Note: Program revisions are currently underway. In the interim, graduate admissions have been temporarily suspended. Please contact the department with any questions.
The Master’s Degree
The Biology MS curriculum is designed to prepare students for entry into various biological professions or for continuing on into Ph.D. or professional programs. Graduates can pursue careers as lab technicians, researchers, environmental consultants, environmental educators, allied health professionals, or high school or university biology instructors.
A maximum of eight hours of C (2.) grades is applicable to the degree (grades of C- or lower are not accepted), provided that a minimum GPA of 3.0 is reached at time of graduation and an approved Student Petition is on file in the Office of Records and Registration.
NOTE: Students also should refer to the campus policy on Grades Acceptable Toward Master’s Degrees section of this catalog.
BIO 502 is taken during the first fall semester of graduate work followed by BIO 503 the second semester (spring). BIO 402 should be completed in the same semester that the thesis proposal is approved (thesis option only). The thesis or examination committee should be formed before the end of the second semester. For students selecting the non-thesis option, BIO 583 should be taken the final semester when all other course work has been completed and the student plans on taking the Comprehensive Examination.
At the end of each academic year, graduate students are required to undergo an annual review of their status in the program. At this review they meet with their academic advisor and discuss progress and timeline for completion of degree. Results of the review are placed in the student’s file and communicated to the graduate committee and student.
For students selecting the thesis option, the closure activity is an oral presentation – open to faculty, students, and guests – of the written master’s thesis. Each thesis begins with a proposal approved by the student’s master’s committee, who will determine if the thesis meets the standards of the profession. Students must enroll for eight hours of credit for BIO 585 Master’s Thesis. The total number of hours may be accrued in increments of two hours for the thesis. Campus policy requires that students be enrolled in at least one semester hour of closure exercise credit for each semester after they have begun their graduate closure exercises until the thesis is completed. This means that if the thesis is not completed by the time eight hours in BIO 585 are accrued in continuing enrollment, the student must enroll in BIO 586 (zero credit hours, one billable hour) each regular semester (fall and spring) until the thesis is complete. Additional information and procedures for completing the master’s closure exercise are available in the Biology Graduate Student Handbook in the department office.
The closure activity for this option is a comprehensive examination that will cover the course work the student has completed in fulfillment of the master’s degree. Students who select this option must enroll in BIO 583 Closure Exam Preparation either during or following the semester when they complete the remainder of their course work. The examination consists of both a written and an oral section, which are administered at the end of the semester. An examination committee will conduct the oral examination, and will consist of two faculty members from the Biology Department, and a faculty member outside the department appointed by the Dean. The examination will be offered twice a year in the last week of the spring and fall semesters. A summer exam may be implemented if there is sufficient demand. To pass this comprehensive examination, the student will need to obtain a grade of B (3.0) or higher on both the written and the oral exams (grades of B- or lower will not be accepted). In the event that a student fails his/her first comprehensive examination, s/he will be given a second, final opportunity to pass this exam. Campus policy requires that students be enrolled in at least one semester hour of closure exercise credit for each semester after they have begun their graduate closure exercises until the degree is completed. This means that if the exam is not passed with the completion of four credit hours of BIO 583, the student must enroll in BIO 584 (zero credit hours, one billable hour) each regular semester (fall and spring) until the exam is passed.