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Department of Biology
258 Science Building
Cheney, WA 99004
phone: 509.359.2339

Master of Science - Biology

The Master of Science in Biology program provides a demanding and rewarding experience in biology, leading to competent scholarship and research capability. The department emphasizes research as a basic component of graduate study. A variety of research specialties are available within the department, including aquatic and riparian ecology, fisheries biology, embryology, physiology, exercise physiology, wildlife biology, mycology, plant ecology, microbiology, and immunology. Faculty Research Interests and Biology Faculty home pages provide more information on faculty research interests.

Graduates of the biology program either continue in PhD programs, or are employed in various biological fields with federal, state, tribal, and local agencies, environmental consulting firms, private conservation organizations, public and private schools or private industry.

Admission to the Program

Applicants to the MS in Biology must hold a four-year baccalaureate degree in biology, or related natural science, from an accredited college or university. Students, who have deficiencies for admission or deficiencies, as determined by their graduate committee, may be allowed to make up deficient course work while enrolled in graduate school.

Before applying to the Biology Graduate Program, students should first identify and communicate with a prospective faculty advisor.   

To apply to the biology graduate program online, please go to the Graduate Program application website at:

You will be required to submit official transcripts, GRE scores, and two Recommendation Forms.

If you wish to apply for a Graduate Teaching Fellowship, all application materials must be complete by February 20th.

If you have questions regarding the Master's program, please contact

What will I study?

The Master of Science in Biology curriculum includes core courses in Biological Research Methods; Graduate Seminar; Current Topics in Ecology/Evolution, Physiology, Cell/Molecular, Biology and Growth of Biological Thought; elective courses in advanced topics; and research thesis. 

Graduate Core Requirements (16 credits)
  • BIOL 500 Research Seminar  (1 credit; enroll 2x for a total of 2)
  • BIOL 501 Seminar Programming (Students on GSA waivrs should enroll in this course each quarter it is offered, unless they are already enrolled in BIOL 500)
  • BIOL 510 Biological Research Methods I (4)
  • BIOL 511 Biological Research Methods II (4)
Choose 6 credits of "Current Topics" from at least 3 different disciplines in the following list:
  • BIOL 512 Current Topics in Physiology (2)
  • BIOL 513 Current Topics in Cell and Molecular Biology (2)
  • BIOL 514 Current Topics in Ecology/Evolution (2)
  • BIOL 515 Growth of Biological Thought (2)
Graduate Electives (16 credits)

Determined in consultation with student's graduate committee. Courses must be 400 level or above. If Biology courses are listed as both 400- and 500-level, students must enroll in the 500-level.

Graduate Thesis (14)

BIOL 600 - Thesis Research Project
A minimum of 14 thesis credits are required. The content, scope, and time line of the thesis project (original research) are determined in consultation with student's graduate committee.

Other Graduate Requirements

All Master of Science in Biology students are required to either teach at least one quarter as a paid teaching assistant, or arrange a teaching experience in consultation with his/her graduate committee. Students who do not have a paid teaching assignment may arrange to receive BIOL 595 credit for the development and execution of this teaching experience.

The prospectus is an opportunity for graduate students to present their research hypothesis and study methodology to their graduate committee and to the EWU Department of Biology. This is a great opportunity to have the full attention of Biology faculty and to receive valuable feedback on the student's intended research project. Graduates typically present their prospectus during Spring Quarter of their first year.

Students apply for candidacy after: (1) they have successfully presented their prospectus; (2) the student's graduate committee has agreed upon the proposed research plan; and (3) the student has outlined (with committee approval) the courses remaining in their curriculum. The candidacy application should be submitted before the student has earned half of their 50 graduate credits.

Final Comprehensive Examination
The final comprehensive examination for the Master of Science in Biology consists of a research seminar and an oral defense of the master's thesis presented to the department. Immediately following the student's seminar, an oral examination is administered by the student's graduate committee, which is composed of 2-3 department faculty members and a faculty member appointed by the Graduate Program Office. The focus of the examination is the student's thesis and general biology knowledge.

Emphases / Concentrations:

  • Become proficient in oral communication about biology in general and their research area in particular
  • Be informed, critically thinking scientists who can design, execute and communicate original research in the field of biology
  • Expand and deepen their knowledge of biology and integrate that knowledge in their specialization
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