Welcome to the Master of Science in Marine and Environmental Biology Program

This program allows students to take an expedition through Louisiana’s swamps, marshes and coastal areas. With state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and easy access to multiple field sites, our graduate students are well prepared for real world marine and environmental careers when they finish their graduate school expedition at Nicholls.

The marine and environmental biology program is thesis-based, and thesis research projects have ranged from the molecular to the ecosystem level and everywhere in between.

The Department of Biological Sciences includes 13 graduate faculty on staff and numerous adjunct faculty, including researchers at LUMCON.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about our program.

Dr. Chris Bonvillain,
Coordinator of Biology Graduate Program


Q:  Who should I contact for more information about the program?
You should contact Dr. Chris Bonvillain by e-mail or call him at 985.449.7116.

Q:  Should I fill out an application for the university and the Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Program?
Yes. You must first be accepted by the university before we can accept you into our graduate program. You can easily apply to the university online. For more information read tab below.

Q:  Do I need to complete the mentor agreement form in the Department’s application packet?
Yes. A graduate faculty member must agree to be your mentor/major professor for you to be accepted into the program.

Q:  Are assistantships available?
Yes, but they are competitive and are typically given to the most qualified students. There are three types of assistantships available, and the stipend level varies. For more information, go to our assistantship tab below.

Q:  Is the biology department accredited?
Although we would embrace the challenge of earning accreditation, there is no accrediting agency for biology departments in the United States. The biology department at Nicholls is comprised of a faculty of hard-working professionals renowned for their teaching and research accomplishments, as well as their service to the region, state and nation.  As validation of our good work for and with students, we would certainly seek accreditation if it were possible.  Despite the fact that there is no accreditation agency specifically for us, you should realize that the entire university is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, masters, and specialist degree levels.

Q:  Do I have to have an undergraduate biology degree from Nicholls to apply for the Master of Science graduate program in your department?
  No, and, in fact, the diversity of the students we accept improves the breadth of our program.  We can accept students with good recommendations, good GRE scores and good undergraduate grade-point averages from any science curriculum anywhere in the world.  Visit our M.S. degree program page for more details.

  • B.S. degree in a science curriculum
  • Minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.00
  • Combined GRE (verbal + quantitative) of 300
  • TOEFL score of 550 (PBT)/213 (CBT)/80 (IBT) for international students
  • Graduate faculty member agree to be major professor (agreement form in the departmental application packet)
  • Three letters of recommendation from professionals in the field
  • Cover letter and resume or CV
  • Complete application (online and departmental)

The packet will serve as the program and graduate assistantship application.  Please send the completed application packet, official GRE scores, all official college transcripts, cover letter, and CV or resume to:

Dr. Christopher Bonvillain
Graduate Program Coordinator
Department of Biological Sciences
Nicholls State University
P.O. Box 2021
Thibodaux, LA 70310

When your application is received, you will be notified by e-mail.  For more application information, contact Dr. Chris Bonvillain.

The deadline for applying for teaching assistantships starting in the Fall semester is March 26. For assistantships starting in the Spring semester the deadline is October 25.  Applications not requesting an assistantship are accepted at any time.

Where will your expedition take you? You can decide.

Our graduate program incorporates flexibility to allow you to tailor the curriculum to your interests and career/research goals.

To earn a M.S. in Marine and Environmental Biology, students must complete a minimum of 17 hours of core courses and 18 hours of committee-approved elective courses, including at least one LUMCON course.

A maximum of six hours of 400-level graduate coursework may count toward course requirements. A maximum of six hours of 500-level geomatics (GEOM) courses may count toward course requirements. All coursework applicable to your degree program must be approved by your thesis research committee.

Course descriptions are listed in the University Catalog.

A maximum of 6 transfer hours may be applied to course requirements after approval by your thesis research committee.

Required core courses (17 hrs)

BIOL 551(3 hrs)Marine and Environmental Biology I (Fall only)
BIOL 552(3 hrs)Marine and Environmental Biology II (Spring only)
BIOL 560(1 hr)Marine and Environ. Biol. Regulation, Law & Policy Workshop (Spring only)
BIOL 571*(2 hr)Industry Internship
BIOL 572*(2 hr)Agency Internship
BIOL 573*(2 hr)Academic / Non-Profit Internship
BIOL 501(1 hr)Graduate Seminar
BIOL 591(6 hrs)Thesis Research (also BIOL 592, 593, 594)
BIOL 599(1 hr)Thesis

*Only one 2 hr. internship is required.

