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Graduate Programs in Biology

biology student and professor out in the field observing biology


Our inclusive curriculum prepares you to succeed at the next level of your career, whether that's working in an environmental testing lab, a biomedical research lab, the US Fish and Wildlife, or as a teacher. Discover which program fits your skills and interests by browsing the graduate offerings below.

  • Master of Science (M.S.) Degree
    The M.S. in Biology requires a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate study, including a 3- to 6-hour thesis. An oral defense of the thesis is required. To be eligible for consideration, the applicant should have an undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 (out of 4.00) or higher, an undergraduate degree (or equivalent) in Biology or related life science from an accredited College or University and a combined verbal and math GRE score of 300 for consideration of full admission. Application materials: a statement including the names of two WCU faculty members whose research is of interest; three letters of reference; official transcripts, and GRE scores.

  • Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T) Degree
    Designed for students who already have an undergraduate degree in Biology and would like to teach at the high school level (grades 9-12). The program leads to a recommendation for an initial and advanced license from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. To be eligible for consideration, the applicant should provide evidence of individual research such as an undergraduate thesis or in-depth research paper and submit a satisfactory score on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE).  See "Education - Comprehensive Education" under "GraduatePrograms" in the current Graduate Catalog for more details.

  • Master of Arts in Education (M.A.Ed.) Degree 
    For students who already have a undergraduate degree in Secondary Science Education and desire more advanced study in both Pedagogy and Biology. To be eligible for consideration, the applicant should submit a satisfactory score on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). See "Education - Comprehensive Education" under "GraduatePrograms" in the current Graduate Catalog for more details.

How to Apply

Catalogs and application for admission, fellowships, or assistantships are available online from the Graduate School. Tuition waivers and teaching assistantships with a stipend of possible total yearly support ranging from $12,500 to $19,800 are awarded on a competitive basis to graduate students in Biology. Prospective graduate students are encouraged to apply to the Graduate School early. Decisions on admissions and assistantships are usually made in spring for the following term.

Research Opportunities

WCU’s location in the heart of the southern Appalachians and surrounded by 6,000-foot peaks, national forests, national parks, and some of the highest biological diversity in the world, gives our program a natural laboratory for hands-on teaching and learning. Additionally, our proximity to other research facilities offers graduate students a variety of outstanding research opportunities.

Highlands Biological Station

The Station provides graduate students and senior scientists from throughout the United States with research and specialty course opportunities on Southern Appalachian biota.

Research funds and logistical support are available for qualified graduate students. The station is located 50 minutes from campus.
Learn more about Highlands Biological Station

International Biosphere Reserves, National Parks, National Forests

Graduate students may become involved in research projects in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, both of which are International Biosphere Reserves. Research opportunities also are available in the Blue Ridge Parkway National Park and in Nantahala and Pisgah National Forests.

Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory

This research unit of the International Biological Reserve has been established and well known for its watershed research for over half a century. It is one of a few long term ecological research stations in the country. Cooperative research projects are encouraged by the permanent research staff as well as other universities working at the station.
Learn more about Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory

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