Requirements For Degree For All Students

The curriculum for each student will be developed by the student’s advisory committee in view of the student’s professional goals. If, in the opinion of a student’s committee, the student lacks adequate undergraduate preparation, the student will be required to make up such deficiencies.

All requirements must be met in five years. In addition to satisfying the general requirements of the Graduate School, the candidates for the Master of Science degree in Biology must satisfy the following requirements:

Thesis Program

  1. Complete, with a minimum grade of "B", thirty hours of course work at the 500 level. All Biology graduate students must complete at least 18 hours of formal coursework in BLY (excluding directed studies and thesis) listed courses. No course at the 400 level or below may be taken for graduate credit. A maximum of 6 credit hours may be granted for Directed Studies (BLY 594). All courses must be accepted by the student's graduate advisory committee. The student's graduate committee may, at its option, after consultation with the student, require demonstration of additional proficiency in mathematics, computer skills, statistics, and/or require the student to take additional course work.
  1. Included in the 18 hours of formal coursework, students will complete the following core sequence:
  • BLY510 – Professionalism in Science (3h)
  • BLY520 – Biometry (4h)
  • BLY544 – Molecular Biology (3h)
  • BLY545 – Bioinformatics of Genetics (1h)
  • BLY585 – Evolutionary Biology (3h)
  • BLY592 – Seminar (1h)
    (The remaining 3 hours needed to meet the 18-hour requirement can be chosen from other 500-level BLY course offerings)
  1. Complete a thesis representing original research. A maximum of 9 hours credit will be granted for the thesis. Enrollment in BLY 599 (Thesis) is not permitted until the student's research prospectus has been approved by the advisory committee and the Director of Graduate Studies, College of Arts and Sciences.
  1. After submission of the written research prospectus to the committee, students will schedule a committee meeting and comprehensive qualifying exam. The exam will be oral and will start with a presentation of the prospectus and, where applicable, a progress report. Students will first be examined on the prospectus and progress report, and then any area of study closely or broadly related to the student's area of specialization. The exam committee will consist of the student's thesis committee.

  2. The student will be graded by all committee members, following a rubric that considers various aspects of the presentation and has three possible scores for each category: 1 (insufficient), 2 (meets expectations), and 3 (above expectations).  To pass the exam, a student will have to score an average of 2 or higher. Students are encouraged to look at the rubric before the presentation to be aware of the committee’s expectations. Students who fail the exam will be given a second opportunity.

  3. Make an oral defense of the thesis.

Description of all Biology (BLY) courses