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UNF Limnology Students perform field work at Lake Oneida.
Salt marsh
Oyster beds
Students and professor working with a Benthic tray
gator hatchling
entire class crossing florida creek
Two Herons

Graduate Degree in Biology

The UNF Masters Degree Program in Biology was initiated in the Fall 2003 semester. Currently students can choose between a Master of Science in Biology (M.S.) or a Master of Arts in Biology (M.A.).


Master of Science in Biology is a thesis-based degree centered on original student research. The biological sciences are progressing rapidly; and by interacting with researchers in the classroom, field, and laboratory, graduate students will better understand the principle values of science and the ethical requirements of scientific pursuits.

  • Requirements for this program are 30 credits of which a minimum of 18 credits must be graded coursework and 1 credit of thesis defense. The rest of the credits can come from research or seminars.

Master of Arts in Biology is designed primarily to provide K-12 science teachers or people already employed in local environmental agencies with advanced course work in biology. Oftentimes people require advanced degrees in biology to get promoted in their career or may want to increase their knowledge and understanding of biological principles but do not require or desire research experience. The Master of Arts program would be perfect for people in the aforementioned situation since it requires advanced coursework in biology but there is no requirement of completing a thesis.

  • This program requires 36 credits of course work.

The program seeks to provide graduate students with high quality advanced training in the biological sciences. Graduates of the program will fill diverse needs requiring advanced biological skills; furthermore, graduates are expected to contribute to industry growth in biotechnology, environmental biology, and improvement in primary and secondary education.


While these fields represent a wide diversity of employment opportunities and biological disciplines, all graduates are expected to meet general criteria that will define a high quality graduate program in biology, as well as successfully complete coursework in a specific area of concentration. The MS program in biology at UNF has three areas of concentration to choose from including the Ecology/Environmental Biology track, the Microbiology/Molecular Biology track and the Coastal and Marine Biology track.


Each of these concentrations will train graduate students in current biological theories and techniques while encouraging them to discover and create original scientific knowledge that is relevant to the current job market and also capable of addressing future biological challenges. Examples of topics covered in these concentrations can be found on the Biology Graduate Program Areas of Concentration.

  • The Ecology/Environmental Biology track will learn the latest ecological/environmental sampling techniques with a secondary emphasis on experimental design and statistical analysis.
  • The Microbiology/Molecular Biology track will receive training on the latest techniques in molecular biology including various methods of genotyping, quantifying and manipulating gene expression, and assaying enzymatic activity.
  • The Coastal and Marine Biology track will receive training in techniques specific to working with organisms in near-shore and marine environments.

Current biology graduate students can find additional information on the Graduate Program page.


Contact the Biology Graduate Program Director, Dr. Matt Gilg, for more information.