Master of Science in Biotechnology

Program Coordinator: Dr. Ellen Fynan
Phone: 508-929-8596

The Master of Science in Biotechnology is a part time program designed to broaden the student's understanding of the biological sciences and to prepare the student for a professional career in Biotechnology or for doctoral study. Classes are usually held in the evenings and include lectures, laboratory experiences, research methodology and seminars in current topics.  Research, analytical and communication skills are developed through original research, culminating in a written thesis and defense.  In addition to the matriculated program, courses are open to students who hold a Bachelor’s degree in a biological subject, biotechnology or chemistry.

A combined B.S./M.S. program is available for Worcester State University students majoring in Biotechnology.  Please see the Undergraduate Catalog for further information on this program.

Prerequisites for Admission to the Program

In order to be admitted to the program a candidate must meet the Worcester State University general admission requirements for the degree of Master of Science. To view these requirements please go to:

The program is open to graduates of accredited institutions of higher education who have been awarded a baccalaureate degree in Biology, Biotechnology, Chemistry or a similar science major.  Graduate study in Biotechnology at Worcester State University assumes sound undergraduate training and evidence of academic capability. Applicants are expected to have completed courses in Chemistry I and II, Organic Chemistry I, Physics I and II, Microbiology, Cell and/or Molecular Biology (all with a laboratory component), Organic Chemistry II lecture course (no lab requirement) and math coursework up to the level of pre-calculus.   The applicant should have achieved a minimum grade point average of 2.75 in all undergraduate work and an average of 3.00 in all course work within his/her major and in the ancillary courses.


Program of Study for the Degree

The program of study includes 33 graduate credits in required and elective courses, research in biology/biotechnology culminating in an acceptable written thesis and thesis defense, and an ancillary requirement in statistics or computer science.

Of the 33 credits required for the degree, at least 21 credits must be earned as a matriculated graduate student at Worcester State University. Credits for which students have earned a “B-” or higher within a two year period immediately prior to the date of their acceptance into the program are transferable from an accredited institution, including credits earned at Worcester State University. A maximum of 12 such transfer credits may be accepted. Matriculated students who do not maintain a GPA 3.0 or higher or have two grades below a “B-” will be terminated from the program. All work for the degree must be completed within a period of six years from the date of admission to the program.

Degree Requirements required of all students

Required Courses

BI-921Biotechnology and DNA4
BI-927Tissue Culture Techniques3
BI-930Biological Chemistry3
BI/CH 900-Level Biology or Chemistry electives (see list below)14
BI-990Seminar in Biology/Biotecnology3
BI-995Research in Biology/Biotechnology (Acceptable thesis and thesis defense)6
Ancillary requirement in statistics or computer science0
Total Credits33

Elective Courses are from this list or others when approved by the faculty:

BI-905Historical Perspectives in Biology3
BI-910Public Health Parasitology4
BI-915Topics in Advanced Botany4
BI-935Biochemical Techniques3
BI-937Molecular Virology3
BI-980Selected Topics: Advanced Biology1-4
BI-981Independent Study in Biology/ Biotechnology1-6
BI-985Graduate Internship in Biology/ Biotechnology3-4
CH-941Biochemistry of Nucleic Acids3
CH-942Structure and Function of Proteins3
CH-943Laboratory Techniques in Biochemistry3
CH-990Special Problems in Chemistry3
CH-991Directed Study1-4
CH-996Internship: Chemistry3

To fulfill requirements for the Course BI-995 (6 credits) the candidate must complete an acceptable thesis based upon original research, conducted during a laboratory research experience. Laboratory investigations are supervised by faculty in the laboratories at Worcester State University or by arrangement at another institution. The candidate must adhere to the form specified for the thesis by the Biology Department graduate faculty. The thesis will be defended in an oral examination conducted by the faculty.

During the semester in which the candidate anticipates receiving the degree, the following timetable for the thesis completion and defense shall apply:

A minimum of four weeks prior to the defense, the completed written thesis must be presented to the candidate’s graduate research advisor.  The comprehensive exam/thesis defense will be scheduled with the candidate's thesis committee, comprised of the thesis advisor, the program coordinator and another member of the program graduate faculty.  

A minimum of two weeks prior to the defense, the final copy of the thesis, with approval by the candidate’s graduate research advisor, will be submitted to the members of the candidate's thesis committee.

Comprehensive Examination/Thesis defense

The Master of Science in Biotechnology candidate is required to pass a comprehensive examination/thesis defense in the candidate’s area of specialization. At least twenty-four approved graduate credits must be earned before the candidate can submit a request for the scheduling of a comprehensive exam/thesis defense. If the candidate fails the examination, he/she will be granted one additional opportunity to fulfill this requirement. All work for the degree must be completed within a period of six years from the date of admission to the program.