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Advance Your Biology Expertise

Building up your biology expertise in a master's program gives you the competitive edge to earn your PhD or land a coveted job. IUP's MS in Biology degree program gives you the skills and background to work within this professional environment.

The MS in Biology degree is a two-year program that strengthens your core knowledge and allows you to explore advanced topics in your chosen field. Students have two options for completing their MS in Biology degree:

  • Thesis: If you're planning to continue working in research or pursue a PhD, a thesis is the best option for you. You'll work closely with a faculty research advisor to complete an in-depth and independent research project. You'll also have the opportunity to get teaching experience.
  • Non-thesis: If you're looking into non-research career you may consider a non-thesis option. This option combines additional course work with a less intensive research experience. In a non-thesis setting, you can expect to pursue advanced topics in biology, gain hands-on research experience, become an independent scientist, and gain teaching experience.

Get Your Master's in One Year with Early Admission

Undergraduate biology students at IUP can take advantage of our Early Admission track (Accelerated MS) that speeds up your graduate studies. Students must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and strong letters of recommendation.

Students in the Early Admission track must first select a faculty mentor, identify a research project (for thesis track), and apply for the program during their junior year. Students start taking courses that count towards both the BS and MS degrees in their senior year of their BS degree—earning at the same time one year of MS requirements while completing the BS degree. Early Admission students can select the thesis or non-thesis track.

Imagine Your Future

IUP's Master's degree in Biology is an excellent idea for students interested in researching, conducting lab and field work, or teaching in higher education. Many IUP biology students go on to acquire a PhD and find employment as:

  • Field scientists in academic and government agencies
  • Independent researchers
  • Professors at colleges and universities
  • Research technicians and lab managers in academic labs, industry, or hospitals

35% of MS in Biology graduates admitted into PhD programs. Some examples include:

  • Clemson University
  • Cornell University
  • Kansas University
  • Southern Illinois University
  • SUNY-Syracuse
  • U. Buffalo
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Notre Dame
  • University of Tulsa
  • University of Virginia

60% of MS in Biology graduates gained employment in their field. Some examples include:

  • Conemaugh Valley Conservancy
  • Cornell University
  • Harvard-Wyss Institute
  • Interspace Diagnostics
  • Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
  • Penn State University
  • Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
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Classes and Requirements

Thesis track students are encouraged to identify a research mentor before the first semester begins but, if needed, you can also do this once you've arrived. In your first year, you'll take courses in experimental design, professional development, and courses related to your interest. Thesis track students will begin working on their thesis research with the help of their faculty mentors.

In your second year, you'll take classes and continue performing research. Thesis track students will enroll in Thesis Research (6 credits) while non-thesis students will enroll in an Independent Study (3 credits).

Full Academic Catalog Listing

The course catalog is the official reference for all our degree and course offerings. Check it out for a full listing of the classes available and requirements for this degree.

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Research Opportunities

The majority of our faculty members conduct lab and/or field research, while also helping graduate student research projects.

Across IUP's faculty members there are a diverse set of options for research, so you'll have access to a variety of enriching topics. Research in our department includes:

  • Behavior and neurophysiology of songbirds
  • Circadian rhythm and addiction
  • Circadian rhythm in mice and planaria
  • Conservation of freshwater ecosystems
  • Conservation of threatened and endangered species
  • Eco-evolutionary responses of organisms
  • Ecology of insects and ticks
  • Evolutionary biology of dinosaurs
  • Forest management and restoration
  • Impact of science experiences on student engagement
  • Invasive plant impact on insect populations
  • Kidney development and regeneration
  • Neotropical amphibians and reptiles
  • Origins and early evolution of mammals
  • Plant-microbe interactions and fungal genetics
  • Population dynamics and community ecology
  • Songbird ecology and conservation
  • Tissue regeneration in planaria

Student Resources

Biology students have access to IUP's generous student resources to support their studies and improve their experiences on and off campus.

  • Animal facility housing zebrafish, zebra finch, and mice
  • Gel docs
  • Graduate Student Society
  • Herbarium
  • NanoDrop
  • Real-time PCR
  • Research funding
  • State-of-the-art microscope facility funded by NSF
  • Student scholarships
  • Writing center

Nearby Research Resources

IUP is well located to access rural and natural areas across Pennsylvania.

University Facilities

  • College Farm
  • College Lodge
  • South Woods

State and County Properties

  • Blue Spruce County Park
  • Crooked Creek Environmental Learning Center (Army Core of Engineers Nature Preserve)
  • Yellow Creek State Park

National Parks and Properties

  • Allegheny National Forest
  • Flight 93 Memorial