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Biology, MS

Master of Science in Biology

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Program Intro

Enjoy a rich academic environment in our Biology, MS program with both thesis and non-thesis options. If you have a passion for research and intend to apply to Ph.D. programs, the thesis option is for you. If you plan to pursue a professional career, explore the non-thesis option.

Department of Biological Sciences

Whether you plan on entering a professional school, Ph.D. program, or today’s job market, our dedicated and accomplished faculty are committed to your future success. Students in research present at national and international meetings, publish in peer-reviewed journals and enjoy successful, fulfilling professional careers in many subdisciplines of biology.

Curriculum Overview

As a Biology, MS student, you are required to form a graduate advisory committee and develop a plan of study. Non-thesis students complete 30 credits of coursework and take an exit exam.

For the thesis option, at least 15 credits of 50000 or above levels must be in formal biology courses. To total at least 30 credits, the remaining credits should be taken in a research MS thesis course with an appropriate faculty member.

You can currently complete this degree at PNW’s Hammond campus.

In your first year, you will complete 15 credits of course work. If you plan to submit a thesis, you should write a thesis proposal and begin your research.

See the Full Course of Study

At least 15 credits of 50000 or above levels must be in formal biology courses. Only A or B grades are accepted.


  • BIOL 59500 – Special Assignments
  • BIOL 59700 – Sex and Evolution
  • BIOL 60100 – Graduate Seminar

Non-thesis students will complete 15 credits of course work and take an exit exam.

See the Full Course of Study

To total at least 30 credits, thesis students will take BIOL 69800 Research MS Thesis with an appropriate faculty member and submit and defend their thesis. Only S grades are accepted.


  • BIOL 54401 – Epigenetics
  • BIOL 56600 – Developmental Biology
  • BIOL 69800 – Research MS Thesis


Your master’s journey at PNW will feature indoor and outdoor laboratory experiences, faculty-supervised research opportunities and small class sizes that promote close relationships with your instructors. You’ll also enjoy opportunities to present thesis work at national and international research conferences, as well as publish peer-reviewed research papers with faculty. You’ll also be able to offset your tuition/fees with graduate teaching assistantships.

PNW Lion Statue with a brick wall in the background Two students pose in commencement regalia in front of the Nils Building


You’ll gain in-depth knowledge in biological sciences and master vital skills in critical thinking, science communication, and problem solving.


MS in Biology students can offset their educational expenses with graduate teaching assistantships.

Beyond the Classroom

As a biology grad student, you’re encouraged to:

  • Participate in departmental events and the Science Olympiad
  • Write research grants
  • Pursue internships
  • Actively engage with the research community

Career Paths

Graduates of this program are poised to pursue the following paths:

  • Professional and Ph.D. programs
  • Biology instructor
  • Research scientist
  • Field ecologist
  • Natural science manager


Master of Science in Biology alumni are employed at:

  • Hospital clinical and research laboratories
  • University research laboratories
  • Food and environmental testing laboratories
  • National Park Service
  • Environmental Protection Agency
Chioma Anokwute is pictured.

My experience at PNW was unique in that professors loved teaching, they encouraged students to be engaged in the classroom and I was being given the support I needed in my pursuit of admission to dental school. I was accepted into dental school and have no doubt in my mind that the Master’s program in biological sciences fully prepared me for my next phase of dental school.

Chioma Anokwute, ’21

I chose PNW because of its flexible program. The professors are very active and accessible. Their courses are challenging with a focus on current developments and techniques. Furthermore, the financial support allowed me to graduate debt free.

Cody Williams
Biology, MS, medical student at Indiana University of Medicine
Munster, Indiana

The 500-level classes are small and interactive. The lab classes prepare you to perform basic laboratory and research techniques. I learned so much from my research project as well as from my experiences as a graduate teaching assistant.

Jasmine Hopkins
Biology, BS, Ph.D. student in Biological Sciences at University of Illinois at Chicago

PNW scientist Lindsey Gielda

One of the powerful things about research, especially in the sciences, is that engaging with faculty members in research projects really allows students to apply knowledge that they’re learning in the classroom.”

Dr. Lindsay Gielda, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Meet the Faculty

J. Curtis Creighton, Ph.D.

J. Curtis Creighton, Ph.D.

Interim Chair, Biological Sciences; Professor of Biological Sciences

Research in my lab addresses questions related to the evolution of behavior. Specifically, I combine both laboratory and field experiments to test hypotheses related to how the social environment influences life history evolution.

Scott T. Bates, Ph.D.

Scott T. Bates, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

Scott Bates is currently an assistant professor on PNW’s Westville campus, whose foci include bioinformatics, microbial ecology, microbiology and mycology. His research seeks to harness the power of modern molecular methods to broadly investigate how assemblages of microbes function in their environment.

Radmila Sarac Stanic

Radmila Sarac Stanic, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Biological Sciences

Radmila Stanic is an associate professor of biological sciences. Her research and teaching focus on cellular physiology, animal physiology and molecular biology.

Three students stand together wearing white lab coats and blue, plastic gloves. The student in the middle is holding a petri dish in the air.

Take the Next Step

Our graduate studies staff is ready to help you take the next step! Contact us at (219) 989-2257 or to see how PNW’s flexible programs can meet your needs.