MA Requirements

Master of Arts Degree Program

The Department of Biological Sciences at Kent State University has a Masters of Arts non-thesis degree program for students interested in biosciences.  The MA degree program in biological sciences provides graduate level coursework helpful in career advancement beyond that provided by the Bachelor’s degree.  The MA degree program offers flexibility in that it may be pursued on a full-time or part-time basis.  The MA degree program is considered a terminal degree in the biological sciences and is not recommended for those who plan to pursue a Ph.D. in the biological sciences.

Minimum qualifications for entrance into the program include:

  • An overall undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0
  • The equivalent of an undergraduate major or minor in biological sciences or related field OR a teaching certificate
  • Appropriate background in biology, chemistry and mathematics
  • English proficiency (a minimum of a 94 on the iBT)

Although minor exceptions to these qualifications will be considered, applicants must be cognizant that they will be taking graduate courses in biology.  Courses to meet minimum requirements may be taken during the first year of a student's program. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is not required for admission.

Course of Study and Requirements – all students:
Graduation Requirements include at least 32 semester hours of course work at the graduate level with a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 for all course work completed.

A total of 4 credit hours can be earned through workshops in the sciences and science education.

A maximum of 12 semester hours of graduate course work may be accepted by transfer from accredited institutions offering the master’s degree, but the grades will not be calculated into the GPA.  The credits will be accepted provided:

1. Graduate credit was received from that institution;
2. The work was of “A” or “B” quality;
3. The work fits into the program;
4. Credit is less than six years old at the time the degree is conferred at Kent;
5. An official transcript with an accompanying explanatory letter is filed in the department;
6. The student’s adviser, department graduate committee and the dean approve.

Students interested in Cell Biology are encouraged to select courses from among the following:

  • BSCI 50158 Molecular Biology
  • BSCI 50143 and 60144 Eukaryotic Cell Biology and readings
  • BSCI 50174 Immunology
  • BSCI 50142 Bioenergetics
  • BSCI 50432 Endocrinology

Students interested in Ecology are encouraged to select courses from among the following:

  • BSCI 50372 Populations, Communities and Ecosystems
  • BSCI 50163 Organic Evolution
  • BSCI 60371 Evolutionary Ecology
  • BSCI 50364 Limnology
  • BSCI 50368 Wetland Ecology and Management
  • BSCI 50556 Vertebrate Zoology
  • BSCI 50374 Conservation Biology
  • BSCI 50363 Microbial Ecology

Other courses:  The Biological Sciences department frequently offers special topics classes in specialized areas of interest which can count towards the degree when part of the approved program of study.  Course work in other fields within the natural and physical sciences may be used to meet credit hour requirements when part of the approved program of study.

K-12 Teachers:

K-12 teachers holding or pursuing a teaching certificate who are working on the Biology MA must take at least 18 hours of biological sciences courses and are encouraged to select courses from among the following.

  • BSCI 50163 Organic Evolution
  • BSCI 60080 Experimental Methods in Biology
  • BSCI 50196 Individual Investigation (no more than 6 hours may be applied towards the degree)

All students who are not k-12 teachers:

Students holding a bachelors degree without K-12 teacher certification must take at least 23 hours of biological science courses; courses outside of BSCI must be approved by the MA coordinator and be a curricular "fit" with the degree program.


All prospective students must apply online through the Kent State University’s Admissions Office.

Upon admission into the program, students should consult with the MA Coordinator, Dr. Jen Mou (who will serve as their advisor) to structure a course of study applicable to their professional needs, academic training, and interests and complete a program of study form.  All graduate students, including those in the MA program, are subject to the rules and regulations specified in the graduate catalog.  Students in the program should be familiar with academic rules and university organization/policies available in our Graduate Catalog.

Student interested in enrolling in this program should contact:
Graduate Office, Biological Sciences
Master of Arts: Non-thesis Option Program
Department of Biological Sciences
Kent State University
Kent, OH 44242
Phone: 330-672-2189