Students are expected to maintain a minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00. If a student’s cumulative GPA goes below this minimum the student will be put on probation and will have one quarter to bring their cumulative GPA up to at least a 3.00 or face dismissal from the program.  If the student’s cumulative GPA goes below the minimum a second time, they will be dismissed from the program.


Students may be dismissed for breaches of academic integrity, breaches of the code of student responsibility, or violations of satisfactory progress, including but not limited to, failing a retake of the oral qualifying exam, not maintaining at least a 3.00 cumulative GPA, or lack of progress towards degree completion. Students who have completed their coursework, but who are still working on their final project (MA) must be enrolled in candidacy continuation during the three quarters of the academic school year.  Failure to enroll in candidacy continuation will result in dismissal from the program.


If a student leaves the program for any reason they must reapply to the program unless prior agreement for readmission has been granted by the Director of Graduate Studies in Biology (hereafter, Program Director).  A specific timeline for readmission must be specified and agreed to by the Program Director prior to the student leaving the program.

Transfer Credit

Two semester courses or three quarter courses from another institution or program may be accepted as transfer credit upon approval of the Program Director and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies.  Credit will only be transferred for courses that have equivalents in the DePaul curriculum as determined by the Program Director. Transfer credit can only be awarded for graduate level coursework which has not counted toward the completion of a degree at DePaul or any other institution.

Undergraduate Courses

No undergraduate courses will be counted towards the graduate degree.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate, students must satisfy the degree requirements as specified in the course catalog for MA degrees, including but not limited to maintaining a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00.

Graduation with Distinction

The criteria for graduating with distinction are earning a minimum 3.50 cumulative grade point average in graduate level biology courses and the recommendation of the final project/thesis committee.

A final project committee needs to be established by Nov 1 of the student's second year of study.  The Advisor and two committee members (typically DePaul faculty members) will read and evaluate the final project.

The responsibility of the final project committee is to assess whether the candidate has achieved the following:

  • While conducting his/her research the candidate has become an independent thinker and researcher.  They have demonstrated problem solving abilities, have been self-motivated, and have shown determination in accomplishing his/her research goals.
  • In presenting his/her research the candidate has done a comprehensive review and effectively communicated the key issues associated with their topic.  They demonstrate their understanding of the field by effectively answering questions during the final project presentation.
  • Has an in depth understanding of the field and synthesized it in a way which points in new/creative experimental and/or analytical directions that have the potential to contribute to new approaches in better understanding the research area. 

Time Limitation

Students pursuing a master's degree must complete all requirements for the master's degree within a maximum of six years from their first term of enrollment in the program.