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Biology Graduate Programs

As one of the largest biology graduate programs on the Gulf Coast, we are committed to educating scholars and conducting research that advances knowledge in all aspects of biology. Our biology graduate programs include a master’s degree in biology and a PhD degree in environmental and evolutionary biology.

Our department includes approximately 30 faculty, instructors, and staff members, about 80 graduate students, as well as several postdoctoral researchers and research associates. Faculty and students in our biology graduate programs are conducting research in anatomy and physiology, coastal and marine biology, conservation biology, ecology and evolutionary biology, genetics and cellular biology, microbiology, neurobiology, plant biology, and more.

Master's in Biology Program

Earning a master’s in biology prepares you for a research-intensive academic career, or a career in an applied biological or biomedical field that involves advanced knowledge and less emphasis on research. In our biology graduate programs, you can choose one of two tracks that best fits your career aspirations. Through both tracks, you can tailor your curriculum to explore your academic and research interests.

With the non-thesis option, you’ll take 36 hours of biology graduate program coursework, which may include field and laboratory work. This option is best if you’re looking to pursue a career outside of academia.

The research-based thesis option is 30 hours of coursework plus 6 credit hours of thesis work. If you’d like to eventually earn your doctorate in biology or pursue a career in research, this is the best option for you.

Learn more about the Master of Science in Biology program >>

Doctorate in Biology Program

Our doctoral program in environmental and evolutionary biology emphasizes research and prepares you for the highest levels of scholarship and career opportunities in academia and research-related agencies and industries. The overwhelming majority of our doctoral graduates work in academia as teaching and research faculty.

As a student in our doctoral program, you’ll work side-by-side with our research faculty to conduct your own research and complete your dissertation.

Learn more about the Doctor of Philosophy in Biology program >>

Research in Our Biology Graduate Programs

In our doctoral and thesis master’s biology degree programs, students are engaged in research at all levels. We conduct laboratory research in diverse areas of biology ranging from biomedical to environmental and evolutionary biology, and many of us do field research throughout the Americas, including the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, Panama, North Atlantic, and Amazon Basin.

We also work in close collaboration with state and federal partners to expand research and training opportunities for students in our biology graduate programs. For example, the LUMCON marine laboratory in Cocodrie, Louisiana, provides laboratory facilities, small boats, and large marine vessels in support of research along our coast. The USGS National Wetlands Research Center and the NOAA Estuarine Habitats and Coastal Fisheries Center in the UL Lafayette Research Park provide additional research opportunities. This is a great area to be a biologist because of our diverse opportunities for lab and field research.

Our students get experience designing, conducting, and analyzing research, giving scientific presentations, writing manuscripts for publication, and often teaching in the classroom as well as mentoring undergraduates one-on-one. In our biology graduate programs, you’ll also have several opportunities to write grant proposals. Our graduates are hired in teaching and research positions in colleges and universities across the country and around the world. More information about the career paths of our master’s and doctoral graduates is available in our report on graduate student career outcomes.

Learn more about research in our biology graduate programs >>

Apply to Our Biology Graduate Programs

Be a part of our biology graduate programs and immerse yourself in research and challenging coursework.

Apply to the UL Lafayette biology graduate programs >>

We would be happy to talk with you about applying to our graduate programs, as well as about how the programs work once you are admitted. So in addition to contacting faculty members with whom you might like to study, feel free to contact us for information about applications or admission (, or progress through the graduate program (Dr. Brad Moon).

The choice of a biology graduate program, major advisor, and research topic are among the most important decisions you’ll make during your education and career. We encourage you to identify a major advisor within the biology graduate programs and work with that advisor to develop a plan for coursework and research related to your advisor's research experience and resources. With both highly-focused and broad expertise available on every student’s committee, you can tailor your graduate study to your own particular career interests and goals.