Grand Valley State University's Master of Science degree in biology is designed to allow students the opportunity to study at a graduate level in broad areas such as genetics and cell biology, organismal biology, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, and natural resources. Students in our program have access to the DNA sequencing facility located at the Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI).

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West Michigan Job Growth by 2024
Median Annual Wage
GVSU Ranking as West Michigan Talent Provider

Source: EMSI, 2020

Career Outlook and Opportunities

According to 2019 EMSI data, job opportunities for biologists are expected to grow 10% in West Michigan and 6% in the U.S. by 2024. The median annual wage for biologists was $75,571 but varies by region and job title. Biologists with a graduate degree from GVSU hold the following job titles:

  • Biologists
  • Assurance Services Senior Associates
  • Project Scientists
  • Clinical Directors
  • Clinical Research Associates
  • Clinical Research Coordinators
  • Deputy Directors
  • Project Managers
  • Directors of Data Management

Source: EMSI, 2019.

The 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.

Advanced Skills

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

Common Skills

  • Research
  • Management
  • Communications
  • Operations
  • Presentations
  • Leadership
  • Time Constraints
  • Mathematics
  • Coordinating

Source: EMSI, 2020.

Other Reasons to Study Biology at GVSU

  • Professional Advancement. Programs can be tailored for professionals to make them more competitive for job placement or advancement.
  • Unique. Individualized, planned program of study established by the student and his/her advisor ensures a unique learning experience designed to meet individual goals.
  • Research Opportunities. Optional natural resources or aquatic sciences emphases provide opportunities to conduct research and take classes at the Annis Water Resources Institute in Muskegon.
  • Flexible. Available to full- or part-time students. Many classes are offered at times to accommodate working professionals.

Courses Offered

The Biology M.S. program is a minimum of 33 credits. All program plans will include the following three components:

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

Visit the online catalog for course offerings and degree requirements.

Course Offerings


To be considered for a graduate assistantship, your application should be completed by January 15.  Students can be admitted to the program at any time. The $30 application fee is waived if you’ve already applied to Grand Valley. Visit the online catalog for admission requirements. For 2020-2021, please note: submitting a GRE score is not required, however, applicants may consider submitting a GRE score to strengthen their application.

Admission Requirements


When you became a Laker, you opened up a lifetime of learning, and now alumni like you can use your Laker Lifetime Learning (L3) account for classes that provide greater knowledge and new skills. Your account is waiting for you to use for future classes at GVSU. All you have to do is click on the button below to find out more.

Find Out More About Your Laker Lifetime Learning Account (L3)


For more information on tuition and fees, please visit the costs portion of the GVSU Financial Aid website. For financial support, scholarship search, and filing for FAFSA, please visit the GVSU Financial Support website.

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