Why pursue graduate education in biology?
Graduate study in the biological sciences leads toward the master's and doctoral degrees. The biology program typically has 60-70 full-time students pursuing graduate degrees, half of which are doctoral students. Graduate students join active research programs in molecular biology and microbiology, coastal and marine biology, and ecology and evolutionary biology. Faculty productivity in these areas results in extramural funding, scholarship of discovery and application, and graduate student activity.
What Will I Learn?
Graduate students develop a program of study and research in close collaboration with a faculty mentor and advisory committee. Students 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.
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 applications for the spring semester should be received by October 15. Prospective students should contact individual faculty members concerning their research programs and opportunities to study under their direction.
Those who apply without a faculty member who is willing to serve as the thesis advisor have little chance of being admitted or offered a graduate assistantship. To contact potential advisors, please review faculty research profiles. Feel free to contact them by e-mail and inquire about possible research projects.
Prospective graduate students are eligible for teaching assistantships, which carry an academic year stipend of $9,000 and $12,000 for master's and doctoral students, respectively, and can expect a summer stipend yielding annual support of $12,000 and $16,000, respectively. Grant-supported research assistantships carry at least comparable support. Graduate assistantships, whether teaching or research, include a tuition waiver and health insurance.
The School offers one undergraduate/graduate Study Abroad program, Tropical Ecology in Belize and Guatemala. This course involves eight weeks of lecture and research preparation followed by two weeks in the field in mid- to late-May of each year.
Our graduate program is research based. Each graduate student must conduct research and write a thesis under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Each faculty member selects applicants with whom he/she would like to work. Applicants should contact the faculty member in whose lab they would like to do research. For information on faculty research programs, view our faculty directory to search for individual faculty members and areas of expertise.
- Research Scientist
- State or Federal Agency
- College or University Professor
- Non-Governmental Organization
- Dr. Paul Mickle, 2010,
Chief Scientist at Mississippi Department of Marine Resources
- Dr. Rebekah Bullard,
Postdoctoral Fellow, Louisiana State University
- Dr. Davida Crossley, 2015,
Assistant Professor, Louisiana State University at Alexandria
- Dr. Jennifer Owen, 2004,
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Michigan State University
- Dr. Tharangamala Samarakoon, 2015,
Herbarium Curator, Emory University
- Dr. Amber Paul, 2017,
NASA Postdoctoral Fellow