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Biology, MS

Research Lab

Leaders in online Biology education

This highly regarded master's degree in biology prepares students for success in a variety of science-related careers.

With 14 full-time tenure track graduate faculty, the Department of Biology offers expertise in a wide range of students' areas of interest: physiology, biochemistry, ecology, microbiology, molecular biology, botany, and geographic information systems.

Students benefit from opportunities for both applied and basic research.

Program Description

This online Biology degree is dedicated to preparing students for careers in a variety of fields.

The program exposes students to a variety of courses including both laboratory and field experiences that provide a well-rounded graduate education.

Inter-disciplinary studies are emphasized with collaborations aimed at solving modern biological problems.

A low student to faculty ratio assures the individual guidance necessary for positive individual experiences and successful completion of the program.

Delivery Format

Home Campus: University of Nebraska at Kearney

Method of Delivery: 100% Online - what's this?Program can be completed fully at a distance. Courses are asynchronous, meaning students and instructor may access content at any time and do not have to be connected to the Internet at the same time. If your program includes an internship or practicum, experiences may be completed in the student's local area.

All online courses are accessed via the Internet and use a learning management system. Technology requirements may vary by program and course, but all campuses have basic recommended requirements. High-speed Internet is required.

Interaction with professors and other students may include:

  • E-mail
  • Online discussion boards
  • Phone or video conferencing
  • Other forms of electronic and print communication

Supplemental materials for some courses may include:

  • Printed material and scanned documents
  • Digital resources accessed through university libraries
  • Videos accessed via the Internet, CDs or DVDs
  • Other media

To be successful, students taking online classes should be reasonably comfortable using a computer and the Internet. Learn more about online student tips for success.

Academic Year 2015 - 2016

Tuition rates are effective for the academic year listed.  Tuition is subject to change.

Nebraska Resident:

 TuitionDistance Ed. FeeTechnology FeeLibrary FeeTotal
Per credit hour$285.00$25.00$11.00$4.00$325.00
3 credit hour$855.00$75.00$33.00$12.00$975.00


 TuitionDistance Ed. FeeTechnology FeeLibrary FeeTotal
Per credit hour$495.00$25.00$11.00$4.00$535.00
3 credit hour$1,485.00$75.00$33.00$12.00$1,605.00

Note: A $25.00 materials fee per credit hour will be assessed for both resident and non-resident students.

Note: A $4.00 student records fee will be assessed each semester for both resident and non-resident students.

The online master's in Biology degree program requires 36 credit hours. The program is offered as a non-thesis option; in lieu of a defense of thesis, students completing the program will be required to pass a written comprehensive examination covering the major areas of the biological sciences during their last term of enrollment.

Program of Study

Core Courses BIOL 802, 820, 831, 881 and 827
Electives Students may, in conjunction with their adviser, choose from a variety of online electives.

For a course rotation schedule and full list of available elective courses, visit the Biology course page >


Course Name
Course #
Core Courses

Organic Evolution

BIOL 802
A study of evolution beginning with the origin of life and characterizing biological mechanisms of evolution leading to present biodiversity.

Intro to Graduate Study

BIOL 820
An introduction to graduate study and requirements at UNK with emphasis on research methods and biological techniques for the professional teacher and biologist. Students will gain an appreciation for the scientific method by formulating good scientific questions including sound null and alternative hypotheses, design experimental methods addressing the hypotheses and propose appropriate statistical tests for evaluation and results. Students will practice the art of locating and understanding scientific literature. In addition, students will engage in scientific writing which will include the submission of a research proposal. The student is encouraged to take this course during his/her first nine hours of graduate work in Biology.

Biological Statistics

BIOL 827
This class is divided into two main areas. The first is biological statistics: the collection and analysis of scientific data. The second area is experimental design: how an experimental hypothesis is built and what are the pieces and procedures needed to conduct a successful experiment. The class is not mathematically intensive and relies on the power of computers beyond a few examples done by hand. The class includes both parametric and non-parametric statistics with continuous and categorical variables.

Biological Research

BIOL 831
(6 credits needed in total) The goal of this course is to acquaint a student with research associated with the biological sciences. After completing six hours, a student will have a thorough literature review, have designed a novel set of experiments, created research materials and methods, collected and analyzed data, and a written final report in a format agreed upon by the student and the advisor. This course requires permission to register.

Current Issues in Biology

BIOL 881

(3 credits needed in total) This course will expose the student to many different biological research topics, stimulate discussion on these topics, promote awareness of current issues in biology, help students critically analyze relevant and contemporary primary literature and ensure students are able to prepare appropriate presentations for scientific meetings.


University of Nebraska online programs have the same quality instructional faculty as on campus; individuals from a variety of backgrounds, who embody the combined qualities resulting from research experience and professional/field experience.

Marc Albrecht, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Kimberly Ann Carlson, Ph.D., Professor

Bryan Drew, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Brad Ericson, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Thomas Freeman, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Keith Geluso, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Keith Koupal, Ph.D., Adjunct

Carmen Panaitof, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Letitia Reichart, Ph.D., Assistant Professor

Casey Schoenebeck, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Julie Shaffer, Ph.D., Professor of Biology

Dawn Simon, Ph.D., Associate Professor

Rick Simonson, M.S., Senior Lecturer

Joseph Springer, Ph.D., Professor and Department Chair

Janet Steele, Ph.D., Professor and Program Director

Paul Twigg, Ph.D., Professor

Guidelines for Admittance

To participate in this master's program the student must have:

  • A bachelor's degree in Biology
  • An undergraduate GPA of at least 2.75 on a 4.0 scale OR a GRE score of 290 combined verbal/quantitative
  • If the bachelor's degree was not in biology, applicants must have completed at least 24 undergraduate credit hours of biology coursework.

Application Checklist

  1. Submit online application to Graduate Admissions at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
  2. Include the non-refundable application fee.
  3. Request official transcripts from all college/universities attended.  Transcripts should be sent to: 

    Graduate Admissions
    University of Nebraska at Kearney
    2504 9th Avenue
    FDHL Room 2131
    Kearney, NE  68849
  4. Within the UNK online application, applicant will upload a letter of intent. The letter of intent should be a concise essay (one to two pages) concerning career goals and identification of the means by which the student proposes to achieve these goals. Accomplishments toward these goals should be included. Personal information should not be included in this letter.

Once application, application fee and transcripts are received, the Graduate Admissions Office will forward applicant’s file to the department for review. Once review is complete, the department will notify the Graduate Admissions Office of their recommendation.  Official notification of admission will be sent to the applicant from the Graduate Admissions Office via mail.  Students may view the receipt of materials via their To-Do list and also the status of their application via the Student Center in their MyBlue account.

Application Deadlines


Fall Semester  June 15
Spring Semester  October 15
Summer Sessions  March 15

Students may apply and enroll  as a non-degree student and complete up to 12 hours before being formally accepted into the program.

Online Worldwide Educational Representative
Phone: 888.622.0332

Program Contact
Name: Brian Peterson or Robyn Schoenebeck        
Phone: 308.865.1589

Military/Veteran Student Adviser
Mary Sommers
Phone: 308.865.8520



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