Boston College Biology students involved in undergraduate research have the opportunity to apply for a 5 Year B.S./M.S. program.
Interested students apply during their junior year and would begin coursework for the program in their senior year. Students would be awarded the M.S. degree after one and one-half years of graduate work and fulfilling all requirements. The M.S. includes the completion of a thesis based on original research. Students are expected to stay in the same lab as their undergraduate research lab to complete their M.S. thesis research, so research rotations are not required.
Please note there is no guarantee that the University or Department will supply funding or tuition remission to B.S./M.S. students. Students who are interested in applying should be able to secure funding through either personal funds, federal financial aid, or other outside funding.
M.S. recipients are not eligible to apply for the Boston College Ph.D. Program.
Students would normally be expected to stay in the same lab as their undergraduate research lab to complete their M.S. thesis research, so research rotations would not be required. Under special circumstances students may switch laboratories following receipt of the B.S. degree, for example, if there had been a close collaboration between faculty members. The idea is that the graduate research is an extension of the student’s undergraduate’s research and thus does not require the typical “ramp-up” training, etc. required for a newly entering student. The student still must complete sufficient work as a graduate student to make an original contribution to scientific knowledge.
M.S. thesis committees for 5 Year B.S./M.S. candidates should be formed and meet during fall of the senior year to frame the plan for M.S. thesis research. This committee would also review the student’s progress over the senior year and the students tenure in the graduate program, if some of the research formed the basis for a senior thesis or a Scholar of the College thesis, to ensure sufficient original work was completed to merit completion of the undergraduate thesis and the master’s thesis.
A minimum of 17 graduate credits is required for the Master of Science degree as part of the combined 5 Year B.S./M.S. program in Biology—including four Graduate Core courses (BIOL 6110 Advanced Genetics, BIOL 6120 Graduate Biochemistry, BIOL 6140 Graduate Molecular Biology, and BIOL 6150 Advanced Cell Biology) and three additional Biology-approved Graduate Elective Courses (e.g., BIOL 5000+, BIOL 8000+).
Attendance at Departmental Colloquia is expected of all full-time students throughout their program participation.
Senior year: Begin Graduate Core coursework and/or take one or two Graduate Seminar(s), and begin M.S. thesis research
Summer 1: Research
Fall: Research, remaining fall Graduate Core modules plus Graduate Seminar(s)/Elective(s)
Spring: Research, remaining spring Graduate Core modules plus one Graduate Seminar(s)/Elective(s)
Summer 2: Research, thesis defense, submission of thesis to Dean's office by August 1.
A research thesis is required for completion of the M.S. degree. While there are no specific format requirements the requirements of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences must be followed.
The completed M.S. thesis will be submitted to the student’s major advisor for preliminary approval. Once approved the thesis will be given to all members of the Thesis Advisory Committee, which will also serve as the M.S. Thesis Defense Committee. The Chairperson of this committee will normally be the major advisor. The thesis will be given to all committee members no later than 14 days prior to a meeting at which the student will present, and be examined, regarding the thesis. The M.S. Thesis Defense Committee must consist of a minimum of 3 members, the students P.I. as well as two other faculty-appointed members (one of which may be from outside the Biology department).
The thesis examination will consist of questions related to the thesis but should also test the student’s breadth and comprehension of knowledge in the area of biology in which the thesis work was completed. Once the examination is completed the chairperson of the committee will communicate the results on the appropriate forms to the Department Chairperson and the Dean of the Graduate School. As stated in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences regulations a candidate who fails the thesis examination may take it only one more time.
5 Year B.S./M.S. students are expected to publish peer-reviewed manuscripts although publication of such work will not be a prerequisite for award of the M.S. component of the 5 Year B.S./M.S. degree.
A student entering the Combined Program is required to pass the M.S. Candidacy Examination within five academic years plus two summers. If a student fails to graduate within the specified time, he/she would be given the option to switch into the 2 Year M.S.
After four years of work and after fulfilling the requirements for the B.S. degree students would be awarded the B.S. degree. After one and one-half years of graduate work and after fulfilling the coursework and credit requirements for the M.S. degree, students would be awarded the M.S. degree.
The application for the B.S./M.S. program consists of the following materials:
- Application Form
- Abstract of Courses Form
- Official Transcript
- Personal Statement
- Two letters of recommendation (Ph.D. applicants must supply three letters)
Note: Application fees are waived for the B.S./M.S. program Application materials and deadlines can be found on the general Graduate Admissions Website.
There is no guarantee that the University or Department will supply funding or tuition remission to B.S./M.S. students. Students who are interested in applying should be able to secure funding through either personal funds, federal financial aid, or other outside funding.