Biology, M.S.

Earning an M.S. degree in biology can be a stepping stone to a career in the biosciences or in preparation for a professional degree. The Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in Biology offers a flexible curriculum that can incorporate courses from other departments and colleges at Georgia State. Students must complete at least 32 credit hours of approved coursework.

Students may apply under a specific area/concentration, though a concentration is not required. Upon admission, a master’s student is assumed to be non-thesis until acceptance into the thesis option. The non-thesis program emphasizes coursework, and a capstone paper or project is required. The capstone can either be literature-based or laboratory-based.

The thesis option emphasizes research. Acceptance into the thesis option requires approval of a thesis proposal. Completion of the thesis option requires an approved thesis as well as a successful defense of the thesis. The thesis option is only recommended for students who are planning to pursue a Ph.D.

For information about the M.S. in Medical Sciences in Biology program, which is designed for students who plan to apply to medical school, go to

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Biology, M.S.

College of Arts & Sciences


Students who began the program in summer 2020 or before must follow the curriculum listed in the course catalog of the year that they entered.

Students who began the program in fall 2020 can either be grandfathered into the curriculum of the 2020-2021 course catalog or choose to follow the new curriculum.

Students who began the program in spring 2021 or after should follow the new curriculum below.


Option 1: MS in Biology (General Track)

Core: 11 Credit Hours

  • 8 Credit Hours of Core Biology Courses (2 classes from a select list) *
  • 1 Credit Hour of Grad career development class (New)
  • 2 Credit Hours of Biology Seminar

Electives: 17 Credit Hours**

  • Biology 6000 & 8000 courses
  • Internships: up to 4 Credit Hours (2 Credit Hours each)
  • Outside of Biology: Up to 9 Credit Hours (~3 courses)
  • Examples: Chemistry, Public Health, Policy, Business, Law, Criminal Justice, etc.

Capstone: 4 Credit Hours

  • Project, Internship or Literature-Based Review


Option 2: MS in Biology (Research Concentration without thesis)

Core: 5 Credit Hours

  • 1 Credit Hour of Responsible Conduct in Research class
  • 2 Credit Hours of at least one concept or two topic classes
  • 2 Credit Hours of one Biology seminar

Electives: 15 Credit Hours**

Research: 12 Credit Hours

  • Directed Research: 8 Credit Hours
  • Non-Thesis Paper: 4 Credit Hours


Option 3: MS in Biology (Research Concentration, with Thesis)

Core: 5 hours

  • 1 Credit Hours of Bioethics/RCR
  • 2 Credit Hours of Biology seminar
  • 2 Credit Hours of at least one concept, two topic classes or student seminar class (new)

Electives: 7 Credit Hours**

  • Graduate-level class per Individual Development Plan (IDP)

Research & Thesis: 20 Credit Hours

  • Research courses + Thesis defense, 20 Credit Hours
  • Core Biology Courses Options

Non-Research concentrations will have a set of core courses required of all students in that concentration ( e.g., Bioinformatics, Biotechnology and Medical Sciences).  The MS in Biology (without concentration) will require 2 Core Classes chosen from the following list.  These courses represent foundational concepts in Biology and align with the discipline focus of the Biology Department.

  • BIOL 6074 Developmental Biology
  • BIOL 6100 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • BIOL 6240 Endocrinology
  • BIOL 6248 Cell Physiology
  • BIOL 6278 Immunology
  • BIOL 6458 Microbial Ecology and Metabolism
  • BIOL 6580 Microbial Pathogenesis
  • BIOL 6564 Advanced Genetics
  • BIOL 6575 Virology
  • BIOL 6800 Principles of Cellular Biology

Visit the catalog for curriculum details.

Students are charged graduate tuition and fees. A breakdown of the fees can be found on the Student Financial Services site. In-state tuition and fees are about $16,000+ per year. Out-of-state tuition is about $45,000+ per year.

Student Funding Support:
The department offers competitive graduate assistantship opportunities, which include a stipend and tuition waiver. If you are interested in these graduate assistantship opportunities, please apply as early as possible.

Upon completion of this degree program, graduates will be well versed in research in their area of focus and able to:

  • Apply critical thinking.
  • Ask scientific questions and offer educated hypotheses.
  • Describe the role that their area of focus and biology have in the biosciences.
  • Apply scientific approaches to their work.
  • Communicate biological concepts and applications.

The Scholarship Resource Center offers guidance and support to students seeking financial assistance through scholarship opportunities, including this scholarship library.

The department periodically offers fellowships, which are announced to all students.
The Office of Graduate Programs’ Fellowship Advisor works with students interested in applying for nationally prestigious and competitive fellowships.

Cost Calculator:
Our calculator can help you get an idea of the costs associated with attending the university.