Graduate Admission Requirements

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t ask, the answer is always no. If you don’t step forward, you’re always in the same place.” – Nora Roberts

The Master of Science degree in Biology is designed to provide qualified students the opportunity to further their knowledge in generalized and specialized areas of biology, as indicated by course offerings and research interests of the faculty. A student may also concurrently pursue a Class A Professional Teaching Certificate (through cooperative agreement with the College of Education and Professional Studies). 


Requirements for Admission

Students can be admitted each semester.
The following criteria supplement the Graduate School criteria:

Regular Admission

  1. Undergraduate major in Biology, Botany, or Zoology with a minimum GPA of 2.8 (on a 4-point scale) in all undergraduate courses taken.
  2. One year of Freshman Chemistry and at least one semester of Organic Chemistry.
  3. One year of physics or geology.
  4. Mathematics at least through calculus or statistics.
  5. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of at least 298 (combined Verbal and Quantitative portions) (new scoring system). (An MCAT score of 24  may be substituted for the GRE by persons intending to enter a cellular/molecular  area.)
  6. Students who do not speak English as their native language must submit a minimum TOEFL score of 600.
  7. Three letters of reference.
  8. A letter from the student indicating their research interests.
  9. A willing mentor from Biology (in this regard the student should contact the Graduate Coordinator before applying to the program).

Provisional Admission

  1. Undergraduate major or minor (or equivalent) in Biology, Botany, or Zoology.
  2. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 (on a 4-point scale), with a minimum of 2.8  on all biological courses taken.
  3.  Submission of GRE (or MCAT) score as outlined above, but without minimum score requirements, and a minimum TOEFL score of 600.
  4. Three letters of reference
  5. A letter from the student indicating their research interests
  6. A willing mentor from Biology (in this regard the student should contact the Graduate Coordinator before applying to the program).

Non-Degree Admission

The Department of Biology accepts Non-Degree Graduate Students within the general admission and credit regulations of the University of South Alabama with certain reservations and limitations. Students should consult the Department concerning these limitations before applying for such status. Included, but not limited to, are the following:
  1. Students are restricted to enrollment in courses prefixed BLY that the Chair determines will advance their career development in biological sciences. Only in exceptional cases wherein it is determined to the satisfaction of the Chair that the aforementioned career goals are enhanced will a non-degree student be permitted to enroll in courses in other departments.
  2. Students must confer with the Chair or the Graduate Coordinator of the Department of Biology before attempting to enroll in any class.
  3. Students seeking to change from non-degree status to a degree-granting program must reapply and be evaluated as any other student who has not  previously applied to such program.

Graduate Assistantships

The Department can provide several types of assistantships to qualified students. Application forms for assistantships with primary responsibilities in teaching and preparing laboratories are available from the departmental office.  In addition, some assistantships with primary responsibility in research are usually available each year.  These research-related assistantships are associated with grants and contracts that support the research of individual faculty members.  In all cases, assistantships are approved by the Dean of the Graduate School upon recommendation of the appropriate sponsor within the University.  To be eligible for an assistantship, MCAT or GRE scores must be submitted to the Biology Department. Assistantships are not guaranteed with acceptance.