Student examines the contents of a test tube

Our program is defined by excellent students, dedicated faculty advisors and superb staff. We will work with you to design a set of courses, a research project or other activities that will prepare you for your career in academic, medical or private sector research; government work; or teaching at the baccalaureate level.

Regardless of your career goals, we'll help you develop as a research scientist and network and find the right position for your next step. All of our students learn to teach undergraduates, so you will hone your teaching skills which will serve you well, even if teaching is not your ultimate career goal. 

Our Programs

The M.S. and Ph.D. programs in biology are geared to the needs and interests of each individual student. Graduate students may be admitted to work with a specific faculty sponsor, or may choose to rotate through appropriate laboratories to identify a faculty sponsor. Upon arrival, incoming graduate students take a diagnostic examination in four major subject areas. Based on the results, faculty work with each student to map out the first year's course work. During that first year, graduate students interact with faculty and other students to further define their areas of interest.

Typically, the student has chosen a studies committee, identified a major advisor, and started work on a thesis topic by the end of his/her first year. Later in the student's tenure, a written comprehensive examination compiled by the studies committee must be completed. Finally, a written thesis must be submitted and defended before the Thesis Defense Committee.

Ph.D. Requirements

A total of 75 hours, including six graduate colloquia, must be completed. Biology offers graduate courses in ecology, evolutionary biology, animal behavior, physiology, cell biology, genetics and development. Our graduate students typically take courses offered by other departments, such as biochemistry and statistics. In addition to formal course work, all students must spend at least one semester as a teaching fellow. Learn more about Ph.D. program requirements.

Master's of Science Requirements

Four hours of biology graduate colloquia and 26 additional hours of course work and thesis research. In addition to formal course work, all students must spend at least one semester as a teaching fellow.

Master's of Science for Teachers (M.S.T.) Requirements

A bachelor's degree from an accredited institution and certification as a teacher of biology or an associated field. At least three years of secondary school teaching. Satisfactory scores on the Graduate Record Examination, general (aptitude) section. Thirty hours of course work to include a selection of courses in the Departments of Botany and Biology which will broaden and balance the undergraduate work in biology. At least two 200-level courses in each department. Courses in four of the five following areas: anatomy; morphology and systematics; genetics; developmental biology; and environmental biology. Up to 12 hours of 100-level courses may be used for the above requirements where approved by the advisor and the Dean. Appropriate courses in related science departments may be used to complete the required 30 hours. No thesis is required; however, each degree recipient must complete a written and oral examination. Learn more about the M.S.T. program.

Accelerated Master's Program (AMP) in Biology

An accelerated master's degree in biology can be earned in a shortened time by careful planning in the junior and senior years of undergraduate work. Biology, zoology, neuroscience, or environmental science B.S. majors should discuss this possibility with the department’s graduate program director as soon as they think they might be interested in the program. Learn more about our AMP.

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Living in Burlington

Burlington, Vt. is no ordinary place to live; It is a thriving, picturesque city where standards of student and family quality of life have been applauded by Outside Magazine, Self and The Princeton Review, thanks to a thriving arts scene, a progressive culture of firsts, and a bustling economy. Learn more about Burlington, Vt.