Elective courses (18 hrs)

BIOL 430*(3 hrs)Limnology (Spring only)
BIOL 473*(3 hrs)Our Changing Coastal Ocean (LUMCON compressed video course)
BIOL 473-4*(3-4 hrs)Other graduate LUMCON summer courses
BIOL 480*(4 hrs)Environmental Biotechnology (Spring only)
BIOL 483*(3 hrs)Marine and Estuarine Biology (Fall only)
BIOL 503(3 hrs)Experimental Design (Fall only)
BIOL 504(3 hrs)Ecological Restoration (Fall only)
BIOL 530(3 hrs)Aquatic Ecology (Spring only)
BIOL 537(3hrs)Applied Ecology (Spring only; meets LUMCON requirement )
BIOL 561(3 hrs)Wetland Plant Ecology (Fall only; meets LUMCON requirement)
BIOL 566(3 hrs)Population Dynamics (Spring even-years only)
BIOL 567(3 hrs)Marine Conservation and Management (Spring even-years only)
BIOL 568(3 hrs)Professional Scientific Writing (Spring only)
BIOL 570(3 hrs)Special Topics
BIOL 575(3 hrs)Environmental Diagnostics and Biomarkers (Spring even-years only)
BIOL 585(3 hrs)Aquatic Toxicology (Fall only)
CHEM 490*(3 hrs)Special Topics in Chemistry
GEOM 501**(3 hrs)GIS Applications (Summer odd-years only)
GEOM 511**(3 hrs)GPS for Mappers (Summer odd-years only)
GEOM 521**(3 hrs)Remote Sensing (Summer even-years only)
GEOM 531**(3 hrs)GEOM 531 Spatial Databases (Summer even-years only)
MATH 507(3 hrs)Biostatistics (Spring only)

*A maximum of six hours of 400-level graduate coursework may count toward course requirements.
**A maximum of six hours of graduate-level Geomatics may count toward course requirements.

Students are required to compose and defend a committee-approved thesis.

  • As a master’s biology student, your thesis committee will be composed of a thesis adviser and two to four additional committee members. The thesis committee must include at least three individuals with a Ph.D.  Non-Ph.D. individuals may serve as a fourth or fifth committee member and are usually experts in your field of study. At least three of the Ph.D. committee members must be from the Nicholls graduate faculty.
  • Download the Thesis Guidelines and Format Instructions 2020 revision

Grades and Time Limit
Students must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA, and only two Cs may count toward the degree. Most students finish this program in two years, although they have up to six years to complete their degree.

Additional policies, forms, guidelines
For more information on graduate studies, visit the Nicholls Office of Graduate Studies Web site.

Check out the wide variety of thesis projects our previous graduates have worked on.

