M.S. in Biology Graduate Program


Program Details

Graduate Student Research Symposium

Graduate Program Information

The Master of Science degree in Biology is a research thesis graduate program that requires 30 graduate credit hours beyond the bachelor’s degree and a formal thesis for graduation.  The program is designed to be completed in 2 years if a student so desires.  The degree provides students with advanced training in the life sciences and will prepare them to enter expanding job markets in biology, education, and biotechnology/medical fields or to continue study towards a doctoral degree. A key aspect of the program is its flexibility for those students seeking to enhance their training and career options in the life sciences.

The master's degree with a major in biology is formally a non-terminal degree with a research-based thesis. The program emphasizes the development of technical and scientific writing skills and the development of student research publications. The program’s emphasis on publication of student research in peer reviewed journals greatly enhances professional development and career opportunities. 

While the non-terminal masters program prepares students to continue their education towards a Ph.D. degree, those students not wishing to pursue the Ph.D. have the option of designing specific technical programs of study and research experiences that will well qualify them for immediate employment opportunities in numerous  medical, agricultural, life science and biotechnology related fields upon graduation. Students gain a real understanding of the nature of science and technical competence as they are actively involved in the design, completion and presentation of original primary research. This activity is considered to be as critical in the programs of terminal degree minded students such as K-12 teachers as it is for the premedical or pre-doctoral students who are preparing for another level of higher education. The curriculum is structured to ensure maximum flexibility for students’ various professional goals as well as to ensure that all graduates demonstrate basic competence in the biological sub-disciplines of cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, organismal biology, population biology, evolution and ecology. 

Substantial student teaching assistantship stipends are available. Students who are eligible for stipends receive full financial support and tuition waivers as payment for teaching undergraduate laboratories and assisting in undergraduate lectures on a part time basis. As a result, students also gain valuable professional experience in teaching that furthers their professional development and credentials towards future academic careers.

The Department of Biology has 28 faculty members whose training and research interests cover the full spectrum of biological sub-disciplines, ranging from cellular/molecular to ecology/conservation biology. Many of the faculty members are cross-disciplinary. Numerous and diverse opportunities for graduate student research are offered by the faculty.

With the opening of the new $22.9 million biology/chemistry science building in the spring 2001, Valdosta State University has one of the most sophisticated science facilities in southern Georgia.  The Biology Department boasts state of the art computer facilities, 24  well equipped research laboratory modules, one of the very few  BSL3 level biohazard laboratory suites in southern Georgia, live animal care facilities that meet National Institutes of Health (NIH) guidelines, an aquatic wet  lab with an environmental chamber capabilities, a microscopy suite with electron microscopy capabilities, an herbarium specializing on Coastal Plain flora, 3 modern greenhouse units, and 3 environmentally controlled research labs.

Field research facilities include the Lake Louise Field Station, which is owned by the VSU Foundation.  This 144-acre natural area in south Lowndes County is only 20 minutes from the main campus.  This unique area consists of mixed deciduous forest, uplands pine forest, extensive wetlands, and a 14-acre sinkhole lake. 

Additional Requirements

Evaluation Form and Procedures

  • Evaluation Form (This form is optional)
  • A Graduate Committee Representative and Direct Supervisor/or Instructor for Record, with the option of Thesis Advisor will give the evaluation.

Comprehensive Exam
A Comprehensive Exam is to be given before 27 hours in graduate course work is completed. The Standardized Comprehensive Exam will also include oral follow up.

Annual Research Symposium
Symposium to be held in fall. New fall enrollees would not be required to present. Students in their first year (admitted in Spring of that year or the previous Fall) would be required to present a poster; older students would be required to give a 15 minute oral presentation.

Future Enhancements
To facilitate continuous planning, we hope to have this page available for on-going online revisions of our program goals and initiatives during this academic calendar year.