Master of Science in Biology

The Biology Department offers a Masters of Science degree with two possible options – (1) thesis option, and (2) non-thesis coursework option.

The thesis option has two possible tracks – (1) General Biology track and (2) Cell and Molecular Biology track. This program is designed to serve a wide variety of post-baccalaureate education needs in central Arkansas and serves students who may have diverse backgrounds and goals.

The program provides students with (1) core skills desired by potential or current employers, (2) specific knowledge and techniques relevant to specialized fields within biology, and (3) opportunity to work independently on a thesis or project suitable to each student’s aspirations.

The Department of Biology holds several qualities of excellence– (1) it is composed of active faculty with access to excellent laboratory and computer facilities; (2) the department won the only “excellent” rating offered in a 1996-97 review of all state-funded Biology Departments, the review being requested by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and conducted by an external review team; (3) grants and research activities are high priorities among the faculty, such grants coming from national, regional and state funding agencies; (4) undergraduate as well as graduate students are active in research, and several have won student presentation awards in recent years.

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The Department of Biology also holds an affiliation with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory (Ocean Springs, Mississippi) to expand student opportunities for study. Additional liaisons could be developed, as the need may arise, with the National Center for Toxicological Research (Jefferson, AR), Veterans Administration, and other agencies and institutions.

The Biology Department faculty holds expertise in most biological disciplines, consequently a masters student could choose from a wide variety of research topics for the thesis or special project options. Additionally a broad base of graduate courses are available.

Admission Requirements

  1. Baccalaureate degree with a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale).
  2. Upper level coursework (or equivalent) in four of the following six areas — cell or molecular biology, ecology, evolution, genetics, physiology, and organismal biology.
  3. Two lecture courses in physics and four lecture courses in chemistry (to include inorganic and organic chemistry).
  4. A minimum combined score of 950 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) General Test. GRE scores more than 5 years old will not be considered.
  5. International students must present TOEFL scores. Minimum scores for acceptance are 525 on the paper-based test or 195 on the computer-based version.

Applicants who do not meet the minimum entrance requirements may be admitted conditionally based on the recommendation of the graduate committee. Full admission is contingent upon successful completion of coursework to remove any undergraduate deficiencies and completion of 12 graduate credits with a GPA of 3.0 or above.

Application Procedures
Application materials should include:

  1. A completed UALR Graduate School Application Form
  2. GRE scores
  3. Copies of all college transcripts.
  4. A formal letter of application written by the applicant.
  5. A personal statement of career interests and objectives (may be included in # 4).
  6. Three letters of recommendation from persons well acquainted with the applicant. Letters from former faculty are expected.

Items 1-3 should be submitted to the Graduate School. Visit the UALR Graduate School to view admission requirements and online application forms. Items 4-6 should be sent directly to the Biology Graduate Program Coordinator at the following address:

Biology Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Biology
University of Arkansas at Little Rock
2801 South University Avenue
Little Rock, AR 72204-1099

Application materials deadlines:

  1. April 15 for Fall Semester entry
  2. November 1 for Spring Semester entry

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available. Contact the program coordinator for information. Applicants seeking a teaching or research assistantship must apply by March 15 to ensure full consideration.

Program Requirements

A. General Biology Track

Core Requirements.

    All students in the General Biology Track must complete 13 hours in the following core courses.
  1. Biometry (Biology 5415) – 4 hrs
  2. Experimental Design (Biology 7310) – 3 hrs
  3. Technical/Scientific Writing (Rhetoric 5302, 04, 06, 5315 or 17) – 3 hrs
  4. Graduate Seminar (Biology 7199) – 3 hrs Thesis Option
    Students pursuing a Thesis option must complete an additional 17 hours of coursework, including 6 hours of thesis research (Biology 8100-8400) and a minimum of 3 hours at the 7000 level or above.
  1. Non-thesis Coursework Option
    Students pursuing a non-thesis Coursework option must complete an additional 23 hours of coursework, including at least 9 hours at the 7000 level or above.

B. Cell and Molecular Biology Track

Core Requirements.

    Students in the Cell and Molecular Biology Track should complete 9-12 hours in 3 of the following 5 competency areas.
  1. Biochemistry – Chemistry 5420 (Biochemistry) or Applied Science 7375 (Biochemistry of Biological Molecules)
  2. Computational Biology – Biology 5415 (Biometry)
  3. Genetics – Applied Science 7385 (Concepts in Genetic Analysis)
  4. Ecology and Evolution – Biology 5310 (Evolution) or Biology 5412 (Plant Ecology)
  5. Physiology – Biology 5403 (Comparative Physiology) or Biology 5419 (Plant Physiology) Students pursuing the Cell and Molecular Biology Track must complete an additional 18-21 hours of coursework, including 6 hours of thesis research (Biology 8100-8400), 3 hours of Graduate Seminar (Biology 7190), and a minimum of 3 hours at the 7000 level or above. A non-thesis option is not offered through the cell and molecular biology track.

Questions concerning the Biology M.S. Program should be addressed to the Graduate Program Coordinator, Dr. John Bush at (501) 569-3520 or via e-mail to