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Biological Sciences

The Master’s of Science (M.S.) in Biological Sciences provides a varied curriculum necessary for the diverse interests of today’s students.  This rigorous program is designed to provide a foundation that can be applied toward entry into a Ph.D. program, professional school or as an entry point for professional careers in biology and the healthcare field. 

The M.S. in Biological Sciences offers three paths of study: a health studies concentration (12-month program), a thesis (24-month program) and a capstone (non-thesis) path (21 month program).

The Health Studies Concentration prepares students for entry into health - related professional schools and health related careers. The thesis path is a research-focused program that immerses students in leading edge research in areas such as genomics, microbiology, and ecology. Students in this path will work closely with a faculty member towards developing a thesis, which addresses a novel and pertinent question in biology. Students in the capstone path will enjoy a course-centered program. Their work culminates in in the production of a capstone project; a significant piece of writing that can address a novel question in biology, or serve as a broader review of a current topic in biology. A four-course certificate in computational molecular biology is also available to provide students a practical background in DNA sequence analysis, computation and bioinformatics.

Students in the M.S. in Biological Sciences will benefit from small class sizes, courses taught by faculty that are experts in their field, and a sound academic foundation resulting in increased analytical skills. 

Apply below by selecting the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, MS Biological Sciences option

Graduating Class of 2020 begins in summer 2019


Masters of Biological Sciences Admissions Requirements:

  • Completed NSU application
  • Bachelor’s degree in science from an accredited institution or an approved degree credentialing agency for international students.
  • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
  • Major GPA of at least 3.0
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • International students must meet the English proficiency requirements
  • GRE, MCAT, DAT, OAT or PCAT scores required
This concentration is a 12-month, 30-credit program designed to better prepare graduates of undergraduate science programs for entrance into health or medical professional schools.  It offers the opportunity for students to enhance their academic records, to improve graduate entrance test scores, and to obtain a graduate degree. 

The concentration is geared toward the student who has completed an undergraduate science degree and is desirous of working towards a graduate degree in Health Studies.  The student will obtain a Master’s of Science degree at the end of the program that will prepare them for future careers in any health-care professions, other graduate science programs or employment.  They will be exposed to rigorous course work that is indicative of graduate health programs. 

A comprehensive examination is given at the end of the Winter semester to allow the assessment of student performance over the course of study.  A passing grade must be achieved, and a second opportunity will be provided two weeks after the first attempt.

A Kaplan Prep course will be offered to assist students in achieving an acceptable exam score, and will be available in the summer semester to students who have been accepted into the program and registered for classes in the Fall semester of the same year. Students will choose the test prep course appropriate to their career goals as Kaplan offers test preparation for various standardized tests e.g., MCAT, DAT, and PCAT.

For more information about the Health Studies Concentration, contact Dr. Deanne Roopnarine 954-262-8196

Masters in Biological Sciences with a Concentration in Health Studies: CURRICULUM

SUMMER 1 (5 credits)

  • BCOR 5000 Graduate Seminar (3 credits)
  • BMHS 5100 Field Rotations (2 credits)

FALL 1 (13 credits)

  • BMHS 5200 Pathophysiology (3 credits)
  • BMHS 5300 Pharmacodynamics (3 credits)
  • BMHS 5400 Advanced Regional Anatomy/Lab (4 credits)
  • BMHS 5500 Advanced Biochemistry (3 credits)

WINTER 1 (12 credits)

  • BCOR 5585 Genomics (3 credits)
  • BCOR 5150 Immunobiology (3 credits)
  • BMHS 5250 Systems Neuroscience (3 credits)
  • BCOR 5350 Principles of Epidemiology (3 credits)

Comprehensive Exam (in the style of a standardized exam) – 2 attempts possible


The thesis and capstone paths within the M.S in Biological Sciences are designed to enhance the education of students for jobs and careers in all fields of biology, including PhD programs and professional medical programs.  Traditionally, Master’s in Biology programs have placed heavy emphasis on course-based learning. Reflecting the hands on and critical thinking skills that are required for careers in biology, our thesis and capstone programs are a departure from this trend. In both the thesis and capstone paths, students will have ample time to perform research in various capacities. This ensures that students can develop critical thinking skills focused on applications, while tackling significant questions in biology. Both programs culminate in the creation of a novel and significant piece of writing, ensuring that graduates can effectively communicate their scientific findings to the community at large.

