Biology, MS

With practical value and powerful opportunities, our Master's of Science in Biology is here to help our students have lasting success. Students get meaningful attention from our faculty, a direct result of our small class sizes. Shippensburg is steadfastly committed to equipping students with extensive hands-on opportunities for field classes and field research. Our program aligns students with their passion while developing an advanced level of knowledge in their field.

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What Will I Learn?

Students in this program will learn to think deeply and critically about the natural world, to analyze scientific literature, and to design and carry out biological and ecological research.

Most courses focus on ecology and environmental biology, with some opportunities in other areas of biology. Required courses cover biostatistics and experimental design, scientific communication, and the interpretation of scientific papers.

What Kinds of Experiences Could I Have?

Our program has considerable flexibility, with only two required classes and all graduate-level classes being offered in the evening hours. We have easy access to public forest lands and diverse aquatic habitats. We are less than an hour from the state capital and about two hours from Washington, D.C., and have many contacts with state and federal agencies for internships and trainee positions.

Students in our program frequently:

  • Learn to identify organisms and use scientific sampling techniques in field-oriented classes
  • Read and analyze scientific literature
  • Carry out scientific research with faculty and independently
  • Complete professional internships
  • Present research at scientific conferences
  • Collaborate with other students and faculty on research and publications
  • Assist in laboratory classes as graduate assistants
  • Participate in service learning with biology-oriented clubs

What Types of Careers Could I Get With This Degree?

Many of our graduates work in state or federal agencies, non-profit organizations and consulting firms as ecologists, environmental biologists, aquatic specialists, foresters, botanists, wildlife biologists, environmental educators, laboratory technicians and managers. The Master of Science degree also serves some students as a stepping stone to advanced degrees (Ph.D. or veterinary, medical or dental degrees).

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Biology, M.S. Degree Plan


Full-Time (31 Credits) Thesis Track

First Year

Fall Semester: 10 Credits


 

Spring Semester: 9 Credits


 

Summer 1: 0 Credits


  • Carry out field/lab thesis research Credits: 0 

 

Second Year

Fall Semester: 6 Credits


 

Spring Semester: 6 Credits


 

Full-Time (31 Credits) Non-Thesis Track

First Year

Fall Semester: 10 Credits


 

Spring Semester: 9 Credits


 

Second Year

Fall Semester: 6 Credits


 

Spring Semester: 6 Credits


  • BIO 400/500 Elective Credits: 3  
  • BIO 400/500 Elective Credits: 3 OR Second research or internship 

 

Planning Notes for all students:


  1. 31 total credits required
  2. The only required courses are BIO 515, BIO 593, and a capstone (thesis, research, or internship).
  3. For list of electives, see program Biology, M.S. 
  4. A maximum of 12 credits  of 400-level courses may be taken.
  5. Up to 6 credits can be taken in allied sciences such as mathematics, chemistry, or geography/earth science.