Accelerated 4+1 B.S./M.S. Programs in Biology and Biotechnology

Preparing YOU for success

Qualified William Paterson University undergraduate students may complete an undergraduate bachelor's and a graduate master's degree in five years by taking graduate-level courses during their senior year. The program is open to BS Biology and BS Biotechnology majors, and leads to the MS Biotechnology degree. Students who meet the entry requirements (see below) must talk to their academic advisor to prior to, or at latest by, the second semester of their junior year. Once admitted to the accelerated program, students work with their undergraduate adviser and the graduate program director to develop a plan of study for their accelerated graduate degree.

  1. Benefits of an Accelerated BS/MS Program
  2. Time Savings: Admission into an accelerated degree program allows you to take graduate and undergraduate courses in your senior year. Graduate credits are counted toward both degrees, allowing you to complete your graduate degree in less time than a traditional graduate program.

    Money Savings: All graduate courses taken during the fall and spring of your senior year are billed at the undergraduate tuition rate - almost half the cost of graduate tuition. Some students will be able to complete half of their graduate degree for half the cost.

    Salary and Hiring Competitiveness: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, master’s degree holders “qualified for better paying jobs and have earned more than their counterparts who had a bachelor’s degree”.  In addition “you’re likely to need a master’s degree to qualify for entry-level jobs”, while “in others, a master’s degree may not be required, but having one might lead to advancement or higher pay.”

    Flexibility to Fit Your Career Goals: By combining the BS and MS degrees, a wide range of expertise can be developed. For example, BS Biotechnology majors can deepen their cell/molecular biology knowledge and skills while gaining business knowledge and experience at the graduate level. BS Biology majors can focus on physiology, pharmacology, and pre-medical, and complement that with cell/molecular and business knowledge and skills at the graduate level. Whichever route is taken, students with the MS Biotechnology degree are strongly positioned to enter the pharmaceutical, biomedicine, and biotechnology industries, to pursue higher graduate studies, and to pursue medical careers.

  3. Program Structure
  4. Begin Planning Early: Prospective accelerated BS/MS program students are encouraged to meet with their academic advisor early to begin planning. Qualifies students must declare the accelerated master's program by the second semester of their junior year.

    Graduate Courses Taken in the Senior Year: BS Biology and BS Biotechnology students in the accelerated master’s program take up to 15 credits toward the MS degree in their senior year.

    The following three courses (11 credits) are required:

    • Molecular Biology (BIO5240; 3cr; Fall semester only),
    • Recombinant DNA Technology (BIO5300; 4cr; Fall semester only)
    • Cell and Tissue Culture (BIO5310; 4 cr; Spring semester only)

    One additional graduate elective under the BIO course listings (3-4cr) may also be taken, under advisement with both the student’s undergraduate adviser and graduate program director.

  5. Program Requirements
  6. This program is for students obtaining the BS Biology or Biotechnology degrees at WPU. The program is open to first degree students (including transfer students) and second degree students. There is no Thesis option for the accelerated MS degree, but students in this program are encouraged to engage in research activities.

    Students in the middle of their junior year who maintain both a major and overall GPA of 3.0 or higher can proceed with the accelerated BS/MS program and may register for the required & approved graduate courses in their senior year. Students who do not have a 3.0 or higher GPA at this stage can complete their traditional BS degree, and apply for the MS program after graduation.

    At the end of the senior year students who have maintained a major and overall GPA of 3.0 or higher and who have completed the required graduate level courses for this program, will graduate with the BS degree and will be allowed to count up to 15 credits of approved graduate courses toward both the BS and MS degrees. Students who do not maintain a major and overall GPA of 3.0 or higher at the end of their senior year will receive the BS degree but any graduate courses counting toward the BS degree will not be counted toward the MS degree.

  7. Links to Specific Information for BS Biology and BS Biotechnology Major