"La Primera Cria" (baby sea turtles) by Biology student Amy Bonka. "La Primera Cria" by Biology student Amy Bonka.The Biology Department offers two options:
  • Plan I requires the completion, in good academic standing, of at least 24 semester hours of appropriate graduate work and 6 semester hours of thesis research, with the presentation of an acceptable thesis embodying the results of original research work.
  • Plan II requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of appropriate course work. The Plan II Master’s degree may not require research and does not require a formal thesis; however, students are often expected to gain insight into the techniques of problem posing and problem solving and to use these insights to prepare a written report.

Graduate students pursuing an MS in biology may specialize in research activities at all levels of biological organization, with emphases on ecophysiology, cellular and molecular biology, endocrinology, and ecology of aquatic organisms, or on models related to human disease.

A Multidisciplinary Degree

Since scientific problems encountered today are multifaceted and require multidisciplinary approaches, students are expected to acquire a broad background in the physical and life sciences. MS students must have competency in five of the following areas:
  • ecology
  • physiology
  • cell biology
  • developmental biology
  • genetics
  • microbiology
  • molecular biology

Students are also expected to satisfactorily complete a course or sequence in biometry and any advanced courses designated by their graduate study committees consistent with the chosen area of specialization.

Students must also enroll in three seminar courses approved by their graduate study committees. One of the seminars must be outside the primary area of specialization. Also, every student is required to demonstrate proficiency in teaching by delivering formal course lectures or by conducting instructional laboratories.


A complete description of graduate-level courses are available in the UAB Graduate Catalog.


To qualify for candidacy, students must satisfactorily complete either a written or an oral comprehensive examination. As part of the final defense of the student's thesis or comprehensive review paper (Plan II), a public departmental seminar must be presented.

How to Apply

Students may enter at the beginning of any semester, with deadlines of March 1 for summer and fall applicants and October 15 for spring applicants.

To apply, please visit the UAB Graduate School website.