Accelerated Master of Arts in Biological Sciences

What is it?

The Accelerated Graduate Degree Program for the Master of Arts in the Department of Biological Sciences offers the opportunity to accumulate credits toward the completion of a master's degree at an accelerated pace.

When admitted to the accelerated graduate degree program with senior standing, students may take up to 12 credit hours of 5000–level courses taken during their undergraduate studies at WMU towards a Master of Arts degree in biological sciences. This allows for completion of a MA degree in one additional year post graduation.

Why choose an accelerated master of arts Degree?

  • You are not sure what you want to do when you graduate with your B.S. degree and need more time to prepare and get advice from faculty
  • You want more upper-level course experience focused in a particular subject area
  • You are eager to demonstrate academic success for professional school applications after earning a low B.S. GPA during your B.S.
  • You want an opportunity to boost your resume for job applications
  • You want to improve 1-on-1 relationships with faculty in small classes, facilitating stronger letters of recommendation
  • You want to work on your scientific communication skills, such as writing and oral presentations
  • You want research experience without the commitment of a full thesis

Eligibility

This program is open to WMU undergraduate students who meet the following:

  • You are enrolled as a biological sciences major at WMU,
  • You have completed a minimum of 80 and a maximum of 96 credit hours in your undergraduate program, including credits earned from advanced placement, and
  • You have a minimum accumulated grade point average of 3.25 at WMU and 3.5 in biological sciences classes
  • You apply by the October 1 or February 1 deadline for admission. See requirements below.

Undergraduate students enrolled in the accelerated program are expected to meet graduate expectations in their graduate courses. See the enrollment form and information below for all the requirements.

Students who have already received a bachelor's degree are ineligible to apply for an accelerated M.A. in biological sciences

Admissions and enrollment

Admission is contingent upon meeting the following eligibility requirements:

1. Once you have completed 70 credits you should meet with the undergraduate advisor as soon as possible to discuss applying for the accelerated degree program in the following semester. For traditional students, this is likely in the spring semester of your junior year.

2. Complete the graduate audit process with the WMU registrar.

3. Apply for admission to the AGDP-M.A. in biological sciences by clicking the Apply Now button below. Select the term after your anticipated undergraduate graduation term on your application. (If you graduate with your B.S. in spring 2021, list fall 2021 as the start term on your application.)

For your application, you must provide the following:

  • Completed application
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Unofficial WMU transcript (no transcript fee required)
  • Resume
  • Application fee
  • GRE scores are not required for application

The Department of Biological Sciences has two application deadlines for the accelerated M.A. program during the academic year: Oct. 1 and Feb. 1. Decisions on admission are made about one month after applications are due.

4. Upon acceptance, you must meet with the graduate advisor and your undergraduate advisor in biological sciences to finalize an appropriate program of study that meets the requirements for the undergraduate and graduate degrees.

5. Each semester this form must be completed by the student in order to dually count credits toward both your B.S and M.A. degree. This form must be completed, signed and received by the WMU registrar's office before you take graduate courses every semester.

More information regarding the Accelerated Graduate Degree Program admission process can be found here.

Apply now

Requirements for continuing eligibility and graduation

  • Students must complete their bachelor's degree before entering the master's program. Students in the Accelerated Graduate Degree Program program may not elect to bypass the bachelor's degree.
  • After admission to the Accelerated Graduate Degree Program in biological sciences, students must follow the program of study developed with their undergraduate advisor in the Department of Biological Sciences. Students are also expected to maintain continuous enrollment during the academic year.
  • Students will be allowed to count only a maximum of twelve (12) 5000-level credits taken during their undergraduate studies at WMU. These credits will be waived for their master’s degree.
  • In order to progress automatically into the M.A. program, students must achieve a grade of “B” or higher in each of the graduate courses being counted for the undergraduate degree. Students not meeting this requirement will have the earned grade applied to the undergraduate degree only and must apply for readmission into the graduate program.
  • A student completing the bachelor’s degree requirements with an accumulated GPA less than 3.25 is automatically terminated from the Accelerated Graduate Degree M.A. Program. They will still receive their bachelor’s degree, if they meet the requirements of the undergraduate program.
  • A student who becomes ineligible to participate in or withdraws from the Accelerated Graduate Degree M.A. Program can no longer qualify for waiving any of the courses taken as an undergraduate towards their master’s degree. It is the responsibility of the student to recognize his/her eligibility status.
  • A student may withdraw from an approved Accelerated Graduate Degree M.A. Program at any time by informing, in writing, the undergraduate advisor and the graduate advisor. A copy of this request to withdraw will be sent to the Graduate College.

Course requirements for the AGDP

The program requires the completion of 30 total credit hours:

    • Two semesters of biological sciences colloquium as a graduate student (2 credits)

BIOS 6050 – Biological Sciences Colloquium Credits: 1 hour

      • Other elective courses as a graduate student (at least 7 credits) (link to 4000- or 5000-level course enrollment permission form)

Electives are selected from biological sciences or approved cognate courses in related areas from other departments with the advice and approval of the graduate advisor.

Advising

Please contact the Department of Biological Sciences undergraduate advisor, Megan Larson for more information.

Accelerated Master of Sciences in biological sciences

If you are currently an undergraduate student participating in research with a biological sciences faculty member, an accelerated M.S. degree may be an option. Contact your faculty research mentor and the graduate admissions advisor (grad admissions contact box) for more information. Application deadlines are October 1 and February 1 annually.

Requirements are similar to the AGDP, but require undergraduate research experience.