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Online M.S. in Biological Sciences for Science Educators

The Department of Biological Sciences is pleased to offer an online, non-thesis M.S. in Biological Sciences for science educators interested in biological sciences. Our 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.

We offer two academic paths to accommodate your needs: one for advanced students not seeking additional degrees, and one for students wishing to attain a non-thesis M.S. in Biological Sciences degree.

Advanced Student Status (non-degree-seeking): 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 grades 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. Please note that if you have been previously enrolled at Clemson anytime 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 this application. Rather, please complete the Graduate Application for Re-Entrance.

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. 

Please note that the tuition rate is higher for Advanced Student Status students (see Finances.) Non-degree-seeking students may benefit financially by applying to the degree-seeking program even though they do not intend to complete the program.

Degree-seeking students: This 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.

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.

State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement: South Carolina is a member of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) and Clemson University is an approved SARA institution, which means we adhere to established standards for offering post-secondary e-learning programs in all member states. Please review our state authorizations to see if this program is offered in your state and our process for student complaints against the university.

Information about licensure/ teacher certification: Our non-thesis M.S. in Biological Sciences 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 (a) already have the required licensure, or (b) 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. 


Download our handbook

Download the Department of Biological Sciences Online Masters for Science Educators handbook (PDF).