Advanced knowledge of biological principles and research methodology is often required for positions in industrial, research and educational organizations or for admission to doctoral or professional programs. Students in the Master of Science program are provided instruction in a breadth of biology sub-disciplines and have the opportunity to conduct focused research guided by graduate faculty in an area of their choice. The objectives of the Master of Science program are to develop the student’s independent research skills, to strengthen the student’s scientific communication abilities, and to enhance the student’s likelihood of gaining employment in a biological field or successful admission into doctoral and professional programs.
For admission, students need to submit the following:
- Application to Graduate School
- Biology application sent to the Biology Graduate Coordinator. All applicants are strongly encouraged to contact Biology faculty to identify a prospective advisor(s). Applicants who have not communicated with faculty are unlikely to be admitted.
- Scores for the GRE general test sent to the Graduate School. Also, report your scores directly to the Biology Graduate Coordinator.
- For a teaching assistantship, students need to submit the following:
- Application for a teaching assistantship sent to the Graduate School. Recommendations and deadlines on obtaining a teaching assistantship can be found at the following file.
- At least two letters of recommendation sent to the Biology Graduate Coordinator.
Applicants have usually completed at least the equivalent of a minor in biology; however, we welcome applications from students with non-biology backgrounds. Deficiencies in previous training will be evaluated by the department’s Graduate Coordinator on a case-by-case basis. Students with deficiencies will be required to obtain at least a C grade in all courses taken to resolve the deficiencies.
Once a student is admitted to the program, the student’s initial advisor will review the student’s undergraduate record and recommend an initial program of study. Before the end of the second semester, members of the student’s Supervisory Committee should be selected. The Supervisory Committee will be chaired by a member of the Biology Department graduate faculty and must contain at least two other members of the biology faculty. The Supervisory Committee may be expanded to include faculty from other departments or institutions in cases where additional expertise would be helpful in overseeing the project. Once approved, the Supervisory Committee will recommend subsequent courses to be taken by the student. For the thesis candidate, a proposal of thesis research must be approved by the Supervisory Committee.
M.S. With Thesis
Thirty (30) semester hours are required for this track. Up to six hours of thesis research may be included in this total. Students must take two hours of Graduate Seminar (BIOL 6102) during their degree program. At least 15 hours of graduate coursework must be at the 6000-course level. No more than 6 semester hours of Independent Study credit for conducting research can be used to fulfill the credit hour requirements. With permission of the student’s committee, up to six semester hours may be taken outside the Department of Biology if this work has a direct relationship to the student’s objectives in achieving the MS degree in biology.
Original laboratory or field research is required. At the end of the student’s program, the student will present the research to the Supervisory Committee along with a written thesis and a public seminar open to all Biology Department faculty and students. Before the candidate is recommended to the Dean of the Graduate School for graduation, the committee will meet with the candidate for an oral examination, which will consist principally of a defense of the thesis. A majority of the student’s committee must approve the thesis and its defense. If approval is denied, the candidate will not be recommended for graduation but may be re-examined after at least one month.
M.S. Without Thesis
A minimum of thirty-four (34) semester hours are required for this track, including two semester hours of Graduate Seminar (BIOL 6102) and two semester hours of Biological Literature (BIOL 6290). At least 15 hours of graduate coursework must be at the 6000-course level. No more than 3 semester hours of Independent Study credit for conducting research can be used to fulfill the credit hour requirements. With permission of the student’s committee, up to six semester hours may be taken in a department other than the Department of Biology if this work has a direct relationship to the student’s objectives in achieving the MS degree in biology. Certified biology teachers are encouraged to pursue a tailored program of study within the non-thesis track.
The topic reviewed in the Biological Literature course will be selected in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. The review is expected to be comprehensive and based on recent primary literature. Following evaluation by the student’s advisory committee, the student must present a seminar on the topic to the faculty of the Department of Biology. In the student’s final semester, the student’s advisory committee will conduct a comprehensive examination. A majority of the committee must vote to pass the student or the candidate will not be recommended for graduation. The candidate may be re-examined after an interval of not less than one month.
Cost & Fees
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Last updated January 25, 2018