You are in the College of Science and Liberal ArtsCollege of Science and Liberal Arts

Department of Federated Department of Biological Sciences

Master of Science in Biology

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The Master of Science in Biology is designed to provide students with advanced knowledge of both plant and animal biology and microbiology. The program requires successful completion of a minimum of 30 credits of graduate-level courses. Students are expected to maintain a grade point average of 3.0 and are required to complete a minimum of one 3-credit course in four of the following five core areas:

  1. Cell Biology/Biochemistry       
  2. Molecular Biology
  3. Computational Biology
  4. Ecology/Evolution
  5. Plant Biology
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A partial list of course offerings in each of these areas can be found below. To complete the degree requirements, students must either complete a thesis based on laboratory or library research.
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Admissions Requirements

Applicants are expected to have an accredited undergraduate degree in biology from an accredited institution. Candidates with other appropriate backgrounds will be considered. The following cognate undergraduate courses are required: general chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and calculus. An undergraduate cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0 is expected.

In addition to the application form, three letters of recommendation, undergraduate and graduate transcripts, and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test scores are required for admission. Scores in the 50th percentile or better on each section of the general examination are required. The subject test in Biology is recommended. All applicants that received an undergraduate degree from a school outside of the United states are required to submit test scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Bridge Program:  To ensure academic success in their graduate studies, students may be required to take additional undergraduate or graduate courses before beginning the program curricula. Bridge courses will be individually designed in consultation with their Graduate Advisor. Bridge courses must be completed before 9 credits of graduate degree courses are earned. Bridge courses are not counted as degree credits but do count in graduate GPA calculations if the course is numbered at the 500-level or higher.
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Advisement

In the first year of study, students are advised on all academic matters by the MS Program Coordinator. During the first year of full-time study (or part-time equivalent), students complete sufficient course work to fulfill most core curricular requirements and work to develop a potential research project (library or laboratory) that will serve as the basis of the Capstone Thesis requirement. By the start of the second year, students must choose a faculty member to serve as Advisor during their laboratory or bibliographic thesis research project. When nearing completion of the minimum 30 credits required for the MS Degree, NJIT students must complete an application for graduation and submit it to the Graduate Program Director for signature.
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Thesis Requirements

Students can fulfill the written thesis requirement either by conducting laboratory or library research. Important to successful completion of the thesis requirement is early identification of a thesis advisor such that proper planning is in place to complete research requirements in a timely and effective manner. The basic requirements and process for these two thesis pathways is presented below: 

  • Laboratory or Field Research Thesis Option:  Students selecting the experimentally-based research thesis option must successfully complete a minimum of 24 credits of course work and 6 credits in research with a graduate faculty member of the department. Under the guidance of this faculty member the student will perform original research. The thesis resulting from this research is expected to be presented as a hypothesis-driven scholarly work, with conclusions clearly derived from the experimental research and published background information. Students will write a scholarly thesis demonstrating the ability to write clearly and scientifically and based on experimental laboratory and/or field project research.

  • Bibliographic Thesis Option:  Students selecting the bibliographic-based research thesis option must successfully complete a minimum of 27 credits of coursework and 3 credits of Independent Study with a graduate faculty member of the department. Under the guidance of this faculty member, the student will write a scholarly review of the literature on a scientific topic of interest. The thesis resulting from this research is expected to be a scholarly work, with conclusions clearly derived from the published information referred to by the author. This thesis should demonstrate the ability of the student to write scientifically, bringing together facts and interpretations relevant to that topic, in a clear, scholarly manner.

In both thesis options, upon completion of the written thesis, the student will defend the thesis publicly on the topic of their research, followed by a Q&A session with the examination committee. The thesis committee must be approved by the Graduate Program Director and will consist of the primary advisor and at least one other faculty reader who are full members of the Graduate Faculty. If a research plan requires the expertise of a non-graduate faculty advisor the committee will consist of three members – two from the graduate faculty and the advisor. Format and style of the final document must be in accordance with the guidelines set by and available at the Office of Graduate Studies. Please note that students who are unable to pass the thesis defense by the second try will be dismissed from the program.
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Part-Time Students

Part-time students are expected to fulfill exactly the same requirements as full-time students.
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Transfer Credits
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  • Credits Already Taken:  Up to nine (9) credits may be transferred for credit approval, provided that they were taken at an accredited college or university in the United States or Canada, were not used in fulfillment of a previous degree awarded, earned a final grade of 3.0 or above on a scale whose maximum is 4.0, were earned in graduate level courses for which full academic credit was awarded, were in units of at least three (3) credits, and were not earned more than seven years ago. Credits earned in quarter systems will be converted to equivalent semester credits.

  • Credits Not Yet Taken:  Up to nine (9) credits may be transferred for credit approval, provided that they are taken at an accredited college or university in the United States or Canada, earn a final grade of 3.0 or above on a scale whose maximum is 4.0, are in graduate level courses for which full academic credit is awarded, and are in units of at least three (3) credits. Credits earned in quarter systems will be converted to equivalent semester credits.
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NJIT Graduate Academic Policies and Procedures
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Contact Information
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How can I learn more?
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