When you have completed your undergraduate degree in biology, animal sciences, environmental science or a related field and are interested in becoming a zoologist, you will need to apply for an MSc in zoology degree program. Zoology graduate programs are available at several leading research universities and colleges around the country and can prepare you for a doctoral degree in the field. When you decide to get an MSc in zoology, you will need to choose an area of specialization. This will serve as the focal point of your research projects and course of study for the next two to six or more years.

Preparing for Zoology Graduate Programs

You'll find several programs of study in zoology graduate programs around the country. Most accredited colleges and universities have a Department of Zoology that offers graduate programs such as MSc in zoology, M.A. in animal science, and Ph.D. degree programs in certain fields. Each field may contain several specialized fields, but you won't be able to take any of these upper-level or advanced courses until you have entered the zoology master degree program.

The best way to prepare for zoology graduate programs is by taking elective courses in animal science, scientific research methods and other related subjects as early in your educational career as possible. You need to be very strong in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, natural science and math as early as high school, so consider getting a tutor or taking supplementary courses to improve your skills if needed. You'll find that many, if not all, courses in zoology graduate programs have a research and lab component where you will be responsible for conducting scientific experiments, extensive research and proving different methods and theories. This will continue through your doctoral program.

Applying for an MSc in Zoology

When you are ready to enroll in a zoology master degree program, you will need to review educational requirements with an academic advisor at your college and complete a formal application from the school's Department of Zoology or other department that offers zoology and animal science programs. Your advisor may recommend taking some summer courses in order to prepare for enrollment in the next few semesters, or draft a study plan that will allow you to complete the MSc in zoology requirements and then transition into a doctoral program.

Keep in mind that many students who are enrolled in an MSc in zoology degree program are provided with financial support in the form of fellowships, research assistantships, teaching assistantships and traineeships from various sources. In some cases, tuition is covered by the department for students who have teaching or research assistantships, but students in zoology graduate programs may need to pay for some or all of their housing costs and matriculation fees.

Completing a Zoology Master Degree Program

The types of zoology graduate programs available vary by educational institution, but most schools offers several zoology master degree programs with an emphasis on research and laboratory-based experiments. When you enroll in an MSc in zoology degree program, you may be able to choose one of the following areas of concentration: cellular biology; behavioral biology; evolution; ecology; and organismal biology. Research programs can be concentrated in areas such as comparative physiology; conservation biology; biochemical adaptation; and parasitology.

Most zoology master degree programs take between one to two years to complete, and training provided at this level often leads to a doctoral degree in zoology right after graduation.