Graduate Degree

Integrative Biology - Master of Science

Integrative Biology - Master of Science
Plan Code:
Program Level:
Award Type:
Master of Science
College of Natural Science
Integrative Biology

Excerpt from the official Academic Programs Catalog:

Listed below are the approved requirements for the program from the official Academic Programs Catalog.
Students must consult their advisors to learn which specific requirements apply to their degree programs.

College of Natural Science

Department of Integrative Biology

Graduate Study
Integrative Biology - Master of Science

The graduate degree programs in integrative biology are designed for students who seek a career in education and research in the biological sciences, and/or application of biological knowledge in the private and public sectors. The objectives of the programs are to train the next generation of scientists in integrative biology who will tackle some of the major issues of our time including the responses of biological systems to environmental variation and change. The programs provide students with a broad knowledge of the field through courses and seminars and prepare students for independent and original research in one of the various specialized subdisciplines of integrative biology. Faculty and staff work on a wide range of biological systems and emphasize the integration and synthesis of information from various levels of biological organization, from molecules to ecosystems. Areas of active research include genetics, cellular and developmental biology, systematics, paleontology, comparative morphology, physiology, behavior, and ecology and evolutionary biology.

Students may obtain specialized graduate training through interdepartmental graduate programs. Integrative Biology faculty are affiliated with interdepartmental graduate programs and research in genetics, cell and molecular biology, neuroscience, and ecology and evolutionary biology. Additional information about the doctoral programs in genetics and neuroscience, and about the Specialization in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, may be found in other sections of this catalog. Students specializing in ecological research may take courses and carry out research at the W. K. Kellogg Biological Station located near Kalamazoo.

Faculty research interests are available from the department Web site. Interested students are also encouraged to contact the Chairperson or the Graduate Program Director for further information.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university and of the College of Natural Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.


Regular admission to the graduate programs in integrative biology is granted to students having a bachelor's degree, with training in the biological sciences at least equal to that required for this degree at Michigan State University; one year each of chemistry, mathematics, and one semester of college physics. Approval of the department is also required. Students who do not meet the requirements for regular admission may, under certain circumstances, be admitted on a provisional basis while deficiencies are being corrected. 

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree

The student must complete a total of 30 credits for the degree under either Plan A (with thesis) or Plan B (without thesis).

Requirements for Both Plan A and Plan B

  1. Complete 3 credits of course work at the 800-level or above in biology chosen in consultation with the student’s guidance committee.

Additional Requirements for Plan A

  1. Completion of 4 credits of IBIO 899 Master’s Thesis Research.
  2. Although there is no departmental language requirement, a Guidance Committee may prescribe a language requirement for a particular graduate student.
  3. Completion of a final oral examination.
  4. Successful defense of the master’s research.

Additional Requirements for Plan B   

  1. Completion of 3 credits of IBIO 890 Special Problems which usually consists of a research project carried out either in a laboratory or the library.
  2. Completion of a final oral examination formulated and administered by the student’s Guidance Committee. It is the student’s responsibility to contact the members of the committee concerning the content of the oral examination.