Graduate Programs

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The Biologicial Sciences graduate program is designed to allow students, with the guidance of their advisors, to mold and focus their program of study on professional interests and specific needs. Our students can draw from a broad range of graduate courses and select from a diverse and well-trained group of faculty for direction in research.

Faculty in our department advise graduate students in 3 distinct Master of Science (MS) degree programs, these are Biology MS, Biology Education MS, and Environmental Science MS. Learn more about the requirements and elective options for these programs by clicking the links above or those in the left-hand menu.


Links for common graduate student topics.


Graduate Handbook     Graduate Faculty     Ready To Apply     Assistantships    Helpful Links



Graduate Faculty and their research interests

The current members of our graduate faculty are listed below along with brief description of their research interests. It is highly recommended that applicants identify and contact a potential research mentor prior to applying.


  • Dr. Michael Bentley - image analysis of kidney vasculature and circulation, in hypertension and other disease conditions
  • Dr. Rachel CohenThe role of gonadal steroid hormones (testosterone and estrogens) in the brain. 
  • Dr. Bradley Cook - wetland ecosystem ecology including the effects of hydrologic connectivity and invasive plants
  • Dr. Shannon Fisher - Research foci are currently on watershed drainage issues, aquatic biota ecology in relation to impaired waters, and water quality credit trading. 
  • Dr. Geoffrey Goellner - polyglutamine proteins and neurodegenerative disease
  • Dr. Penny Knoblich - physiology of blood flow as it relates to hypertension
  • Dr. John Krenz - Ecology, evolution and behavior of animals
  • Dr. Bethann Lavoie - Science Education: Professional development, assessment, diverse cultures and problem solving
  • Dr. Alison Mahoney - evaluating taxonomic races of plants using field observations, garden experiments, and chromosome counts
  • Dr. Gregg A. Marg - fermentation of lactic acid and its use as industrial feed stock
  • Dr. Steven Mercurio - toxicology of paraquat and prooxidant-induced inflammation; pesticide runoff determination
  • Dr. Beth Proctor - assessing surface water quality and sources of pollution, using chemical and biological monitoring
  • Dr. Christopher T. Ruhland - effects of global climate change on Antarctic ecosystems and the effects of UV light on plant production
  • Dr. Timothy Secott - molecular mechanisms used by mycobacteria to initiate and establish intestinal infections in mammals
  • Dr. David Sharlin - developmental biology, hormone action, anatomy
  • Dr. Robert Sorensen - ecological and evolutionary interactions between animal parasites and their hosts
  • Dr. Daniel Toma - behavioral genetics
  • Dr. Dorothy M. Wrigley - food borne pathogens; biofilms; development of immunological defenses
  • Dr. Brittany Ziegler - biology education


Helpful Links for Students



College of Graduate Studies and Research

Approximately 35 graduate teaching assistantships (TA) are available each year to qualified applicants. A minimum GPA of 3.0 in undergraduate math, chemistry, biology and physics classes. In addition, a qualifying TOEFL score is required for consideration as a Teaching Assistant (minimum acceptable scores are in the Admission Requirements section). Research Assistantships are also offered, depending on external funding. Preference is given to assistantship applications submitted to the Department of Biological Sciences by March 1st. However, applications will be accepted any time for review.


If an Assistantship is desired, a completed [PDF] Graduate Assistantship Application (60 KiB) and resume must be sent to the Department of Biological Sciences, at the address listed below. If you are a graduate student at MSU but are/will not be a MS Biology, Biology Education, or Environmental Science student, you must also submit an unofficial transcript with your Graduate Assistantship Application.



Department of Biological Sciences
Graduate Studies Material
Minnesota State University Mankato
S-242 Trafton Science Center South
Mankato, MN 56001
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