Graduate study in the biological sciences leads toward the master's and doctoral degrees. In 2008-2009, 70 full-time students, half of which are women and about 20 percent international, are pursuing graduate degrees (half of which are doctoral students). The department is characterized by active research programs in molecular biology and microbiology, coastal and marine biology, and ecology and environmental biology as evidenced by extramural funding, scholarship of discovery and application, and graduate student activity. Graduate students develop a program of study and research in close collaboration with a faculty mentor and advisory committee. Students are typically complete a doctoral program in five to six years and a master's program in two to three years. Graduates of the department are enjoying careers with governmental agencies, health facilities, industry, academic and research institutions, and in public education.
Admission to Graduate Study
Applicants should have an undergraduate major or its equivalent in the biological sciences. All applicants for admission are required to present academic transcripts and scores from the verbal and quantitative tests of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Applicants must also include a statement of research interests as well as request three letters of reference. Students seeking fall admission should complete their applications by February 15, and application for the spring semester should be received by October 15. The target date for application for graduate teaching assistantships is also February 15 and October 15, respectively.
Living and Housing Costs
Cost of living is average for the Southeast and lower than the national average. Many doctoral students have taken advantage of low interest rates to purchase homes in the area. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment currently ranges from $400 to $500 per month. Campus housing includes special interest dormitory housing, with kitchen and study rooms, for single graduate students, and unfurnished one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites in a housing complex for married students.
The Center for Child Development operates a full-day laboratory school through Child and Family Studies in the College of Education and Psychology and provides quality child care services for children (ages 6 weeks to school age) of University affiliated families. Application can be made by contacting the Center for Child Development at (601) 266-5294 or by mail at USM Box 10012, Hattiesburg, MS 39406-0012. A $5.00 non-refundable application fee will be charged at the time application is made.
Prospective students should contact individual faculty members concerning their research programs and opportunities to study under their direction. We urge you to visit the campus, view our facilities, and meet graduate students and faculty. For further information and application materials contact:
Dr. Jake Schaefer (email: Jake.Schaefer@usm.edu)