Department of Biology

Supple Building Room 384
T: 512.245.2178 F: 512.245.8713

Master’s Programs

The Department of Biology offers several degree options for students wishing to pursue graduate study at the master’s level, including Aquatic Resources, Biology, Population and Conservation Biology, and Wildlife Ecology. Thesis-based degrees are usually chosen as preparation for professional careers or advanced graduate work (Ph.D., D.V.M., or M.D.) and by students seeking advanced training for technology-related industries. Non-thesis degrees may be chosen by students preferring broad training in biology without a formal research experience; this plan is often selected by pre-professional students or by secondary science teachers wishing to broaden their content training.

Thesis Students

Students pursuing a master’s degree with thesis should have a thesis committee approved by the end of their first long term of enrollment in the graduate program. The thesis committee comprises three or more individuals and is chaired by the thesis advisor. Committee members should be selected by the student in consultation with the thesis advisor and should be chosen on the basis of what they can contribute to the student’s research and/or graduate studies. The majority of the committee members should be members of the Department of Biology. Committee members expect to be consulted about the research project and should contribute guidance and expertise to the project. A “Thesis Committee” form can be downloaded from the Biology Department website and must be approved by the chair of the department’s Graduate Committee and the department chair prior to the submission of a thesis proposal.

Students working on a thesis are expected to enroll in a thesis course each term that they are actively involved in research. Students should enroll in BIO 5399A for their first term of thesis research and in a Thesis B course (BIO 5199BBIO 5299BBIO 5399BBIO 5599B, or BIO 5999B) for all subsequent terms. While enrolled in BIO 5399A the student should prepare a detailed thesis proposal that introduces the project to be investigated, summarizes the relevant background literature, and explains the methodology to be used in carrying out the research and should complete a “Thesis Proposal" form that can be downloaded from The Graduate College website. Submission of an approved thesis proposal to The Graduate College is expected before the end of the student’s second term of enrollment in a thesis course. Students pursuing a thesis-based degree must be enrolled in at least one hour of thesis credit during the term in which they graduate.

All students completing a thesis are required to present the results of their research in a public seminar attended by thesis committee members and other interested individuals. Following the presentation of the thesis, the student must pass a comprehensive examination administered privately by the thesis committee.

Non-thesis Students

Students pursuing a non-thesis degree are expected to have a supervising professor by the end of their first year of enrollment in the graduate program. The supervising professor will normally be a faculty member specializing in an area of particular interest to the student and is often the individual who oversees the required, independent study project. Prior to the final term of enrollment, the non-thesis student must, in consultation with the supervising professor, select a committee that will administer the final comprehensive examination. A “Non-Thesis Committee” form can be downloaded from the Biology Department website and must be approved by the chair of the department’s graduate committee and the department chair.

Students pursuing a non-thesis degree must be enrolled in at least one hour of coursework during the term in which they graduate.


Comprehensive Examination

All candidates for master’s degrees in the Department of Biology must pass a comprehensive final examination administered by the student’s committee. The examination may be oral or written and must cover, at a minimum, the student’s field of concentration and the thesis if one was written. The results of this exam are reported on the “Master’s Comprehensive Examination Report” form, which can be downloaded from The Graduate College website and must be filed with The Graduate College at least 10 days prior to the date of expected graduation.

Financial Assistance

Assistantships and scholarships are available to qualified applicants on a competitive basis. In order to be considered for scholarships, applicants must have their application completed for review before the priority application deadline as specified on The Graduate College website. The Department of Biology offers a number of graduate instructional assistantships to full-time students enrolled in the master’s program, and information on the availability of these positions will be provided following acceptance into the graduate program. These assistantships are renewable based upon an annual review of each student’s progress and performance. Faculty members may also have funds available to support students as research assistants. Support is normally limited to two years.

The Graduate College can provide information concerning the availability of graduate scholarships.

Dharmasiri, Sunethra, Senior Lecturer, Biology, Ph.D., Univ of Hawaii at Manoa

Farquhar, Charles Craig, Lecturer, Biology, Ph.D., Texas A&M University

Haverland, Amanda Ann, Lecturer, Biology, Ph.D., Texas State University

Wagner, Matthew Wayne, Lecturer, Biology, Ph.D., Texas A&M University