Degree Requirements & Curriculum

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
BIOL 503 (3 hrs) Experimental Design (Fall only)
BIOL 504 (3 hrs) Ecological Restoration (Fall only)
BIOL 520 (3 hrs) Bottomland Hardwood Ecology (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 (Fall 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)

*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 2018 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.