FSU Biology - Graduate Studies in Biological Sciences
Skip to main content Skip to main content

Biological Science - Graduate Studies

Florida State University

Course-based MS (cbMS) Degree Program

cbMS applicants must specify a graduate area of interest (EE, CMB, NS) but they do not need to, and should not, contact faculty before they are accepted. All aspects of the application process are the same regardless of the area specified.

Who is the cbMS program designed for?
The course-based MS degree is appropriate for students who wish to strengthen their record prior to applying to professional school, and for mid-career professionals seeking an additional graduate credential to advance their careers. Those who plan to eventually seek a PhD in a biological field are likely to be better served by a thesis MS or PhD degree program than a course-based MS degree program. The requirements of the course-based MS degree can generally be completed in eighteen months to two years.

Financial Assistance: Neither the Department nor the University offers any financial support to cbMS students - no scholarships or assistantships. Applicants who are accepted must be prepared to pay for their own fees, tuition, and living expenses. Note that admission into the cbMS degree program does not facilitate admission into the Thesis MS or the PhD program because there is no formal pathway to transition from the cbMS degree program to the other programs in our department.

Application Requirements: Students must apply to the graduate school via https://admissions.fsu.edu/gradapp/ and submit required application materials. The required elements are a CV or resume, an academic transcript, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose. GRE scores are waived for cbMS applicants.

Admissions Process: A small number of applicants are accepted to this program, so admittance is competitive. Applications are reviewed by a faculty committee after each application deadline. When evaluating applications, we look for evidence that applicants will be successful in rigorous, fast-paced graduate level biology courses, and for a strong match between an applicant's career goals and the strengths of our program

Application Tips: Strong applications include a statement of purpose that describes specifically how completing the cbMS degree program will support the applicant’s future career plans and goals. A strong statement also describes experiences and personal qualities that will enhance the applicant’s likelihood of success and enrich the experiences of others in the program.

Letters of recommendation from individuals who can comment on an applicant’s potential to perform well in graduate level coursework and on the relevance of a MS degree to the applicant’s career path will best support an application to the program

Course-Type MS Completion Plan:
Term 1 Year Plan 2 Year Plan
  • 9 letter-graded
  • 3 S/U (colloquium, tutorial, etc.)
  • 6 letter-graded
  • 2 S/U (colloquium, tutorial, etc.)
  • 9 letter-graded
  • 3 DIS
  • 2 S/U
  • 6 letter-graded
  • 3 S/U
  • 3 letter-graded
  • 3 DIS
  • Comprehensive Examination
  • N/A
  • N/A
  • 6 letter-graded
  • 3 DIS
  • N/A
  • 3 letter-graded
  • 3 DIS
  • Comprehensive Examination

The Program Director will initially advise students. Incoming students will find a major professor to work with, thereby forming a supervisory committee in the first year that will oversee the Comprehensive Examination, the DIS and submission of the research paper.

Course-Based MS Requirement Timeline:
Requirement Action Latest Deadline
Meet with Program Director Meet with Program Director ever semester End of Semester
Declare Major Professor
(faculty member in Biology)
Submit memo to Graduate Office End of 1st Semester
Program of Studies Form-
list of courses that you
plan to take
Meet with Committee (Major Professor plus
the Program Director). Submit Program of
Studies to Graduate Office
End of 1st Semester
DIS Requirement Literature/Research-based director
independent study with Major Professor for
2 semesters
Final Semester
Comprehensive Examination Complete written examination Final Semester

Questions? Please contact:

April Wooten
Graduate Coordinator

Dr. Alice Winn
Director of Course-Type MS Degree Program

Dr. Nora Underwood
Associate Chair for Graduate Studies