Program Type
Master’s Program
Master of Science (MS)
Mode of Study
In person

Tuition & fees

Costs include tuition & fees. See cost details

Credit hours

30-32 required credit hours. Most courses are equal to 3 credit hours. Browse course list

Financial aid

Over 150 graduate assistantships available with stipend & tuition assistance, plus scholarship, fellowship & research opportunities. Explore aid


No GRE required. Apply by February 1 for fall, by October 15 for spring. View application process & deadlines

Program highlights

  • Prepare for a career in research or for a teaching position in higher education — or choose to continue graduate studies and earn a Ph.D. or M.D.
  • Work closely with faculty to produce high-quality work that is often presented at national conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Gain real-world, hands-on experience at nearby research facilities and field sites.
  • Learn the skills for creative scientific inquiry, including the evaluation of scientific literature, experimental design, field-based research, and the writing of a publishable scientific paper.
  • Complete a research-based, faculty-mentored thesis and present it at a public seminar.
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Program requirements

This program is designed to meet the needs of students who want to gain lab and field experience for a competitive employment edge or want to teach at the secondary, community college, or technical college levels. It is also appropriate for students who want to further pursue scholarship and earn a PhD or MD.

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Experiential learning

Gain real-world experience at nearby facilities and field sites, including the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Biodiversity Research Institute, Massabesic Experimental Forest, Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, and more.

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Well-rounded faculty

All full-time faculty members hold a PhD and conduct research in their discipline area, which includes animal behavior, animal development, functional biology, genetics, immunology, marine ecology, microbiology, neurobiology, and plant ecology.

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Graduate student support

Our Office of Graduate Studies connects you with opportunities for professional development, scholarships, and graduate assistantships. They also foster our graduate student community through Peer Mentorship and the Graduate Student Board.

Browse resources
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Innovative research equipment

You’ll have access to advanced cell imaging and molecular biology equipment, constant temperature lighted growth chambers, liquid scintillation counters for radioisotope work, and more.

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Scholarship opportunities

Scholarships offer financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid. We encourage students in graduate degree programs to apply for scholarship opportunities.

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Connect with us

Our monthly Graduate Information Sessions are an excellent way to learn more about the benefits of our program, as well as our admissions and financial process.

Register today
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Next steps

Our graduate admissions counselors are here to answer your questions about the admissions process, our academic programs, and student support services.

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Admission information: MS in Biology

Application deadlines

We accept applications on a rolling basis and review them continuously.

Application deadlineFall term startSpring term start
RecommendedFebruary 1October 15
FinalAugust 1December 15
International applicantsJune 1October 15
Applications and supporting materials must be received by February 1 in order to receive priority status for fall admission and consideration of departmental financial support. The application deadline for spring admission is October 15. Students applying for spring admission are less likely to obtain graduate assistantships in their first semester because most financial aid will be distributed during fall admissions

Admission to the M.S. program in biology is competitive and has two basic requirements:

  1. Applicants should have earned a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution, preferably in some area of biology, with a minimum GPA equivalent to 3.0.
  2. Admission is also dependent upon a faculty member agreeing to serve as the primary faculty advisor to the student. Therefore, before applying to the program, students must become acquainted with the research interests of individual faculty in or adjunct to the Department of Biological Sciences, contact those faculty members to discuss the possibility of working with them in the M.S. program in Biology and identify the faculty member(s) in their application essay.

Students who do not meet the first criterion, but who demonstrate exceptional promise, may be granted conditional admission, during which time they must compensate for any specific deficiency as determined by the Biology Graduate Admissions Committee. Upon successful completion of the conditions, conditional students can be granted regular admission status.

Applicants are required to provide the following materials:

General requirements

  • Application: Online application
  • Application fee:
    • In-state, out-of-state, and Canadian applicants: Free to apply
    • International applicants: Submit US $50 fee to apply
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts from all colleges or universities attended, excluding the seven campuses of the University of Maine System (UMS transcripts are accessible to USM). A transcript is official when sent directly from the institution.
  • Resume: Submit a resume or CV that outlines professional, volunteer, and community experience.
  • Students whose first language is not English may be required to take one of the following: Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Pearson Test of English (PTE) or Duolingo. Applicants must submit official scores as part of the application process. See additional information regarding test scores and requirements.

Additional requirements

  • Essay: Applicants must submit a personal statement of purpose describing why they want a degree in Biology, why they are interested in this program and identify the faculty member they would like to work with. Before applying to the program, students must become acquainted with the research interests of individual faculty in or adjunct to the Department of Biological Sciences, contact those faculty members to discuss the possibility of working with them in the M.S. program in Biology and identify the faculty member(s) in their application essay.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Three letters of recommendation should be from individuals who are qualified, through direct experience with your academic or professional work, to comment on your ability to undertake graduate study and your chosen profession.

International student instructions

View additional application requirements

English proficiency test scores

View test requirements

Where to send application materials

Get our mailing address and email address