Biology (MS)

Master of Science in Biology 
Unit: College of Arts and Sciences (GA)
Department: Biology
Program Website 

Program Information

The degree program is available to qualified individuals possessing a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university. A biology undergraduate major is preferred. However, other majors containing sufficient biology, chemistry and math may be acceptable.

The Department of Biology offers master's degrees with programs of study tailored to the needs and interests of a diverse student population. Students may enroll on a full or part-time basis. The Department of Biology offers both thesis and non-thesis options. The thesis option is generally chosen by students with career goals which include a research emphasis. Students choosing this option take coursework and carry out an intensive independent research project under the supervision of a member of the Graduate Faculty, culminating in a written thesis based upon the research project. The non-thesis option is usually chosen by those who wish to advance their knowledge of biology but are not sure of a specific career goal or do not anticipate a research emphasis in their future.

Accelerated BA-BS/MS in Biology

Students who wish to pursue an accelerated non-thesis master's degree in Biology (BA-BS/MS) will be allowed to apply up to nine (9) credit hours of coursework taken for graduate credit while enrolled as an undergraduate. An additional 24 credit hours of graduate coursework will constitute the minimum number of credit hours for obtaining the non-thesis masters in the accelerated program.

Admission Requirements

Program admission requirements and application requirements can be viewed on the Department of Biology website. Questions can be addressed to or further information obtained from the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Sarah Emery, at (502) 852-5940 or

The following requirements/standards apply to applicants to the MS program in the Department of Biology:

  1. The applicant must have a baccalaureate degree with a major in Biology or an acceptable sub-discipline, with an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  2. While there is no minimum requirement for GRE scores, competitive students usually have scores around the 50th percentile or better on the general GRE test (verbal + quantitative). MCAT or DAT test scores at similar percentiles are also acceptable. 
  3. For foreign students, a TOEFL score of 83 on the internet-based exam or at least 6.5 on the IELTS exam is required (students holding a baccalaureate or advanced degree from an accredited institution in the United States or other English-speaking country are exempt from this requirement).

Deadline for Completed Applications

  • July 1 for Fall admission
  • December 1 for Spring admission.

Application Materials

Applications will be complete when the following materials have been received (final action on applications will not be taken until complete):

Send to:

Graduate School
Graduate Admissions

University of Louisville
Louisville, KY 40292

  • A completed application form and fee
  • One official transcript of all previous undergraduate and graduate coursework
  • Official GRE, MCAT or DAT exam scores
  • Two or more letters of recommendation from persons familiar with your academic performance and capabilities
  • Official TOEFL or IELTS scores if required.​

Send to:

Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Biology

Program Requirements

MS in Biology and Accelerated BA-BS/MS in Biology

Thesis option students are required to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours; non-thesis option students must complete a minimum of 33 credit hours. 

A minimum of 12 (thesis option) or 17  (non-thesis option) credit hours, exclusive of thesis credit, must be in courses at the 600 level. Students intending to seek a PhD degree later are advised to take as many of their courses as possible at the 600 level or above. 

Thesis Option

General Background Courses
One course from two of the following categories: 16-8
Evolution or Systematics
Population, Community, or Ecosystem Ecology
Other Coursework
BIOL 650Advanced Biostatistics4
Thesis Research (600 level)6
Minimum Total Hours30

Non-Thesis Option

General Background Courses
One course from three of the following categories:9-12
Evolution or Systematics
Population, Community, or Ecosystem Ecology
Other Coursework
BIOL 650Advanced Biostatistics4
BIOL 691Independent Research3-4
Minimum Total Hours33