University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Biology

Accelerated Master's Program in Biology

What do I major in?

Incoming students are often unsure which major to pursue (especially difficult may be the decision to pursue the BA or BS degree). Therefore, we recommend that such students initially begin with the Biology BA degree program. Students can easily switch anytime during their first several semesters with the aid of their academic advisors.


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. The M.S. can typically be earned in one additional year.

Following formal admission to the Accelerated Master's Program, up to six credits of subsequent course work approved for graduate credit taken in the junior and senior year can be counted toward the degree requirement. Courses must be selected from among the approved courses at this site:

The student takes the double counting courses as a "graduate student" for graduate credit - i.e. does extra work and needs to tell the instructor about this.

How To Apply To The AMP Program

AMP students are eligible to apply to the program in their junior year of undergraduate study, for admission in their senior year. Students are strongly encouraged to apply in the fall semester of their junior year. The admissions criteria are similar to those for regular graduate students. Although we do not maintain strict cutoffs, we look for GRE scores typically in the upper half of students taking the exam, an undergraduate GPA typically above 3.1 with a GPA in biology courses above 3.3. We also require a focused, well-written statement of purpose, strong letters of recommendation from our faculty, and interest and willingness on the part of a particular faculty member to serve as an advisor.

In the junior year, the prospective AMP student will also select 6 credits of coursework that will count towards both the bacherlor’s degree and the MS. These courses must be taken AFTER the student has applied and been accepted into the program, typically in the fall and spring of the senior year.

Beyond these six double-counted credits, an additional graduate-level course— taken before the bachelor’s degree is completed— may be used for the master’s, provided the course does not also count toward the bachelor’s degree. In all cases, students must be admitted by the Graduate College before taking any courses that will apply to the master’s degree, i.e., all courses used for the master’s degree must be taken after formal admission to the AMP. AMP students may not receive fellowship or assistantship funding prior to completion of the bachelor’s degree.

For more general information on the UVM accelerated master’s program, visit:

To apply for the AMP, use the general application form for the master’s program at UVM:

Specific Requirements

Requirements for Admission to Graduate Studies for the Degree of Master of Science for Accelerated Master's Students

To be eligible for the Accelerated Master’s Program, a student must be a declared biological science, zoology, neuroscience or environmental science B.S. major, and have identified a Biology faculty sponsor. Other requirements include a GPA typically higher than 3.10 overall and 3.30 in biology courses. Following admission students are required to take at least three credits of undergraduate research, usually in their senior year. After graduation with the B.S. degree, students are eligible to become candidates for the M.S. degree.

Minimum Degree Requirements

Nine or more additional course credits in biology and related fields; thesis research (up to fifteen credits); and successful defense of thesis.

Comprehensive Examination

The comprehensive examination must be taken by the end of the second semester as a matriculated graduate student for students admitted under the accelerated program. The examination will cover broad knowledge of the student's discipline. The details and format of the examination and its form (written or oral or both) are decided upon by the studies committee and will be discussed with the student well in advance of the exam.

Requirements for Advancement to Candidacy for the Degree of Master of Science

Satisfactory completion of a qualifying examination.


Last modified November 10 2015 10:50 AM