Master of Science in Biology

This program is designed to serve a wide variety of post-baccalaureate educational needs in central Arkansas and serves students with diverse backgrounds and goals. The program provides students with core skills desired by potential and current employers, specific knowledge and techniques relevant to specialized fields within biology, and the opportunity to work independently on a thesis or suite of course work suitable to each student’s aspirations.

A mix of coursework and committee-guided thesis research,

The Master of Science option is a 30 credit hour degree that includes the 13 hour core curriculum (described below), 3 hours of seminar and 6 hours of thesis research. The remaining 8 hours will be electives. More detailed information can be found by tapping a heading below.

The cell and molecular biology track is a common stepping-stone degree to UALR’s Ph.D. in applied science.


Core Curriculum

  • BIOL 5415 Biometry
  • BIOL 7310 Experimental Design
  • RHET 5302, 5304, 5306, 5315, or 5317 Technical/Scientific Writing
    These courses will not be required if the student obtains a suitable score on writing proficiency examination in place for the Applied Science PhD program
  • BIOL 7191 Graduate Seminar
    Three semesters


Cell and Molecular Biology Track

This track is designed to complement the Ph.D. in Applied Science (Applied Biosciences). Admissions requirements remain the same as those already existing for the biology M.A. Writing skills must be demonstrated either through a graduate technical writing course (see existing core) or through the writing proficiency requirements in place for the Applied Science Ph.D. program. An English Writing Proficiency Exam (WPE) will be offered to all thesis track students each Fall term by the Applied Science Department.


Admission Requirements

Students applying to the master of science program in biology should meet all the requirements for admission to the UALR Graduate School. Applications for fall semester entry are due by April 15 and spring semester entry applications are due by November 1.

In addition, the following requirements should be met:

  • Baccalaureate degree in an appropriate biological discipline with a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Upper- level course work in four of the following six areas:
    • Cell or molecular biology
    • Ecology
    • Evolution
    • Genetics
    • Physiology or
    • Organismal biology
  • Two lecture courses in physics and four lecture courses in chemistry, including inorganic and organic chemistry.
  • Combined scores of 300 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE general section. GRE tests must have been taken within the last five years.
  • Formal letter of application written by the applicant, including a personal statement of career interests and objectives.
  • Three letters of recommendation from persons well acquainted with the applicant. Letters from former faculty are expected. Students applying to the thesis track are encouraged to obtain a letter of support from a faculty advisor.
  • International students must present TOEFL scores. Minimum scores for acceptance are 525 on the paper-based test or 195 on the computer-based version, or 72 on the IBT version.
Conditional Admission

Applicants who do not meet the minimum entrance requirements may be admitted conditionally. In these cases, full admission is contingent upon successful completion of courses to remove any undergraduate deficiencies and completion of 12 graduate credits with a GPA of 3.0 or above.


Thesis and Advisory Committee

Advisory Committee

The student’s Advisory Committee will be composed of at least three faculty members, including the student’s thesis advisor if in the M.S. track. The student must select a thesis or program advisor by the end of his/her first semester and assemble an Advisory Committee by the end of his/her second semester. The thesis subject is selected by the student and the Advisory Committee by the end of the second semester. The written thesis format must follow the UALR Graduate School’s Dissertation and Thesis Guidelines found on the Graduate School website.

Thesis Proposal

At least one year prior to the thesis defense, thesis candidates must present a written proposal for his/her thesis work to the Advisory Committee.

Thesis Defense

Students will present and orally defend their completed master’s research before their Advisory Committees. The defenses will be open to the public and must be announced at least two weeks in advance.


Graduation Requirements

  • Successful completion of an approved program of study with a minimum GPA of 3.0;
  • Successful completion of comprehensive exit examinations;
  • Successful completion of the thesis and oral defense; and
  • Successful completion of the writing and seminar requirements.


Financial Aid

Graduate assistantships are available to students pursuing the thesis track. These assistantships support teaching and research activities and are available to qualified full-time students. Tuition is paid, and a stipend is provided for living expenses. Financial support is available only to those students making satisfactory progress toward their degree. Students who begin the thesis option and take one or more thesis hours but later elect to switch to the non-thesis (M.A.) track will not be eligible for financial support. Students must pay registration fees, buy textbooks, and purchase any necessary support materials. To learn about the availability of these assistantships, contact a faculty member in your area of interest or the graduate program coordinator before you plan to apply for admission.