Research-Intensive Biology Graduate Programs

Master's of Science (M.S., thesis) in Biological Sciences
Doctorate of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Biology Education

About biology | Master's program | Doctoral program | Funding options | Definitions | Official program descriptions | Applying to UNC biology

Contact: Dr. Mitchell McGlaughlin, 970-351-2139 (telephone), Mitchell.McGlaughlin@unco.edu (e-mail)

The biological sciences study all aspects of life from sub-cellular processes to planetary ecosystems. We offer programs with substantial research components that can lead to either a Master's degree (M.S., with defense of a thesis) or a Doctoral degree (Ph.D., with defense of a dissertation).

If you are interested in a graduate degree that is based primarily on course-work, please refer to our programs for a Master's of Biomedical Science degree or Master's, non-thesis, degree.

About graduate training in biology at UNC

The graduate programs in biology offer advanced training in the Biological Sciences and, as part of the doctoral degree, focused training in biological education. You will work closely with a faculty advisor and mentor who will help you to customize your program of study and succeed in your educational goals. Applicants should identify faculty members whom they are interested in having as an advisor. For more information, please contact us.

Master's Program -- Biological Sciences M.S., thesis

General

The Master's program (with defense of a thesis) specializes in advanced biology content training. This degree program is ideal for obtaining the advantage that you need for career advancement, preparation for professional schools, or preparation for further graduate training.

The Master's of Biological Sciences (thesis) degree requires 30 credits of study under the mentorship of a faculty advisor. Applicants should identify biology faculty persons whom they are interested in having as an advisor.

Official degree requirements

The UNC catalogs contain the official descriptions and requirements of all programs at the university. As a UNC student, you should be familiar with your program's requirements for the year that you declared your major. The general descriptions of biology programs provided on this page are intended to aid your interpretation of the catalogs, but they are not intended to replace or supercede the catalogs.

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Doctoral Program -- Biological Education Ph.D.

General

The Doctoral program specializes in training biologists to be experts in their disciplines and outstanding college biology teachers. This degree program allows you to choose between an emphasis on the content of your chosen biology specialty or an emphasis on biology pedagogy. Regardless of which emphasis you choose, you will be trained in some of both to give you a rounded skill-set and the expertise to seek a career as an independent scientist, a college biology teacher, or both! For this reason, our Ph.D. degree is awarded in the area of Biological Education. The graduates of our doctoral program have found 100% employment in their fields. Many of our students have multiple job offers even before they graduate. We can do the same for you.

The doctoral degree incorporates an M.S. (thesis) degree if a student is admitted without one. Applicants should identify biology faculty persons whom they are interested in having as an advisor.

Official degree requirements

The UNC catalogs contain the official descriptions and requirements of all programs at the university. As a UNC student, you should be familiar with your program's requirements for the year that you declared your major. The general descriptions of biology programs provided on this page are intended to aid your interpretation of the catalogs, but they are not intended to replace or supercede the catalogs.

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Funding options to pay for school

There are several options available to you for obtaining living expenses while pursuing your graduate education. These are:

  • Graduate teaching assistantship (GTA): A teaching assistantship is the most common mechanism used by UNC biology graduate students for earning an income while working on a degree. These are available for both Master's (thesis) and doctoral students. Teaching responsibilities vary, but students typically teach in an area related to their program of study. For more information on this type of funding opportunity, please contact the School Director, Dr. Susan Keenan.
  • Graduate research assistantship (GRA): Research assistantships are available through individual faculty persons who pay a student to work on one of their research projects. These are available to both Master's (thesis) and doctoral students. Interested students should inquire with biology faculty persons directly about this type of funding opportunity.
  • Scholarships: These are typically awarded based on merit. To be eligible for most scholarships, you must have completed the financial aid application with the University -- even if you don't expect to receive financial aid of any other type!

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Definitions, or what do we mean by...

"Content"?

Content is the meat of science. In other words, "content" refers to the facts, concepts, technical skills, and critical thinking skills that you must master to be a scientist.

"Pedagogy"?

Pedagogy is the art, practice, or profession of teaching. Pedagogy also refers to the principles and methods of teaching.

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Official descriptions of the biology degree programs

The official and legal descriptions of our graduate programs in the Biological Sciences can be found in the UNC catalog.

Applying to the biology graduate program

Instructions for applying to the biology graduate programs. A detailed description of the programs' requirements, as well as application information, can be found in the UNC catalog.

Other non-biology post-baccelaureate programs

Other post-baccelaureate programs in the areas of biology or natural sciences are also offered at UNC. These programs are not tied to the other graduate programs in biology, and they are not run through the School of Biological Sciences.

  • The Post-baccalaureate Secondary Biology Program is for those who might wish to gain Colorado science teaching certification for middle school and high school (grades 7-12). For more information, please visit http://uncpostbac.com.
  • The Master's in Natural Sciences Teaching Program is for existing K-12 teachers who wish to acquire additional graduate interdisciplinary training. For more information, please visit http://mast.unco.edu/ma/.
  • The Master's in Science Education Program is a graduate interdisciplinary MA in Natural Sciences tailored for practicing science teachers. It is presented primarily online, making it flexible and convenient to attend around your schedule. Faculty from the UNC's science programs teach and advise for this degree program. More information on this degree program can be found at: www.unconline.edu/future/grad/Science_Education_MA.shtml.
 
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