College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences2013-2014

Department of Biological Sciences

Biology, Master of Science

This thesis-based Master's degree allows the student great flexibility in determining his/her course of study, with the guidance of an engaged research committee. NAU's well-known biology program and solutions-oriented professors provide a multitude of pathways through which to approach research and experimentation. This degree also prepares students for future Ph.D. work, either here, at NAU, or elsewhere.


What Can I Do with a Master of Science in Biology?

The biological sciences encompass numerous cutting-edge disciplines, with each offering a multitude of exciting career paths. Our Master of Science program helps you move further down one of those paths by training you in the biological sciences through coursework and research experience.

You'll receive plenty of personal attention from faculty-in the classroom, in research laboratories, and in our Biology Advisement Center. Our location on the Colorado Plateau offers high quality of life with many excellent destinations for field projects and recreation. Our graduates have exceptional placement rates in medical schools and government agencies. Whatever path you take after graduation, you will be ready to succeed.

Career opportunities that might be pursued:

With further education, one of these paths is possible:
  • Research assistant
  • Wildlife biology technician
  • Native fish specialist
  • Community college instructor

University Requirements

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
    The full policy can be viewed here.



In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 32
Additional Admission Requirements Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
Thesis Thesis is required.
Oral Defense Oral Defense is required.
Research Individualized research is required.


Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
    • NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent. 
    • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
    • Transcripts
    • For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
    • International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy 

    Individual program admission requirements include:

    • GRE® revised General Test
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement or essay
    • All applicants are expected to make email contact with potential faculty members in the department BEFORE APPLYING.  Applicants should only apply if a mentor agrees to support the applicant.
    • Knowledge of biology at the baccalaureate level
Master's Requirements
  • Take the following 32 units with a minimum GPA of 3.0:

    • Biology and/or one or two related fields, with the recommendation of your research committee (29 units)
    • BIO 699, for the research, writing, and oral defense of an approved thesis. Please note that you may only count 6 units of thesis credit toward your degree. However, Master's students in biology end up taking an average of 14 units because they must register for it each semester while they are working on their thesis. (3-6 units)
    In addition, please be aware that you must complete one academic year of residency.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.

Campus Availability

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