Student Graduation Thesis Title
Leith Adams Spring 2004 Chemical control of the gut microbial population of the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus, and the isolation and identification of facultative bacteria from the gut
Angie Corbin Spring 2004 Recovery of F+ RNA specific bacteriophage for the evaluation of a marsh land upwelling system in low saline waters
Mark Doolittle Spring 2005 Use of natural products and lytic peptides to control the Formosan subterranean termite, Coptotermes formosanus, and the isolation, identification and characterization of Klebsiella pneumoniae sub. pneumoniae from the hindgut of the Formosan subterranean termite
Letha Dawson Fall 2005 Optimization of chemical pretreatment of post-harvest sugarcane residue for fuel alcohol production
Jennifer Lasseigne Fall 2005 Development of reproductive biomarkers in fish and amphibians
Laurie Rodrigue Fall 2005 Characterization of water quality along Bayou Terrebonne and Bayou Little Caillou, Louisiana
Ronnie Self Fall 2005 Isolating genomic biomarkers from the Louisiana red swamp crawfish, Procambarus clarkii
Cassie Addison Spring 2006 Temporal and spatial oyster recruitment patterns and growth from spat to seed in the Barataria Estuary
Christopher Bonvillain Spring 2006 The use of a low-water refuge in the Atchafalaya River Basin by adult spotted gar, Lepisosteus oculatus
Perry Boudreaux Spring 2006 Acute ammonia toxicity and chloride inhibition of nitrite uptake in non-teleost Actinopterygiian Fishes
Brandon Clark Spring 2006 Bioremediation of explosive-contaminated soil
Rhongzon Ye Spring 2006 The impact of hypoxia on bioaccumulation and metabolism of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
Johnathan Davis Fall 2006 Reproductive biology, life history and population structure of a bowfin, Amia calva, population in southeastern Louisiana
Jacques Fontenot Fall 2006 Seasonal abundance, GSI and age structure of gizzard shad, Dorosoma cepedianum, in the Upper Barataria Basin
Chris Lyles Fall 2006 Biological treatment of shrimp aquaculture wastewater using a sequencing batch reactor pilot plant study
MattiLynn Dantin Spring 2007 Distribution and relative abundance of blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, in the Upper Barataria Estuary
Michael Wiley Spring 2007 Estimation of over-wintering, population density and distribution of an exotic lizard, the Brown Anole, Anolis sagrei, in southeastern Louisiana using a novel tagging method
Heather Dyer Fall 2007 Seasonal fish assemblages of Bayou Lafourche upstream and downstream of the Thibodaux weir
Ronnie Duke Spring 2008 Temporal and spatial oyster survival and growth patterns from seed to market in the Barataria Estuary
Marcel Estay Spring 2008 Assessment of water quality in the upper Barataria Estuary
Nick Gaspard Spring 2008 Comparison of intertidal oyster populations between a rock breakwater and a natural reef in lower Barataria Estuary
Olivia Smith Spring 2008 Reproductive potential and life history of spotted gar Lepisosteus oculatus in the upper Barataria Estuary
Yanling Meng Fall 2008
Impacts of molt-inhibiting organochlorine compounds on epidermal ecdysteroid signaling in the fiddler crab, Uca pugilator
Sean Jackson Spring 2009
Distribution and abundance of larval and juvenile fishes in the upper Barataria Estuary
Dhritikshama Roy Summer 2009 Performance of sequencing batch reactor (SBR) in treating synthetic and shrimp aquaculture production wastewater
Trevis Olivier Fall 2009 Effects of temperature and storage regimes on the germination rates of three native warm-season grasses
Jeremy Dunn Fall 2009 Effects of phosphate on growth in the reef coral Acropora formosa
Nicole Broussard Fall 2009 Stage specific potency and phylogenetic sensitivity of gar toxin
Komi Hassan Fall 2009 Optimization of a sequencing batch reactor (SBR) for the treatment of shrimp aquaculture wastewater
Mark Suchy Fall 2009 Effects of salinity on growth and survival of larval and juvenile Alligator Gar, Atractosteus spatula, and on plasma osmolality of non-teleost Actinopterygiian fishes
Nicole Eddlemon Fall 2009 Water quality and microbial ecology of the upper Barataria Estuary
Tim Clay Fall 2009 Growth, survival, and cannibalistic rates of Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula in recirculating aquaculture systems
Kelsey Adkisson Spring 2010 Temporal and spatial distribution of native and invasive bivalves in Bayou Lafourche, Louisiana
Sara Shields Spring 2010 Evaluation of energy cane for lignocellulosic ethanol production
Cynthia Fox Spring 2010 Seasonal abundance, age structure, gonadosomatic index, and gonad histology of Yellow Bass Morone mississippiensis in the upper Barataria Estuary, Louisiana
E.J. Raynor Spring 2010 Understanding the use of barrier islands as nesting habitat for Louisiana waterbirds
Susan Doty Summer 2010 Benthic respiration and nutrient fluxes in the Atchafalaya River delta estuary
Saori Mine Summer 2010 Effects of organic acids on shrimp pathogen, Vibrio harveyi
Siva Nunna Summer 2010 Assessing ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase activity in Uca pugilator during the molting cycle
