UT Tyler

Graduate Program

Degree Requirements

We offer two options for the M.S. degree:

1. A research-based thesis option.

2. The non-thesis option that does not require the submission of a research-based thesis.

View the graduate program policies and procedures here

Thesis option:

Each candidate for the M.S. degree in biology must complete:

  • A minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate credit including six hours thesis (BIOL 5395, BIOL 5396).
  • A variety of graduate courses are offered which are listed here (link to graduate course listing)
  • A research-based thesis undertaken under the supervision of a faculty member. The thesis, after approval by the committee, must be defended in a public forum.

Non-Thesis Option:

The following is the purpose, description and requirements for the non-thesis option of the M.S. degree.

Master of Science (Non-Thesis Option)

This option is a non-thesis degree intended for those wishing to further their education in biological sciences without a focus on research or those entering/currently serving as teachers or those in environmental/ecological/biotech careers.


Acceptance into the Biology Non-Thesis Option is based on grade point average (3.0 minimum), professional letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose. Master's students must maintain a minimum overall grade point average of a B (3.0) in all course work. Applicants are assigned a course work advisor following admission.

In addition to the Graduate School requirements, the student should have a year of college mathematics, a course in organic chemistry, and the equivalent of the UT Tyler biology core curriculum before admission to the non-thesis master’s degree program. Exceptions to this general guideline can be made at the discretion of the department. The details of the course work will be worked out by consultation between the student and the Graduate Advisory Committee.

If a student is admitted by the Graduate School with provisional status and expects to be a candidate for the non-thesis degree, he or she should apply for full status during the second semester in residence. Admission to full status will be based on the student's performance relative to the departmental requirements. Students admitted on provisional status must be formally admitted to full candidate status prior to the academic term in which they apply for graduation.

Credit Hour & Course Requirements

A minimum of 30 hours of approved graduate-level courses including 6 hours of BIOL 5394 Biological Research. The student should develop, with his/her advisor, an individual course of study which meets the requirements for the degree and the student’s objectives.

Advisory Committee

The Graduate Advisory Committee will assign an advisor to serve as chair of the student's Advisory Committee at the time of acceptance into the program. The assigned advisor may be changed later if appropriate to better serve the student's interests. The two other members of the committee will be chosen from among the graduate faculty by the advisor after consultation with the student. The composition of the committee, ideally, should reflect a combination of expertise in the area of the student's interests and diversity of background to be of optimum effectiveness in advising the student. The committee will meet with the student and become acquainted with his/her scientific and vocational goals. A final comprehensive written and/or oral examination covering the courses, a non-research based professional paper, and other academic or laboratory components of the student’s program, of study must be completed to the satisfaction of the advisory committee and departmental Graduate Program Coordinator.

The functions of the Advisory Committee are to:

  • Advise the student in the development of an academic program.
  • Approve the Program of Study. At least one semester prior to graduation, the student, after consultation with their Advisory Committee, will submit a Program of Study to the Graduate School.

Program of Study

The Program of Study represents an agreement between the student and Advisory Committee about courses to be taken by the student during their tenure in the graduate program. The student will draft a proposed Program of Study during their first year, generally at their first Advisory Committee meeting. The proposed Program of Study may be amended from time to time to compensate for changes in course offerings. The final Program of Study form must be filed by at least the first week of the academic term before the student expects to graduate, i.e., the semester before they graduate. The Graduate School cannot accept the Program of Study until the student's Advisory Committee and Biology Department Chair have signed it.

Application for Degree

Application for degree must be made no later than the first week of the session in which the student expects to complete degree requirements.


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