Traditional Two-Year M.S. Biological Sciences Track

The Master of Science in Biological Sciences is earned through a traditional two-year program, which follows the completion of a bachelor's degree in a biology-related field. During this time, you will conduct original research and prepare a thesis on any of a variety of topics selected in consultation with your faculty advisor, who serves as your research mentor.

At UNE we empower you with a comprehensive foundation of knowledge in biological concepts, as well as the research experience needed to enter a career in the biological sciences with confidence.

You benefit from our beautiful Biddeford Campus, our cutting-edge facilities, and the opportunity to work closely with faculty. You will also benefit from the opportunity to be part of a larger community of graduate and professional students in other programs in the health and marine sciences.

What Will You Study? M.S. in Biological Sciences Curriculum

Program Required CoursesCredits
BIO 503 – Research Methods3
BIO 510 – Graduate Seminar1
Twenty-six (26) credits of BIO 590 – Research & Thesis (repeated for additional credit)26+
Six (6) credits of 500-level Elective Coursework6*
Minimum Total Required Credits36

*Biological Sciences M.S. students may request to substitute research credits for coursework with approval from their thesis advisor. A formal written request must be submitted to the Graduate Program Committee (GPC), including a justification for the request. If approved by the GPC, students will submit a Course Substitution Form (available on the Office of the Registrar's webpage), which requires approval by the School of Biological Sciences Academic Director and by the CAS Dean, to the Registrar in preparation for graduation.

4 + 1 Track – M.S. Biological Sciences

If you are a current UNE undergraduate student, the UNE Biological Sciences 4+1 B.S./M.S. track allows you to complete your undergraduate and master's degrees in a total of five years. As a qualified UNE undergraduate, this track enables you to obtain the M.S. degree, with the same requirements as the "two-year" M.S. in Biological Sciences program (described above) through an expedited process that begins during your senior year of undergraduate work.

You'll complete much of your master's coursework during your fourth year, while also working on your thesis project. Your fifth year will be spent finishing your research and writing your thesis.

To enroll in the 4+1 program you must be an undergraduate at UNE with a 3.5 overall G.P.A., and a 3.5 G.P.A. in all math and science courses. You are not required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) prior to enrollment. However, you must receive sponsorship from a faculty member in the School of Biological Sciences who will serve as your thesis advisor. You can declare your intent to enroll in the program as early as the second semester of your sophomore year or as late as the second semester of your junior year.

Application forms are available from prospective faculty advisors in the School of Biological Sciences.

M.S. in Biological Sciences Research

As a student in either the 4+1 track or the two-year M.S. program, you engage in research with a faculty mentor.  

If you are in the 4+1 track, you identify your mentor during your B.S studies. You should begin conducting research on a project that will become your thesis project by your fourth year but can start earlier.

For the two-year M.S. program, you are required to identify faculty you would like to work with at the time you apply, and are strongly encouraged to contact faculty members directly early on in the process to discuss potential research opportunities.  

Descriptions of the research opportunities with faculty supervising M.S. students are listed below. You can click on the faculty member’s name to find additional information and details on how to contact them.

Cellular and Molecular Biology
  • Kristin Burkholder, Ph.D., Microbiology
    • Studies the interaction of bacterial pathogens with their environment and host cells by employing techniques of classical microbiology, molecular biology, cell culture, and microscopy.  
  • Geoff Ganter, Ph.D., Drosophila Neurogenetics
    • Employs genetic, microscopic, and behavior analysis approaches to identify targets for future pain medications.
  • Jenn Garcia, Ph.D., Molecular Genetics
    • Uses techniques such as northern blotting, next-generation sequencing, immunoblotting, molecular cloning, quantitative PCR, microscopy, and yeast genetics to understand mechanisms that regulate gene expression in response to stress
  • Lei Lei, Ph. D., Molecular Biology
    • Studies developmental neurobiology and molecular evolution using molecular and bioinformatic tools
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
  • Jeff Parmelee, Ph.D., Herpetology
    • Studies amphibian and reptile ecology, including the monitoring of populations through fieldwork and citizen science initiatives
  • Ursula Roese, Ph.D., Chemical Ecology
    • Investigates chemical interactions between plants, insects, and microorganisms as well as applications that involve testing of plant compounds against human pathogens — using extractions and head space collections, as well as instrumentation to analyze organic compounds, including Gas Chromatography with Flame Ionization Detection (GC-FID) and Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)
  • Steve Travis, Ph.D. Molecular Ecology
    • Equipped with a DNA sequencer and related instrumentation suitable for genetic analysis of individual, population, species, and community-level diversity and relationships.
  • Greg Zogg, Ph.D. Global Change Ecology
    • Studies how human activities impact plants, microbes, and biogeochemical cycles using both field and lab techniques, including measurements of nutrient flux and sequencing of microbial DNA

Research at UNE: Combating Antibiotic Resistance

Career Paths for M.S. in Biological Sciences Grads

Our master's program graduates have pursued many different careers and doctoral degrees, including:

  • Environmental management water resources staff
  • Senior research associate
  • Research lab manager
  • Ph.D. in Education
  • Ph.D. in Neuroscience


One of the benchmarks of graduate-level work is the publication of one’s research in a scientific journal.

Below are examples of papers by our graduates:

  • *Barberi ON, Byron CJ, Burkholder KM, St. Gelais AT, Williams AK. 2020. Assessment of bacterial pathogens on edible macroalgae in coastal waters. Journal of Applied Phycology 32(1):683–696.
  • Hale C, *Moulton J, Otis Y, Ganter G. 2022. Armadillo regulates nociceptive sensitivity in the absence of injury. Molecular Pain 18:17448069221111156.
  • *Simon MR, Zogg GP, Travis SE. 2017. Impacts of sea-level rise on sediment microbial community structure and function in two New England salt marshes, USA. Journal of Soils and Sediments 17(12):2847–2855. 
  • *Slater MA, Morgan PA, Tilburg CE, Travis SE. 2017. Environmental variables, not Allee effects, drive patch vigor in exotic Phragmites australis stands invading the Saco River Estuary, Maine, USA. Aquatic Botany 136:220–229. 
* UNE M.S. student

Who can apply to the Master of Science in Biological Sciences degree program?

To apply to our M.S. in Biological Sciences degree program, you must hold a bachelor’s degree from a U.S. regionally accredited institution or international equivalent.

View full admission requirements

Financial Aid at UNE

Finance your education through loans, grants, and scholarships. We are committed to making our physician assistant degree program as affordable as possible.

M.S. in Biological Sciences Tuition and Financial Aid

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Ready to begin your future in UNE’s graduate Biological Sciences program?