Content | Navigation |


The Department of Biological Sciences offers several degree programs for students planning to conduct graduate work at NDSU. Students can select a major in Botany, Biology, Zoology, or Cellular and Molecular Biology. Financial assistance is available for most students in the form of a research or teaching assistantship.

Graduate students generally take several courses that relate to their interests and chosen research. Master's degree students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours to graduate. Ph.D. students must complete a minimum of 90 credit hours. These figures include both credits from actual coursework as well as research credits.

In addition to coursework, graduate students in the Department of Biological Sciences work with an advisor on a research project that meets the interests of the student. Graduate students are also required to form a committee of individuals that have expertise in the student's area of interest. A proposal which must be approved by the student's committee is required before any research begins. Research is usually conducted in either the field or laboratory. A final thesis or dissertation is required to complete a graduate degree in the Department of Biological Sciences.

For a complete description of requirements, courses and an application please see the Graduate School Bulletin for Biology


The Department of Biological Sciences offers graduate study leading to Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. Master of Science degrees are available in Biology, Botany, Environmental and Conservation Sciences, Natural Resources Management, and Zoology. Doctor of Philosophy degrees are available in Botany, Environmental and Conservation Sciences, Genomics, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Environmental and Conservation Sciences, Natural Resources Management, and Zoology. Advanced work may involve specialized training in the following areas: aquatic biology, behavior, cell biology, comparative biochemistry and physiology, conservation biology, ecology, endocrinology, evolution, fisheries biology, lichenology, molecular biology, plant biology, population biology, prairie pothole ecology, systematics, vertebrate pest management.


  • Developmental and Regulatory Biology
  • Ecological and Evolutionary Biology
  • Science Education



Financial Aid

Students who desire to be considered for a research assistantship (RA), teaching assistantship (TA), or some other form of aid should so indicate on the graduate application. TA's and RA's are at a premium; thus, students interested in such an appointment must file a completed application as early as possible. Students interested in need-based financial aid, loans, or work study opportunities should check with the Financial Aid Office.


Teaching Assistantships

A graduate teaching assistant is expected to devote an average of 20 hours weekly to departmental duties in order to fulfill the work requirements of his/her assistantship. TA's are expected to be present and available to fulfill their duties from August 15 to May 15. TA's are not automatically granted vacation or leave time. All absences must be cleared with the work supervisor(s) and major adviser.
Students admitted to advanced degree programs in the Department of Biological Sciences are normally supported throughout their tenure as graduate students. However, reappointment as a TA is not guaranteed. Appointments are generally made for one academic year (August 15 to May 15), but are reviewed every semester, and continuance is subject to the availability of the positions, the student's performance as an assistant, and the student's record of scholarship. A student must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above in graduate level courses to continue his/her teaching assistantship. TA's must receive student evaluations of their performance in courses. It is the responsibility of the TA to ensure that he or she is eligible for continued appointment.


Research Assistantships

Research assistants (RA's) are half-time employees of the Department and are usually paid from research grant funds. Typically research is conducted under the supervision of the principal investigator who generated the salary funds. In most cases, the 20 hours per week that are required to fulfill the employment obligation are spent working on research that the student may use for his/her disquisition. Obviously, 20 hours per week is typically not sufficient time to complete one's research program; hence, it is necessary that RA's work additional hours beyond their half-time appointment. RA's are not automatically granted vacation or leave time. All absences must be cleared with the
work supervisor(s) and major adviser.



Fellowships and scholarships may be available for students with superior academic records. Students receiving fellowships are subject to the same general rules that apply to research assistants, including tuition waiver.



Tuition (both resident and nonresident) for graduate-level courses is waived for all graduate students with an appointment as a research assistant or a teaching assistant, or for fellowship recipients. However, all graduate students must pay a semester activity fee.

Graduate Student Handbook 2014

Application Deadlines

We encourage potential graduate students to contact individual faculty directly regarding open research positions at the time of application. Review of faculty research interests and faculty contact information may be found at:


Review of graduate applications will take place:

By October 1 for the subsequent Spring semester


By February 15 for the subsequent Summer or Fall semesters


By June 15 for the subsequent Fall semester

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

Follow NDSU
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • RSS
  • Google Maps
Last Updated: Thursday, September 18, 2014 10:49:53 AM