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Biology MS

Graduate Studies in Biology

The Biology Master’s Program will prepare you for a job in the public or private sector, as well as continuing on to a Ph.D. program. Graduate students will design and implement research projects to provide solutions to real-life situations under the guidance of a faculty member in their area of specialty. We will work with you to customize your research project and coursework to match your interests and establish skills that will fuel your career aspirations. Graduate Assistant (teaching) positions are available and provide support in the form of a tuition waiver and stipend, and help our MS students build the soft-skills required in every profession. Graduate Assistant (research) positions provide the same support and are available to students working with faculty on externally funded projects.

Biology MS students have full access to the facilities operated by School of Natural Sciences through the faculty that make up those programs (i.e., Agriculture, Biology, and Chemistry). These resources include recently updated laboratories dedicated to research in chemistry, molecular biology, and wildlife biology, an R-Class animal care facility, two greenhouses, two farms, department vehicles/boat, multiple curated collections, and numerous pieces of specialized equipment that are required to produce publishable results in today’s scientific literature. Graduate students are able to conduct laboratory experiments, field research, or a combination due to the collaborative environment and interdisciplinary research approach made possible by the breadth of faculty expertise in the School of Natural Sciences. These Faculty members also work closely with professionals in your field, which creates a network that is utilized to facilitate your transition from graduate school to your next career position.


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What you will learn

As a biology student at the University of Central Missouri, you will  study living organisms, focusing on;

  • Cellular and molecular processes
  • Organismal physiology and morphology
  • Natural history
  • Evolution
  • Conservation
  • Ecology

Program study will also include aspects of;

  • Biochemistry
  • Botany
  • Genetics
  • Microbiology
  • Zoology
  • Other natural sciences

Learn How to Work with a Team!

Knowing how to work well with a team is an essential skill for any career. Being in a student organization teaches you how to do this by putting you in situations where you are required to take advice from others, as well as give your own. You have several opportunities to become an active member or leader of one of our biology organizations.


Unique Learning Opportunities

You will have several opportunities to become an active member or leader of one of our biology organizations. Participation with these organizations will provide information about your field of study, meetings with professionals in your field, and exposure to potential job opportunities.

Many of our students travel to regional, national, and international scientific meetings to present their research to the scientific community. Multiple graduate projects involve collaborations with state and federal agencies such as the Missouri Department of Conservation, Missouri Division of Natural Resources, and United States of Department of Agriculture

Chances are, the organization you choose to participate in will include a diverse group of people — you’ll be faced with the same situation in the working world! Learning how different people respond and react to certain situations will help you develop your skills in presenting and implementing ideas.

Students may also choose to expand their network and boost their resume by participating in organizations such as:


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Career Choices

You will gain analytical and scientific skills that prepare you for exciting careers in a variety of STEM-related fields. Our students have been successful in gaining employment in private industries related to;

  • Medical
  • Dental
  • Veterinary
  • The Missouri Department of Conservation
  • The Department of Natural Resources

Learn More

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Salary Expectations

  • The salary expectation biological technicians careers is $29,000 - $73,000.*

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Job Market growth

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of biological technicians is projected to grow five percent from 2019 to 2029.*

Apply Today

 * Job market growth and salary statistics provided by the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics,

Program Requirements

MS Thesis Option (Plan A)

For the thesis option, students are responsible for completing an original research project, a written thesis, a committee defense of their thesis, and a public presentation near completion of the program. These projects often span two years, and we encourage students to publish their thesis research in peer-reviewed journals. Students must complete a minimum of 30 units of graduate coursework to complete the Plan A option.


MS Non-thesis Option (Plan B)

For the non-thesis option, students will focus on coursework and on broad issues rather than a specific research project. They are responsible for conducting, writing, and defending a literature review that develops an in-depth understanding of a relevant biological topic, and provides theoretical solutions or scientific opinions that are fully supported by scientific literature. Students must complete a minimum of 33 units of graduate coursework to complete the Plan B option.


How to Apply

The application process at UCM is a two-part process that has a student initially apply for admission to Graduate Studies at UCM. After acceptance to UCM Graduate Studies you are then eligible to apply to any graduate program at UCM, including the Biology MS program. You should initiate your application through that pathway, and Graduate Studies staff will forward your application to the Biology Program directly.

Before applying for admission to UCM Graduate Studies, you should contact a faculty member in the Biology MS program whose research matches your research interests. Students must have an advisor sponsor their application prior to being accepted into the Biology MS program. Any questions about the process should be sent to the Graduate Coordinator and your advisor can assist with the application process as well. Additional information regarding requirements for the program can be found under “Program of Study” or by contacting the Graduate Coordinator.


Dr. Daniel Marschalek
Graduate Coordinator
WCM 319B
Tel: (660)543-8880
Fax: (660)543-4355


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