Biology, M.S.

Shippensburg University's Master of Science in Biology program is great for students who want to enter a new field, advance their careers or prepare to continue their education. With small class sizes (less than 10), students get meaningful attention from faculty and extensive opportunities for field classes and field research. Our department also offers considerable opportunities for collaborative research with many thesis projects encompassing both field and laboratory (molecular or microbiological) components.

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 are the requirements for this degree?

To be eligible for admission to the Master of Science in Biology, you must:

  • Have a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
  • Present an official undergraduate transcript showing at least a 2.75 cumulative GPA.
  • Have completed at least 33 credits of undergraduate biology or biology related courses (e.g. forestry, horticulture, environmental studies), and have taken at least three chemistry courses with labs, including both inorganic and organic chemistry or biochemistry.
  • Submit a 500-word statement of purpose describing your long term goals and how those goals will be influenced by this degree through the “Program Statement or Questionnaire” link in your Ship Admission portal.
  • We recommend math through calculus (including statistics) and a year of physics, but don't require either.
  • International students must provide a minimum IELTS score of 6.5 or TOEFL score of 80.

To complete the program, you must complete 31 credits of graduate work including required classes in biostatistics and scientific communication. Additionally, you will complete a capstone project that can take the form of a six-credit thesis, three-credit research project or three-credit internship.

The Graduate Catalog provides details about program requirements.

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).

What Kinds of Experiences Could I Have on Campus?

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