a student looking through a microscopeThere are four graduate degree programs in the Department of Biological Sciences:

  • Master of Arts in Biological Sciences (M.A.)
  • Master of Science degree in Biological Sciences (M.S.)
  • Master of Science degree in Marine Science (M.S.)
  • Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biological Sciences (Ph.D.)

The primary objective of both the M.S. and Ph.D. programs is to train scientists and scholars to perceive fundamental biological problems and to investigate them successfully. M.S. and pre-doctoral students undertake a diversified program of study that includes course work, seminars and laboratory research. Up to 12 credit hours of graduate course work taken at other institutions and meeting Graduate School requirements may be transferred.

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Biological Sciences is a course-work only degree designed for individuals who wish to enhance their knowledge of foundational concepts in Biological Sciences and gain practical hands-on training in controlled laboratory exercises, data analysis and presentation as well as scientific pedagogical practices. This degree does not require the traditional intensive commitment to data-driven research that is the hallmark of the Master of Science (M.S.) degree in Biology.

Course catalog descriptions for all graduate degree programs, including required credits, may be viewed on the Graduate School catalog page here: https://catalog.ua.edu/graduate/arts-sciences/biological-sciences/.

With the guidance of their research advisory committee, all entering students plan a first-year academic program that includes lecture courses and seminars that are tailor-fit to the research interests of the individual student.  Additionally, all first-year graduate students enroll in BSC 505 “Intro to Graduate Studies” where discussions center on laboratory conduct and procedures, scientific writing, ethics in science and career opportunities.

The Research Advisory Committee

During their first year of study all graduate students (M.S. and Ph.D.) establish an advisory committee that will oversee and guide the student through the requirements toward degree and provide oversight to the student’s research progress. The make-up of the committee differs between M.S. and PhD, but in general consists of the faculty research advisor and up to 4 additional faculty both internal and and external to the Department of Biological Sciences. Each student will meet annually with the advisory committee to establish and review goals and determine whether satisfactory progress in both research and coursework is being made.

More Information

Detailed information regarding course requirements and milestones of the degree programs can be reviewed in the Graduate Student Handbook  and through the University of Alabama’s Graduate Catalog.