May 29, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Bulletin 
2023-2024 Academic Bulletin [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology MS

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The graduate program in biology equips students to pursue a career in biology or to advance to additional training in science or professional programs. This research thesis-based program serves students with interests in biology ranging from field-based to laboratory-based lines of biological study. Students that abide by the recommended timeline of study can complete the program in 2 years.

Accelerated BS/MS Track: Students interested in earning the Bachelors and Masters degrees in an accelerated track will need to follow the admission requirements as stated below in the section entitled, “Admission Requirements for Accelerated BS/MS Track.” This track allows eligible students to obtain a Biology BS and a Biology MS in 5 years rather than the usual 6 years. Students must apply for this track during their junior year at Andrews University.

Total Credits - 30


Biology MS electives (15 credits), selected in consultation with an academic advisor, from any 500-level BIOL course to fulfill the remaining credits required.

  • BIOL 690 can be taken as an elective.
  • Graduate courses in other programs from BCHM, EDRM, FDNT, GDPC, and PBHL may be taken, upon consultation with a student’s academic advisor.

Accelerated Track Curriculum Requirements

Upon admission to the accelerated track (as an undergraduate), the student will take 10 credits (in some cases 13 credits) of master’s-level coursework in their senior year, including Research Methods and Biology Seminar I and II (BIOL 681 and BIOL 682, 2 credits each), Issues in Origins and Speciation (BIOL 550, 3 credits), and one (or in some cases two) master’s-level biology electives. These credits will count toward both BS and MS requirements.

In BIOL 682 the student will develop a research proposal, which will be a continuation or expansion of research they have been previously involved in as an undergraduate. They will then complete the necessary research and writing for their thesis in the following summer through spring semesters, with the possibility of one additional summer session required for completion.

This fifth year of study will require two registrations of BIOL 699 (Master’s Thesis, 4 cr each) and three to four additional biology elective courses.

Two classes required for the undergraduate degree, BIOL 435 (Historical and Philosophical Biology) and BIOL 305 (Scientific Communication) will be replaced by BIOL 550 and BIOL 682 in the accelerated track.

While this accelerated track does not reduce the total number of credits required for the BS and MS programs, it does shorten the timeline to completion of the two degrees.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the general admission requirements under the School of Graduate Studies  , students must meet the following departmental requirements.

  • A bachelor’s degree with major in biology or an approved, related discipline, with appropriate upper division courses. The following courses are recommended: cell/molecular biology, organismal physiology, developmental biology, genetics, and ecology.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.00 (B) in the undergraduate major.
  • GRE scores are required in order to review the application for admission (see School of Graduate Studies  ).
  • Cognate sciences, including full-year courses in general chemistry, organic chemistry, and physics. Mathematics through calculus and a course in statistics are strongly recommended.

Admission Requirements for the Accelerated BS/MS Track

  • Application for the accelerated BS/MS track must be submitted during the student’s junior year.
  • The student must have been introduced previously to biological research as an undergraduate student.
  • The student must complete 102 credits by the end of the junior year with a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • The GRE is not required for admission to the accelerated BS/MS track.

Student Learning Outcomes

At the end of the program, students should be able to:

  • Have a broad understanding of biology across many sub-disciplines, including population, organismal, cell and molecular, and philosophical biology.
  • Ask good biological questions and approach relevant answers through the use of the scientific method in rigorous biological research.
  • Exhibit growing comfort and skill in the communication of science to both specialists (scientists) and non-specialists (students and the general public).
  • Understand the relationship of science and faith and the critical role that each has in answering life’s most important questions.

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