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Master of Science in Biology

WKU Biology

WKU offers three distinct pathways for you to expand your knowledge of biological sciences, allowing you the freedom to choose the option that works best for you!

  • Biology M.S., Non-thesis Option: This 100% online degree provides advanced training in Biology, while expanding opportunities in teaching, research and public service. 
  • Biology M.S., Thesis Option: This on-campus option is taught in Bowling Green. Students may complete all courses face-to-face (F2F) or take a combination of F2F and web courses. 
  • Graduate Certificate in Biology: This 100% online graduate certificate requires 15 credit hours, and may be counted toward the master's in biology or earned as a stand-alone credential. 

Choose Your Pathway

Biology Non-Thesis Option, 100% Online Biology Thesis Option, Delivered On Campus Graduate Certificate in Biology, 100% Online

Benefits of Program

  • Two online options, allowing you the flexibility you need as a professional 
  • Allows opportunities for customization around the areas most relevant to your goals
  • Courses are available online every term, including summers
  • No out of state tuition is ever charged

The minimum requirements for acceptance are as follows:

  • A bachelor’s degree in Biology from a regionally accredited college or university.
    • Exceptions may be made for students with undergraduate degrees in biology- related areas.
    • Examples include, but are not limited to the following: agriculture, bioinformatics, biotechnology, botany, ecology, evolution, horticulture, microbiology, natural resource management, zoology. However, additional courses may be required and will be determined by the student's graduate advisor.
  • 3.0 GPA (on a 4.0 Scale)
  • Application and Fee
  • Official copy of Transcript(s)
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Letters of Reference
  • Applicants who hold teacher certification or have a statement of eligibility for certification, must submit a current copy. 
  • The GRE IS required for admission into this program.
    • GRE general score (quantitative + verbal) ≥300 for students who took the GRE after August 2011
    • GRE general score (quantitative + verbal) ≥1050 for students who took the GRE prior to August 2011
    • Analytical writing score of at least 3.5.
    • If the GRE has not been taken previously, exam scores from the MCAT (≥24) or DAT (≥16) may be substituted.

Application Process

1. Apply for admission

  • Visit the WKU Online Admission Page for more information.
    • There is a $65 application fee.
  • Complete the WKU Domestic and International Graduate Application
    • Under Planned Course of Study Section, Choose:
      • Category of Study >>> Masters
      • Planned Course of Study >>> Biology (056)

2. Submit Required Materials:

    • Request at least one official transcript showing the completed degree from accredited institutions other than WKU.
    • The transcript must be forwarded from the college or university registrar electronically or directly to the Graduate School. 
    • Send your official transcripts from each college attended to Graduate Admissions. 
      • You may request electronic transcripts through the National Student Clearinghouse. This speeds up the admissions process considerably. If your school is not listed with the Clearinghouse, please contact them directly to see if they have another process in place for electronic submissions or request that an official copy be sent by mail.
    • Submit an official GRE score report taken within the last 5 years.
    • The Statement of Purpose (SOP) is critical and a strong component for acceptance into the MS in biology program.
    • Submit a well-written SOP describing why the degree is important using the following guidelines:
      • The SOP must specify that applicant is applying to the online M.S. in Biology non-thesis option. 
      • The SOP should have a clear vision of why the degree is important, especially in terms of career development, academic and career interests.
      • The SOP should also summarize relevant past experiences. 
    • Essay Information may be emailed to graduate.school@wku.edu

Deadlines for Admission Applications & Transcripts 

  • Fall Semester: July 1st
  • Spring Semester: December 1st
  • Summer Term: Varies dependent upon course schedule/course start dates

Please note: These are not the same dates listed as application deadlines for the Graduate School. Deadlines for the Graduate School are simply for processing time, without consideration to space available, specifically, in the MS or MAE in Biology programs.
Those interested in applying, but unsure if they meet minimum requirements should talk with the advisor for the program. The advisor for the online master’s is Dr. Chandrakanth Emani. He can be reached by email at chandrakanth.emani@wku.edu or by phone at 270-852-6406.

Both thesis and non-thesis options require students to complete a minimum of 30 hours of coursework and have a supervised research experience. The two programs differ in number of courses required and the emphasis on research.

The M.S. in Biology program offers thesis and non-thesis plans.  Thesis options (Plan A) comprise Biology, Biochemistry, and Environmental Science.  Non-thesis options (Plan B) comprise online, traditional in- residence, and Peace Corps Master's International (32 hours required for both the M.S. in Biology and Graduate Certificate in Organizational Leadership).

Required Core Courses (8 hours)

  • BIOL 500: Introduction to Graduate Studies and Research in Biology (First Year) (3 hours)
  • BIOL 598: Graduate Seminar (Completed  in Final Term) (2 hours) 
  • BIOL 516: Investigations/Biology (3 hours)

Selected Elective Courses (22 Hours)

In addition to courses outlines above, students must complete at least 22 hours of elective courses. Online courses may be selected with advisor approval from the list below: 

  • Potential elective courses can be reviewed HERE.

Please note the following as you plan your program of study:

  • Additional course options are available on campus. Please click HERE to see the full schedule of classes.
  • Students may transfer up to 12 hours from another graduate program or institution to fulfill program requirements (if courses meet transfer requirements and advisor approval).
  • For more information on the face-to-face, thesis option, please click HERE

General Eligibility

Financial Aid includes grants and loans for educational purposes. The government requires the student to file a form online to the government agency for this purpose which is called FAFSA at www.fafsa.ed.gov  to apply. Once that form is completed and filed, the student will receive an email from WKU about the status. All financial aid comes through the WKU Student Financial Aid office and they communicate mostly through email. The email will explain all the grants and/or loans that are available to the student and how to receive the money.

Nearly all students are eligible for some form of financial assistance. In fact, over 90% of the students who applied for financial aid in recent years received an award offer. Every effort is made to assist you and your family in obtaining the resources necessary to meet the difference between the total cost of attending Western Kentucky University and your ability to contribute toward your education.

If you would like to apply for financial assistance (loans, grants, scholarships, veteran's benefits) the first step is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at fafsa.ed.gov. Please refer to the Financial Aid Guide for additional information and complete instructions.

Please keep in mind, student must maintain satisfactory academic progress to continue to qualify for financial aid. For additional information on receiving, and keeping your financial aid, please refer to the WKU Financial Aid website to review the complete policy on Satisfactory Academic Progress at wku.edu/financialaid/sap.php.

Eligibility for On Demand

On Demand courses may also be covered by financial aid if the student has met basic eligibility requirements and has a current FAFSA on file. Students must fill out an On Demand Agreement found on the WKU Financial Assistance website. Students receiving financial aid must complete their course(s) in the current semester. For more information please contact the Student Financial Assistance office at (270) 745-2755.

Veterans and Active Military

All college courses offered by On Demand have been approved for veterans and other persons eligible under the provisions of the GI Bill. Each student must assume the responsibility for submitting the proper forms to assure payment of appropriate entitlements. Please contact the Veterans Coordinator in Student Financial Assistance.

Academic Department

Online Non-Thesis Option Program Advisor: Dr. Jarrett Johnson
Phone: (270) 745-3696

Campus Thesis Option Program  Advisor: Dr. Carl Dick
Email: carl.dick@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-2043
Website: wku.edu/biology/staff/index.php?memberid=759

WKU Online

Email: learn.online@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-5173
Toll-Free: (888) 4WKUWEB / (888) 495-8932
Website: wku.edu/online 

The Graduate School

Email: graduate.school@wku.edu
Phone: (270) 745-2446
Website: wku.edu/graduate 

For more information about this program, fill out the form below.

Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 9/14/20