Jun 15, 2024  
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog 
    
2024-2025 Graduate Catalog

Biology (M.S.)


Program Overview


The program is intended for students choosing to gain experience in scientific research with professional goals in biology, such as graduate education; working for a federal or state agency or non-governmental organization; securing employment in industry; or teaching in higher education. The master’s degree offers a general track as well as a specialization in conservation and biodiversity. Research areas include aquatic and terrestrial ecology, conservation biology, sustainability, ecotoxicology, plant and animal physiology, molecular biology, neuroscience, cell biology, genetics and evolution. Learn more at usd.edu/grad-biology.

DELIVERY: On campus

Master of Science, Biology (thesis): Total 30 credit hours


Biology courses 21*-30 credit hours
To include: 

Master of Science, Biology with Specialization (thesis): Total 30 credit hours


Biology courses 21*-30 credit hours
To include:

Select a specialization 15-16 credit hours (see curriculum below):

  • Conservation and Biodiversity specialization 16 credit hours
  • Neuroscience specialization 15 credit hours

*  At least 21 of the total 30 cr. required for the degree must be taken with a BIOL prefix.
** NSCI 792/other topics course that will fulfill the two course topics requirement. Courses taken under a different prefix will be considered supporting coursework and will not count toward the required 21-30 credit hours in Biology.

50% of the program of study must be at the 700-level or above.
Courses approved by committee 22-23 hours.

Thesis Research


The area of concentration for this degree may be selected from the various biological specialties (e.g., ecology, cell biology, developmental biology, molecular biology, evolution, neuroscience, physiology). Candidates for the M.S. degree give a departmental seminar and take a final oral examination that addresses the thesis as well as evaluates the student’s knowledge of broader aspects of biology. See http://www.usd.edu/arts-and-sciences/biology/graduate.cfm for a description of the advisory committee, the annual progress report, the thesis proposal, and recommended timetable for completion of the degree.

Master of Science, Biology (non-thesis): Total 32 credit hours


Biology courses 20-32 credit hours
To include:

Candidates for the Plan B must pass a subject matter final examination that addresses the principles of biology.

50% of the program of study must be at the 700-level or above.
Courses approved by committee 24-25 hours.

Master of Science, Biology with Specialization (non-thesis): Total 32 credit hours


Biology courses 20-32 credit hours
To include:

Select a specialization 15-16 credit hours (see curriculum below):

  • Conservation and Biodiversity specialization 16 credit hours
  • Neuroscience specialization 15 credit hours

Courses as approved by committee 24-25 hours.

Conservation and Biodiversity specialization: Total 16 credit hours


Accelerated M.S. Program: B.S./M.S. (non-thesis). Total 32 credit hours


Up to 12 credits applied toward the B.S. program may be used to satisfy graduate credit. 

Accelerated students must complete all the requirements of the above M.S in Biology (non-thesis) or M.S. Biology (non-thesis) with specialization.

The following restrictions apply:

  1. Dual-listed courses taken at the 500-level can be applied to both the B.S. and M.S. degrees. Dual-listed courses must be taken at the 500-level.
  2. The student must apply to, and be admitted to, the accelerated program prior to taking courses to be credited toward the accelerated program.
  3. No courses taken prior to admission to the accelerated program may be counted toward an accelerated graduate degree. No exceptions to this policy will be approved.
  4. Courses that are “double counted” must be approved by the program coordinator for inclusion in the program of study prior to registration for the course or the credits will not be applied toward the accelerated graduate degree. No exceptions to this policy will be approved.
  5. Only courses taken at the student’s home institution are eligible for dual credit. No transferred courses from other institutions will be allowed to count toward the accelerated master’s degree.
  6. Students admitted to the accelerated M.S. Program may be allowed to register for all courses included on his/her program of study and these credit hours may apply to both undergraduate and graduate degree requirements.

General Application Requirements


  1. Completed application
  2. $35 application fee
  3. Official transcripts*
  4. Letters of recommendation*
  5. Statement of purpose
  6. Resume/CV*

*Requirements for admission vary by program and may require different documentation and have different deadlines. This list is not all-inclusive, to view specific program requirements and submission deadlines, follow the “Admissions Information” hyperlink at the top of this page OR visit the specific program/dept. page found here: link.usd.edu/grad-catalog

State Authorization- It Matters Where You Live


If your learning placement course (internship, externship, clinical, rotation, practicum, independent study, study away, etc.) or your online course will be taken outside South Dakota, please reference USD’s State Authorization webpage. 

State Authorization

Questions?


Department of Biology
605-658-6700 | biology@usd.edu | usd.edu/biology

Graduate Admissions 
605-658-6140 | gradadmissions@usd.edu  | usd.edu/grad