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Master of Science

The Master of Science in Biological Sciences at Western Michigan University enhances students' abilities to plan, conduct, analyze and report original research. Required course work enhances students' scientific preparation and supports their research.

With the guidance of the major advisor, students choose additional courses to meet individual needs and interests. The degree may serve as preparation for continued graduate or professional study or for positions in the private or public sector. Thesis and non-thesis options are offered.

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Research specializations

Our master's programs allow students to specialize in the following areas:

  • Cellular biology
  • Molecular biology
  • Virology and immunology
  • Microbial genetics
  • Biological imaging
  • Chemical ecology
  • Plant pathology
  • Global change biology
  • Plant physiology
  • Entomology
  • Ecology and evolution
  • Microbial ecology
  • Genetics
  • Neuroscience
  • Cellular physiology

Master's Course Requirements

Graduate core courses (6 hrs.)

Students must select two courses from the following:

Prokaryotic Cell Biology or Eukaryotic Cell Biology (BIOS 6110 or 6120)
Animal Physiology or Plant Physiology (BIOS 6130 or 6140)
Ecology or Evolution (BIOS 6150 or 6160)

Elective courses (19 hrs.)

Elective courses allow each student to tailor additional course work to meet individual needs, and are selected from Biological Sciences or approved cognate courses with the advice and approval of the student’s thesis committee and the Graduate Advisor. Graduate level courses are numbered 5000 or above.

Research requirement (6 hrs.)

The Master’s program requires a substantial research project culminating in the preparation of a scientific paper (non-thesis option) or a Master’s thesis (thesis option). Research is conducted under the guidance of the student’s major advisor and thesis committee. Students are required to take 6 hours of research credit (BIOS 7000 or 7100) for the Master’s degree.

Colloquium requirement (2 hrs.)

Master’s students are required to participate in the departmental colloquium (invited seminar series, BIOS 6050) during two semesters.


See information on the cost to attend WMU and financial assistance.


Prospective students who have questions about our programs or the application process please contact:
Dr. Bruce Bejcek, Graduate Advisor
Phone: (269) 387-5634
Fax: (269) 387-5609
Contact form

Current graduate students at WMU who have a question should contact:
Dr. Christine Byrd-Jacobs, Graduate Advisor
Phone: (269) 387-5843
Fax: (269) 387-5609
Contact form