Biological Sciences—MS, PhD
There has never been a more exiting time to become a biologist. Rapid advances in molecular biology and the mounting urgency to better understand the global ecosystem are converging to provide challenges for biologists in all disciplines. The graduate program in biological sciences at Michigan Tech frequently draws upon additional expertise in the areas of forestry, chemistry, mathematical sciences, mechanical engineering, and civil and environmental engineering—making for a stimulating, interdisciplinary, and intellectual atmosphere for career development.
The Department of Biological Sciences offers masters and doctoral graduate degrees in Biological Sciences. Students opting for the MS degree can expect to spend two years meeting their requirements. Throughout the program, students will hone their research skills, write a thesis, and complete additional course work. Students choosing to pursue a PhD in Biological Sciences typically take between three and six years to complete their degree requirements. PhD students will develop an original research question, execute research, write a thesis, and take both written and oral examinations to demonstrate competency in the discipline.
Degree Requirements and Timeline
For more information about departmental graduation requirements (for both the MS and PhD programs), please see Graduate Requirements. To prepare for arrival on campus and track items needed to complete in order to obtain a degree, see Degree Completion Timeline.
Program Strengths and Areas of Research Excellence
The Department of Biological Sciences has a number of areas of research excellence including:
Ecology and Environmental Sciences
Ecology and Environmental Sciences Faculty
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Faculty
MS Focus in Medical Laboratory Management
Students may elect to focus their MS studies in medical laboratory management (MLM). The focus option consists of approximately one-half science courses and one-half business courses—integrating both theoretical and practical aspects of laboratory sciences with management theory. The program is flexible and suitable for both the experienced medical laboratory scientist and the recent graduate. It not only provides knowledge and expertise in MLM, but also challenges the student to learn more about rapid developments in immunology, microbiology, and biochemistry. This non-thesis option within the MS degree allows for completion of the Biological Sciences MS degree within a relatively short period of time. Past candidate projects have included studies using computer analysis of cost accounting to study MLM, computer models for productivity analysis, and writing and assembling laboratory manuals. Applicants must have MLS(ASCP) certification.
- several campus research groups, which study environmental microbiology for bioremediation and other applications;
- the Aquatic Ecology Research Group, which includes the Fish Ecology Group and the Remote Sensing and Ecosystem Science Institute;
- the Lake Superior Ecosystems Research Center (LaSER), which studies basic ecosystem processes within the aquatic and terrestrial portions of the Lake Superior watershed;
- the Phototechnology Research Center, which focuses on biotechnology, physiology, pathology, and biochemistry of plants, using traditional approaches—as well as the latest advances in genetic engineering and molecular microanalysis;
- the Environmental Engineering Center, which studies groundwater, soil and sediment systems, air emissions, pollution control, and waste treatment; and
- the Diesel Research Group studies diesel emissions, including the effects of emission-control devices and the use of alternate fuels.
Financial Support and Funding Opportunities
With few exceptions, all graduate students in the Department of Biological Sciences receive financial support in the form of graduate teaching assistantships, graduate research assistantships, fellowships, and special doctoral fellowships. Additionally, open graduate student positions are posted online.