Graduate Faculty

Professors: Scott S. Crupper, David R. Edds, Lynnette M. Sievert, Marshall D. Sundberg, R. Brent Thomas

Associate Professors: Melissa Bailey, Tim Burnett, William E. Jensen, Brenda Koerner, Dwight W. Moore

Assistant Professors: Stephen Fields, David McKenzie, Alexis PowellDarren Rebar


The graduate program of the Department of Biological Sciences is designed to qualify persons for continued graduate work at the doctoral level; for teaching biology in high schools, community colleges, and liberal arts colleges; and for employment in various fields of biology, including certain fields of applied biology. In addition, the newly established Master of Science in Forensic Science (MSFS) degree is the only one of its kind in the state of Kansas. MSFS program offers vigorous curriculum encompassing a broad spectrum of subjects including criminalistics, molecular biology, toxicology, and firearms, and it prepares students to work as a scientist in national, state, or regional criminalistics laboratories or conventional analytical laboratories. Please click here for more information about MSFS program.

Lecture rooms, teaching laboratories, a greenhouse, and research facilities of the department are located in Breukelman Hall. Constant- temperature chambers for plant and animal studies, flow cytometer, Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (LCMS), image processing system, microtome-tissue embedding system, fluorescent microscopes, centrifuges of various kinds including an ultracentrifuge, and electrophoretic, spectrographic, chromatographic, electrophysiological, and immuno-chemical instruments, as well as field operated physioecological monitoring equipment are extensively used by graduate students. There is also equipment for quantitative radioisotopic analysis, transfer hoods for microbiology and animal cell culturing, animal facilities, a herbarium, and various research microscopes. A natural history museum, with specimens mounted by internationally recognized taxidermist Richard H. Schmidt, contains hundreds of species of birds, mammals, fish mounts, and hand-painted molds of Kansas snakes. The museum also has more than a thousand other vertebrate study specimens. A field station, The Ross Natural History Reservation, consists of laboratory buildings, ponds, and 200 acres of native grassland. The reservation located a few miles northwest of the main campus is extensively used in conjunction with class work, research, and science education. In addition, the students in our graduate programs have access to two Ozarkian wooded areas, a 40-acre tallgrass prairie area in the Flint Hills with a spring, stream and pond, and several federal and state reservoirs within a short drive. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has a research office on campus, and often interacts with the Department.


Admission Requirements

Students who plan to do graduate work in biology should have an adequate background of undergraduate courses suitable to the area of biology in which they are interested. If such a background is lacking or incomplete, the student can be asked to make up these deficiencies in addition to pursuing the normal graduate program.

Prospective students who are interested in applying to the graduate program of the Department of Biological Sciences are required to submit ESU Graduate Application and Biology Graduate Application, both can be submitted online. If for some reason you cannot submit an electronic application, please contact Dr. David Edds, who is the Graduate Coordinator of the Department. The Biology Graduate Application form asks for a personal background statement detailing goals and experience in biology. The applicants are also required to submit three recommendation letters. M.S. thesis option applicants are strongly encouraged to visit or contact potential advisors prior to submitting their applications. An M.S. thesis option applicant can be admitted only if a Biology faculty member agrees to advise his/her thesis. The department's admission committee will make a decision based upon the applicant's application materials. The applicant can be accepted unconditionally, with condition, on a probationary basis, or the applicant can be denied. International students must apply for graduate studies through the Office of International Education.


Degree Candidacy Requirements

Sometime during the first semester of study, the student must complete the Degree Plan (signed by the major advisor and the other members of the student's advisory committee) and submit it to the Graduate Coordinator of the Department of Biological Sciences.

If the academic record, English proficiency examination, proposed plan of research and degree plan are satisfactory, the Degree Candidacy Card will be signed by the Graduate Coordinator of the Department and forwarded to the Graduate School. If the record is unsatisfactory, the student will not be admitted to degree candidacy and can be asked to terminate graduate study.

In the event that the application is denied, the student can appeal the case by letter to the Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Committee for review. The committee, after consulting with the advisor, can suggest that the student discontinue graduate study or suggest that the student compete additional course work.

These policies and others are described in more detail in the Guidelines for Graduate Study.


M.S. Thesis Option, Biology

For those students considering graduate work beyond the master's level, or employment as professional biologists, the Master of Science Thesis Option program of study is strongly recommended. This program is designed to provide students with more sophisticated research experiences than the M.S. Non-thesis program. The Master of Science Thesis option in biology requires no fewer than 30 hours of graduate credit, including a minimum of five hours of thesis credit. There is no limitation on the number of thesis and investigation credit (research) hours for which a student may enroll, however only six hours of thesis credit and no more than 12 hours of combined thesis and research credit may apply toward a Master of Science degree.

M.S. Non-thesis Option, Biology

Students who prefer to place less emphasis upon research and more emphasis on broad biological training may fulfill degree requirements by completing 35 hours of graduate credit and a comprehensive oral examination. A maximum of 6 hours of research may be counted toward the 35 hours. 

Go to the Graduate School Home Page at Emporia State University.