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Graduate Program

Current and former graduate students: please tell us what you're up to (click here)

The Biology Department at James Madison University offers a two year Masters program. The application deadline is February 1st.

The objectives of the Biology graduate program are two-fold. First, we aim to enrich the student's subject knowledge and give the student a rigorous experience in research and thesis-writing. Second, all of our graduate students acquire superior training and experience in teaching and scientific communication. This training is provided through specific coursework offered in the biology department, and the supervised teaching of biology laboratory classes. Thus, students gain not only research experience, they also learn to be effective teachers and communicators.

The Department has research strengths in the following areas:

Genetics and Depelopment

Genetics, Development and Cell & Molecular Biology

Ecology and evolution

Organismal Biology, Ecology and Evolution

Including: Cell death and apoptosis; Neurobiology and anatomy of the auditory system; Applied, environmental and molecular microbiology; Immunology; Parasitology; Plant development, cytoskeleton, biochemistry and molecular biology; Bacteriophage genomics; Molecular biology of salamander tail development Including: Forest restoration ecology; Amphibian population, conservation and disease ecology; Pollination biology and plant systematics; Applied, environmental and molecular microbiology; Functional morphology and biomechanics locomotion in primates; Aquatic ecology; Environmental biology and ecotoxicology
Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy and Physiology

Cell and Molecular Biology

Microbiology and Virology

Including: Functional and evolutionary morphology of vertebrates; Mechanical properties of cartilage tissue; Physiology of stress responses in the neonatal brain; Neurobiology of spinal reflexes in rats; Neurobiology and anatomy of the auditory system;  Functional morphology and biomechanics of primate locomotion Including: Bacteriophage, plasmid, and microbial genomics and metagenomics; Amphibian population, conservation and disease ecology; Applied, environmental and molecular microbiology; Immunology and parasitology; Environmental biology and ecotoxicology

Click on an area of interest to see which graduate faculty members do research in that area. (See all graduate faculty)

How to apply:

  • Contact a potential advisor

This is very important. You need to establish whether or not there is an advisor who you would like to work with and who is willing to take you on. When you identify potential advisors, you should list them on your application.

  • Apply to the graduate program online

The Graduate School has an online application system that you should use when applying. Make sure your application is complete, including letters of recommendation and a personal statement. Please note that the Biology Department's deadline is February 1st, not May as suggested by the general Graduate School guidelines.

  • Apply for financial assistance

All applicants to the graduate program in Biology are automatically considered for graduate assistantships; however, these assistantships are limited in number. Several other funding opportunities exist, including scholarships, assistantships and funding from the grant of a potential advisor. It is advisable to apply for financial assistance at the same time that you apply to the program. You should also mention in your application that you have applied for funding. The availability of funding can affect the number of students that are accepted.