Master of Science in Biology
The graduate program in biology provides you with flexibility to pursue advanced study in such areas as biology, botany, conservation biology, ecology, fisheries biology, microbiology, rangeland biology, systematics, wildlife biology, and zoology.
Graduate curricula are not specified as such; rather programs are designed with your major professor and graduate committee, according to your individual needs and career goals. Your graduate study can lead to a terminal Master of Science degree or prepare you for acceptance into a doctoral program at another university. All graduate programs designed for research professions or doctoral programs include a research project and thesis developed in consultation with your major professor and graduate committee. The thesis defense consists of an oral presentation of your results that is open to the public, followed by a closed session with your advisor and thesis committee. You must also successfully complete a comprehensive oral exam. More information may be obtained from the Graduate School.
If you want to pursue a graduate degree as a secondary teacher in biology, or if you desire a "general" master's degree, you may select the non-thesis option, which requires additional coursework and a research paper in lieu of a thesis. An oral presentation is not required for the non-thesis option, but the comprehensive oral exam is. For information about options for a summer-only program for secondary teachers, contact the department chair.
Graduate Assistantships and Honoraria
All graduate assistantships are considered half-time positions (19 hours per week). The Graduate School currently provides the Department of Biological Sciences with 8 Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs) of $7,000 per 9 months (fall and spring semesters). GTAs also receive a full tuition waiver on 6-9 credit hours, but GTAs must pay other fees assessed per credit hour (e.g., student health fee, student activity fee), which vary each year (usually about $15-25 per credit hour). The typical workload for a GTA is teaching or assisting in 3 laboratory sections per week in 2 courses (for example, 2 introductory biology labs and 1 zoology lab). GTAs are limited to a maximum of 4 semesters. Summer GTA positions also are available ($1,474 for 8 weeks), assisting with 1 laboratory class or other duties, and these do not count against the limit of 4 semesters. During the summer, the tuition waiver covers the 3 credit hours required.
Two Graduate Curatorial Assistantships (GCAs) are available from the Sternberg Museum of Natural History. One GCA assists with curation of the "dry" zoological collections (mammals, birds, and insects), and one works in the "wet" collections (primarily fish and herps). The museum also has 4 Graduate Wetlands Assistantships (GWAs) to assist with educational and research activities at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center at Cheyenne Bottoms State Wildlife Area. All of the museum and education center assistantships are $12,000 per 12 months, but they do not carry a tuition waiver. However, students from outside Kansas receiving one of these assistantships pay only in-state tuition.
Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) can be arranged if financial support is provided by a source outside the university. GRAs can be arranged for periods of 9 or 12 months, depending on the funds available. GRAs do not include a tuition waiver. However, as with the museum and education center assistantships, graduate students paid through a GRA pay in-state tuition.
Another research option is the Fleharty Fellowship, a partially endowed research assistantship of $7,000 per 9 months with a full tuition waiver on 6-9 credit hours. Thus, the fellowship is similar to a GTA, but you are not required to teach. Instead, you enhance your research project and present your results in an oral presentation open to the public. This presentation is in addition to the oral presentation required as part of a thesis defense. Two Fleharty Fellowships are available on a competitive basis. Because a research plan must be in place for you to be considered for a Fleharty Fellowship, it is usually awarded to students during their second year of graduate studies. The application deadline for the Fleharty fellowship is 12 February (Charles Darwin's birthday).
In addition to support through graduate assistantships, graduate and undergraduate students may apply for student honoraria to help cover the costs of participating in professional meetings through presentation of your research or service as an officer in a professional society. Typically these costs are those for lodging and registration. For most meetings, faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences arrange transportation to the meeting in a vehicle from the university motor pool.
Applying for Admission to Graduate School
To apply for admission to the FHSU Graduate School and a graduate assistantship, cjntact the Graduate School. Applications are due in the Graduate School by 15 March for the following academic year.