Loyola University Chicago

Department of Biology

MS in Biology: Degree Requirements

The MS in Biology degree program focuses on the development of experimental and intellectual skills required for vigorous research. Our program is research/thesis-based and takes most students two to three years to complete.

Students pursue study in any of the following special fields of study:

  • Aquatic biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Cell biology
  • Ecology
  • Evolution
  • Genetics
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular biology
  • Neurobiology
  • Physiology
  • Population biology

Students are assigned an advisor to help them develop an individualized curriculum. Once a curriculum is selected, students join the labs of their thesis directors and begin their research.

Course Requirements

To become an official candidate for the MS degree, students must earn 30 credit hours and show satisfactory performance in course work and thesis research. Required courses include:

Biostatistics and Experimental Design: This course explores the design and analysis of biological experiments using parametric and nonparametric inferential statistics. Students learn to use several computerized statistical software packages.

Graduate Seminar: Students present specific, current research topics, including their own research, and discuss their implications.

Department Seminar: Students meet and discuss the research presented by five or six speakers.

Instruction and Teaching in Biology: This course introduces the fundamentals of teaching biology. Topics include course planning, lecture preparation and presentation, lab teaching, and evaluation. The lab component involves presentations in undergraduate biology courses.

Teaching Practicum: Students gain firsthand teaching experience by assisting in undergraduate biology courses.

Research: Students work with their thesis advisors to develop and conduct a specialized research project. Based on this work, students write and defend a master's thesis.

Thesis Requirements

Students in the MS program must:

  • Write and present a thesis outline to the student's thesis advisory committee. The outline must be approved by February 1. of the student's first year in the program.
  • Write and defend the master's thesis.


Research is the focus of the master's degree program at Loyola University Chicago. Faculty engage students in ongoing studies and students are well-supported when taking on new projects and challenges. For information about specific research areas/projects, see Faculty Research.