Jul 13, 2024  
2015-2016 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2021 
2015-2016 General/Graduate Catalog - Expires August 2021 [Archived Catalog]

Biology (MS)

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Affiliation: School of Sciences & Mathematics


The Biology MS degree program is designed to provide students with practical training in biological research and advanced knowledge within a chosen specialty area. Through graduate coursework and a thesis research project, students learn to identify important research problems, to design and conduct experiments for the critical testing of hypotheses, to carry out specific research methodologies, and to develop expertise in communicating scientific information. The goal of the biology graduate program at Truman is to provide the additional knowledge, maturity, and experience necessary for graduating students to be actively recruited by the nation’s foremost institutions granting doctoral level graduate and professional degrees and by private companies and governmental agencies for challenging and meaningful positions.


The program is structured so that a student may concentrate effort in a selected area of biology. These include: 1) cell and molecular biology, 2) structural biology, 3) physiology, 4) genetics, and 5) ecology and evolutionary biology. Students complete a required common core of courses totalling 14 semester hours (including thesis) plus 22 semester hours of electives. Each graduate student also conducts an independent research project under the guidance of a faculty advisor and graduate committee. Advisors include faculty from biology discipline as well as faculty from the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. The committee is composed of a minimum of three members of the graduate faculty, one of whom must be from outside the biology area.

Admission Requirements

  1. Bachelors degree in biology or chemistry
  2. A 3.0 cumulative GPA on a 4.0 scale (in exceptional cases this may be waived)
  3. Scores on the General Graduate Record Examination at or above the 50th percentile. (Scores on the GRE Biology exam are optional, but recommended.)
  4. Three letters of recommendation.
  5. Personal statement of interests in biology and career goals.

Graduation Requirements

  1. A 3.0 cumulative GPA on a minimum of 36 credit hours of coursework including both core requirements and electives.
  2. An acceptable thesis based on independent scientific research and approved by a faculty advisor, graduate committee, and the Science Dean.
  3. Satisfactory completion of an oral defense of thesis, including an advertised seminar.
  4. Satisfactory completion of other University Graduate Program requirements.


The Accelerated Track is designed to provide high ability undergraduate students the opportunity to begin their graduate studies during the senior year. Such students are expected to have engaged in significant research activity with a member of the graduate faculty. Students currently enrolled at Truman may apply for admission to the Accelerated Track in the fall or spring of their junior year following regular graduate school procedure. Application materials are available in the Graduate Office. Submission of GRE scores is part of this process. In addition to the application materials required of all MS Biology applicants, students applying for the Accelerated Track must have a 3.25 GPA.

Students accepted into the Accelerated Track of the MS Biology program begin their graduate coursework in the senior year by taking 4-6 credits of graduate credit recommended by the prospective thesis advisor. The courses taken for graduate credit may not be counted toward the bachelor’s degree and must be paid for as graduate credits at the time of enrollment. Participation in the Accelerated Track allows the student to qualify for a summer research stipend and tuition waivers for each of two summers following graduation with the bachelor’s degree. The academic year following the first summer may be supported with a standard GTRA. The purpose of the Accelerated Track MS Biology is to 1) recognize outstanding research at the undergraduate level by allowing its incorporation as part of the development of a master’s research thesis, and 2) enable high-quality students to complete both bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in biology in approximately a five-year period.


The Biology Department is housed in Magruder Hall. Graduate students have office and work space in the faculty advisor’s laboratory and a graduate office room. Many teaching and research labs in Magruder Hall have been recently renovated.


Graduate Record Exam percentile rankings corresponding to mean scaled scores for incoming biology students, fiscal year 2010:

Analytical Writing: 51.00%
Quantitative: 63.80%
Verbal: 75.60%

Average GPA of incoming biology students, fiscal year 2010: 3.25. 



Total: 36 credits

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