Master of Science in Biology


The Master of Science in Biology Program provides a demanding and rewarding experience in biology, leading to competent scholarship and research capability. The department emphasizes research as a basic component of graduate study. A variety of research specialties are available within the department, including aquatic and riparian ecology, fisheries biology, embryology, physiology, exercise physiology, wildlife biology, mycology, plant ecology, microbiology and immunology. Our contact page provides more information on faculty research interests.

Graduates of the biology program either continue in PhD programs, or are employed in various biological fields with federal, state, tribal and local agencies, environmental consulting firms, private conservation organizations, public and private schools or private industry. For more information, see our careers section below.

Admission Curriculum & Requirements

Curriculum & Requirements

Biology, Master of Science (MS)

Teaching: All Master of Science students in biology are required to either teach at least one quarter as a paid teaching assignment or arrange a teaching experience in consultation with their graduate committee. Students who do not have a paid teaching assignment may arrange to receive BIOL 595 credit for the development and execution of this teaching experience.

Final Comprehensive Examination: The final comprehensive examination for the Master of Science in biology consists of a research seminar and an oral defense of the master’s thesis presented to the department. Immediately following the student’s seminar, an oral examination is administered by the student’s committee, which is composed of two or three departmental faculty members and a faculty member appointed by the Graduate Studies office. The focus of the examination is the student’s thesis and general biology knowledge.

Graduate Core
BIOL 500RESEARCH SEMINAR (must be repeated)2
Plus any three of the following (6 credits, though additional current topics may be taken for elective credits)6
To be determined in consultation with student's graduate committee. All 400 and 500 level courses may be used as electives; if a course is stacked as a 400- or 500-level course, students must enroll at the 500-level.
To be determined in consultation with student's graduate committee. All Master's of Science in Biology students are required to conduct original research toward their Master's thesis.
BIOL 600THESIS RESEARCH (must be repeated)16
Total Credits48

Catalog Listing


Applicants to the MS in Biology must hold a four-year baccalaureate degree in biology, or related natural science, from an accredited college or university. Students, who have deficiencies for admission or deficiencies, as determined by their graduate committee, may be allowed to make up deficient course work while enrolled in graduate school.

Before applying to the Biology Graduate Program, students should first identify and communicate with a prospective faculty advisor.

If you wish to apply for a graduate teaching fellowship, all application materials must be completed by February 20th.

If you have questions regarding the master’s program, please contact

Apply Now

Where Do Our Graduates Find Jobs?

Our graduates are employed throughout Washington and across the country! They often find jobs in the following areas:

Research Laboratories

  • Batelle Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
  • University of Washington Medical School
  • Washington State University
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Arizona
  • Rainier Clinical Research Center
  • Hollister Stier
  • Pfizer Pharmaceuticals
  • Signature Genomics
  • Darigold Quality Lab
  • National Science Foundation Long-Term Ecological Research Lab


  • K-12 schools
  • Everett Community College
  • Spokane Community College
  • Spokane Falls Community College
  • Altus Oklahoma Community College
  • Great Falls College of Technology
  • Seattle Central College
  • South Puget Sound Community College
  • Eastern Washington University
  • Whitworth College
  • Gonzaga University
  • University of Arizona
  • Harper College

State & Federal Agencies

  • Washington Department of Ecology
  • Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (Olympia, Spokane, Yakima, and Tri-Cities)
  • Kalispel Department of Natural Resources
  • Wyoming Fish & Game Department
  • Oregon Department of Parks & Recreation
  • Idaho Department of Environmental Quality
  • United States Forest Service
  • United States Department of Fish & Wildlife
  • Bureau of Land Management
  • Army Corps of Engineers

Tribal Resource Management

  • Upper Columbia United Tribes
  • Coeur d’Alene Tribe
  • Colville Confederated Tribes
  • Kalispel Tribe
  • Nez Perce Tribe
  • Spokane Tribe

Private Conservation Organizations

  • Ducks Unlimited
  • Pheasants Forever
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Land Stewardship Programs


  • Spokane Urban Forestry Program
  • County Conservation Districts
  • Syringa Ecological Consulting
  • Private Plant Nursery Operator
  • Veterinary Services

What Do Our Graduates Do?

Our graduates work in all sorts of areas! The following are just some of the jobs they have:

  • Fisheries Biologist
  • Water Quality Manager
  • Veterinarian
  • High School Teacher
  • Interpretive Park Ranger
  • Microbiology Lab Quality Control Specialist
  • Land Stewardship Specialist
  • Ecological Consultant
  • Medical Technology Specialist
  • Physical Therapist
  • Community College Instructor
  • Research Associate
  • College/University Faculty
  • Game Warden
  • Clinical Research Coordinator