BIOL Online - Non-thesis Master's

The Department of Biological Sciences is proud to offer an online, non-thesis Master of Biological Sciences designed specifically for K-12 teachers and other science educators interested in biological sciences. This program is fully in a distance-learning format and lectures are available 24/7.

Students enrolling in our course must first be admitted to the graduate school as a degree (the program code is MS-BIOS-1-AAC) or non-degree seeking student. Please note that the tuition rate is higher for non-degree seeking students. Click here to be taken to the Finances page. Online applications for graduate degree programs are on the Graduate Admissions website (

We cycle through the required ten courses, therefore you can begin the sequence at any time. Our program can be completed in 6 semesters if you enroll in two courses each term; however, a master's student has six years to complete a degree; therefore, all coursework to be credited toward any master's degree must have been enrolled in and completed within six calendar years prior to the date on which the degree is to be awarded.

Enrollment is limited to two courses per term with the exception of BIOL 8480. BIOL 8480 (described below) is offered each term since some students have transfer credit for some of our required courses and they wish to take two courses during the term that their transferred course is offered in our cycle. Do not register for BIOL 8480 if you need the other courses offered this term (BIOL 8410, 8460, and 8490) since they will not be offered again until next summer. You may register BIOL 8480 and two of the other regularly scheduled courses.

For the Summer 2014, we are offering the following four regularly scheduled courses listed below, plus BIOL 8400 Understanding Biological Inquiry (see Special Section note):

  • BIOL 8410 Understanding Ecology and Ecosystems – This online course is designed for teachers and for those who want to understand ecological interactions and systems. It provides a broad background in ecology that includes populations, habitats, communities, trophic interactions, and ecosystems. It provides a foundation for understanding interactions between organisms and their environments. Instructor: Dr. John Hains
  • BIOL 8460 Understanding Plant Biology – This online course is designed for teachers who want to increase their content knowledge about plants and includes the study of plants from bryophytes to angiosperms, including growth, photosynthesis, nutrition, reproduction, ecology, and evolution. Instructor: Dr. Robert Ballard
  • BIOL 8480 – Research problems for teachers in selected areas of biological sciences to provide an introduction to research planning and techniques. Teachers will undertake either an instructor approved, individual project or participate in a group project involving their classroom during the academic year. Both are assisted by and under the supervision of the instructor. BIOL 8400 Understanding Biological Inquiry is recommended, not required, before enrolling in BIOL 8480. Instructor: Dr. Robert Ballard
  • BIOL 8490 Understanding Scientific Communication – This online graduate course will help teachers develop their ability to write grant proposals, scientific manuscripts, and conference presentations on biological topics, and to communicate about biological issues with public audiences. Instructors: Dr. Barbara Speziale and Dr. Lesly Temesvari
  • Special Summer Section: BIOL 8400 - Understanding Biological Inquiry
    This online course is designed for teachers and those who want to understand the methods and approaches to biological inquiry. It provides a broad background into the scientific methods utilized in the biological sciences and the application of inquiry-based teaching methods in the classroom. Instructor: Dr. Dylan Dettrich-Reed. BIOL 8400 Understanding Biological Inquiry is recommended before enrolling in BIOL 8480.

PLEASE READ: The change in course schedule has caused problems for students who began the program when courses were offered on a rolling schedule. The new schedule postpones BIOL 8400 from the summer to the fall semester, which would delay graduation for one semester for some students. Consequently, BIOL 8400 will be offered this summer. Enrollment for BIOL 8400 is capped at 50 since BIOL 8400 is offered again this fall. Students, who need BIOL 8400 plus BIOL 8410, BIOL 8460, or BIOL 8490, may enroll in BIOL 8400 and two of the three other courses this summer. Summer course enrollment is capped at three courses. Each student will have to judge if it is practical to take three courses with your other summertime responsibilities. 

These five online courses run May 14 – August 6, 2014. If you apply to more than one of our courses, you will be notified about your acceptance under separate email. Each course will provide you with three hours of graduate credit from the Clemson University Department of Biological Sciences.  All courses are open to degree and non-degree seeking students.

Students will register online using Clemson’s new course management program called IROAR. After we receive your course application form(s), we will notify the Registration Coordinator who will email instructions for online registration to the student. We can no longer add students to the class roster; consequently, you must register online for each course you plan to take.

Application Forms for Summer 2014 Courses

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