Degree Requirements

The Master's in Biology degree program is designed for students who desire to pursue advanced studies in professional and graduate school or various vocational opportunities in biology and related areas.  The program provides the opportunity for broad training in a variety of biological areas, as well as specialization in areas of particular interest through the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCD) concentration and the Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology (E3B) concentration. 

The non-thesis track MS degree is designed for students whose career goals include graduate education, but not formal research experience.  Students interested specifically in the non-thesis track during admission must state so in the personal statement. Students may switch between the thesis and non-thesis tracks with written approval from their major advisor and the Graduate Program Director. Please note that not all professors will mentor students in the non-thesis track and students are responsible for obtaining a mentor.


1. Plan of Study and total hours required:

The program requires 30 total credit hours. All courses for graduate credit must be taken at the 5000-level or higher including: 

  • Required Core Course: BIOL 6101 Hypothesis Testing
  • Required Core Course: BIOL 6102 Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Required Core Course: BIOL 6140 Evolutionary Biology
  • Required: Either BIOL 6260 Professional Development and Responsible Conduct of Research or GRAD 6002 Responsible Conduct of Research
  • Minimum of 2 credit hours and maximum of 4 credit hours of Tutorial (BIOL 6800) --  must include a written assignment or project developed in consultation with the major advisor (see #7 below)
  • Students may choose to take up to a maximum 2 credit hours BIOL6901 Non-Thesis Research Experience as elective credits      

2. Grades Required.

A student must maintain a cumulative average of 3.0 in all course work taken for graduate credit. Two grades of C are acceptable, but a third C will lead to termination of the student's enrollment in the graduate program. A grade of U in any course will lead to termination of the student's enrollment in the graduate program.


3.  Amount of Transfer Credit Accepted.

All transfer credit must be approved by the Student's Supervisory Committee and the Graduate Program Director. Only courses with grades of A or B may be accepted for transfer credit. Courses taken to satisfy the requirements of a previously completed degree cannot be counted toward the MS degree. No more than 6 credit hours of transfer credit or 6 credit hours of postbacclaureate courses taken at UNC Charlotte may be applied toward the MS degree. 

Non-Biology Courses Accepted while enrolled in the M.S. program: Up to 8 credit hours of coursework taught by non-Biology Graduate Faculty and Adjunct Graduate Faculty can be applied towards the MS degree with approval of the Supervisory Committee. More than 8 hours can be applied with approval of the Graduate Committee and Graduate Programs Director. 


4. Departmental Seminars: All MS students are required to attend all seminars sponsored by the Department of Biological Sciences.


4. Teaching: Every student must act as a Teaching Assistant at least once while in the program. This requirement is satisfied by being a Teaching Assistant for one course. A GPA of 3.0 is required by the University to hold a Teaching Assistantship.


5. Comprehensive Examination.

Non-thesis track M.S. students are required to take an oral Comprehensive Exam which evaluates the student's knowledge in his/her specialty area/capstone project, as well as general knowledge of basic biological concepts. Successful completion of the Comprehensive Exam is required for continuation in the program and Advancement to Candidacy. In the event the student's performance is judged not satisfactory, the Supervisory Committee may recommend a retake. Failing the retake exam results in termination from the program. Program policy states that the Comprehensive Exam must be passed no later than the end of the 3rd semester of graduate study. Results of the Oral Comprehensive Exam are submitted using the Exam Report. Check Box marked Comprehensive Examination. Additionally, each member of the student's Supervisory Committee must complete and return a Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Form. 


6. Non-thesis Final Assignment or Capstone Project 

In consultation with the major advisor and in conjunction with completion of BIOL6800 Tutorial, each student will complete a written assignment or project that will be submitted to the Supervisory Committee for evaluation. Specific works are tailored to the interests of the student but recent projects have included a term paper, a review article in the field, a pedagogical study, a laboratory learning module, an online learning module. Acceptance by the Major Advisor and Supervisory Committee is reported using the Final Defense Report. Indicate both major and nonthesis MS degree. Check Box marked ProjectNOTE: University policy states that the Project Approval must be passed no later than the stated date on the academic calendar (same as Thesis Defense) if the student plans to graduate in the same semester. Upcoming dates are April 29 2020 and Nov 30 2020.