BS/MS Program in Biology

The 5-year BS/MS degree in the Department of Biology is designed for students engaged in research considering a career in biological sciences. Over the course of their senior year, plus one additional year of graduate study, students in the program will take graduate level courses, conduct independent research, and write a Masters of Science thesis.

The first step in this process is for the student and a faculty member to agree on a suitable research project. Students should consider talking with several faculty members to discuss possible projects before settling on a research topic. The Director of the Biology BS/MS program can assist the student in finding a participating faculty mentor in Biology. For at least two semesters of their undergraduate studies, the student must have enough time in their schedule to devote to research. Two credits are given for each semester of research. This is the equivalent of a 2-credit laboratory (6 hours per week), but if the student is enthusiastic about his/her project, he/she will want to spend more time on it than that.

In addition to the requirements for the Bachelor of Science, a student must complete specific courses/seminars, as listed under Requirements in preparation for their year of graduate study. 


Freshman/Sophomore/Junior year- Find a research mentor and begin research project.

Junior year- Notify the program director of intent and apply to the program in the fall.

Senior year:  Complete requirements for B.S. and take one 3-credit Masters level course each semester.

Masters year:  Continue lab research, take masters coursework, write and defend thesis.



Getting Started (sophomore or junior year)

  • Contact the program director to express your interest and to begin the search for a research mentor.
  • Choose a mentor and register with the Office of Undergraduate Research.
  • Take research courses: BIL 495 and 496 (2 required).
  • Apply during spring semester/summer session of your Junior year for admission to the program.
  • Almost There (first semester, senior year)
  • Continue research and take a 3-credit graduate level course such as the BIL 612 Grad Core I course.
  • Attend departmental seminar.

Final Steps (second semester, senior year)

Recommended: present research findings at research and creativity forum or other meeting. Take a 3-credit graduate level course such as BIL613 Grad Core II.

Masters Year

Take 12 credits/semester, provided you have taken 6 graduate credits in your senior year, otherwise take 15 credits/semester

Mandatory courses:

  • BIL 691 1 credit, Departmental Seminar
  • BIL 610 1 credit, Lab meeting
  • BIL 616 1 credit, Professional skills
  • BIL 678 1 credit, Current topics in Biological Research (Distinguished Visiting Professor series, usually spring semester only)
  • BIL 810 Research (6 credits)

Optional courses:

  • BIL618 4 credit, Advanced Biostatistics
  • BIL620 3 credit, Evolution
  • BIL 645, 3 credit Developmental Biology
  • BIL650 3 credit, The Biology of Symbiosis
  • BIL661, 3 credit High Altitude Biology and Medicine
  • BIL665, 3 credit Evolution and Development
  • BIL668 3 credit, Evolution and Development of Nervous systems
  • BIL675, 1 credit, Seminar in Biology, Baker and Collins
  • BIL675, 2 credit Molecular Genetics Lab
  • BIL 675, 3 credit Cancer Biology

Form a committee of three participating faculty (see below)

Spring Semester: Schedule thesis defense- April 4th is the last defense day for spring graduation

Submit Thesis to graduate school: May 7th is the submission deadline

Note: Please consult with the Director of the BS/MS program in order to make sure you are on track to complete the program.


Dr. James D. Baker, Director of BS/MS Program
Phone: (305) 284-9055
Email: bakerjd at