Master of Science in Biology

The M.S. in Biology program at Winthrop University offers students broad training in biology.  Students may concentrate in areas ranging from conservation biology and behavioral ecology to biomedical research in cancer, molecular biology and bioinformatics.  Students work closely with graduate faculty advisors who hold Ph.D.s in their areas of specialization and are active researchers. Graduate courses are small (12 students or fewer) allowing for maximum interactions between students and their professors.  Our graduate faculty members enjoy teaching and mentoring graduate students and many have won awards for their teaching and scholarship.   


Graduate Program Director: 
Dr. Kristi Westover
803/323-2111 ext. 6180

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Graduate Assistantships

Students have the opportunity to work in their department and around campus as graduate assistants and associates.

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Employment & Continued Education

Over 92% of Winthrop's Biology graduate students have matriculated into the work-force or continued their education.

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Travel Support

Travel support is available for graduate student presentations or performances.

Click below to learn more about the program!

      At the time of admission, thesis students are paired with a faculty advisor with whom they work to identify a thesis research project.  Students take a foundational course in their first semester, which prepares them to develop and carry out research. Our program typically has about 20 students with individual faculty members supervising one to two students at a time.  This allows faculty to work closely with students to help them select courses and develop projects which best fit their interests and career goals.  The thesis option provides students with excellent preparation to continue their training in Ph.D. programs or professional schools which emphasize research and for careers at research institutions. 

      Time to completion: 2 - 2.5 years
      Total Credits: 30
      Format: Campus-based
      Curriculum (MS Biology with Thesis)

      The non-thesis option emphasizes breadth of training with students taking advanced coursework across the full range of biology subfields. Most non-thesis students carry out a one-semester project with a faculty member to gain research experience. Non-thesis students leave the program well-prepared to continue on to professional schools, enter biologically-oriented professions in research/government, or community college-level teaching. 

      Time to completion: 2 years
      Total Credits: 33
      Format: Campus-based
      Curriculum (MS in Biology without thesis)

      This option is intended for well-qualified students in the Winthrop BS in Biology program who will complete up to 9 hours of the work for the MS in Biology degree program while enrolled in the undergraduate degree program.

      Time to completion: 2 years
      Total Credits: 33
      Format: Campus-based
      Eligibility: Current Winthrop students in the BS in Biology program only
      Curriculum (Accelerated BS-MS Program)

      MS in Biology: June 30 for fall admission

      Accelerated BS-MS Program: June 30 for fall admission

        Application requirements for the Master of Science in Biology program include:

        • The online Graduate Studies application with the non-refundable application fee.

        • Official transcript(s) from all institutions attended for undergraduate and graduate coursework.

          • Note: Transcripts must be sent directly to Winthrop's Graduate Studies office from the issuing institution(s).

        • Two letters of recommendation.

        • Submit an essay describing personal and professional goals.

        • Have a 3.0 overall GPA.*

        *Those with deficiencies in application requirements may be required to provide alternative evidence such as additional test scores, professional experience, a personal interview, or educational background beyond the bachelor’s degree, etc. to be considered for admission. Please contact Dr. Kristi M. Westover, Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Biology, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC, 29733, 803/323-2111, ext. 6180 to schedule an appointment for further consultation.

        Application requirements for the Accelerated BS-MS in Biology program include:

        • Submit Intent to Pursue form no later than fall of senior year; consult the Graduate Program Director for the specific date when applications are due.

        • The online Graduate Studies application with the non-refundable application fee.

        • 3.0 GPA in the major with a minimum grade of B or better in all undergraduate courses undertaken for graduate credit. Graduate credit for these courses can only be received if the applicant completed all of the additional requirements for graduate students

          taking 500-level courses.

        • 3.0 overall GPA.

        • Two letters of recommendation.

        • Submit an essay describing personal and professional goals.


Beyond Graduation

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"As a member of the first cohort of Winthrop’s Accelerated Master’s in Biology program, I became part of a close-knit community of graduate students and faculty that taught me how to really do science! The advanced discussion classes gave me valuable experience in reading and communicating scientific research; we went beyond the textbooks and straight to the source. Other classes included hands-on field and lab work, writing literature reviews, learning to use statistical analysis software, and developing our scientific inquiry skills. Additionally, I learned a lot about teaching through working as a graduate assistant. The excellent mentorship and community spirit among the faculty and students here at Winthrop can’t be matched. This program helped me start my career, and fueled my passion for research and teaching! Since graduating, I have been teaching several different biology classes and interviewing for PhD programs, and I can’t wait for what comes next!"

Read More Testimonials Here


M.S. in Biology graduates go on to careers in a wide variety of biology-related fields or continue their training in doctoral and professional degree programs. Here are some directions our students have gone in:

Ph.D. Programs:

Our M.S. graduates have gone on to doctoral programs all over the country, including:

  • University of South Carolina (Immunology, Marine Biology, Paleontology, Paleopathology)

  • Medical University of South Carolina (Biomedicine)

  • Medical College of Georgia (Biomedicine)

  • University of South Florida (Landscape Ecology)

  • The Ohio State University (Evolutionary Biology)

  • Penn State University (Biology)

  • Wake Forest University (Microbiology/Immunology)

  • University of Arizona (Physiology)

Professional Programs:

Our graduates have gone on to programs in medicine, veterinary medicine and pharmacy.


Our graduates have found jobs in:

  • Biomedical research (University of South Carolina, Vanderbilt University, Carolinas Medical Center, North

  • Carolina Research Campus, Kanapolis Research Campus)

  • Government agencies (USDA, State of South Carolina, Mecklenberg County)

  • Museums (American Museum of Natural History, Schiele Museum, Museum of York County)

  • Private industry

  • College-level biology teaching  


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