Graduate Program Description
Programs of Study
Masters of Science in Biology
The Master of Science in Biology is a versatile program designed to allow students to achieve individual goals while serving a diversity of student interests. Students have the opportunity to pursue graduate study in broad areas such as genetics and cell biology, organismal biology, aquatic and terrestrial ecology, and natural resources, among others. As a focus for these M.S. programs, we offer internship, project, and thesis pathways. Optional emphases are offered in Natural Resources and Aquatic Sciences.
Dr. Mark Luttenton
Telephone (616) 331-2503
M.S. Biology Program Application Schedule
January 15, 2013 - Applications received by this date will be considered for departmental assistantships. Applications received after this date will be placed in a secondary pool.
February 1, 2013 - Graduate Committee will notify faculty of applications available for review.
February 21, 2013 - Faculty provide indication of interest in selected applicants.
March 21, 2013 - Faculty notify Graduate Coordinator they have agreed to serve as an applicant's major advisor.
The Master of Science in Biology program can be tailored for professionals to make them more competitive as they seek job placement or advancement, secondary teachers who prefer a science master's, and baccalaureate graduates who wish to earn a master's degree before continuing their graduate education at the doctoral level. The program helps candidate's extend their knowledge in their discipline, extend their professional skills, gain experience in the application of their knowledge and skills, and helps them develop their abilities as leaders and team members. Graduates will be encouraged to use their knowledge and abilities to solve problems and answer questions in the complex and interactive context of local, regional, and global issues and concerns.
A graduate information packet may be requested here. In addition to the requirements listed in the Graduate Admission section of the
1.A completed graduate application
2. Satisfactory GRE scores (general tests only)
3. Official transcripts submitted directly from each institution of higher education previously attended
4. A 500-word essay detailing educational and professional goals
5. Three references
Admission will be based on the materials submitted by the applicant and on the perceived ability of the University to successfully provide appropriate academic support for the candidate. In addition, departmental admission policy requires that a faculty member agree to serve as an applicant's Graduate Committee Chair before admission. Please note, applicants will not be admitted unless a faculty member has consented to serve as the Committee Chair. Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Biology Graduate Program Coordinator as early as possible to begin the process of identifying a Graduate Committee Chair.
A minimum overall 3.0 GPA is required. Students may be given full or conditional admission. Conditional admission may be granted to students with identified deficiencies in their background, but who are otherwise qualified for program admission. Specific requirements to remediate any such deficiencies will be defined by the Biology Graduate Program Committee and the student's Graduate Committee Chair.
The Master of Science in Biology is a highly individualized, planned program of study. In addition to the required course work, the student and their Graduate Committee Chair will establish all course work required to complete the degree. Additional requirements for each student may be determined at the time the program plan is established. The degree will be earned upon the successful completion of all requirements outlined in the program plan. The program of study will include a qualifying exam administered by the student's Graduate Committee and a minimum of 33 approved credits with a cumulative GPA of 3.0. All program plans will include the following three components:
1. Nine credits common to all students in the program. These will consist of experimental design/statistics, the introductory course (BIO 610 Scientific Methodology), and the capstone (BIO 696 Perspectives in Biology).
2. Fifteen-to-eighteen* credits in the student's interest area, all of which must be approved by the student's Graduate Committee Chair. Specific coursework, which may include a focus in a secondary area, will be developed by the candidate with the guidance and approval of the student's Graduate Committee Chair. Undergraduate credits will not count in the graduate program.
3. Six-to-nine* credits consisting of either BIO 695, Thesis, BIO 693, Project, or BIO 691, Internship (for those selecting the optional Natural Resources emphasis, the corresponding course numbers are NRM 695, NRM 693, or NRM 691). Note that the credits may not be mixed in this category. This component will be conducted under the supervision of the student's Graduate Committee Chair and
Successful progress towards completion of the degree and continued enrollment requires that the student's Graduate Committee Chair be determined before admission, the Mentor (who may also be the Graduate Committee Chair) be determined before the end of the student's first semester of enrollment and the student's Graduate Committee be appointed before the end of the second semester of enrollment. In addition, the student must pass the qualifying exam before registering for thesis, project or internship credits. The purpose of the qualifying exam is to ensure that students have adequate science knowledge and skills background to successfully complete their thesis, project or internship. All students will be limited to a five-year period to complete their degree.
Natural Resources Emphasis
Corresponding to the existing undergraduate degree program in Natural Resources Management, the Master of Science in Biology includes an optional Natural Resources emphasis. Candidates choosing this optional emphasis have the same admissions criteria and degree requirements as other M.S. students, but will focus their course work, thesis, project, or internship activities in an area related to the management, conservation, or protection of atmospheric, aquatic, or terrestrial resources.
Aquatic Sciences Emphasis
The Master of Science in Biology also includes an optional Aquatic Sciences emphasis. Candidates choosing this optional emphasis must meet the same degree requirements as other MS students, but will focus their course work, thesis, project, or internship activities in an area related to the physiochemical properties, biology, or ecology of aquatic ecosystems. Students in this emphasis will develop interdisciplinary studies involving CLAS faculty as well as other collaborating agencies and entities in the
See the Transfer of Credit portion of the Graduate Admission section of the
Page last modified October 29, 2012