• Apply By
    Fall: March 15 | Spring: Oct 15
  • Admission GPA
    3.0+
  • Total Credits
    30
  • Format
    In person
  • Time to Complete
    2.4 years (average)

Customize a Biology Master's Degree

The Master of Biological Sciences (MBS) is a degree for the inquisitive. You’ll build a degree plan around the area of modern biology that feeds your curiosity and fuels your career. Want to pursue an in-depth research project? This program can help connect you to the right lab and mentor. Want the latest information in your current field? Take courses from departments across the University that fit your busy schedule.

We created the MBS degree with working adults like you in mind. We'll help you choose coursework that fits into your schedule in the biological discipline that interests you, like:

  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical science
  • Microbiology
  • Environmental science
  • Ecology
  • Molecular biology

Why Choose Our Master's in Biological Sciences?

The MBS program is:

  • Career-focused. With your advisor, you’ll design a program of coursework and research to prepare for your next professional step.
  • Multidisciplinary. Select among courses offered by many colleges within the University.
  • Welcoming. You’ll be part of one of the most diverse and inclusive colleges on campus.
  • Attainable. Many students complete their degree in under three years.
  • Flexible. You can concentrate on coursework only (Plan C) or add a research project (Plan B).

Career Outlook

  • $73KMedian income*
  • 10%
    Expected employment growth in Minnesota in the biological sciences between 2019-29*

With a master of biological sciences degree from the U of M, the sky’s the limit! Lay the foundation for an exciting career in industry, health care, or business.

Some positions of MBS graduates could include:*

  • Health Researcher
  • Medical Researcher
  • Quality Control/Assurance
  • Scientist
  • Quality Manager
  • Biotechnologist
  • Research Manager

MBS graduates have gone on to work for:

  • Masonic Cancer Center
  • BioTechne
  • Takeda Pharmaceuticals
  • Medtronic
  • Bureau of Criminal Apprehension
  • Beckman Coulter
  • Minnesota Zoo
  • Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation
  • Pace Analytical
  • 3M
  • Cargill
  • Boston Scientific
  • Mayo Clinic
  • University of Minnesota
  • J.R. Simplot Co.
  • St. Paul Community College

* Burning Glass Technologies: Program Insight™, accessed 08/5/21

Pick Your Plan

Compare each plan and its requirements to decide which will help you reach your goals.

Plan B – Research with Final Project Plan C – Coursework Only
Great for students interested in a research-based career, or in pursuing an advanced degree in a PhD or professional biological sciences program. Benefits working professionals who may not be able to fit an intensive master biology research project into their degree program.
Have an intensive master of sciences research experience in a particular area of the biological sciences, under the direction of a faculty member. Completion requirements include a paper and an oral defense of the project. Get up-to-date, graduate-level knowledge in one or more areas of the biological sciences. This is a good choice for students who don’t need research experience to reach their goals.
MBS 6002 Final Project
Write a final paper under the direction of a faculty mentor and defend your Plan B project to a committee.
MBS 6003 Capstone Course
Write an intensive capstone paper and defend it in front of your peers and the program staff. Students take this course in their final term.

 

Now that you’ve decided on a plan, you’ll want to learn more about MBS Requirements and Courses. You can pick from a wide range of offerings across the University.

Courses

In the Master of Biological Sciences, you can choose from a wide range of courses offered at the University of Minnesota to fulfill your degree plan. Coursework may come from multiple colleges within the U of M, including the College of Biological Sciences; the Academic Health Center; the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences; and the College of Continuing and Professional Studies.

Find out more about MBS Requirements and Courses.

Faculty and Staff

As an MBS student, you may consider all bioscience faculty at the University of Minnesota as potential faculty mentors. Your first step to making a connection is to meet with an MBS academic advisor to discuss your interests and goals.

Meet MBS Staff

Apply

Fall Semester Application Deadline | March 15
Spring Semester Application Deadline | October 15

We strive to be fair in the admissions process. Our program thrives when we have students from different backgrounds and cultural experiences. The admissions committee looks at all the pieces of your application equally to ensure that you will be successful in the program. We do not require standardized test scores from the Graduate Record Exam (GRE).

You will receive an admission decision four to six weeks after the application deadline. Learn more about the application process in the video below. If you have questions about admission requirements, or would like advice on how to gather your application materials, please contact admissions advisor Steve Wicks.

Read the transcript here.

Admission Requirements

We welcome applications from students who have:

  • a bachelor's degree from an accredited post-secondary US institution or its foreign equivalent
  • an undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0*
  • an undergraduate major in science OR completed science coursework at the undergraduate or graduate level, including organic chemistry
  • work experience*

* If you have a GPA below 3.0 or low work experience, please include an explanation in the extenuating circumstances part of your professional statement.

If you're ready to take the next step, visit the MBS Application Instructions page for details on how to submit each piece of your application.

Prepare Application Materials

    Admissions Advising

    Graduate enrollment advisor Steve Wicks is happy to answer your questions about the MBS program and the application procedure.

     

    Or you can give Steve a call at 612-301-6127.

    Do you have a more detailed question or want to tell us a little bit about yourself before the meeting? Fill out this brief questionnaire.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    A professional degree like the MBS focuses on meaningful career development for individuals seeking to advance their expertise in a particular field.

    The MBS program does not provide living stipends, research assistantships, or teaching assistantships as might be expected in a typical PhD program. While there are a few scholarships available, in most cases students work while going to school in order to cover living expenses and pay tuition out of pocket.

    Students interested in Plan B do not need to contact a faculty member before applying to the program. Sometimes it is useful for students to take a few graduate-level courses and solidify their interests and goals in the MBS program before contacting a mentor. If you are interested in working with a specific mentor only, then it might be worth contacting them ahead of time. Otherwise, there is no need to do so before applying.

    Rather than being matched with a mentor, we will support you in taking the initiative to find a mentor on your own. You will select a potential mentor based on mutual interests and ability to work together (schedule overlap, space available in the research lab, etc.). Then you will reach out to the faculty member to inquire about doing a research project in their lab. We will guide you on how to approach a potential mentor and can help you draft an inquiry about working with them.

    Yes! The MBS degree could improve your competitiveness by:

    • Providing an opportunity to gain research experience. Consider whether the research focus option (Plan B) might be right for you.
    • Showing that you can handle rigorous courses that are as difficult as the courses you would take in medical or dental school or a PhD program.
    • Boosting your GPA, which will make you a more competitive applicant.

    Students need to complete 30 credits within 5 years in order to graduate. If you take courses full-time (6 credits per semester) you could complete the degree in five semesters. How fast students complete the degree depends on many factors. Often, students working full-time will register for one course per semester (3-4 credits). Based on experience, more than 50% of MBS students will complete their degree in three years.

    Student and Alumni Stories

    Hear from students who followed their dreams to create fascinating careers with their Master of Biological Sciences degree from the University of Minnesota.

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