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Students observing plants in a greenhouse at the University of South Dakota


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Preparing students for a lifetime of research and science-based careers.


Master of Science (M.S.)

The M.S. degree is intended for students choosing to gain experience in scientific research with professional goals in biology, such as graduate education; working for a federal or state agency or non-governmental organization; securing employment in industry; or teaching in secondary and higher education. Students can choose to specialize in conservation and biodiversity. Research areas include aquatic and terrestrial ecology, conservation biology, sustainability, ecotoxicology, plant and animal physiology, molecular biology, neuroscience, cell biology, developmental biology, genetics and evolution. 

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Accelerated Master of Science (M.S.)

The Accelerated M.S. degree is intended for current USD undergraduate students who would like to earn a course-based master’s degree while completing their undergraduate degree. Students in the Accelerated M.S. program should apply in the spring semester of their junior year, and would typically begin taking graduate-level courses the following fall. Students should expect to take courses for an additional year beyond the traditional senior year, after which they will receive both a B.S. and M.S. degree.

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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Biological Sciences

The Ph.D. is the highest degree in biology. Working with many of our top notch professors, students are trained to be expert research scientists in their field of choice. Students may choose to specialize in integrative biology or neuroscience. The Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences is intended for students that are interested in careers in research and/or academia.

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Geospatial Analysis Graduate Certificate

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Admission Requirements

For more detailed admission requirements, refer to biology in the current graduate catalog.Additional requirements exist for international applicants. For more information, visit International Admission Requirements. For more information about the graduate biology programs, contact Graduate Admissions at 605-658-6200 or email

The Classroom & Beyond

  • The USD Neuroscience, Nanotechnology & Networks Program (USD-N3) offers a team-based approach to prepare graduate students for diverse career paths in STEM professions.

  • The purpose of this club is to make more people aware of conservation efforts, have speakers highlight possible jobs attainable with a biology degree and help students get connected to research projects.

  • Biology Research

    Melissa Prince is working on understanding aggressive interactions using a mouse model. Her young career has been quite successful as she has already presented 2 posters at the Society for Neuroscience meeting.