Provost's Office

Department of Biology

William L. Bischoff, Chairperson
Richard Komuniecki, Graduate Adviser

The Department of Biology offers graduate degrees at master's and doctoral levels. Students entering the M.S. or Ph.D. programs are expected to have an adequate background in natural sciences and in mathematics. Usually, this will require a knowledge of differential and integral calculus, college physics, and organic chemistry. Students may be admitted on a provisional basis if they do not have an adequate academic background, but they will be expected to acquire it as rapidly as possible.


Requirements for the Master's Program

Option A (Thesis): For the degree of Master of Science, a student must complete 30 semester hours of graduate course work approved by an advisory committee, including BIOL 6000, 6930 ( two hours ), either 6600 and 6610 or 6010, 6090, and CHEM 6500, and additional course and research credits for 13-17 hours. The student also must pass a comprehensive oral examination. In some cases a written comprehensive examination also may be required. The student must complete 6 to 10 hours of BIOL 6960, write an original research thesis, and pass an oral examination on the thesis.

Option B (Non-thesis): For the degree of Master of Science, a student must complete 30 semester hours of graduate course work approved by an advisory committee, including BIOL 6000, 6930 ( two hours ), three of the following courses, BIOL 6010, 6090, 6600, 6610, three additional BIOL lecture and/or laboratory courses or their equivalents from other departments that are approved by the student's advisory committee, and additional course and research credits for a total of 30 hours. A maximum of three hours in BIOL 6960, 6980, or 6990 may be included in the minimum 30 hours. The student also must pass a comprehensive oral examination and write an original research paper based on library research that meets the approval of the student's advisory committee. Normally, students choosing Option B will not be encouraged to pursue graduate study beyond the M.S. degree.

Upto 10 hours of graduate credit may be transferred from another accredited institution, as recommended by the student's advisory committee.


Master of Science and Education

For the degree of Master of Science and Education, students must meet requirements for the degree as stated in the College of Education and Allied Profession's section of this catalog. In addition, no more than 8 hours may be earned in 5000-level courses. Students doing their thesis in biology rather than education must fulfill the same thesis-related requirements as other biology M.S. candidates.


Requirements for the Doctoral Program

The doctoral degree in biology is awarded to a student who has demonstrated mastery in the field of biology and a distinct and superior ability to make substantial contributions to the field. It is not awarded merely as a result of courses taken, nor for years spent in studying or research. The quality of work and the resourcefulness of the student must be such that the faculty can expect a continuing effort toward the advancement of knowledge and significant achievement in research and related activities.

Ingeneral, work for the Ph.D. takes four years of study beyond the bachelor's degree. A substantial portion of this time is spent in independent research leading to a dissertation. Work done toward a master's degree may apply as part of the student's doctoral program. Normally 90 semester hours of study beyond the bachelor's degree are required for the Ph.D.

Each student must complete an individualized program of study in the areas of Ecology or Cell/Molecular Biology that is approved by the student's advisory committee and the department. This course of study must include BIOL 8000, 8930 ( three hours ), either 8600 and 8610 or 8010, 8090, and CHEM 8500, and additional course and research credits for 72-76 hours. Ph.D. candidates must pass a written qualifying examination in their area of specialization during the first two years of study and an oral comprehensive examination involving a defense of their research proposal after gaining admission to candidacy.

Courses numbered at the 5000 and 6000 levels are intended primarily for students at the master's level. Courses numbered at the 7000 and 8000 levels are intended primarily for students at the post-master's (students with a master's degree, or with over 34 graduate credit hours) and doctoral levels. Courses carrying a dual listing (numbered at both 5000/7000 or 6000/8000 levels) are available to students at both levels. In these cases, there may be substantive differences in the course requirements for students registered at the more advanced level.

The department considers experience in teaching to be a vital and significant component of graduate education. Therefore, all graduate students in the Ph.D. program are required to complete at least one semester of formal teaching experience. M.S. students are also encouraged to acquire teaching experience as part of their graduate programs.

Last Updated: 3/22/15