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Biology & Wildlife MS and PhD Degrees: Details and Timelines


This page describes the general requirements for the MS and PhD degrees in Biology and Wildlife. Details for each degree are available through the links above. More information can also be found in the Graduate Student Packet. For a general description of the two degrees, please see the Graduate Program page.

The process described here is intended to help you be successful in the program and to complete your degree within a reasonable time frame. Your major advisor (committee chair) and committee members are your primary resources as you work through the degree. By requiring that you meet with them regularly, we ensure that you are receiving necessary feedback and assistance in a timely fashion. If you have questions about these procedures or need additional help, please contact the B&W office ( or 474-7671).

To obtain forms, go to the Graduate School web site; or, if they are listed as "departmental", to 101 Murie Bldg. Once any form is completed, including all committee member signatures, you will submit it for further processing to the Department Chair via the Graduate Student Coordinator or other office staff in 101 Murie.

General Information

The following are general rules that apply to all UAF graduate students:

  1. To be considered a full-time graduate student (necessary in order to be employed as a TA or RA), you must be enrolled in 9 credits (may include thesis credits) during each semester of your employment. You must maintain a 3.0 GPA in order to be in good standing.
  2. To be considered an active graduate student, you must be enrolled in at least 6 credits per academic year (fall, spring, summer - in that order). Those credits may include thesis credits.  If you are unable to achieve that minimum number of credits, but want to continue in the program, you must have a "Leave of Absence" application approved. If you were a graduate student in good standing and became inactive, you may be reinstated to the graduate program by submitting the form entitled "Reinstatement to the Graduate Program." The Chair may request additional information from you and your advisor or committee members prior to making a decision on whether to allow reinstatement. You must be enrolled in at least 3 credits during the semester you defend your thesis or dissertation.  If you graduate in a successive semester you are required to enroll in 1 credit.  (Summer graduation may require additional enrollment.)
  3. The maximum time allowable for degrees is 7 years for the MS and 10 years for the PhD. This includes any leaves of absence. The clock starts when you begin coursework that is applied to your graduate degree after completing a bachelor's degree, even if courses are taken as a non-degree-seeking student. A student who exceeds the time limit for a degree must reapply for admission; this requires repeating the entire admissions process. Such approval is only granted in unusual circumstances, and requests for readmission must be accompanied by an explanation of the delay, a plan and timeline for completion of the degree (including graduation date), and approval from all members of the advisory committee.

General Skill-Building Courses

Your graduate committee will work with you to determine which courses you need. Most of these will be discipline specific; but we offer a number of courses that are skills-related. We strongly recommend that all students take at least two of these courses. Below are the courses, who they are suitable for, and recommended timing.

Course Who When
Research Design (Biol. 602) All students lacking extensive research training First semester in degree program
Data Analysis in Biology (Biol. 680) Those wanting a more applied approach than that offered in the Statistics department Following (partial) collection of data
Scientific Writing, Editing and Revising in the Biological Sciences (Biol. 604) Students without extensive publication experience After data analysis has been completed
Scientific Teaching (STO 666) Students who expect to teach as part of their career Following 1 semester of TA or other teaching experience

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