Biology (M.S.)

The graduate programs in the Biology and Molecular Biology Department are designed to enable a student to develop his or her preparation for a career in biological fields requiring advanced training or for the teaching profession.

Research facilities of the Biology and Molecular Biology Department are maintained in Science Hall and include specialized equipment for molecular biology, electron microscopy, botany, microbiology, immunology, aquatic biology, tissue culture, animal behavior, and cell physiology. Additionally, the facilities at the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium, New Jersey School of Conservation, and other departments in the College of Science and Mathematics are available for cooperative graduate research. Faculty research interests include aquatic and terrestrial ecology, developmental biology, parasitology, microbiology, immunology, cell physiology, molecular biology, plant physiology, entomology and evolutionary mechanisms. The Biology and Molecular Biology Department has recently established a state-of-the-art molecular biology laboratory for teaching both introductory and advanced courses in molecular biology and biotechnology.

The Biology and Molecular Biology Department offers thesis and non-thesis students opportunity for graduate research under faculty supervision in selected areas of biology. Original research should not exceed 8 credits for thesis students and 5 credits for non-thesis students. Students must complete a minimum of 26 credits in biology, 9 credits of required courses, a minimum of 5 credits of research and a maximum of 18 credits of electives. A total of 32 credits is required to complete the program.

The MS in Biology with a concentration in Biology Science Education is intended for certified Biology teachers interested in enhancing and updating their content expertise, exploring and conducting research on biology learning, and expanding their insights into pedagogy. Students will complete 32 credits of coursework in biology, biology education, and curriculum and teaching and/or educational foundations. Students must take a minimum of 20 credits in biology and 6 credits in College of Education and Human Services and can take a maximum of 6 credits outside the department including BIOL courses taken as a non-matriculated student, courses taken in other MSU departments, and courses transferred from other institutions. Students must receive a B or better in these courses and the credits can not have counted toward another degree.

This is a non-thesis program that can include graduate research under faculty supervision. Introduction to Biological Research (BIOL 599) as well as Research in Biological Literature (BIOL 597) within this concentration will focus on science education as it applies to Biology. Original research (BIOL 599) should not exceed 4 credits.

The MS in Biology with a concentration in Molecular Biology addresses the needs of Biology educators, other Biology professionals and those wishing to re-tool their job skills. This program helps to meet the challenges of improving science literacy and implementing new science curriculum standards, and to meet the needs of surrounding biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. Hands-on experience is emphasized and real world problems are presented to the students. Students also get a firm grounding in molecular biology theory.


Prior to matriculation for the Master of Science degree in biology, the student should have completed a subject matter of at least 24 credits in biology and have adequate preparation in college chemistry, mathematics and physics.

In cases where there has been a weak undergraduate major program in Biology and/or closely related major programs in the life sciences, prerequisite courses, which will not count towards graduate credit, may be assigned. Majors in the health sciences are not closely related.

The matriculation program for MS candidates is prepared in consultation with the biology Graduate Program Coordinator. Changes in the program can be made only with the written approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator. It is the responsibility of the student to keep the coordinator informed of progress in the program.

In addition to these requirements listed for the MS in Biology, candidates for admission to the Biology Science Education Concentration must have teaching certification in Biology.

Program Requirements

Required Courses
BIOL 520Plant Physiology3
or BIOL 540 Mammalian Physiology
BIOL 547Molecular Biology I3
BIOL 570Ecology3
BIOL 597Research in Biological Literature1
Electives and Culminating Experience
Biology Areas of Emphasis
Select 16-19 credits from the following: 116-19
Introductory Molecular Cell Biology
Biology Pedagogy for Secondary Teachers
Topics in Modern Genetics
Instrumentation and Techniques for Biological Science
Graduate Seminar in Biology
Strategies for Teaching College Biology
Plant Physiology
Field Studies of Flowering Plants
Plant Pathology
Advanced Herpetology
Advanced Entomology
Advanced Cell Biology
Mammalian Physiology
Advanced Endocrinology
Advances in Immunology
Advanced Comparative Animal Physiology
Experimental Endocrinology
Topics in Physiology
Molecular Biology II
Topics in Developmental Biology
Topics in Microbiology
Intermediary Metabolism I
Biology of Lipids
Microbial Physiology
Medical Genetics
Molecular Biology of Proteins
Microbial Genetics
Molecular Genetics
Advanced Plant Molecular Genetics
Physiological Plant Ecology
Behavioral Ecology
Biology of Extreme Habitats
Physiological Ecology of Animals
Evolutionary Mechanisms
Selected Advanced Topics in Biology
Graduate Colloquium
Molecular Ecology
Signal Transduction
Conservation Biology: The Preservation of Biological Diversity
Selected Techniques in Biology Science Education
Selected Techniques in Molecular Biology
0-4 credits from the following may be used:
Bacteriological Techniques in Marine Sampling
Wetland Ecology
Shoreline Ecology
0-6 credits from the following may be taken with advisor approval:
Advanced Organic Chemistry
Organic Synthesis
Advanced Biochemistry
The Dynamic Earth
Environmental Geoscience
Advanced Marine Geology
Thesis or Non-Thesis Option
Select one of the following:4-6
Thesis Option
Master's Thesis
Submit the completed Thesis original and one copy to the Graduate Office. See Thesis Guidelines for details.
Research or Lab/Field Course Option
Introduction to Biological Research 2
Comprehensive Examination
In the term that you will sit for exam, register for the section which matches your major & advisor. Successfully pass exam.
Total Credits32

BIOL 514 is recommended.


Or Biology/Lab Field course approved by Graduate Program Coordinator.