Mark Linson Fall 2010 Initial oyster reef-building potential on constructed shoreline structures used for erosion control in a Louisiana salt marsh
Tabitha Owen Fall 2010 Habitat requirements and productivity of colonial waterbirds nesting on the Isles Dernieres Barrier Island Refuge
Rachel Ianni Spring 2011 Monitoring diets and growth rates of native predatory fish stocked to suppress non-native Tilapia
Jenny Ledet Spring 2011 Sequence analysis of reproductive biomarkers for freshwater and saltwater species of the Barataria-Terrebonne estuary system
Clint Troxler Spring 2011 Change in the fish assemblage of the upper Barataria Estuary associated with input from the Davis Pond freshwater diversion
Justin Merrifield Fall 2011 A study of complement activity and antimicrobial peptides in Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus
Lisa Breaux Fall 2011 Evaluating the effects of salt acclimation on the growth and survival of Spartina alterniflora
Billy Finney Spring 2012 Comparative growth and propagule viability of Louisiana-harvested Black Mangrove, Avicenia germinans
Amanda Playter Spring 2012 Body size in Green Treefrogs (Hyla cinerea) inhabiting the lower Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary
Dan O’Malley Spring 2012 The effects of wave energy and emersion regime on initial oyster community development on constructed oyster reefs
Taren Manley Fall 2012 Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus diets in the upper Barataria Estuary
Kent Bollfrass Fall 2012 Improving growth rates and survival of cultured Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula with live feeds and Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus with thyroid hormones
Victoria Bacheler Spring 2013 Constructed oyster reefs assist in creastion of habitat for fish and macroinvertebrate communities in Terrebonne Bay, Louisiana
Clayton Kern Spring 2013 Sustainable treatment and recovery of shrimp aquaculture wastewater using sequencing batch reactor
Bo Boudreaux Spring 2013 Assessment of largemouth bass Micropterus salmoides age, growth, gonad development, and diet in the upper Barataria Estuary
David Curtiss Summer 2013 Wintering waterbird habitat preference on the Isles Dernieres Barrier Island Refuge, Louisiana
Travis Everage Fall 2013 A survey of antibiotic resistant bacteria in raw sewage and various treatment stages of the Thibodaux Sewage Treatment Plant
Maggie Bruce Fall 2013 Stomach content comparisons between fish associated with constructed and natural oyster reefs of Crassostrea viginica
Stacy Martinez Fall 2013 Anthropogenic molecular markers in Bayou Lafourche
Sam Wise Summer 2014 Anthropogenic microbial source tracking in Bayou Lafourche, Louisiana
Jeff Liechty Fall 2014 Diet composition and breeding site fidelity of royal tern and sandwich tern on Louisiana barrier islands
Ashlee Minor Fall 2014 Forested freshwater wetland responses to secondarily treated municipal effluent discharge
Tejashri Vaidya Spring 2015 Detection and characterization of humoral and cellular immune components in red drum Sciaenops ocellatus and black drum Pogonias cromis
Caleb Bourgeios Spring 2015 Predation, recruitment, and reef development of hooked mussels (Ischadium recurvum) and eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica) on fabricated and natural oyster reefs
Kristin Buter Spring 2015 Seston clearance rates of bivalves on living shoreline oyster reefs from a northern Gulf of Mexico estuary
Jordan Bell Spring 2015 Effects of artificial perches on wintering diurnal raptor visitation and small mammal populations
Stacy Calhoun Summer 2015 Analysis of exoskeletal content and epidermal enzymatic activity during the molting cycle of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus
Michelle Felterman Summer 2015 Population dynamics, reproductive biology and diet of alligator gar Atractosteus spatula in Terrebonne Estuary and Rockefeller Wildlife Refuge
John Grosch Fall 2015 Fish community structure in the hydrologically impaired upper Barataria Estuary, Louisiana
Chris Levron Fall 2015 Reproductive biology of a freshwater population of the Gulf Pipefish, Syngnathus scovelli, with comparison to populations of varying salinity found on the northern Gulf Coast
Eric Ledet Spring 2016 Diet composition of hunter-harvested waterfowl at the White Lake Wetlands Conservation Area
Abby Adams Spring 2016 Complement protein and erythrocyte derived peptides show antibacterial activity in hardhead catfish Ariopsis felis and yellow bullhead catfish Ameiurus natalis
Scott Bergeron Spring 2016 Presence of antibiotic resistant bacteria and antibiotic resistance genes in the raw source water and treated drinking water in a southeast Louisiana water treatment plant
Ashley Booth Summer 2016 Impact of molt-inhibiting PBDEs on epidermal ecdysteroid signaling in Callinectes sapidus: an initial mechanistic look into disruption of crustacean molting
Samantha Hicks Fall 2016 Proximate cues underlying maternal care behavior in blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus
