Appalachian’s Master of Science in Biology program is designed to prepare students for competitive careers and continued training in the field of biology. The program will provide you with a comprehensive knowledge of broad fields and disciplines in biology while also allowing specialization in an area of your choice. The program has three concentrations:
- Cell and Molecular Biology (207B) – Students choosing this track conduct research aimed at understanding cellular and molecular processes that govern life at the molecular level and take coursework aimed that complement their research program.
- Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (207D) – Students choosing this track are involved in research programs that address key questions in physiological, population, community and ecosystem ecology with emphasis on evolutionary principles and take coursework that complement their research program.
- General Biology (207C) – Students choosing this track have the flexibility to customize their program to incorporate aspects of both of the above tracks. In addition, students who would like to focus their coursework and research on secondary science education can choose this track.
As a student, you will study under faculty experts who conduct active research in diverse fields including cell and molecular biology, genetics; conservation biology; ecology and evolutionary biology; microbiology, immunology, pathophysiology; physiology and organismal biology; and science education.
Visit the Department of Biology’s Graduate Programs webpage for more information about the biology master's program.
Required Entrance Exam: The GRE is not required for students with a GPA of 3.0 or above. For those with a GPA below 3.0, entrance exam requirements follow those of the Graduate School (GRE score must be no more than 5 years old).
Required number of references to specify in the online form: 3
Supplemental Information: Resume (Required upload for application submission); Letter of Intent following the guidelines found at Department of Biology Graduate Programs (upload on the Additional Information page in the online application).
Additional Notes: Must find a research mentor in department before admission.
Basic Conditions for Consideration of Admission: Meeting or exceeding the conditions below does NOT guarantee admission. All applications for a given entry term will be weighed based upon the number of seats available and the quality of the complete application packages. With special permission from the Graduate School, a program may admit a limited number of students with exceptional circumstances who do not meet the graduate school minimums.
Graduate School: 3.0 GPA in the last earned degree and official scores from the appropriate admission test(s), OR 2.5 GPA in the last earned degree and official scores at the 25th percentile level from the appropriate admission test(s).
Deadlines: The program accepts applications for the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms. Please see deadline dates above, including priority application deadlines. Students are encouraged to apply by the priority application deadlines to increase consideration for graduate assistantships and out-of-state tuition scholarships when eligible.
Doctoral and Terminal Degree Programs
Students have gone on to programs at these and other institutions:
- University of Chicago
- Emory University
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Dartmouth College
- Virginia Tech
- Georgia Tech
- Wake Forest University
- Medical University of South Carolina
- University of Michigan
- Rutgers University
- University of Arkansas
- University of Alabama at Auburn
- The Ohio State University
- Northern Arizona University
- University of Tennessee at Knoxville
- University of Georgia at Athens
- N.C. State University
- University of Florida
- University of Kansas
Medical, Dental, Osteopathic Medicine, and P.A. Schools
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Eastern Carolina University
- Emory University
- Campbell University
- N.C. DOT/Division of Environmental Officer
- North American Land Trust
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
- N.C. Division of Water Quality
- N.C. Division of Air Quality
- Bureau of Land Management
- U.S. Geological Survey
- Pharmaceutical companies
- Biotechnology companies
- Forensics and clinical toxicology labs
- Community colleges
- High Schools
November 1, priority deadline is October 15
Summer Sessions Admission
July 1, priority deadline is March 15
High employment and acceptance rates:
Approximately 90% of our graduates find employment or are accepted to Ph.D. programs, medical schools and dental schools.
Depending on funding, students accepted to the program in the Fall semester by regular admission and by the priority application deadline have a high likelihood of receiving a graduate assistantship. Spring semester assistantships are more dependent on availability. These assistantships help students fund their education and also provide training for students to teach at the college level.
Strong faculty mentorship:
Students conduct original research under the direction of a faculty mentor. Biology faculty members are invested in students’ success and provide strong mentorship, which is recognized by frequent university-wide teaching and mentoring awards. Our students often receive thesis awards from Appalachian’s Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies.
Opportunities to present regionally and nationally:
Almost all students present their research at regional and national conferences. Many students receive grants from the university and the scientific societies for travel to these conferences.
Research opportunities at the center of biodiversity:
The Southern Appalachian region represents the center of biodiversity for vertebrates, invertebrates, and vascular and nonvascular plants in North America. The Department of Biology houses a diverse array of faculty working in environmental, evolutionary and organismal biology whose research uses these unique natural resources. Research fields include aquatic, microbial, insect, plant, cliff-face, landscape, behavioral, ecosystems, population and community ecology, conservation biology, air pollution, plant and animal systematics and evolution, aquatic ecotoxicology and plant insect interactions.
Research opportunities in human health, biotechnology and biomedicine:
The Department of Biology also houses laboratory facilities that support faculty members working on research questions related to human health, biotechnology and the biomedical fields. Graduate students in the Cellular and Molecular Biology concentration have the opportunity to engage in laboratory research that addresses essential questions in the fields of microbiology, developmental biology, cancer biology, virology, genomics, endocrinology, physiology, lipid biology and neurobiology.
Research opportunities in secondary education:
Students receive training that integrates biological expertise with pedagogical research. Graduates are prepared for careers in school systems, state education departments, testing companies, museums, as well as advancement into education doctoral programs.
Externally funded research programs:
Approximately $3 million in external funding in the last 5 years has been received from various state and federal agencies including National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Energy, National Geographic Society, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service.
- Environmental Consultant
- Conservation Biologist
- Research Laboratory Manager/ Supervisor
- Teaching Laboratory Manager/ Supervisor
- Field Ecologist
- University Instructor
- Research Scientist (University or Industry labs)
- Biology/Science Teacher
- Science Writer
- Pharmaceutical and Medical Sales
- Curator for biodiversity collections
- Director of animal facilities
Dr. Ray Williams