Master of Biological Sciences

Kanut Laoharawee in front of molecule sculpture
  • Level: Graduate
  • Credits: 30 
  • Cost: Tuition $1,477/credit (resident/nonresident) plus fees
  • Degree Options:  Plan B (research project) or Plan C (coursework only)
  • Schedule: Attend part-time or full-time

The Master of Biological Sciences (MBS) is a unique, individualized graduate program designed to meet the needs of working adults seeking to advance their expertise in a particular area of modern biology.

The MBS is:

  • Flexible—You can pursue either Plan B (research project) or Plan C (coursework only).
  • Multidisciplinary—You can select among courses offered by multiple colleges within the University, including the College of Biological Sciences, the Academic Health Center, the College of Food, Agriculture and Natural Resource Sciences, and the College of Continuing Education.
  • Career-focused—You can design a program of coursework and directed research tailored to your specific professional or academic goals.

Admission

Fall Semester Application Deadline | March 15

Spring Semester Application Deadline | October 15

Admission to the Master of Biological Sciences program is competitive, and all applications are reviewed holistically by committee to ensure a good fit for academic success. Notification of admission decisions is made within four to six weeks of the application deadline.

We encourage you to talk with an adviser prior to submitting an application. They can help you decide how the MBS might fit with our background, professional goals, and schedule.

The following items are required for admission:

  • a bachelor's degree from an accredited post-secondary US institution, or its foreign equivalent
  • a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0*
  • an undergraduate major in science or significant science coursework at the undergraduate or graduate level
  • completion of chemistry and organic chemistry
  • two years of experience in the workforce*

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is not required.

* In exceptional circumstances, promising applicants with lower GPA or less work experience may be considered for the program. An explanation for GPA, and evidence that academic success at the graduate level is achievable, must be addressed in the application (extenuating circumstances).

Transferring Credits

You may be allowed to transfer up to 12 credits of previous graduate-level coursework (credits must appear on a graduate transcript) from other institutions and the University of Minnesota, as determined by the MBS Director of Graduate Studies.

  1. First, access the online application.
  2. For the question “What is your proposed major and degree objective?” choose: Biological Science; M Bio Sci under “Twin Cities Campus Programs.”
  3. All required application materials must be electronically attached to your application.

Applicant Statements

  • Statement 1: Your personal statement (typically one to two pages, double-spaced) should describe your personal and/or career goals.
  • Statement 2: This statement is optional.
  • Extenuating Circumstances: If your undergraduate GPA is below 3.0 or you have less work experience, you must provide an explanation.

Letters of Recommendation

Two letters of recommendation are required. Letters should be solicited from individuals who can provide a candid assessment of your abilities (including strengths and weaknesses), personality, character, and potential for graduate-level academic success and professional achievement. 

Transcripts

Unofficial transcripts or academic records for each institution (even if you didn’t receive a degree) should be uploaded directly to the online application. International students should also upload an English translation if the transcript is not in English. If possible, make sure the institution has put your name on the transcript/record.

Resume or CV

Submit a current resume or CV.

GRE Scores

The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is not required.

Application Fee

A nonrefundable application fee of $75 ($95 for international) must be paid on submission. 

If your native language is not English, please submit scores from the TOEFL, MELAB, or IELTS English proficiency examination. Read more about required scores.

  • Required TOEFL scores are 84 or above, with section scores of at least 21 on writing and at least 19 on reading.
  • Required IELTS score is 6.5, with section scores of at least 6.5 for both on writing and reading.
  • Required MELAB score is 84.

International students interested in the Master of Biological Sciences should contact the International Student and Scholar Service for information on visa status.

How to Register for Undergraduate Courses to Satisfy Prerequisites

  1. Download and submit a Registration/Cancel Form. Registration for non-admitted students is not available online.
  2. Send the form to the department offering the courses for authorization, if required. This form must be used each term until you are admitted to a graduate program.
  3. Ask the department if they will forward your form to the registrar upon authorization.
  4. Check your email and mail for confirmation and payment instructions.

How to Register for Graduate-level Courses BEFORE Being Admitted to a Graduate Program

Credit courses taken before admission may be applied toward this degree. You can take a graduate-level course before being admitted if:

  • the course is graduate-level (4xxx-level or above), and
  • you register for credit as a non-admitted graduate student and pay graduate-level tuition.

