Biology (M.S.)

Program Overview

The M.S. Biology program focuses on increasing depth of knowledge, engaging in state-of-the-art research techniques, and engaging in applications of content taught at the undergraduate level. Students have the option of either the Thesis or Non-Thesis track. Students from this program have gone into private industry, forensic science, work with NGOs and non-profits, higher education, and secondary education.

The program emphasis is ecology and environmental science but open to any area within biology. Program quality is particularly enhanced by the facilities, opportunities for study and research activities at the Biological Field Station in Cooperstown, NY. This site provides students with a research complex that contains several multipurpose and analytical laboratories, two lakefront docks, boats, sampling equipment and access to over 2,600 acres of woodlands, bogs, marshes and ponds.

Why Oneonta?

  • Access to over 2,600 acres of woodlands, bogs, marshes and ponds for research
  • Preparation to further your study at the doctoral level or enter professional careers in biology
  • The Biological Field Station hosts several multipurpose and analytical laboratories, two lakefront docks, boats and sampling equipment.
Start of Term

Spring, Summer or Fall

Delivery Method

In Person

Application Deadline

Rolling: Apply Anytime

Number of Credits 32

Thesis 30 | Non-Thesis 32

Thesis Option

The M.S. in Biology Thesis Option was established to prepare students for undertaking doctoral studies at university centers and to train technicians for specialized career opportunities in the biological sciences. In this track, students focus on an independent research topic and develop a research thesis that is presented in written and oral forms to the SUNY Oneonta community.



Non-Thesis Option

The M.S. in Biology Non-Thesis Option is designed to offer post-graduate education for biology teachers in secondary schools and two-year colleges, and for those who desire a broad understanding of biological topics at an advanced level. In this track, students select from a wider array of elective courses in biology and produce a research paper directed on a single topic area within biology.


SUNY Oneonta offers Graduate and Teaching Assistantships to a number of full-time graduate students who are enrolled in degree programs. Assistantships are awarded by academic departments. Assistantships may involve tuition waivers and/or stipends.

How to Apply

  1. Submit a completed application and the non-refundable fee.
    Applicants who wish to be considered for a Teaching Assistantship need to have their complete application submitted no later than March 1.
  2. Submit an official transcript of an earned Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college with at least 25 s.h. in biology. Students not meeting these requirements may be admitted on the condition that undergraduate deficiencies be made up.
  3. Submit three letters of recommendation, one of which must be from a member of the SUNY Oneonta biology faculty willing to serve as Thesis (or Graduate) Advisor.
  4. Submit a written statement explaining the purpose/goal for seeking the degree.

Graduate Studies at SUNY Oneonta

As a SUNY Oneonta graduate student, you will develop meaningful relationships with outstanding, accessible faculty who are experts in their fields, experienced, caring teachers, and advocates for your success. You will expand your knowledge, hone your skills and become a leader in your field. When you complete your degree program, you will join a network of successful alumni whose experiences at SUNY Oneonta opened new doors, fostered personal and professional growth, and enriched their careers. We’re committed to nurturing a community where students grow intellectually, thrive socially and live purposefully, and you’ll see that mission reflected in your coursework, in your conversations and in your experiences.

The Office of Graduate Admissions is eager to assist you, from the application process to graduation. Email us at or call us at 607-436-2523 to get started.

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