Working adults enroll in the 30-credit Master of Arts in Biology program in order to:
•update their science knowledge;
•pursue a specialty such as biotechnology, ecology, neurobiology, or genetics;
•prepare for employment in emerging science fields;
•improve their professional standing;
•deepen their understanding of biology;
•obtain a graduate science degree on a part-time basis through evening and weekend courses.
Designed to be adaptable to individual students' unique backgrounds and goals, the program provides a flexible curriculum and close individual advising for each student. Students include science and health professionals, teachers, technicians, and people in science-related businesses.
The M.A. in Biology program is co-sponsored by the Washington University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the Washington University Department of Biology, and University College.
The M.A. in Biology program is open to qualified applicants with a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution who have completed previous undergraduate course work in biology, mathematics and chemistry.
Applicants to the M.A. in Biology program must submit the following materials:
a completed Application for Graduate Admission form including a short essay describing the role of the program in the applicant's career
•a $35 non-refundable application fee
•Graduate Record Examination (GRE) results (analytical, quantitative, and verbal sections) (University College's GRE code is 2833)
•Official transcripts of all previous college work (undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate work and degrees granted); (University College can request the transcript(s) on your behalf, click here for the transcript release form)
•Three letters of reference. Academic references are strongly encouraged.
•other material that either the student or the Program Committee may consider relevant
A pre-requisite for enrollment in M.A. in Biology courses is admission, through formal application, to the M.A. program in Biology. On occasion a student whose application is pending, or whose record suggests he or she should take one or two courses on a trial basis, will be allowed to register for a course, but only after consultation with a University College graduate advisor or Professor Garland Allen. To obtain approval, students not yet formally enrolled in the program must submit a course application form and collegiate transcripts to the program director for permission to enroll. Students admitted to the Master of Arts in Education program may enroll in graduate-level biology courses with the approval of the student's academic advisor.
Prospective students are urged to discuss admission and tentative course schedules, including prerequisite courses, with the biology program coordinator or other members of the Program Committee. Upon admission, each student will be assigned a faculty advisor; course registration and performance will be reviewed each semester.
Admission Time Line
University College and the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences review completed applications and make admissions decisions on a rolling basis. The process typically takes four to six weeks, and so we urge applicants to submit their materials by the following schedule in order to ensure a timely decision: mid-November for spring; mid-April for summer; mid-July for fall. If you plan to apply for federal financial aid, please note that this process can take six to eight weeks. It is suggested that applicants begin by completing their FAFSA at the time of application. For additional information about Financial Aid and step-by-step Financial Aid application instructions, click here.
Students seeking the Master of Arts in Biology must satisfactorily complete 30 units of graduate work in the biological sciences in courses approved by the Program Committee. Students with appropriate backgrounds, interests, and academic qualifications may, with authorization, write a master's thesis based on original library or laboratory research. A maximum of 6 credits of related and comparable graduate-level course work may be transferred from another university or from a related graduate program at Washington University with the approval of the program director. These must be graduate-level units not used to fulfill undergraduate degree requirements. Transfer credit may be granted only for authorized courses for which the student received a grade of B or higher.
Please note that the M.A. in Biology degree is a terminal graduate degree awarded on the basis of course work rather than research. Except in rare cases, it is not intended as preparation for a Ph.D. degree. No more than 6 of the 30 credits may be earned in research courses.
Those interested in graduate research or in earning a Ph.D. should apply to the Ph.D. programs offered by Washington University's Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences.
Co-sponsored by the Washington University Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, the Washington University Department of Biology, and University College.