Nichole Lundberg Spring 2017 Physiological changes in two populations of ‘Atractosteus spatula’ larvae in response to acute salinity challenges
Eva Windhoffer Spring 2017 Evaluation of mammalian predator removal and video monitoring as management tools for waterbird conservation
Justin Duke Summer 2017 Comparison of life history characteristics of alligator gar Atractosteus spatula from southern Terrebonne Estuary and Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge
Sarah Bergeron Fall 2017 The microbial gut ecology of the red swamp crayfish, Procambarus clarkii
Lauren Kong
Fall 2017 Population characteristics of red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii from hydrologically impaired locations in the Atchafalaya River Basin
Meredith McKoin Fall 2017 The invasion of the Indo-Pacific coral, Tubastraea micranthus, in the northern Gulf of Mexico and the possibility of multiple introductions
Megan Nepshinsky Fall 2017 Sex determination of Royal and Sandwich Terns and identification of Royal Tern foraging movements during the breeding period
Frank Yrle Fall 2017 Spatio-temporal characterization of barrier island vegetation using a small unmanned aircraft system
David Bird Spring 2018 Water quality, bacteriological survey, and observation of acquired antibiotic resistance in Bayou Lafourche, Louisiana
Emily Bodin Spring 2018 Ammonia production and elimination in spotted gar Lepisosteus oculatus embryos and larvae
Richard Grabert Spring 2018 The effect of tetracycline on nitrogen and carbon removal in a local sewage treatment plant in Thibodaux, Louisiana
Gerard Lombardo Spring 2018 Interactive effects of Triclosan and cadmium expsoure on molting and reproduction in the water flea, Daphnia magna
Andria Ostrowski Spring 2018 Hormonal control of epidermal carbonic anhydrase and exoskeletal metal deposition in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus
Alexis Rixner Spring 2018 Comparison of bowfin, Amia calva, diets and reproductive activity in the upper Barataria Estuary and Atchafalaya River Basin
Seth Van Dexter Spring 2018 Analysis of termite microbiome and degradation of phenol by bacteria isolated from termite gut
Ellie Wallace
Summer 2018 Comparison of finfish assemblages between the Atchafalaya River Basin and the upper Bartaria Estuary, Louisiana
Alexa Ballinger
Fall 2018 Population characteristics of red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii from two hydrologically different large river-floodplain systems in Louisiana
Kristen Chatelain
Fall 2018 Soil chemistry characteristics of recently restored coastal ridge habitats
Kellyn LaCour-Conant
Fall 2018 Vegetative propagation, fruit and seed morphology, and gametophytic self-incompatibility of Lycium carolinianumpopulations in coastal Louisiana
Justin Homer
Spring 2019 Assessment of habitat sustainability in a forested wetland receiving municipal wastewater
Adam Quade
Fall 2019 Long-term impacts of Deepwater Horizon oil exposure on salt marsh-stabilizing facilitation of southern ribbed mussels, Geukensia granosissma
Gabrielle Sisson
Fall 2019 Fishery-dependent stock assessment of crayfish in the eastern Atchafalaya River Basin
Sarah Fontana
Spring 2020 Growth and development of Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus spawned out of season
Anthea Fredrickson
Spring 2020 Comparing trophic ecology and life history in the development of a stable isotope model based on non-lethal sampling for Spotted Gar Lepisosteus oculatus and Alligator Gar Atractosteus spatula
Rissa Inselman
Spring 2020 Community development, oyster density, and population growth on bedded crushed concrete as a function of cultch density
Olajuwon Jimoh
Spring 2020 Linking variation in belowground biomass to soil shear strength and carbon sequestration in Louisiana wetlands
Dr. Christopher Bonvillain
Associate Professor
114 Sciences and Technology Bldg.
Phone:  985.449.7116
Dr. Ramaraj Boopathy
Alcee Fortier Distinguished Service Professor
John Brady Sr. & John Brady Jr. Endowed Professor
216 Gouaux Hall
Phone:  985.448.4716
Dr. Timothy Clay
Assistant Professor
315 Gouaux Hall
Phone:  985.448.4714
Dr. Solomon David
Assistant Professor
112 Sciences and Technology Bldg.
Phone:  985.448.4720
Dr. Allyse Ferrara
Distinguished Service Professor,
Jerry Ledet Foundation Endowed Professor of
Environmental Biology
113 Sciences and Technology Bldg.
Phone:  985.448.4736
Dr. Quenton Fontenot
Professor and Department Head
114 Gouaux Hall
Phone:  985.449.7062
Dr. Gary LaFleur Jr.
233 Gouaux Hall
Phone:  985.448.4715
Dr. Giovanna McClenachan
Assistant Professor
159 Sciences and Technology Bldg.
Phone:  985.448.4312
Dr. Rajkumar Nathaniel
222 Gouaux Hall
Phone:  985.448.4684
Dr. Himanshu Raje
Assistant Professor
228 Gouaux Hall
Phone:  985.448.4709
Dr. Justine Whitaker
Assistant Professor
229 Gouaux Hall
Phone:  985.493.2628
Dr. Jonathan Willis
Assistant Professor
157 Sciences and Technology Bldg.
Phone:  985.448.4313
Dr. Enmin Zou
Distinguished Service Professor,
Theodore Shepard Endowed Professor
226 Gouaux Hall
Phone:  985.448.4711

