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

General Information

Approved by the Undergraduate Education Committee: 21 August 2006

The goal of this option is to allow academically  strong students to begin work towards an M.S. degree after completing the Junior year. This will allow these students to complete an M.S.  degree, as well as a BS degree, with only one additional year in school.   Students who pursue this option are required to complete all of the graduation requirements  for a B.S. degree in the Department of Biological Sciences. That degree will be awarded when  those requirements are met, typically at the end of the 4th  year. In completing the graduation requirements for a B.S. degree, these student s should have met all of the coursework requirements for admission to our M.S. program.  

Students who pursue this option will be admitted to the Graduate Program after completing the  Junior year. Admission is contingent on meeting the existing GPA  requirement (in this case, a  GPA  >  3.0 for the Sophomore and Junior years), and earning scores on the GRE that meet the  Department requirement ( >  35 percentile on Verbal and Quantitative sections of the general  GRE exam). Admission to the Graduate Program is  on a conditional basis,  with the following  conditions: 

  1. The student will complete the B.S. degree,  which would normally be awarded at the end of the 4th  year.  
  2. The student will present his/her senior  thesis research project at the ISU Undergraduate Research Symposium. 

Students who pursue this option must meet all of the existing requirements for a M.S. degree  in the Department of Biological Sciences.  

Note: During the Senior year, when the student  would be admitted to  the Graduate School on  a conditional basis, the student would still be  a full time undergraduate student. As a full time  undergraduate student, the ability of the student to receive financial aid should not be  compromised because of their conditional graduate  status. Upon finishing the B.S. degree, the  student would become a classified graduate student, removing any barrier to financial aid that  might result from a conditional status.

Proposed Timeline

This is meant only as an example, not a required sequence of classes. The proposal seminar (BIOL 692) is the only course that must be taken during the spring semester of the Senior year.

Summer following Junior Year

Student applies to graduate program as conditional student
Research Credits (BIOL 581) 2 cr

Senior Year

Graduate Credits (coursework or research) 3 cr
Proposal Seminar (BIOL 692) 1 cr (spring - REQUIRED)
Senior Thesis (BIOL 493) 3 cr
Present at Undergraduate Research Symposium
Summer following Senior Year
Thesis (BIOL 650) 2 cr

Fifth Year

Thesis (BIOL 650) 4 cr (2 Fall, 2 Spring)
Graduate Credits 18 cr (9 Fall, 9 Spring)
Total Credits (> 30, including 650, 691, 692 and two additional 600-level classes)
Research (BIOL 581) 2-5
Thesis (BIOL 650) 6
Proposal Seminar (BIOS 692) 1
Other 500-600 level credits 18 - 21


This assumes that the student would have coursework in each of the core areas (Cell biology, Genetics, Ecology, Evolution, Physiology, and Organismal biology) as part of the undergraduate degree program, or as part of the graduate credits taken in the 5th year.

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