Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy


The Department of Biology offers programs of study leading to the MS and PhD degrees. For admission to graduate work, the department requires an undergraduate major in the biological sciences or the equivalent, plus at least four semesters of courses in the physical sciences. Any deficiencies in these areas must be removed prior to admission to candidacy for a graduate degree.

Research opportunities include behavioral ecology, biochemistry and molecular biology, biological oceanography, biomechanics, cell biology, ecology, epigenetics, evolution, genomics, microbiology, neurobiology, physiology, population genetics, sensory biology, and systematics. For specific faculty interests and descriptions of field sites and research resources, please visit the departmental website

At the master’s level, the department emphasizes broad training rather than narrow specialization, and combines coursework with thesis research. At the doctoral level, few specific requirements are prescribed. Individual programs are designed for each student at both levels under the guidance of the student’s faculty adviser, advisory committee and departmental graduate committee. Enrollment in the graduate program is open only to students whose interests are reflected by the areas of expertise represented by the faculty. Prospective applicants are encouraged to correspond with faculty members whose areas of research interest are compatible with their own. Additional information is available from the Biology Program Director.

Study leading to the MS degree was inaugurated in 1961. The PhD degree program began in September 1970. A departmental graduate committee consisting of Biology department faculty and an appointed graduate student representative oversees all aspects of the graduate program from application review to acceptance to matriculation.