Texas Tech University



Prospective Students

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.

Application Procedure

To be admitted into the Department of Biology's thesis-based M.S. and Ph.D. graduate programs, you will need to, firstly, 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:

  1. Your GPA for the last 60 hours of undergraduate course work and/or for formal graduate courses;
  2. Your goals statement (approximately 1 page);
  3. 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.
  4. An indication that you have contacted potential faculty mentors in the department.

Guidelines for graduate application Research Statement 

Personal statements are not an exhaustive list of past experiences and should be limited to ONE page. Information that should be addressed in the personal statement includes the following:

  • The reason that you want to pursue a PhD/MS degree
  • The reason that TTU is the ideal choice for your education
  • The reason that your research interests are particularly well-suited for your desired research lab
  • A brief synopsis of the ideas/projects you envision pursuing during your graduate work
  • Optional: The future career goals you hope to achieve with your desired degree

While you may choose to briefly mention key points regarding your background and preparation relevant to your suitability for your desired research laboratory, the bulk of your past research experiences should be summarized in your CV rather than in the personal statement.

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 to thesis/dissertation-based programs 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 Fall Semester (applications will not be accepted after January 1). The Department of Biological Sciences (DBS) is no longer considering thesis/dissertation-based program applications for Spring semester entry. Applications to non-thesis programs will be reviewed on a rolling basis for spring/summer/fall entry. However, applicants should contact the department before applying for non-thesis programs to make sure applications are still being considered. Applications to all programs 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) 834-2294 or send an e-mail message to nathan.stone@ttu.edu.

Financial Assistance

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 who want to be considered for teaching assistantships are required by the State of Texas to attend a virtual English language workshop conducted by Texas Tech's Modern Lanaguages Department 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 written 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. However, non-thesis M.Sc. students may count up to 6 hours of BIOL 7000 (research) if they have a faculty member that would like to and is willing to include them in their programs. 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 written 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:


To request information via email about our Graduate programs in the Department of Biological Sciences, email us.


Please contact the graduate advisor Lou Densmore [806-834-6479] if you require any further information about the application process.

Phone Contacts:

Chairperson: +1 (806) 742-2715
Graduate Programs: +1 (806) 742-2715
Graduate Admissions: +1 (806) 742-2787
International Student Affairs: +1 (806) 742-3667

Department Mailing Address:

Department of Biological Sciences
Texas Tech University
Box 43131
Lubbock TX 79409-3131

General University Inquiries:

Graduate Admissions
Texas Tech University
Box 41030
Lubbock TX 79409-1030

International Inquiries:

International Student Affairs
Texas Tech University
Box 41036
Lubbock TX 79409-1036


Department of Biological Sciences

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    Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Box 43131 Lubbock, TX 79409
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