Students in either path will benefit from:

  • Access to faculty who are leaders in their fields, which range from genomics, quantitative microbiology, ecology, immunology and systems biology. Faculty profiles can be found here.
  • Access to funding to present their work at conferences.
  • Small class sizes that enhance learning and faculty interactions.
  • Competitively allocated teaching assistantships that include stipends and scholarships.
  • Access to resources at both of our state of the art campuses in sunny South Florida; the Oceanographic Campus located in Dania Beach, FL, and Main Campus, located in Davie, FL.
  • Access to a seminar series where the best and brightest minds in a wide range of fields present their research.

The total number of credits in both paths is 36 credits.


Capstone path

All students that are accepted into the M.S. program begin in the capstone path. Students in the capstone path take four core courses, and five elective courses. Students must take 3 capstone research courses (3 credits each) totaling a minimum of nine credits.

Central to the capstone path is the submission and defense of a capstone paper. This is typically done at or near the completion of formal coursework. The capstone is a scholarly review, based upon a comprehensive literature search, and synthesis of the chosen topic, typically involving analysis of previously published data. Carrying out a capstone takes place with guidance from a major professor. Typically, capstone students find a major professor by approaching faculty in the student's area of interest. Prior to beginning a capstone and registering for capstone credits, the student must write a proposal, which must be approved by the student's major professor, committee, and the Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, and be submitted to the Program Office.


Thesis path

Given the research-centered focus of the thesis path, students will take a minimum of 5 thesis research courses (3 credits each) totaling a minimum of 15 credits. 

A thesis is an original contribution to knowledge resulting from the systematic study of a significant problem or issue. To be allowed entry into the thesis track the student must secure agreement from a faculty member to be the student's major professor. Students in this path are strongly encouraged to approach professors in their first semester of study. Prior to beginning thesis research and registering for thesis credits, the student must write a proposal, which must be approved by the student's major professor, committee, and the Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and the Program Office.

Students in the thesis path will benefit from:

  • Access to labs in our state of the art research facilities at the Oceanographic Center Campus and/or the Collaborative Center of Research.
  • Funding to support supplies for their thesis project.
  • Substantial one-on-one time with their faculty supervisor.
  • A collaborative and rigorous research atmosphere.
  • The ability to perform hands on research to develop answers to some of the most pressing questions in biology.


Prospective students are welcome to contact faculty members regarding current opportunities in their research lab.

For further details, students are referred to section 3.8 of this catalog and to the online guidelines for the capstone or thesis track found on the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography Student Information page.


Capstone and Thesis Curriculum

Core Courses - 12 Credit Hours

  • BCOR 5000 Graduate Seminar
  • BCOR 5585 Genomics
  • BCOR 5150 Immunobiology
  • BCOR 5350 Principles of Epidemiology

Biological Science Electives - 9 Credit Hours (Thesis Track) or 15 Credit Hours (Capstone Track)

There are 2 required electives for both the thesis and capstone track which are:

  • BCOR 5580 Scientific Methods and Experimental Design
  • BCOR 5779 Biostatistics

Students can choose from any of the electives listed below, as well as those listed in the MSMS program

  • BCOR 5560 Biodiversity/Biogeography
  • BMHS 5200 Pathophysiology
  • BMHS 5300 Pharmacodynamics
  • BMHS 5400 Advanced Regional Anatomy/Lab
  • BMHS 5500 Advanced Biochemistry
  • BMHS 5250 Systems Neuroscience
  • BMME 5500 Molecular Evolution
  • BMME 5600 Training in Standard Molecular Biology Methods
  • BMME 5701 Ecosystems Applications
  • BMME5750 Stable Isotopes
  • BMME 6000 GIS and Environmental Remote Sensing
  • BMME 6001 Laboratory q-PCR and Culture Techniques
  • BMME 6600 External Biology/Biotechnology Internship
  • BMME 6650 Molecular Forensics
  • BMME 6700 Advanced Molecular Genetics Laboratory Methods
  • BMME 6750 External/Biology/Biotechnology Internship II
  • BMME 6770 Bacterial Evolutionary Genetics
  • BMME 8050 Programming Data Structure/Algorithm
  • BMME 8051 Database Management and Applications
  • BMME 8052 Data Visualization
  • BMME 8053 Introduction to Bioinformatics
  • BMME 8054 Data Mining
  • BMME 8058 Ichthyology
  • MSMS 5060 Scientific Communication
  • MSMS 6209 Biodiversity


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