Graduate Degrees Offered

M.S. Biological Sciences 
Ph.D. in Neuroscience or Biological Sciences

Montana State University is NOT accepting students for Neuroscience Graduate Programs.

The program offers graduate study and research leading to a Master of Biological Science (M.S.)  degree or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in either Neuroscience or Biological Sciences. Prospective students wishing to apply directly to the Cell Biology & Neuroscience must first secure a faculty mentor prior to the on-line application process. Applicants applying through the Molecular Biosciences Program do not need to secure a mentor prior to application.


Ph.D. and M.S. Degree Programs
A Bachelor's degree in an area of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Applied Math or Psychology is recommended. Students with Bachelor’s degrees outside these areas are also encouraged to apply; such students will generally be required to complete appropriate courses while enrolled at MSU to make up subject matter deficiencies prior to full acceptance into the Ph.D. and Masters programs. Factors that the program uses in its admissions process may include TOEFL scores (for non-native English speakers), reference letters, GPA and previous coursework and research experience.

Complete details about the application process are available.

Program Requirements

M.S. Degree
Two options are offered for the Master's degree:

  • Plan A requires completion of 20 credits of acceptable coursework and 10 credits of thesis.
  • Plan B requires completion of a 4 credit project and 26 credits of acceptable coursework.

All Master's candidates must take an oral comprehensive exam near the completion of their graduate program. Required curriculum will be tailored to the needs and interests of each student in consultation with their graduate advisor and advisory committee.

Ph.D. Degree
A Ph.D. student must complete 60 credits. This will include a mix of dissertation credits and graduate-level coursework credits. The exact proportion of credits will be determined for each student by their advisory committee. Accepted students will work with their advisor to establish an advisory committee and curriculum of study that best fits their educational needs, research interests, and career plans.

Research Experience
Plan A (thesis option) Master's degree students gain research experience through their thesis and are expected to submit the results of their thesis work to at least one journal or conference. Plan B (project option) Master's degree students gain some research experience in the context of their project. Ph.D. students will gain research experience through their doctoral work, journal or conference submissions, and attending conferences

Research Facilities
Graduate research will be performed primarily in the laboratory of the student’s thesis advisor. Additional facilities will be available from the program and in laboratories collaborating with the student’s advisor. 

Financial Assistance
A number of research and teaching assistantships are available for qualified graduate students. These appointments are normally for half-time assignments (19 hours per week) during the academic year. Some appointments may also be available during the summer. Assistantships will only be offered to formally admitted graduate students.