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MS Biology Graduate Student Tyler Harman at the Annis Water Resources Institute in Muskegon conducting research on cold-water corals and posing in front of custom recirculating aquarium system.

Biology, M.S.

Biology is an exciting and dynamic field focusing on the study of living things and the environments they inhabit. Graduates are successfully employed as natural resource managers, environmental consultants, fisheries and wildlife biologists, and ecologists at local, state, and federal levels. Many of our students obtain doctorate degrees.

Visit the program website for more information.

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Program Overview

This versatile program allows students to achieve individual goals while serving diverse interests. Students have the opportunity to pursue graduate programs in broad areas such as population genetics, organismal biology, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, and natural resource management. Optional emphases are offered in natural resources and aquatic sciences.

Internships offer hands-on learning while project and thesis opportunities strengthen critical thinking and presentation skills.

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 find or create research opportunities independently.
  • Individualized, planned programs of study established by the students and their advisors ensure a unique learning experience designed to meet individual goals.
  • The aquatic sciences emphasis provides the opportunity to conduct research 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.

Career Insights

This tool shows an overview of potential career opportunities for this major. Actual salaries, employment opportunities, and job titles may change over time.

Location & Format

Graduate students in this major study at Grand Valley's Allendale Campus.

  • 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

Application Deadline

Applications for admission are accepted on a rolling basis, but 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 GVSU.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the M.S. in biology requires the following:

  • An official transcript from your baccalaureate degree granting institution
  • 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 to 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.
  • An 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 and Recruitment Office

Annis Water Resources Institute

Program Director

Eric Snyder, Ph.D.
(616) 331-2417



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