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Degree Programs in Biology, Microbiology, & Biochemistry

Undergraduate Degrees   |   Graduate Degrees   |   Interdisciplinary Degrees   |   Minor Options

ISU Panorama. Photo by Chuck Peterson.

The mission of the Department of Biological Sciences is to promote learning and discovery in the life sciences through high-quality public education and research. We offer undergraduate and graduate degrees in biology, microbiology, and biochemistry. We also offer, in conjunction with the College of Education, a B.A. or B.S. in Elementary Education with a 20 credit Biology Endorsement and a B.A. or B.S. in Secondary Education with a Biological Sciences 30 or 20 credit Endorsement.  If you have questions about the degree programs offered by our department, please contact us and refer to our Frequently Asked Questions.

Graduate Degrees in Biology & Microbiology

The Department of Biological Sciences graduate degree programs were designed to offer a challenging, high-quality, and valuable graduate experience that prepares graduates for 21st Century careers in the life sciences. Students admitted into any of our six graduate degree programs have various funding opportunities that will further prepare them for their future careers.

For additional information regarding our graduate programs or to discuss the availability of financial support for graduate students, please contact the chair of the Graduate Education Committee.

  1. Ph.D.Biology
  2. Ph.D.Microbiology
  3. D.A.Biology
  4. M.S.Biology
  5. M.S.Microbiology
  6. B.S./M.S.Biology

 Apply for our Graduate Degree Programs

  1. Identify a Faculty Advisor and funding.
  2. Complete the Graduate Application Process.
  3. Contact our department once your application materials have been submitted through the Graduate Application Process.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Biology


The Doctor of Philosophy in Biology degree is designed to prepare graduates for careers in the biological sciences, working in academia, industry, and government research labs.  The Ph.D. degree is offered in areas consistent with professor expertise. This degree is granted for proven ability, independent investigation, and scholarly attainment in a special field. It is primarily a research degree and is not granted solely on the completion of a certain number of credits. There is not a fixed total credit requirement for this degree. Credits for the dissertation and the research upon which it is based should comprise a substantial portion of the program and involve original work. It is understood that the research for and writing of the dissertation will require the equivalent of at least one year of full-time work.

To prepare for admission to the program familiarize yourself with the:

  1. Degree requirements found in the course catalog​, 
  2. Graduate School admission requirements for doctoral programs, and
  3. our departmental Timelines & Benchmarks for Ph.D. programs.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Microbiology


The Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology degree is designed to prepare graduates for careers in the biological sciences, working in academia, industry, and government research labs.  The Ph.D. degree is offered in areas consistent with professor expertise. This degree is granted for proven ability, independent investigation, and scholarly attainment in a special field.

To prepare for admission to the program familiarize yourself with the:

  1. Degree requirements found in the course catalog​, 
  2. Graduate School admission requirements for doctoral programs, and
  3. our departmental Timelines & Benchmarks for Ph.D. programs.

Doctor of Arts (D.A.) in Biology


The Doctor of Arts in Biology stresses preparation for undergraduate teaching at colleges and universities and the development of research abilities that complement instruction at the college level. The program is designed to provide the student with a broad background in the biological sciences, the ability to conduct and interpret research, and excellent pedagogical skills. All D.A. students are eligible for D.A. Fellowship support, which includes full tuition, benefits, and a stipend (contact the biology graduate programs director for details). The  D.A. in Biology is a terminal degree that produces graduates who are both excellent instructors and knowledgeable biologists. Scholars who graduate with a D.A. in Biology are exceptionally prepared to design and teach a variety of Biology courses at the college level and have practiced doing so throughout the course of the program. D.A. Graduates in Biology have a better than 95% success rate at attaining faculty positions at colleges and universities throughout the country.

To prepare for admission to the program familiarize yourself with the:

  1. General D.A. in Biology information,
  2. Degree requirements found in the course catalog​, 
  3. Graduate School admission requirements for doctoral programs, and
  4. our departmental Timelines & Benchmarks for D.A. programs.

Master of Science (M.S.) in Biology


The Master of Science (M.S.) in Biology degree is designed to enable students to develop an advanced understanding of the biological sciences and the capability to teach or conduct biological research. Programs are flexible and can be tailored to satisfy the professional and goals of each student, preparing students for careers in industry or for advanced study in the life and health sciences. 

To prepare for admission to the program familiarize yourself with the:

  1. Degree requirements found in the course catalog​, 
  2. Graduate School admission requirements for other programs, and
  3. our departmental Timelines & Benchmarks for M.S. programs.

Master of Science (M.S.) in Microbiology


The intent of the Microbiology M.S. program is to produce scientists with the ability to conduct independent research and to be fluent in the scientific literature. As a terminal degree, the Master of Science in Microbiology qualifies students for technical research positions in academia, industry and government research facilities. It also prepares students to progress into doctoral programs in Microbiology and related areas.

To prepare for admission to the program familiarize yourself with the:

  1. Degree requirements found in the course catalog​, 
  2. Graduate School admission requirements for other programs, and
  3. our departmental Timelines & Benchmarks for M.S. programs.

Bachelor of Science/Master of Science (B.S./M.S.) in Biology


The goal of the B.S./M.S. in Biology  is to allow academically strong students to begin work towards an M.S. degree after completing their Junior year. This will allow students to complete an M.S. degree, as well as a B.S. degree, with only one additional year in school. It prepares students for careers in science and for graduate programs in the life sciences.

  1. General B.S./M.S. in Biology information,
  2. Degree requirements found in the course catalog​, and
  3. Graduate School admission requirements for other programs.

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