A view of the Natural History Building, with cloud and sky above.

The Master of Science in Integrative Biology (MS in IB) program provides students with a non-thesis, course-based advanced degree opportunity. In this way, students in the MS program have the ability to enhance their skill sets within IB upper-level courses without having to invest in a required timely research component for the degree. Students will thus be able to graduate in one year with a degree making them more competitive for employment and future research opportunities.

This is a course-based Master of Science degree program in Integrative Biology (MS in IB). This degree program will include both face-to-face and online course options and is directed toward students who want advanced preparation for professional school or future careers in industry, government, or academia. The purpose of this degree program is to provide an educational option for advanced study in the field of integrative biology without requiring a research thesis component. 

This program can serve students who are in a gap year between undergraduate programs and either employment or future graduate-level programs. With the ability to hone skills in critical thinking, communication, laboratory practices, and scientific knowledge this program affords students the ability to make the most effective use out of such a year.

The MS in IB program offers advanced coursework in fields such as organismal biology, behavioral ecology, anatomy and physiology, environmental science, bioinformatics, pathology, genomics, and mathematical modeling to name just a few. With a world-class advanced degree from the University of Illinois, our students are better prepared to enter the workforce and thus have higher earning potential.

To begin your application process see the Graduate College Application page. The program code for MS in IB is 1PKS6936MS. Contact with any questions.

Applications for Spring semester are due November 15
Applications for Summer semester are due May 1
Applications for Fall semester are due July 1

Program Overview Degree Requirements Book an Appointment Apply 

Application and Admissions

Students entering the MS in IB program are expected to have a completed Bachelor’s degree from an accredited 4-year college or university with undergraduate coursework in biology, chemistry, physics, calculus and English composition. Applicants must have completed the last 60 hours of coursework with grades of B (3.0 on a scale of 1 to 4) or better. Deficiencies in these areas will require additional coursework, as necessary, for successful completion of the degree. Courses, or their equivalents, taken prior to admission to this program may not be counted toward the requirements for this program.

All applications must include:

  • The applicant’s CV
  • At least three letters of reference, preferably from recommenders in academic or professional positions
  • An Academic Personal Statement
  • Supplemental Personal Statement
  • The GRE is NOT required
  • For admission to the program, the Graduate College also requires official transcripts from every post-secondary institution you have attended (once admitted)

Applications for Spring semester are due November 15
Applications for Summer semester are due May 1
Applications for Fall semester are due July 1

To begin your application process see the Graduate College Application page. The program code for MS in IB is 1PKS6936MS. Contact with any questions.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Like many professional degree programs, the MS portion of the degree program is self-supporting and does not offer or accept tuition waivers. Financial aid is available to students accepted into the program. For more information on financial aid eligibility and requirements see the Office of Student Financial Aid. There are also additional financial opportunities including:

  • Graduate hourly positions offered on-campus (e.g. graders, research) that are willing to support an hourly position instead of providing a waiver or stipend
  • On-campus or off-campus employment (also see Job Boards from the Graduate College)

Enrollment for this program requires a minimum of two full-time semesters. Credit hours will range from 6–16 (or more) each semester, depending on course availability, international/domestic status, and student goals. International students are required to register for at least 12 credit hours to maintain F-1/J-1 student status.

For the most up-to-date tuition and fees information and the helpful Illinois Cost Calculator tool, see the Office of the Registrar’s Tuition and Fees page. Students in the MS in IB program will use the Chemistry and Life Sciences base rate when calculating tuition rates. 

Student Advising and Mentoring Guidelines

The School of Integrative Biology considers quality student instruction as one of its highest priorities as we continue to welcome new students to be actively part of the discipline. We thus build in support for MS in IB students in multiple ways:

  • Academic Advising: Specific to the MS in IB program, all academic advising (such as applications, course-selection mapping, and career-readiness counseling) is performed by the MS in IB Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). Students are encouraged to meet regularly (at a minimum of once per semester) with the DGS.
  • Career Advising: As part of the MS in IB program, students take a course, IB 592: Career and Skill Development in IB, which includes more tailored mentoring, with course goals of building confidence to find and secure a career, making connections in the field of integrative biology, and applying resources learned to aid in job searches and applications. IB 592 serves to connect students with IB alumni and mentors and helps them to better plan their next steps and career growth through connections with our community here at Illinois. These volunteer and mentoring opportunities help to create more well-rounded applications to professional schools or employment opportunities for MS in IB students. IB 592 also serves to help students make informed decisions about the next steps in their career development.
  • Mentoring Guidelines: For more information please also see the Guidelines for Graduate Student Mentoring as suggested by the Graduate College and adopted by our School.
  • Graduate College Academic and Administrative Policies: Please see the Graduate Student Handbook
  • Campus Student Code: For information on campus policies on many items, including academic integrity, please refer to the Student Code.

Allison O'Dwyer | Director of Graduate Studies, MS in IB

I welcome your application to the MS in IB program! Please email me at if I can help in your application process. In addition to directing the MS in IB program, I am a Senior Instructor as well as the Assistant Director for Academic Affairs for the School of Integrative Biology. My background includes research in algal ecology as well as serving as a K-12 Biology educator. I am a native gardening enthusiast and enjoy digging in the dirt with our two daughters. I look forward to mentoring you in this program.

286 Morrill Hall, MC-120
University of Illinois
505 S. Goodwin Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801 U.S.A.

phone: 217-300-5039

Allison O'Dwyer, Program Director, standing in front of a red leaf and brick wall background, smiling at the camera.