Biological Sciences


Master of Science (M.S.), Biological Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences (CAS)


Dr. Kathryn A. Ono
Chair, Graduate Program Committee
Department of Marine Sciences
11 Hills Beach Road
Biddeford, ME 04005
(207)602- 2814


Dr.  A. Christine Brown

Chair, Department of Biology

11 Hills Beach Road

Biddeford, ME 04005

(207) 602-2617


The mission of the Department of Biology at University of New England is to enable students to understand the real-world relevance of the biological sciences, foster scientific literacy and critical thinking skills, and lay the foundation for lifelong learning and meaningful, productive contributions to society. 

The mission of the Master of Science: Biological Sciences program is to prepare outstanding graduate students for careers or further training in science, technology, and education by providing an advanced knowledge base and a working knowledge of research methods in the biological sciences. 

Program Description

The Master of Science: Biological Sciences program offers post-baccalaureate training to students interested in a wide variety of biological topics.  The classroom curriculum features a broad-based exposure to advanced topics in biological subjects that may include physiology, ecology, molecular biology and microbiology. The program also focuses on the research experience: students will conduct research and prepare a thesis on any of a variety of topics selected in consultation with our faculty.

Program Goals

  • Provide a knowledge base in the biological sciences that is deeper than the typical undergraduate experience.
  • Foster participation in the production of biological knowledge through excellence in research.
  • Instill outstanding research skills and a working knowledge of the scientific method by participation in high-quality research.
  • Develop outstanding scientific communication skills through writing and oral presentations.

Curricular Requirements

Program Required Courses Credits
BIO 503 - Research Methods 3
BIO 510 - Graduate Seminar 1
BIO 500 - Level Graduate Topics in Biological Sciences 12+*
Electives - Additional Coursework 6*

BIO 590 - Thesis/Research

12 Min


Minimum Total Credits 36
BIO 595 - Thesis Writing/Data Analysis (taken after 36 credits completed) 1

BIO 599 - Masters Thesis


*Biological Sciences MS 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, including a justification for the request.  If approved by the GPC, students will submit a Course Substitution Form (available on the Registrar's webpage), which requires approval by the Chair of the Department of Biology and by the CAS Dean, to the Registrar in preparation for graduation.  

Academic and Technical Standards

Satisfactory Academic Progress

To remain in the MS: Biological Sciences program, the student's cumulative graduate GPA must be a minimum of 3.0.  A student whose GPA falls below 3.0 or who receives a grade below B- in any course taken for graduate credit will be placed on academic probation.

Program Completion Timeline

Students have a maximum of five years to complete the graduation requirements.  After two academic years (fall and spring terms), students who have completed their coursework but are still completing their theses are required to enroll in a minimum of three Thesis credit hours per semester to remain in the program.


A graduate student whose grade point average (GPA) for any semester falls below 3.0, or whose cumulative grade point average is below 3.0, or who receives a class grade below a B- for any class taken for graduate credit is automatically placed on probation. A student placed on academic probation will be granted one fall or spring semester to raise his/her cumulative GPA to 3.0 or above, will be required to achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 for the semester, and cannot receive a second class grade below B-.  Any student who fails to meet these criteria will be considered for dismissal by the Department of Biological Sciences and the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Academic Policy

Course Withdrawal

In normal length semesters, a matriculated student may withdraw from a course without academic penalty (a grade of W is assigned) at any time during the first two-thirds of the semester. If withdrawal occurs after that date, the grade of WP (withdrew passing) or WF (withdrew failing) will be entered, subject to determination by the instructor. The grade of WF is computed in the grade point average. 

Incomplete Grades

A student who believes she/he is unable to complete the work for a given course by the end of the term may apply for an extension by discussion with the instructor. At the time of this meeting, a plan must be agreed upon for completion of the course work, including a date of completion, not to exceed six weeks following the end date of the course. This agreement must be completed by the last day of class for the given course. Any student who does not follow the above guidelines will receive an F for the course. In exceptional circumstances (such as death in family, significant illness, accident), an additional extension may be requested. Any such request must be made in writing, reviewed and signed by the instructor and the student’s advisor.

