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Online Masters

Online M.S. for Science Educators

Teacher with two science students, middle or high school.The Department of Biological Sciences offers an online, non-thesis M.S. in biological sciences for teachers and science educators interested in biological sciences. Students include teachers at all levels, as well as scientists from museums, field stations and research laboratories. This program is fully in a distance-learning format and lectures are available 24/7.

Two Options

Two academic paths are offered to accommodate the needs of students: one for advanced students not seeking additional degrees, and one for students wishing to attain a non-thesis M.S. in biological sciences degree.

Note that the tuition rate is higher for advanced student status students. Non-degree-seeking students may benefit financially by applying to the degree-seeking program even if they do not intend to complete the program. 


Which Path is Right For You?

Advanced Student Status

This is for non-degree-seeking students. Admission to the non-degree category is restricted primarily to those who may benefit professionally from additional study at the graduate level. For example, current primary-, middle- and secondary-education teachers wishing to gain recertification most commonly apply as non-degree-seeking students. Regardless of the student’s reason for applying non-degree, in all cases the non-degree student must receive permission from the program coordinator or the department chair before enrolling in any graduate course.

If you have been previously enrolled at Clemson at any time in the past six years as a non-degree student in the same area you wish to apply to, then you do not need to complete an application. Instead, visit the graduate application for re-entrance webpage and complete the application.

Non-degree-seeking students may complete courses in our program curriculum before applying as a degree-seeking student. Students who have taken courses from our program curriculum before their admission to the graduate program may transfer 12 credits of those courses into the non-thesis degree program.

Degree-Seeking Students

This degree-seeking option requires a total of 30 semester hours of graduate course work. At least 18 of the 30 hours must be at the 800 level. Degree-seeking students may transfer up to 12 credits of graduate courses into the degree program from accredited degree-granting institutions whose scholastic reputation is acceptable to Clemson University. To transfer, the graduate course content must be similar to one of our required courses with a grade of B or above. Transfer credits must not have been used to satisfy the requirements for any other degree and must have been completed within the six-year period preceding the date the graduate degree will be awarded. Transfer courses cannot be revalidated for graduate credit. The program coordinator must approve all transfer courses. There are no exceptions to this requirement.

A research proposal and project whose results are presented in written format is also a requirement of the non-thesis master’s degree. The scope of the research project is not as extensive as the regular master’s thesis degree option. However, it is expected that a non-thesis student will conduct original scientific research (one semester of data collection during BIOL 8480) and write a research report (BIOL 8490) that is of the caliber of a manuscript suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. The student and student’s graduate committee will determine the research project. For example, teachers may choose a research project that involves using their students to collect and analyze data.

Resources and FAQs

  • Graduate Program Contacts

    To find out more about this programs, use the following contacts:

    Program Coordinator

    Robert Ballard, Ph.D.
    132 Long Hall
    Clemson University
    Clemson, SC 29634-0314

    Phone: 864-656-3579

    Program Assistant

    Terrie Jarrett
    132 Long Hall
    Clemson University
    Clemson, SC 29634-0314

    Phone: 864-656-2153

    Graduate Admissions Information or
    Submission of Application Materials

    Graduate School
    E209 Martin Hall
    Clemson University
    Clemson, SC 29634-0314

    Phone: 864-656-2287

  • When and How to Apply

    You may apply at any time. There is no application deadline.

    Online applications for graduate degree programs are on the Clemson University Graduate School website.

    What Do I Need to Apply? 

    Admission to the program requires the following:

    • A suitable undergraduate education (you do not need an undergraduate degree in biology to be considered for admission).
    • A resume.
    • Suitable GRE scores (GRE scores are not required for teachers with one or more years teaching experience).
    • A satisfactory TOEFL score (550 from paper exam, 213 from online exam, 80 from the internet exam, or 6.5 or higher on the IELTS test) is required for international students whose native language is not English.
    • No application fee for anyone applying for Summer or Fall 2023 and beyond.

    What Happens After I Apply?

    Once all application materials have been received by the Office of Graduate Admissions, your file will be forwarded to the Department of Biological Sciences. The Online Graduate Advisory Committee will determine whether candidates are competitive for admission into the Biological Sciences Online M.S. program. The entire process takes two to three weeks.

    Legal Presence

    In accordance with section 59-101-430 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, also known as the South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act, those unlawfully present in the United States are prohibited from attending a public institution of higher education in South Carolina. Those unlawfully present in the United States are also prohibited from receiving a public higher education benefit including scholarships, financial aid, grants or resident tuition. What documents will be accepted as proof of U.S. citizenship?

    • South Carolina driver’s license if you were born after Jan. 1, 1987.
    • U.S. passport.
    • U.S. or U.S. territory birth certificate.
    • Certificate of Naturalization.
    • U.S. government-issued Consular Report of Birth Abroad.
    • Certificate of Citizenship.
    • Social Security approval via Federal Application for Student Financial Aid.
    If you are taking all coursework online and will not be in South Carolina before you need to register for the subsequent term, you may email a scanned copy of one of the approved documents above to registration services.
  • Accreditation

    Clemson University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award the bachelor’s, master’s, educational specialist and doctoral degrees. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia, 30033-4097 or call 404-679-4500 for questions about the status of Clemson University.

  • Licensure and Teacher Certification

    The non-thesis M.S. in biological dciences is designed specifically for in-service teachers and other science educators who want to improve their science-content knowledge in biological sciences. It is intended for individuals who already have the required licensure, or who do not want or need teaching certification or licensure.

    There is currently no option to obtain licensure or certification through this program. Potential applicants should ensure this program meets their personal and/or professional goals prior to applying.

Quick Links

GENERAL QUESTIONS? Email or call 864-656-2153 between 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. weekdays.

Financial Information

The non-thesis M.S. in biological sciences (MS-BIOS-G-AAC) is offered online with no residency requirement. Please note that the tuition rate is higher for advanced student status students. Non-degree seeking students may benefit financially by applying to the degree-seeking program even though they do not intend to complete the program. Textbooks are an additional cost above tuition. For current course tuition rates, please email

Visit the Records and Registration page for information about paying tuition and the deadlines for payments to be made. The Office of Student Financial Aid has information about financial assistance.

Tuition and Deadlines

The following links provide information about paying tuition and the deadlines for payments to be made:  

Department of Biological Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences | 132 Long Hall, Clemson, SC 29634