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Biology, M.S.

Biology is an exciting and dynamic field focusing on the study of living things and the environments they inhabit. Students completing Master of Science (M.S.) degrees from Grand Valley are successfully employed in private consulting, government, teaching, and Ph.D. positions.

Visit the program website for more information.

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Source: EMSI, 2020

Program Overview

The M.S. in biology is a versatile program that allows students to achieve individual goals while serving a diversity of student interests. Students have the opportunity to pursue graduate programs in broad areas such as population genetics, organismal biology, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, and natural resources.

As a focus for these M.S. programs, we offer internship, project, and thesis opportunities. Optional emphases are offered in natural resources and aquatic sciences.

Why Study Biology at Grand Valley?

  • Programs can be tailored for professionals to make them more competitive for job placement or advancement.
  • Research opportunities are offered to all graduate students. Some will collaborate with faculty on ongoing research and others will independently find or create research opportunities.
  • An individualized, planned program of study established by the student and his/her advisor ensures a unique learning experience designed to meet individual goals.
  • The natural resources and aquatic sciences emphases provide opportunities to conduct research and take classes at the Annis Water Resources Institute in Muskegon.
  • Available to full- or part-time students. Many classes are offered at times that accommodate the schedules of working professionals. A majority of students receive competitive graduate assistantships that provide a stipend and full tuition waiver, as well as some teaching experience.

Location & Format

Graduate students in this major study at Grand Valley's Allendale Campus and the Annis Water Resources Institute in Muskegon.

  • Face To Face


The M.S. in biology is a highly individualized program of study. All program plans will include the following three components:

  • The core curriculum
  • A student's chosen emphasis
  • An internship, project, or thesis

Career Options

Just as the field of biology is broad, so is the list of career possibilities for biologists. Many biology careers involve the environment, fisheries and wildlife, and laboratory research. For examples please contact the department.

Visit for details.

Skills Employers Want

The M.S. in Biology degree at GVSU will develop the skills you need to land the job you want. Whether the skills are advanced or general, you will build a resume of qualifications that are sure to attract employers. The following skills correlate with those pulled from actual biology postings.

  • Biology
  • Clinical Trials
  • Data Management
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Standard Operating Procedures
  • R (Programming Language)
  • Clinical Research
  • Good Laboratory Practice
  • Oncology
  • New Product Development

Source: EMSI, 2020

Application Deadline

Deadline for graduate assistantship consideration for fall semester is January 15. The $30 nonrefundable application fee is waived if the applicant has previously applied to Grand Valley State University. Please visit

Admission Requirements

  • Satisfactory GRE score
  • A 500-word essay detailing educational and professional goals and your area of interest in biology
  • Three letters of reference
  • An overall undergraduate of at least 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale
  • Prospective candidates must contact the biology graduate program coordinator to begin the process of identifying a prospective graduate committee chair. Candidates will only be admitted if a faculty member has consented to serve as the committee chair.
  • Applicants must interview with faculty either via telecommunication or by visiting campus to determine compatibility and interests.

The Biology Graduate Committee will begin reviewing applications in January for admission during the following fall semester.

Additional information about the program and requirements can be found here

For More Information

Biology Department
3300a Kindschi Hall of Science
(616) 331-2470

Graduate Admissions Office


“The master's biology program has more than adequately prepared me for the continuation of my academic and professional career. Grand Valley’s size and programs are such that students get individual mentoring and learning experiences with their advisors and other faculty members.”



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