Learning Outcomes

Program Goals

  1. Provide a knowledge base in the biological sciences that is deeper than the typical undergraduate experience.
  2. Foster participation in the production of biological knowledge through high quality research.
  3. Instill outstanding research skills and a working knowledge of the scientific method by participation in high-quality research.
  4. Develop outstanding scientific communication skills through written and oral presentations.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Students will demonstrate expertise in their thesis research field
  2. Students will increase their proficiency to publication level written and professional oral communication skills
  3. Students will demonstrate mastery of the concepts and principals of the Biological Sciences
  4. Students will demonstrate an understanding of research design and have the ability to carry out a research project

Transfer Credit


  • Transfer credits are rarely awarded to students who transfer from another biological science program
  • Transfer credits will be reviewed and awarded on a case-by-case basis

Advanced standing

No advanced standing available

Experiential Learning

No credit awarded for experiential learning


program admissions requirements


  • There are no specific course prerequisites


  • Completion of Bachelor’s Degree (BA or BS) in Biology or other related area from a U.S. regionally accredited institution, or international equivalent, prior to matriculation
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, required
  • Successful completion of the General Graduate Record Exam GRE with competitive scores (official score must be submitted from ETS directly to the Office of Graduate Admissions at the University of New England  (code # 3751)
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended must be submitted directly from the issuing institution to UNE’s Office of Graduate Admissions
  • Three (3) letters of reference from writers who know you and can speak to your academic and/or professional experience (letters from friends and family members will not be accepted)
  • Prior to or early in the admissions process, candidates are advised to communicate with faculty with whom they would like to work
  • Only those applicants who meet minimum requirements will be considered for admission


  • Applications for admission are accepted through the UNE Graduate Admissions application (detailed instructions are included in the application portal)
    • UNE application portal opens annually July 1
    • Applications must be electronically submitted by the posted deadline of February 1
      • Please Note: Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit and complete your application well before the deadline for earliest consideration
      • A complete application includes the following:
        • Electronically submitted application
        • Official transcripts from all colleges/universities attended
        • Official GRE score report sent directly from ETS to UNE Office of Graduate Admissions
        • Three (3) letters of reference
      • All completed applications will be reviewed by the program admissions committee after the application deadline with decisions mailed beginning in mid-March
      • Applications completed after the posted deadline will be reviewed on a space available basis, only
    • Accepted candidates will be expected to pay a minimal non-refundable deposit to secure your place in the program
      • Deposit is applied to any fees not covered by the assistantship or grant received upon acceptance
      • Deposit will be forfeited should the candidate decide not to matriculate in the program
  • International applicants and applicants with international degrees
    • Must have transcripts evaluated for degree and grade equivalency to that of a regionally accredited U.S. institution (International Admissions)
    • Must be able to understand and communicate in English to be admitted to the university
      • UNE accepts several methods of English Proficiency          
      • If an applicant cannot prove English Proficiency in another way, scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is required and must be submitted as a part of the completed application


  • Policies have been established to ensure fair and consistent admissions practice for all applicants
  • All criteria presented in this summary are subject to change per professional accreditation requirements, changes in curriculum or other institutional standards, and clinical affiliation requirements
  • Exceptions to existing admission policies are rare and made on a case by case basis, only when it is deemed necessary and appropriate to maintain fair and consistent practice for all candidates

Financial Information

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees for subsequent years may vary. Other expenses include books and housing. For more information regarding tuition and fees, please consult the Financial Information section of this catalog.

Continued Enrollment

After two academic years, a student who has completed all coursework except his/her thesis will be required to pay for a minimum of three Thesis credit hours plus mandatory fees each semester to remain in the program. 

Other Expenses

Housing is arranged by and financed at the expense of the student.  Currently there is no on-campus housing available for graduate students.

Financial Aid

Detailed information and applications are available on request from the Financial Aid Office at the Biddeford Campus. Call 207-602-2342 or by visiting the Financial Aid website. Information on tuition remission, Research Assistantships and Teaching Assistantships can be found on the Department of Biology graduate programs website.