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.

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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 bioinformatics, integrative biology or neuroscience.

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Admission Requirements

Application requirements can be found at Graduate School Admission Requirements and include:

  1. Completed graduate application
    Apply Online
  2. $35 application fee
  3. One official transcript verifying receipt of an undergraduate degree and official transcripts of all academic work at the undergraduate and graduate levels are required for all students
  4. Three letters of recommendation
    Letter of Recommendation Form
  5. Statement of Purpose
  6. Official copy of GRE scores (not required for Accelerated M.S.)
  7. Additional requirements exist for international applicants. For more information, visit International Admission Requirements

For more detailed admission requirements, refer to biology in the current graduate catalog.

Application Deadline

  • Priority: January 15

Additional Requirements

The Classroom & Beyond

  • The student experience at USD can extend far beyond science. Biology major Liz Berg has co-led a trip to Seattle which focused on sustainable solutions to hunger.

  • 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.

  • 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.