The Department of Biological Sciences offers three master's degrees with both thesis and non-thesis options, and one research-based doctorate degree that culminates in a dissertation.
M.S. in Biology or Microbiology
The department offers 30-hour thesis-based, and 30-hour coursework based non-thesis M.S. in Biology, and in Microbiology. Those students who expect to work beyond the M.S. degree and toward the Ph.D. degree are strongly encouraged to choose the thesis option.
The thesis-based M.S. program provides students with in-depth research training under the mentorship of a tenure-track faculty member, and students complete up to 6 credit hours of BIOL 6000 (M.S. thesis research) while in the program. Among others, research strengths in the department include animal physiology, ecology, evolution and systematic biology, microbiology, plant biology and biotechnology, and quantitative biology.
Those students who expect to work beyond the M.S. degree and toward the Ph.D. degree are strongly encouraged to choose the thesis option.
Professional Science Master's Degree
The Professional Science Master's (P.S.M.) degree is a two-year coursework-based graduate degree designed to allow students to pursue advanced training and excel in science while simultaneously developing valued business skills. The PSM degree qualifies students for employment in the public or private sector and offers two tracks: (1) the Ecology and Environmental Sustainability track is offered through the Department of Biological Sciences and (2) the Natural Resource Management offered in the Department of Natural Resources Management within the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources Management. More information on this degree can be found through the graduate school at: https://www.depts.ttu.edu/gradschool/Programs/psm/ProgramOverview.php
Ph.D. in Biology
The Department of Biological Sciences doctoral program provides students with in-depth training under the mentorship of a tenure-track faculty member. Among others, research strengths in the department include animal physiology, ecology, evolution and systematic biology, microbiology, plant biology, biotechnology, and quantitative biology.
To be admitted into the Department of Biology's thesis-based M.S. and Ph.D. graduate programs, you will need to identify a professor in your area of interest who is willing to serve as your Major Advisor. It is your responsibility to make initial contact with prospective Major Advisors. A faculty member who agrees to serve as your Major Advisor must verify this commitment in writing to the departmental Graduate Student Selection Committee before your completed application is evaluated, or else you will not be admitted.
Briefly, this includes submission of official transcripts for all previous college-level study, a resume/CV, a list of potential graduate advisors, and a statement of your academic and research goals. International students must also submit official TOEFL scores and a bank statement that indicates sufficient funds to cover the student's education and living expenses. Submit these application materials directly to the Graduate School through the application portal.
Your application will be evaluated by using a combination of the following four criteria:
- Your GPA for the last 60 hours of undergraduate course work and/or for formal graduate courses;
- Your goals statement (approximately 1 page); and
- Letters of recommendation from three referees. You should choose referees who are able to comment on your potential for success in graduate courses and research.
- An indication that you have contacted potential faculty mentors in the department.
Your goals statement is a very important part of your application. You should indicate how the attainment of the advanced degree is related to your long-term career plans. In addition, the Graduate Student Selection Committee is interested in any other information you can provide to help them evaluate your potential for success in research and graduate course work. Such information might include a brief description of your previous research experience, pertinent communications with your prospective Major Advisor, and ideas about possible research projects that you might work on with your Major Advisor.
For Ph.D. applicants with a prior M.S. degree, the goals statement should contain a general description of the M.S. thesis study and the conceptual and/or technical foundation it may have provided for your future Ph.D. research project.
Click the link below to apply directly to the Graduate School for admission to Texas Tech University as a graduate student:
Application Target Due Dates
For applicants who wish to be considered for any scholarships or fellowships offered through the Graduate School, application submission target dates are December 1 for admission in the next Summer/Fall Semester and June 15 for admission in the next Spring Semester. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis past these target dates but applicant files received after March 1 for fall admission and October 1 for spring admission may not receive full consideration for fellowships or scholarships. The application must include all of the materials required by the Graduate School and the Department (described above) before it can be considered. To inquire about the status of your application, you may telephone the Graduate Secretary at (806) 742-2715 or send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Graduate School and the Department provide fellowships or scholarships awarded on a competitive basis. More information can be found at the Graduate Fellowship and Scholarships page.
Teaching assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis from the Department of Biological Sciences. Offers are not made until after the admission decision has been made by the Graduate program. All international students for whom English is a second language are required by the State of Texas to attend an English language workshop that is held on campus in July. You must pass an evaluation of ability to speak English before you can teach at any Texas university.
Individual faculty members may be able to offer research assistantships based on the extent of their current research funding. Contact your prospective Major Advisor to inquire about this possibility.
Overview of Program Requirements:
Thesis-Based M.Sc. in Biology or Microbiology: Requirements for completing the thesis M.S. degree include 30 credit hours of coursework, completion of a research project under faculty mentorship, a writen research thesis, and passage of a final oral examination.
Non-Thesis Based M.Sc. in Biology or Microbiology: This degree is based entirely on completion of 30 credit hours of graduate coursework, and does not involve a research project or close work under faculty mentorship. This degree is not recommended for students intending to go on in academia.
The Professional Science Masters: The degree consists of 15 to 19 hours of required courses (including either a 6-hour internship or a 3-hour capstone course) plus 15 hours of elective courses. In addition, students will be required to complete a series of online workplace skills modules (e.g., economics, ethics, interviewing skills, human resource management, conflict management, team building). Students accepted to the program but found to be deficient in preparation for taking graduate courses will be required to take leveling courses. The P.S.M. degree differs from a conventional M.S. degree in requiring an internship or capstone experience in lieu of a research-based thesis. Capstone courses will be taken by those already employed.
The Ph.D. degree in Biology: This degree requires 60 credit hours beyond the baccalaureate (including formal courses, seminars, and research credits), passage of a comprehensive qualifying exam (written and oral), completion of a substantive research project, and completion and oral defense of a writen dissertation.
For all Degrees: During your first semester in the graduate program, you will select the members of your Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee (chaired by your Major Advisor for research based degrees, and the program coordinator for non-thesis options) will meet with you regularly to advise and assist you toward the completion of your degree. The Committee will individually tailor the course plan to your academic background, research interests, and career goals.
For thesis based M.Sc. degrees and the Ph.D.: An important decision is the choice of a thesis or dissertation topic, one that is both of interest to you and complementary to your Major Advisor's research program. Following discussions with your Major Advisor, you will submit a research proposal to your Advisory Committee for their approval. Typical times for completion of the M.S. degree are 2-3 years and for the Ph.D. degree are 4-5 years.
Intradepartmental organization for research is centered around the areas of animal physiology and biomedical science, ecology, evolutionary biology, microbiology, plant physiology and biotechnology, and quantitative biology. In addition to these departmental research groups, there are several university-wide research centers, institutes, and associated Federal research laboratories that promote and facilitate collaborative research. These include: