2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
    Jun 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology, MS

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The Biological Sciences Department offers an MS in Biology with both Thesis and Non-Thesis Options. Graduate courses are available in all of the major sub-disciplines of biology including biotechnology, molecular and cellular biology, microbiology, human biology, and ecology and evolution. Graduate level elective courses are offered in the Fall, Spring, and Summer semesters, making it possible to graduate with a non-thesis M. S. degree in just three semesters. A diverse course schedule accommodates both full-time and part-time students. Our MS degree program provides an exceptional opportunity for professional development as well as a bridge to doctoral or health professional programs.

Degree Requirements and Plan of Study

A plan of study should be submitted to the Graduate School shortly after acceptance into the program. A Graduate Advisory Committee will work closely with the student to design a program suited to the student’s needs.

Non-Thesis Option Requirements

Twenty-nine credits in formal courses and special assignments (independent study, research and reading) and one credit in graduate seminar (30 credits total) are required for the non-thesis degree option. Maximum six credits of special assignment courses which include research and reading can be used on the plan of study.  Among the six credits, no more than three credits can be reading courses. Of the total of thirty credits, twenty-one credits must be 50000 or 60000 level courses in the primary area of study in Biology (only A or B grades are accepted) with the remaining 9 credits in supporting areas of study. The supporting areas can include biology (outside of the primary area), statistics, computer science, mathematics, education, chemistry, and physics. For example, students interested in biology teaching would choose education courses for the supporting area. Up to six credits of 40000-level course work can be used for the supporting area requirement. Students in this option must pass an exit exam for the degree.

Thesis Option Requirements

A minimum of 30 credit hours, which consist of both formal courses and thesis research, are required for graduation.  At least 15 credits of 50000 or above levels must be in formal biology courses (including one credit of BIOL 60100 Graduate Seminar). Only A or B grades are accepted. To total at least 30 credits, the remaining credits should be taken as BIOL 69800 Research MS Thesis with an appropriate faculty member. Only S grades are accepted. 

Special assignments courses should not be confused with formal course work in biology at the 50000-level which also can have a 59500 course number. Students should check with the graduate advisor to clarify the classification of these courses which will fulfill degree requirements. Students pursuing the MS thesis option must submit a formal research proposal, conduct the research, write a thesis, and pass an oral defense before a faculty committee.

Required Cumulative Grade Index

A cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0 or higher is required to graduate with the MS degree in Biology. A grade of “B-” or better is required in all courses listed on the plan of study in the primary area of study (C and C+ grades may be allowed in the supporting area courses), and the cumulative total graduate GPA must be 3.0 GPA or higher. The degree must be completed within 5 years (10 semesters).

Transfer of Credit

A maximum of 9 credits taken from other accredited institutions may be used as course work for the supporting area. Only credit hours associated with graduate courses for which grades of B- or better were obtained will be eligible for transfer. Transfer credits are subject to approval by the department (graduate committee) and the graduate chair.

Total 30 Credits Required

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