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Biology, MS

Biology Master’s Degree Program

Would you like to develop an original research project in advanced biology? Develop an original research project? Present your findings to the larger scientific community? The University of Central Missouri’s Master of Science degree in Biology is for scientists who want to specialize in organismal biology, molecular biology or ecology. The Biology Master's Degree Program is designed with flexibility in mind. Offering both a thesis and non-thesis options. This degree can be completed fully online, on-campus or a comination of formats.

UCM’s top-notch science facilities at Warrensburg and Lee’s Summit include renovated labs and classrooms, a large animal/aquatic research center and access to many natural ecosystems. These provide ideal settings and environments for your graduate coursework and thesis research. 

Preparation for Biology master’s jobs and doctoral studies

Industry, government, and academic institutions alike place high value on the scientific skills developed in UCM’s master’s in Biology program. You’ll learn to critically review biological literature, interpet and visualize data, design and conduct research studies, and give effective written and oral presentations. 

Biology program faculty at the University of Central Missouri have strong relationships with numerous employers who offer Biology master’s jobs in the private, public and government sectors.

A document and a pencil

Experience in grant writing, publishing

An icon of a teacher in front of a class

Small classes, usually under 10 students

A map of Missouri with a star on UCM campus location

Close to Kansas City jobs and industries

A gradute and books

Strong placements into Ph.D. programs

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Study in natural ecosystems across the country

A microscope

Diverse labs and renovated facilities


What you will study

You and your faculty advisor will work together to develop a specialized course of study for your master’s in Biology program. Choose from a variety of Biology electives, such as:

  • Organismal biology courses (e.g. entomology, herpetology, mammalogy)
  • Molecular biology courses (e.g. hematology, molecular biology/technology, virology)

UCM’s master’s program in Biology has an extensive lab and research focus to master skills across many subdisciplines of biology. You’ll perform the scientific tasks most relevant to your area of specialization. For example, you could conduct transects or capture-recapture studies to estimate population sizes. Learn to manage wild mammals using drones. You could build molecular skills and learn to identify species through genetic analysis. Microinject amphibian eggs to study developmental processes, or study neuron function in glowing worms.

You’ll also learn multiple presentation formats and strategies to share information with the larger scientific community.

Thesis and non-thesis tracks for the Biology MS

You can choose either the thesis or the non-thesis option, and classroom or online course formats to match your interests while providing flexibility. The thesis track includes required coursework paired with developing, implementing and presenting an original research project. The non-thesis track focuses on coursework in a biological field you’re interested in, as well as other course-based synthesis projects. This non-thesis track may be completed fully online and can be focused on such career paths as biotechnology, wildlife management, and higher education. Alternatively, the non-thesis path is a great way to bridge the gap between undergraduate  and professional schools such as medical school to keep advancing skills in your field.


Excellence in Biology

  • A Best Value College for Biological & Biomedical Sciences (College Factual, 2022)


Unique learning opportunities in the Biology MS

The University of Central Missouri’s graduate Biology program offers many opportunities to conduct research projects and get real-world experience — either on campus, near Kansas City or virtually:  

  • Graduate assistantships: Apply for GA positions as a teacher or researcher to gain experience in your desired profession and specialization.
  • Updated facilities: Master the latest tools and technologies in state-of-the-art labs and at field sites devoted to research in chemistry, molecular/cellular biology, wildlife biology and agricultural science.
  • Customized graduate research: Complete a thesis or literature review to match your research interests and career aspirations. You’ll design and implement a research project to provide solutions to today’s most pressing challenges and gain the experience you need to compete for Biology master’s jobs and doctoral positions.
  • Publishing credits: Work with faculty on research projects using the specialized equipment and scientific methods required to produce publishable results in scientific journals. 
  • Credit for work experience: Recent work experience in your biology subdiscipline could be used as course credit and applied to your degee. 
  • Leadership and networking: As an active member or leader in our on-campus biology organizations — such as The Wildlife Society or Tri Beta Honorary Society — you’ll meet professionals in your field, gain exposure to Biology master’s jobs and present research findings to the scientific community.


What can you do with a master’s degree in Biology from UCM?

As a scientist, you’ll have diverse options to apply the research, analysis skills, and information you’ll develop in your master’s in Biology program studies at the University of Central Missouri. You can use your skills to help find solutions to the problems faced by individuals, societies and all organisms in our environments.

Biology MS degrees can lead to job opportunities in health-related industries such as biotech, pharmaceuticals or genetics. If you like to work outdoors in natural ecosystems and are interested in conservation or research, you may want to pursue a career as a forester or an environmental scientist. Your UCM graduate degree will also prepare you for Biology master’s jobs working with private firms and state or federal agencies as a biologist.

Many UCM Biology graduate program students continue their studies to earn a Ph.D. from a research university or apply to medical school to further specialize their career. Teaching certification is another option for UCM graduates of the master’s in Biology program.

UCM’s Biology MS prepares you for multiple career opportunities

Use the interactive tool below to explore potential salaries and career pathways open to you with a Biology master’s degree.




Financial assistance options for your Biology MS degree

The University of Central Missouri offers numerous resources for finance your graduate education. As a Biology master’s student, you may qualify for general university awards and scholarships. You could also apply for a graduate teaching or research assistantship, which provides a stipend to offset costs for tuition and other college expenses.

Beyond the general scholarships available through the University of Central Missouri, some grants and scholarships are available specifically for students in the Biology graduate program. These include:

  • UCM Graduate Scholars Grant
  • Steve Mills and Steve Wilson Field Research Grant
  • Kathryn Eydt Payne Scholarship

You can learn more about program-specific scholarships with the UCM Scholarship Finder.


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Explore programs related to the Biology MS.

If you already have an undergraduate degree in Biology or another science, you may also want to explore these graduate programs at UCM:


Program Requirements

MS Thesis Option

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 thesis option.


MS Non-thesis Option

For the non-thesis option, students will focus on coursework and on broad issues rather than a specific research project. Students must complete a minimum of 33 units of graduate coursework to complete the non-thesis option.


How to Apply

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. Your faculty advisor can assist with the application process as well. Additional information regarding requirements for the program can be found under “Program Details” or by contacting the Graduate Coordinator.

When a faculty advisor is obtained, you should 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.


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