Follow these steps to register:

  1. Download and submit a Registration Request for Graduate Credit for Nondegree Students Form. Registration for unadmitted students is not available online.
  2. Send the form to the department offering the courses for authorization. This form must be used each term until you are admitted to a program.
  3. Upon authorization, the department offering the graduate course will forward the form to the registrar or provide you with further instructions.
  4. You will receive confirmation and payment instructions by email.

More information can be found on the One Stop page for unadmitted students.

To view course descriptions, visit the University Catalog.

To view course details (date, time, instructor, etc.), use the Class Search.

Courses

In the Master of Biological Sciences, you can choose from a wide range of courses offered at the University of Minnesota to fulfill your degree plan. Course work may come from multiple colleges within the U of M, including the College of Biological Sciences; the Academic Health Center; the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; and the College of Continuing Education.

Plan B is for students interested in an intensive research experience in a particular area of the biological sciences under the direction of a faculty member. Completion requirements include a paper and an oral defense of the project. This option is recommended for students interested in a research-based career or in pursuing an advanced degree in a PhD or professional program.

Requirements

Introductory Course

APS 8001 Introduction to Research in the Biological Sciences (1 cr, offered fall and spring)

Foundation Courses*

BIOC 6021 Biochemistry or equivalent (3 cr, offered every semester)

and

One course in at least two of the following areas: Molecular Biosciences, Cellular and Organismal Biology, Environmental and Population Biology

Individualized Concentration Courses

Students, in consultation with their adviser, will select courses in their area of concentration within the biological sciences.

To view available courses using the Class Schedule, search for courses with subject designators such as: APS, BIOC, BIOL, EEB, GCD, MICA, and NSC. Many additional courses are available under other subject designators.

Elective Courses

Students can select up to 6 credits of coursework in biology or other fields that support the student’s degree program.

Bioethics

Students can complete the bioethics requirement with a for-credit or noncredit course.

Final Project Course

APS 8002 Final Project (3 cr, offered every semester)

Students will carry out their research project under the direction of a faculty mentor.

Final Oral Exam

Students will defend their Plan B project with a three-member committee.

*Foundation course credit requirements, including BIOC 6021, may be waived or substituted if the student can show proficiency in the subject area. If waived, the credit requirement will be earned in concentration or elective courses.

To view course descriptions, visit the University Catalog.

To view course details (date, time, instructor, etc.), use the Class Search.

Plan C is an option for students seeking up-to-date, graduate-level knowledge in one or more areas of the biological sciences but who do not need research experience to reach their career goals. This option also benefits working professionals who face scheduling obstacles and are not able to fit an intensive project into their degree program.

Requirements

Introductory Course

APS 8001 Introduction to Research in the Biological Sciences (1 cr, offered fall and spring)

Foundation Courses*

BIOC 6021 Biochemistry or equivalent (3 cr, offered every semester)

and

One course in at least two of the following areas: Molecular Biosciences, Cellular and Organismal Biology, Environmental and Population Biology

Individualized Concentration Courses

Students, in consultation with their adviser, will select courses in their area of concentration within the biological sciences.

To review available courses using the Class Schedule, search for courses with subject designators such as: APS, BIOC, BIOL, EEB, GCD, MICA, and NSC. Many additional courses are available under other subject designators.

Elective Courses

Students can select up to 6 credits of coursework in biology or other fields that support the student’s degree program.

Graduate Seminar Course

APS 8110 Graduate Seminar Series (1 cr, offered every semester)

Students will attend and evaluate professional seminars in the biological sciences in their area of interest.

Bioethics

Students can complete the bioethics requirement with a for-credit or noncredit course.

Capstone Course

APS 8003 Capstone Course (3 cr, offered every semester)

In this course, students will write an intensive capstone paper that will be presented and defended in front of their peers and the program staff. Students will take this course in their final term.

*Foundation course credit requirements, including BIOC 6021, may be waived or substituted if the student can show proficiency in the subject area. If waived, the credit requirement will be earned in concentration or elective courses.

To view course descriptions, visit the University Catalog.

To view course details (date, time, instructor, etc.), use the Class Search.

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Contact Us

612-624-4000 or 800-234-6564 | cceinfo@umn.edu

20 Ruttan Hall, 1994 Buford Ave, Saint Paul, MN 

In-Person Hours: Monday-Thursday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Phone Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.