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Biology (Biology and Society), MS

Biology (Biology and Society), MS

Academic programs / Graduate degrees / Biology (Biology and Society), MS

Biology, Society, approved for STEM-OPT extension, bioethics, history, philosophy

Do you need more than a foundation in biology? Do you want to take your training into society and bring about change? Within this multidisciplinary program, you can develop knowledge and skills for tangible action and prepare for employment, a PhD or other professional studies.

Program description
Degree awarded: MS  Biology (Biology and Society)

In the biology and society concentration of the MS program in biology, students examine topics in which biology intersects with society.

The concentration tailors individual plans of study to individual needs and interests, with a solid grounding in the life and related sciences and with a rigorous analytical and interdisciplinary education. The program offers suggested courses for those wishing to focus on these areas: bioethics, policy and law; biology education research; ecology, economics and ethics of the environment; and history and philosophy of science.

Bioethics, policy and law --- Students are trained in the pressing moral, policy and legal issues raised by the biosciences and biomedicine and in the disciplinary methods necessary to address these issues.

Biology education research --- This focuses on using education research to identify ways to improve undergraduate biology education broadly.

Ecology, economics and ethics of the environment --- This area trains students in the theory and empirical methods for understanding, analyzing and shaping policy for coupled human-natural systems.

History and philosophy of science --- Students are trained in the conceptual foundations of science, especially the epistemological and methodological assumptions that shape science and its progress.

STEM-OPT for international students on F-1 visas

This program may be eligible for an Optional Practical Training extension for up to 36 months. This OPT work authorization term may help international students gain skills and experience in the U.S. Those interested in an OPT extension should review ASU degrees that qualify for the STEM-OPT extension at ASU's International Students and Scholars Center website.

The OPT extension only applies to students on an F-1 visa and does not apply to students completing the degree through ASU Online.

At a glance
Accelerated program options
This program allows students to obtain both a bachelor's and master's degree in as little as five years. It is offered as an accelerated bachelor's plus master's degree with:

Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. Students typically receive approval to pursue the accelerated master’s during the junior year of their bachelor's degree program. Interested students can learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply.

Degree requirements

30 credit hours and a thesis

Required Core (1 credit hour)
BIO 610 Introduction to Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) in Life Sciences (1) or BIO 611 Current Topics in Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) in the Life Sciences (1)

Concentration (2 credit hours)
BIO 615 Biology and Society Lab (1), taken two times

Electives or Research (21 credit hours)

Culminating Experience (6 credit hours)
BIO 599 Thesis (6)

Additional Curriculum Information
The open electives or research section allows an individual student program to be developed in consultation with the student's advisor and committee.

Admission requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

All applicants must submit:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. academic record form
  4. personal statement
  5. curriculum vitae or resume
  6. writing sample
  7. three letters of recommendation
  8. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Students are expected to have completed the equivalent of core requirements for an undergraduate major in biology or a related discipline (typically evolution, genetics and other courses appropriate to the student's particular interests). Students without an undergraduate-level competency in the sciences may be considered for conditional admission to the biology and society concentration.

Tuition information
When it comes to paying for higher education, everyone’s situation is different. Students can learn about ASU tuition and financial aid options to find out which will work best for them.
Program learning outcomes

Program learning outcomes identify what a student will learn or be able to do upon completion of their program. This program has the following program outcomes:

  • Able to articulate an understanding of current literature on scientific developments and their relevance to society in scholarly writing.
  • Able to contribute to original biology and society research in scholarly writing.
  • Able to communicate biology and society research results in presentations.
Career opportunities

Those who have earned a Master of Science in biology with a concentration in biology and society are prepared for academic careers. Their skills and knowledge are also valuable for government careers in federal and state agencies responsible for management and conservation and for careers in industry and nongovernmental organizations.

Career examples include:

  • food, agriculture and health care scientists in academic, private and industrial labs
  • instructors at community colleges and research universities
  • researchers and policy developers in government labs and nonprofit organizations
  • science teachers in elementary and high schools
  • wildlife, animal and conservation scientists
Contact information
What are accelerated programs?
Accelerated programs allow students the opportunity to expedite the completion of their degree.

3 year programs

These programs allow students to fast-track their studies after admission and earn a bachelor's degree in three years or fewer while participating in the same high-quality educational experience of a 4-year option. Students should talk to their academic advisor to get started.

Accelerated master's

These programs allow students to accelerate their studies to earn a bachelor's plus a master's degree in as few as five years (for some programs).

Each program has requirements students must meet to be eligible for consideration. Acceptance to the graduate program requires a separate application. Students typically receive approval to pursue the accelerated master’s during the junior year of their bachelor's degree program. Interested students can learn about eligibility requirements and how to apply.
What are concurrent programs?
Concurrent degrees allow students to pursue their own personal or professional interests, earn two distinct degrees and receive two diplomas. To add a concurrent degree to your existing degree, work with your academic advisor.
What are joint programs?
Joint programs, or jointly conferred degrees, are offered by more than one college and provide opportunities for students to take advantage of the academic strengths of two academic units. Upon graduation, students are awarded one degree and one diploma conferred by two colleges.

What constitutes a new program?
ASU adds new programs to Degree Search frequently. Come back often and look for the “New Programs” option.
What are online programs?
ASU Online offers programs in an entirely online format with multiple enrollment sessions throughout the year. See for more information.
What is WRGP (Western Regional Graduate Program)?
The Western Regional Graduate Program (WRGP) provides a reduced tuition rate to non-resident graduate students who qualify. Visit the WRGP/WICHE webpage for more information:

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