part of the Non-Thesis research paper and will comprise the basis of a portfolio that the student can use as evidence of training and accomplishments.

Electives (at least 9 credit hours from the following)
Biol 6694 Biosafety: Principle and Practice (4 credit hours)
Biol 6484 Lab Tech: Applied and Environmental Microbiology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6640 Fundamentals of Bioinformatics (4 credit hours)
Biol 6744 Biostatistics (3 credit hours)
Chem 6000 Fundamentals of Chemical Analysis (3 credit hours)
Chem 6150 Introduction to Biophysical Chemistry (3 credit hours)
Chem 6190 Instrumental Methods III: Spectroscopy (3 credit hours)
Chem 6850 Bioanalytical Chemistry I (3 credit hours)
Chem 6860 Bioanalytical Chemistry II (3 credit hours)
Chem 6871 Electrochemical Methods (3 credit hours)

Recommended Pre-reqs
Biol 3800/7800 Molecular Cell Biology
Biol 3900/7900 Genetics
Biol 3840/7840 Animal Biology
Chem 2400 Organic Chemistry I
Chem 3410 Organic Chemistry II
Chem 4600/6600 Biochemistry I

Core Courses (8 credit hours)
Biol 6248 Cell Physiology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6800 Principles of Cellular Biology (4 credit hours)

Electives (at least 3 courses from the following)
Biol 6074 Developmental Biology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6102 Fundamentals of Neurobiology Endocrinology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6240 Endocrinology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6278 Immunology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6115 Medical Neuroanatomy (4 credit hours)
Biol 6630 Enzymology (4 credit hours)

Recommended Pre-reqs
Biol 3800/7800 Molecular Cell Biology
Biol 3900/7900 Genetics

Core Courses (4 credit hours)
Biol 6564 Advanced Genetics (4 credit hours)

Electives (at least 3 courses from the following)
Biol 6074 Developmental Biology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6278 Immunology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6575 Virology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6580 Microbial Pathogenesis (4 credit hours)
Biol 6630 Enzymology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6640 Fundamentals of Bio-informatics (4 credit hours)
Biol 6696 Laboratory of Molecular Biological Techniques (4 credit hours)
Biol 6800 Advanced Cell Biology (4 credit hours)
Biol 8800 Research (4 credit hours)
Biol 6240 Endocrinology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6248 Cell Physiology (4 credit hours)
Chem 6610 Biochemistry II (3 credit hours)


Recommended Pre-reqs
Biol 3800/7800 Molecular Cell Biology
Biol 3840/7840 Animal Biology

Core Courses (8 credit hours)
Biol 6102 Fundamentals in Neurobiology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6241 Hormones and Behavior (4 credit hours)

Electives (at least 3 courses from the following)
Biol 6074 Developmental Biology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6115 Medical Neuroanatomy (4 credit hours)
Biol 6240 Endocrinology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6248 Cell Physiology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6564 Advanced Genetics (4 credit hours)
Biol 6696 Laboratory in Molecular Biological Techniques (4 credit hours)
Biol 6800 Principles of Cellular Biology (4 credit hours)
Chem 6610 Biochemistry II (3 credit hours)
Biol 8800 Research (4 credit hours)


The Medical Science concentration is highly competitive. Only 5-6 students are admitted every semester. It is the only concentration that requires a separate application. The deadlines to apply for admission into this concentration are May 15th for fall admission and September 1st for spring admission. This concentration also has pre-requisites, which do not count toward the 40 credit hours for the MS degree.

Required Pre-reqs
Students must take or have taken equivalent courses at the undergraduate level, and receive a grade no lower than a B.
Biol 3800/7800 Cell Molecular Biology (3 credit hours)
Biol 3240/7240 Applied Medical Physiology (3 credit hours)
Biol 3250/7250 Human Physiology Lab (1 credit hours)

Pre-med Courses (at least 28 credit hours from the following)
Biol 6687 Surgical Anatomy (4 credit hours)*
Biol 6246 Advanced Human Physiology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6428 Medical Microbiology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6115 Medical Neurobiology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6102 Neurobiology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6278 Immunology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6074 Developmental Biology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6240 Endocrinology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6686 Pathophysiology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6282 Tumor Immunology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6284 Medical Biochemistry (4 credit hours)
Biol 6248 Cell Physiology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6675 Virology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6930 Special Topics (4 credit hours) **
Biol 6800 Advanced Cell Biology (4 credit hours)
Biol 6241 Hormones and Behavior (4 credit hours)
Biol 6580 Microbial Pathogenesis (4 credit hours)
Bio 6545 Bioethics (4 credit hours)

Electives (at least 6 credit hours from the following)
GERO 7200 Health and the Older Adult (3 credit hours)
GERO 8320 Psychology of Aging (3 credit hours)
PH 7011 Intro to Epidemiology (3 credit hours)
Biol 7021 Infectious Disease and Society (3 credit hours)
HA 8160 Intro to Health Care System (3 credit hours)
HA 8190 Health Policy & Ethics (3 credit hours)
NUTR 6500 Macronutrients (3 credit hours)*
NUTR 6700 Micronutrients (3 credit hours)
NUTR 7280 Nutritional Genomics (3 credit hours)
Biol 6744 Biostatistics (3 credit hours)
PH 7017 Fundamentals of Biostatistics (3 credit hours)
Chem 6610 Biochemistry II (3 credit hours)
CNHP 6010 Medical Terminology (3 credit hours) online course
CNHP 7800 Interprofessional Collaboration for Advanced Practice (3 credit hours)
CNHP 6400 Spanish for Healthcare Professionals (3 credit hours)
CNHP 7810 Interpretation of Lab Values (3 credit hours) online course
CNHP 6900 EKG Interpretation (3 credit hours) online course
CNHP 8000 Trends Affecting Healthcare Policies (3 credit hours) online course

Capstone
The Medical Science concentration is designed for non-thesis students. Only students in the Medical Science concentration are allowed to take Biol 6916 Clinical Internship*** in place of Biol 8888 Non-thesis.
*Physician’s Assistant Admissions require 4 credit hours of a physiology and lab course and 4 credit hours of an anatomy course/lab. Biol 7240/7250 and Biol 6687 Surgical Anatomy would meet these requirements. Check with your institution to verify prerequisite requirements as these may differ.
**must get pre-approval from MBMS director
***this course has a prerequisite of Biol 6687 and Biol 6686