Student and Faculty reviewing

The Ball State Department of Biology offers two paths for our master’s degree in biology depending on your academic and professional interests.

The master of science (MS) degree blends rigorous graduate coursework and intensive research experience that culminates in a master’s-level research thesis. This degree is designed to prepare students for continued study at the doctoral level, but graduates may also use their education to begin a career in research in the public or private sector.

Students pursuing a master of arts (MA) in biology will complete a creative project, research paper or other significant project of their design instead of writing and defending a thesis. This degree is intended to prepare students for careers in biomedical laboratories, natural resource management agencies, scientific supply firms, environmental consulting firms, scientific publishing or other careers, although students can choose to continue their education as well.

What It’s Like to Earn a Master’s Degree in Biology at Ball State


Our department stresses hands-on learning opportunities outside the classroom. You’ll have access to many paid and volunteer lab and field-work assignments alongside our faculty, including funded research abroad and national and international conferences.

Our faculty is focused on providing top-quality, one-on-one instruction to students. Many of our professors also have active laboratories or research areas that employ graduate students with interests in a variety of biological disciplines.

The Department of Biology is the largest department in the College of Sciences and Humanities, and one of the largest at Ball State University. But we keep lab and class sizes small to ensure individualized attention.

Program Requirements

Master of Science

Credits Required

30

Courses

The courses you will take to complete your master of science are:

  • BIO 629 – Seminar in Biology
  • THES 698 – Thesis (six credit hours)
  • 16 approved credit hours in biology, botany, zoology, biotechnology or science
  • 0-14 hours of approved minor or elective courses

Minors are optional, but if taken must include at least 8 credits of courses approved by a designated advisor from the minor area and the biology department.

Credits Required

30

The master of arts in biology requires the same number of hours as the master of science, but this degree does not have a thesis requirement. Instead, students pursuing a master of arts will customize and complete a major project to complete their degree.

Courses

The courses you will take to complete your master of science are:

  • 13-27 approved credit hours in biology, biotechnology, botany, science or zoology
  • One of the following courses:
    • CRPR 698 – Creative Project
    • RES 697 – Research Paper
    • BIOT 590 – Intorudction to Recombinant DNA and RNA Techniques and BIOT 595 – Research Design and Presentation
    • SSI 699 – Research Methodology in Science Education
  • 0-14 hours of approved minor or elective courses

Minors are optional, but if taken must include at least 8 credits of courses approved by a designated advisor from the minor area and the biology department.

For a complete list of all the courses you will take and their descriptions, please see our Graduate Catalog

View Catalog

Paying for Your Education

Department Graduate Assistantships

A graduate assistantship is an excellent opportunity to gain meaningful professional experience while helping cover the costs of your degree. Learn more.

Ready to Apply? 

Are you interested in pursuing this degree? Then you will need to meet our admissions criteria and apply.

More Information

If you would like to learn more about this program or about Ball State Graduate School in general, please complete our online form to request more information. Or if you’d like to speak with someone in our department directly by phone or email, please contact us.

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