Check out the wide range of research projects being done by our current graduate students in the Department of Biological Sciences.

Graduate Student Advisor Thesis Title
Alexandra Alterman Clay  Deomographics, distribution, and habitat use of box turtles (Terrapene carolina) within the Chenier forest on Grand Isle, Louisiana
Audrey Baetz David  
Taylor Beck Whitaker Response of the eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica, to temperature and salinity changes
Jacob Cortez Boopathy Biodegredation of triclosan by bacteria isolated from the Thibodaux sewage treatment plant
Casey Davis Bonvillain Distribution, population status, and habitat assessment of crayfish in the Tickfaw, Tangipahoa, and Tchefuncte river basins
Jesse Dubose LaFleur Factors affecting reproduction, depradation, and range of apple snails in the Barataria Terrebonne Estuary System
Kristie Ellis David Variation in species diversity and trophic ecology of a restored Mississippi River floodplain fish community with a focus on gars (Lepisosteidae)
Coral Foster Willis  
Katie Gray Clay Population demographics of the Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) in coastal Louisiana through long-term monitoring
Casey Greufe
Ashleigh Lambiotte

Austin Ortman
Effects of environmental hypoxia on red swamp crayfish Procambarus clarkii population characteristics, fecundity, and trophic ecology in the Atchafalaya River Basin
Osaze Osayande
Is crab shell a repository of the heavy metal lead (Pb)?
Thomas Phillips Boopathy Biodegradation of metribuzin, a herbicide used in the sugarcane farms in Louisiana
Derek Sallmann David  
April Simmons Fontenot Comparing larval and juvenile fish assemblage between newly-created marsh terraces and existing marsh habitat
Alexandria Woods Willis The effects of vegetation on removal of microplastics from surface water


Opportunities for more experience…in and out of the classroom.

There are three main types of assistantships available to graduate students:

Graduate Assistantship – This assistantship is offered through departments other than Biological Sciences and may involve working at the library, an administrative office, the university tutoring center, or another university department or office for 20 hours a week. The assistantship will pay your tuition and a semester stipend. The stipend amount may depend on where you work but is usually $2,500 per semester. More information can be found on the graduate assistants web page.

Graduate Teaching Assistantship – This assistantship is offered through the Department of Biological Sciences and is awarded based on availability and applicants’ GPA and GRE scores. You will be required to work 20 hours a week assisting with and teaching freshmen biology labs. You may begin teaching labs after you have completed at least 18 hours of graduate coursework, which is usually your third and fourth semester. The assistantship will pay your tuition and a $4,800 per semester (not including summer) stipend.

Graduate Research Assistantship – This assistantship is offered through an individual faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences to work on a research project. The time required cannot be more than 20 hours per week and the pay depends on the research grant. Graduate teaching assistants may receive a graduate research assistantship, depending on availability, for the summer semester.

Contact Dr. Chris Bonvillain for more information.


Since our M.S. program began in 2002, the Department of Biological Sciences has graduated 102 students who are employed in various local, state, federal, private, and non-profit agencies and organizations, secondary schools and universities, and graduate and professional programs throughout the country.

Our M.S. alumni include:

  • 24 graduates accepted to Ph.D. programs around the world
  • 1 graduate accepted to medical school
  • 1 graduate accepted to law school
  • 1 Sea Grant Knauss Marine Policy Fellow
  • 3 graduates that are faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences at Nicholls
  • graduates from 26 states and 4 countries
picture of graduate students


Nicholls State University is located on the banks of historic Bayou Lafourche in the heart of the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary in Thibodaux, La. Thibodaux is a quiet town full of moss-draped oak trees and Cajun spirit. The area is surrounded by cypress-tupelo swamps that give way to fresh marsh, brackish marsh, and salt marsh as you travel down the bayou. Nicholls State University is the southernmost university in Louisiana and is only an hour and half drive to the Gulf of Mexico.  Thibodaux may be a small town, but New Orleans and Baton Rouge are only an hour away.

The summers are warm and the winters are mild. Opportunities for fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, bird-watching and nature exploration are abundant all around Thibodaux.



Department of Biological Sciences

Office Location:
114 Gouaux Hall
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 2021
Thibodaux, LA 70310
Phone: 985-448-4700
Fax: 985-493-2496