About

What could I do with a master's degree in biology? What kind of financial support is available for MS biology students?

The master of science in biology is a 30-semester-hour thesis program with concentrations in cell biology, and environmental and organismic biology. The thesis is an answer to a research question that is revealed through careful planning and sustained effort under the supervision of a faculty advisor.

A thesis-based MS degree, such as our MS in biology, provides training and experience in communication, problem solving, critical thinking and integrating information derived from multiple sources. These are highly marketable skills in their own right, and they equip you with a tool set necessary for accomplishment and success in virtually any professional endeavor. A non-thesis option is also available.

Graduates of our MS in biology program may further their education at the doctoral level, or secure careers in education, research, business, state and federal agencies, and health sciences. They may become post-secondary teachers, environmental scientists, biological scientists, medical scientists, microbiologists, wildlife biologists, biochemists and biophysicists. More than 90 percent of graduates in the program find jobs in their field of training, or continue with additional professional training.

Approximately $10,000 in assistantship support covering the fall and spring semesters is competitively available to students entering the program. An additional $2,500 is available during the summer through a combination of teaching and research assistantships and departmental resources. In addition, a limited number of Graduate Scholar Awards of $4,000 per year, awarded through the Graduate School, have been available in the past for the strongest applicants.

ECU Advantage

The program is known for its rigorous, well-rounded training in biology. Students in the program have the opportunity to learn from the diverse faculty, with a variety of research interests. The faculty are nationally and internationally know for research in coastal ecology, evolutionary biology, and molecular and cellular biology. In addition, faculty in the program continue to innovate their teaching methods and refine the curriculum to provide the best training for their students.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Ed Stellwag (S-215B Howell Science Complex; 252-328-6302; stellwage@ecu.edu)

Thesis option requirements:

Students must complete a minimum of 30 s.h. of course work (15 s.h. must be at the 6000-7000 level), and a research-based thesis, comprehensive defense of a thesis proposal, seminar based on thesis research, thesis defense, and show competence in teaching. Up to 9 s.h. of graduate courses from other departments may be used to meet curriculum requirements upon approval by the department's director of graduate studies.

    1. Core - 15 s.h.:
    • BIOL 6880 - Introduction to Research
    • BIOL 7000 - Thesis *

    • BIOL 7900 - Ecological Statistics or
    • BIOS 7021 - Biostatistics for Health Professionals I or
    • BIOS 7022 - Biostatistics for Health Professionals II

    • 7 s.h. of electives
    2. Concentration area - 15 s.h.

    (Choose a minimum of 15 s.h. from one area.)

