Master of Science

in Biology


The Master of Science in Biology at Elizabeth City State University is designed to provide a wide exposure to a number of advanced biological techniques, knowledge, and concepts, including, in part, those related to biotechnology, microbiology, cell biology, molecular biology, and environment.

Students can choose the Biological Sciences or the Biology Education track. The Biological Sciences track offers opportunities to study in the areas of microbiology, cell biology, molecular biology, and biotechnology. Students are able to take advantage of small class size and superbly equipped faculty. The program leads to a Master of Science degree in biology and prepares students for better career choices and preparation for entry into doctorate or other advanced study programs.


Admission processes and documents submitted to the ECSU Office of Graduate Education with the intention of becoming a candidate in the Department of Natural Sciences, Pharmacy and Health Professions include:

  • A Baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution;
  • Undergraduate courses in genetics, microbiology, cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, general chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry, general physics and calculus;
  • An overall minimum GPA of 2.5 (4.0 scale);
  • A minimum GPA of 2.5 in all biology courses and a minimum GPA of 2.5 in all supporting coursework in chemistry, physics, and mathematics (4.0 scale);
  • Two official transcripts from all institutions attended with indication of degree earned (if not in English, certified translations must accompany the transcripts);
  • Three letters of recommendation on Graduate Recommendation Forms from faculty or those in a supervisory role that are familiar with your academic, research, and/or career performance;
  • One page expository description of educational preparation, research interests, and career goals;
  • An interview with the Department of Natural Sciences, Pharmacy and Health Professions Graduate Program Co-coordinator;
  • Completed application for Graduate Education program admissions;
  • Application fee;
  • Submission of scores for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT), or the Dental Admission Test (DAT); Scores cannot be older than 5 years at the time of the submission;
  • Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), if applicable;
  • ECSU Health Form;
  • A Residence Form;
  • North Carolina Science Teaching License (for Biology Education track); and
  • A letter of support from a public school official confirming the applicant's appropriate access to a classroom to conduct teaching research (if not employed as a public teacher). Required for Biology Education track.

Important Note: Upon admission to the Graduate Education program, the student is expected to assume, in part, the following responsibilities: (a) follow all of the policies of the Office of Graduate Education and the Department of Natural Sciences, Pharmacy and Health Professions Graduate Program as specified in the Graduate Catalog; (b) consult with an assigned advisor before registering for courses; (c) prepare a Program of Study within the first semester that is approved by the advisor, the Department Graduate Program Co-coordinator, the Department Chair, and the Director of the Office of Graduate Education; and (d) obtain full permission before making any substitutions or modifications to a Program of Study.

Nine credit hours are required for full-time status. No more than twelve credit hours may be taken in a single semester. Note that the thesis-track Master of Science program requires original research be pursued outside of course meeting periods and an action research project to be conducted in a public school classroom. This thesis and action research project necessarily require a significant time commitment and the student must be prepared to undertake this effort.

No more than six credit hours may be transferred from other accredited institutions. Transfer credits must be approved by the student’s advisory committee. Transfer credits cannot have been completed in excess of six years prior to the time of the transfer request. Transfer course credit hours must exceed or equal the number of credit hours of the ECSU graduate course to be substituted and cannot be split between two ECSU graduate courses.

The degree requirements are:

  1. Total hours required: at least 30 for Biological Sciences and 36 for Biology Education;
  2. Course Load: A full course load is nine credit hours per semester. The maximum number of graduate hours in any semester is twelve;
  3. Grades: Students with a cumulative grade point average below required standards (3.0 on a 4.0 scale) must limit their course load to 6 semester hours and are subject to an academic warning (first occurrence), probation (second occurrence), and/or suspension (third occurrence). Students have the right to appeal academic suspensions and apply for readmission if they believe that failure to maintain the minimum cumulative grade point average for continued enrollment was due to extenuating circumstances. Students may appeal academic suspension and apply for readmission to the university;
  4. Amount of transfer credit accepted: maximum of 6 hours;
  5. Any course grade below a "C" irrespective of the credits associated with the course is grounds for dismissal from the program and may require a re-application for admission;
  6. No more than two "C" grades may be obtained during the entire matriculation period irrespective of credits associated with course;
  7. Other requirements:

    Each student will be advised by the Department Graduate Program Co-coordinator initially, until such time as the student forms his or her graduate committee (by the second semester). The Department Graduate Program Co-coordinator will help students settle any concerns that they may have about the program.

    Research/Thesis requirements: The Masters of Science in Biology degree program requires completion of research in a biological specialty or sub-specialty, or in an area of teacher education development, and it requires approval of a thesis or action research project and oral defense of that work. The student must complete and defend a thesis or action research project that resulted in high quality, scholarly work, approved by the student’s committee. The student must orally present and successfully defend the thesis or action research project to his or her advisory committee.

The program is designed to be completed in two years under full-time status enrollment for students in the Biological Sciences track and three years for students in the Biology Education track. The degree program must be completed within six successive calendar years from the initial acceptance semester. Students in programs that remain incomplete after six successive years must reapply for admission to the Graduate Education program. Note that course credits completed in excess of six years prior to the time of readmission are not eligible for use in the student’s revised Plan of Study. Also, reapplication to the Graduate Education program under these circumstances does not guarantee readmission.

Permission from the student’s graduate committee must be obtained for the student to be dual-enrolled in other academic programs (undergraduate, graduate, or professional), whether at ECSU or another institution at any time during matriculation in the ECSU graduate program.



Program Coordinator

Dr. Hirendranath Banerjee
Professor, Natural Sciences
425 Jimmy R. Jenkins Science Center
Campus Box 930

Important Information About Our Program