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This is a remarkable time to be a biologist. Every day, new research findings alter our view of the world. A master’s degree in biology from UWF will allow you to contribute to this research, share your knowledge through teaching or apply it in public service or private industry.

Why Study Biology at UWF?

Our biology master's program offers advanced training to prepare you for in doctoral programs or careers in government agencies, educational institutions and private industry.

Our location along the Florida Panhandle allows marine and ecology graduate students to research unique projects.

The Pensacola campus includes 300 acres of estuarine marshes and wetlands with an additional 150 acres located on Santa Rosa Island on the Gulf of Mexico containing beach dune, salt marsh, tidal flat and sea grass ecosystems.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in biotechnology, industry, or professional schools, you will be able to work side by side with our faculty to develop novel research projects that will give you the skills and knowledge needed for these future careers.

What You Will Learn

Our areas of expertise include botany, genetics, marine biology, microbiology, molecular and cell biology, and wetlands/coastal ecology.

You will choose from one of two tracks: thesis or non-thesis. 

The thesis program is designed for students seeking advanced studies in areas of modern biology and biotechnology. You will train in the fields of aquaculture, biochemistry, ecology, environmental studies, fisheries biology, genetics, immunology, marine biology, microbiology, molecular biology, plant science and physiology.

The non-thesis program allows you to tailor coursework to your specific interests. The core required courses provide a foundation in experimental design, lab techniques and other aspects of graduate-level knowledge. A large number of elective hours allow you to shape the degree to support your future goals. 

For example, individuals interested in medical-oriented fields can choose electives in such areas as microbiology and immunology, while individuals interested in environmental work can choose electives in ecology and environmental studies.

  • Dr. Wayne Bennett – Assists graduate students with thesis research in Marine Biology.
  • Dr. Wade Jeffrey – Assists graduate students with thesis research in Marine Microbiology.
  • Dr. Jane Caffrey – Assists graduate students with thesis research in Estuarine Nutrient Biogeochemistry.
  • Dr. Joe Lepo – Assists graduate students with thesis research in Microbiology.
  • Dr. Peter Cavnar – Assists Graduate Students with thesis research in Biomedical Science.
  • Dr. Susie Piacenza – Assist graduate students with research using Quantitative Methods for marine conservation problems.
  • Dr. Hui-Min Chung – Assists graduate students with thesis research in Genetics.
  • Dr. Christopher Pomory – Assists graduate students with thesis research in Marine Invertebrates.
  • Dr. Philip Darby – Assists graduate students with thesis research in Wetlands and Wildlife Ecology.
  • Dr. Jim Spain – Assists graduate students with studies in Environmental Biotechnology.
  • Dr. Rodney Guttmann – Assists graduate students with thesis research in Biology.
  • Dr. Scott Taylor – Assists graduate students with thesis research in Biomedical Sciences and Developmental Biology.
  • Dr. Alexis Janosik – Assists graduate students with thesis research in Molecular Ecology and Evolution.
  • Dr. Lisa Waidner – Assists graduate students with studies in Marine and Aquatic Microbial Ecology, Environmental Biotechnology, and Molecular Biology.

Careers & Outcomes

Many of our graduates go on to national doctoral programs and work in biotechnology, medical research, government environmental and health agencies, environmental consulting, conservation agencies and teaching. Below are common job titles for our graduates, as well as examples of where our alumni work.

Job Titles


  • Research Technician
  • Biochemist
  • Health Communications Specialist
  • Educator
  • Pharmaceutical/Medical Product Sales Rep
  • Health Professional
  • Conservation Biologist
  • Ecologist
  • Environmental Scientist

Employers


  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • National Park Service
  • National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

Program Details

In addition to the University's graduate admission requirements, the department bases decisions for regular admission on a holistic review of credentials, where we use these criteria to assess the potential success of each applicant:

  • Undergraduate degree with a cumulative GPA greater than 3.0
  • A biology or biology-related degree. Applicants without a biology-related degree need to have taken at least three of these courses: General Biology I & II, Biochemistry I, Microbiology, Genetics, Ecology or Evolution. (Courses can be completed in the first year of graduate school, if needed.)
  • Undergraduate senior year/major GPA
  • Letter of intent describing work experience and reasons for pursuing the degree program, including how the degree relates to career goals
  • Submission of a curriculum vitae
  • Submission of three recommendation letters
  • Prospective thesis advisor's agreement letter (thesis track only)

Learn More About Admission Requirements

Express admission is an exclusive admissions procedure to quickly admit UWF undergraduate students to our Biology master's programs. Express admission allows for high-performing UWF undergraduate students to continue their graduate study at UWF by going through an expedited application process. Applicants to express admission are allowed to waive the application fee and submit one less letter of recommendation. Express admission eligibility requirements are:

  • An applicant is eligible to be express admitted and begin a graduate program for up to four semesters after graduating from UWF (e.g: a student who graduates in the Spring semester must be admitted with an entry term no later than the following year's Summer semester)
    Undergraduate degree with a cumulative GPA greater than 3.25
  • A Biology or Biology-related degree. For applicants with non-biology related degrees, they would need to have taken at least three of these courses: General Biology I & II, Biochemistry I, Microbiology, Genetics, Ecology or Evolution (courses can be completed in the first year of graduate school if needed)
  • Submission of letter of intent describing work experience and reasons for pursuing the degree program, including how the degree relates to career goals
  • Submission of a Curriculum vitae
  • Submission of two recommendation letters
  • Prospective thesis advisor's agreement letter (thesis track only)

Preferred Application Dates (For Assistantships)

  • Fall: February 15
  • Spring: October 1
  • Summer: February 1

To ensure consideration for all available graduate funding, applicants should submit applications received by the listed Preferred Application Date. Applications received after these dates will be reviewed for admission, but may not be eligible for funding. Applicants should contact the appropriate graduate coordinator or department chair for more information.

Graduate Application Deadlines

  • Fall: June 1
  • Spring: October 1
  • Summer: March 1

Application deadlines for most graduate programs. Applicants should contact the appropriate graduate coordinator or department chair for more information.

Featured Courses

A sample of featured courses you will take in the Biology program.

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