      Cell biology:
      • BIOL 5450 - Histology
      • BIOL 5451 - Histology Laboratory
      • BIOL 5630 - Comparative Animal Physiology
      • BIOL 5631 - Comparative Animal Physiology Laboratory
      • BIOL 5870 - Molecular Biology of the Gene
      • BIOL 5890 - Virology
      • BIOL 5900 - Biotechniques
      • BIOL 5901 - Biotechniques Laboratory
      • BIOL 6030 - Topics in Cell Biology
      • BIOL 6082 - Fundamentals of Vertebrate Endocrinology
      • BIOL 6083 - Fundamentals of Vertebrate Endocrinology Laboratory
      • BIOL 6100 - Advances in Molecular Biology
      • BIOL 6120 - Advances in Molecular Biology
      • BIOL 6130 - Advances in Developmental Biology
      • BIOL 6200 - Mechanisms of Genetic Recombination
      • BIOL 6230 - Advanced Techniques in Molecular Biology
      • BIOL 6231 - Advanced Techniques in Molecular Biology
      • BIOL 6240 - Principles of Biochemistry I
      • BIOL 6242 - Principles of Biochemistry II
      • BIOL 6244 - Principles of Biochemistry Laboratory
      • BIOL 6250 - Protein Purification Techniques
      • BIOL 6251 - Protein Purification Techniques Laboratory
      • BIOL 6300 - Neurophysiology
      • BIOL 6301 - Neurophysiology Laboratory
      • BIOL 6504 - Research Problems in Biology
      • BIOL 6900 - Vertebrate Reproductive Biology
      • BIOL 7080 - Molecular Endocrinology
      • BIOL 7090 - Experimental Embryology
      • BIOL 7091 - Experimental Embryology Laboratory
      • BIOL 7130 - Current Literature in Development Biology
      • BIOL 7170 - Immunology I
      • BIOL 7180 - Cell Culture and Hybridoma Technology
      • BIOL 7181 - Cell Culture and Hybridoma Technology Laboratory
      • BIOL 7190 - Immunology II
      • BIOL 7210 - Transgenic Methodology and Application
      • BIOL 7211 - Transgenic Methodology and Application Laboratory
      • BIOL 7212 - Gene Targeting and Knockout Animals
      • BIOL 7213 - Gene Targeting and Knockout Animals Laboratory
      • BIOL 7240 - The Evolution of Genes and Genomes
      • BIOL 7345 - Cell Motility
      • BIOL 7480 - Cell Biology
      • BIOL 7481 - Cell Biology Laboratory
      • BIOL 7870 - Molecular Genetics
      • BIOL 7875 - Plant Molecular Biology
      • BIOL 7880 - Bioinformatics
      • BIOL 7781 - Bioinformatics
      • BIOL 7890 - Current Literature in Molecular Biology
      • BIOL 7895 - Current Literature in Cell Biology
      Environmental and organismic biology:
      • BIOL 5150 - Herpetology
      • BIOL 5151 - Herpetology Laboratory
      • BIOL 5220 - Limnology
      • BIOL 5221 - Limnology Laboratory
      • BIOL 5260 - Microbial Ecology
      • BIOL 5261 - Microbial Ecology Laboratory
      • BIOL 5270 - Marine Community Ecology
      • BIOL 5550 - Ichthyology
      • BIOL 5551 - Ichthyology Laboratory
      • BIOL 5600 - Fisheries Techniques
      • BIOL 5601 - Fisheries Techniques Laboratory
      • BIOL 5640 - Entomology
      • BIOL 5641 - Entomology Laboratory
      • BIOL 5680 - Current Topics in Coastal Biology
      • BIOL 5950 - Taxonomy of Vascular Plants
      • BIOL 5951 - Taxonomy of Vascular Plants Laboratory
      • BIOL 6040 - Animal Behavior
      • BIOL 6041 - Animal Behavior Laboratory
      • BIOL 6071 - Human Gross Anatomy
      • BIOL 6210 - Phylogenetic Theory
      • BIOL 6220 - Evolution: Topics for Advanced Students
      • BIOL 6514 - Research Problems in Biology
      • BIOL 6770 - Ornithology
      • BIOL 6771 - Ornithology Laboratory
      • BIOL 6800 - Population Ecology
      • BIOL 6820 - Systems Ecology
      • BIOL 6821 - Systems Ecology Laboratory
      • BIOL 6850 - Advances in Ecology
      • BIOL 6860 - Advances in Ecology
      • BIOL 7010 - Estuarine Ecology
      • BIOL 7020 - Marine Biology
      • BIOL 7021 - Marine Biology Laboratory
      • BIOL 7200 - Invertebrate Biology
      • BIOL 7201 - Invertebrate Biology Laboratory
      • BIOL 7310 - Ecological Modeling and Simulation
      • BIOL 7350 - Current Literature in Fish Ecology
      • BIOL 7400 - Wetland Ecology and Management
      • BIOL 7401 - Wetland Ecology and Management Laboratory
      • BIOL 7360 - Fisheries Management
      • BIOL 7630 - Fish Physiology
      • BIOL 7920 - Conservation Biology
    Note:

    *BIOL 7000 may be repeated for registration status, but only 6 s.h. may count toward graduation.

    Non-thesis option requirements:

    Students must complete a minimum of 38 s.h. of course work (19 s.h. must be at the 6000-7000 level), a final project consisting of a written scholarly review a topic of interest in biology, an oral defense of the final project, and show competence in teaching. Up to 12 s.h. of graduate courses from other departments may be used to meet curriculum requirements upon approval by the department's director of graduate studies.

      1. Core - 5 s.h.
      • BIOL 6880 - Introduction to Research
      • A course
      2. Electives - 33 s.h.

      The non-thesis option electives will be tailored to the individual's interests, career goals, and educational background in consultation with the student's faculty advisor and the director of graduate studies. A maximum of 5 s.h. of directed research courses (BIOL 6504, BIOL 6514) and /or internship (BIOL 6992, BIOL 6993) may be applied toward meeting the electives requirement.

        3. Comprehensive Evaluation
        For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

        Careers With This Degree

        Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

        • Biology/Biological Sciences, General
        • Biological Scientists
        • Life Scientists
        • Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary
        • Scientific and Technical Services
        • Education and Training
        • Biology/Biological Sciences, General

        Career Opportunities

        ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

        NC Tower

        This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

        • Self-employed;
        • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
        • Work outside of North Carolina.

        US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

        This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

        Degree-specific internships

        For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.

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