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USA Undergraduate/Graduate Bulletin 2002-2003


Chair: John A. Freeman (251-460-6331)
Graduate Coordinator: John W. McCreadie
Professors: Boyles (Emeritus), Brown, Freeman, Miller (Emeritus), Wolfe
Associate Professors: Dean, Nelson, Sherman, Stout
Assistant Professors: Axsmith, Boettcher, Brockhouse, Major, McCreadie, O’Brien, Instructor: Delaney
Department of Biological Sciences web site
The program of the Department of Biological Sciences is designed to contribute to a scientific background as part of a liberal education. The department offers a diversified, broadly based program, which can be designed to satisfy many areas of study. Our multitrack major can provide the traditional student with a well-rounded background in biology, or students may select courses to prepare them for a particular area of study. The multitrack curriculum can prepare students for graduate study, pre-health professional fields (such as medicine or dentistry), marine biology, or environmental science. The department has persons trained to advise in each of these areas. A list of advisors for a specific track or area of study can be obtained from the departmental office.
Students desiring to major in biology must meet the general requirements for a degree of Bachelor of Science in addition to the following requirements.
1. At least thirty-six hours of biology, including:
  a.  Biology 121 and 122 ........................................................................................... 8 hrs
  NOTE: BLY 121, 122, or the equivalents, are prerequisites to all courses numbered 300 or above except by permission of the Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. A year of college chemistry, or advanced high school preparation in biology and chemistry is highly recommended for these two introductory courses.
  b.  At least 28 hours of biology electives above BLY 121 and 122. And, at least      one course from each of the following four categories:
Category A
Cellular and Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and Physiology
BLY 311 4 hrs BLY 314 4 hrs
BLY 341 3 hrs BLY 431 4 hrs
BLY 436 4 hrs BLY 440/441 4/4 hrs
Category B
BLY 332 4 hrs BLY 345 4 hrs
BLY 430 4 hrs BLY 432 4 hrs
BLY 433 4 hrs BLY 435 4 hrs
Category C
BLY 352 4 hrs BLY 354 4 hrs
BLY 360 4 hrs BLY 361 5 hrs
BLY 363 4 hrs BLY 451 4 hrs
BLY 453 4 hrs BLY 455 4 hrs
BLY 459 3 hrs BLY 463 4 hrs
BLY 471 4 hrs      
Category D
Interdisciplinary Courses
BLY 311 4 hrs BLY 325 4 hrs
BLY 367 4 hrs BLY 426 3 hrs
BLY 450 3 hrs BLY 475 4 hrs
BLY 478 4 hrs BLY 485 3 hrs
Upper level courses not listed here will count towards a biology major but do not satisfy the requirements above.
2.     Chemistry 131, 132, 201, and either 202 or 314.
3.     A year of Physics (114, 115) or Geology (111 and 112).
4.    Mathematics through Calculus (MA 115 and 125) or Statistics (MA 115 and ST         210)
Students must also complete two (W) courses. Computer and information science is strongly recommended for those students who plan graduate study in biology.
Students who wish to concentrate in a specific area may want to follow one of these optional tracks:
1.     Marine Biology
        Biology majors desiring a concentration in marine biology should follow the         recommended four-year curriculum for biology majors. At least one term must be         spent in residence at the Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium at Dauphin         Island or other approved marine lab, after the sophomore year. The department         recommends that students select courses from: BLY 360, 367, 430, 451, 471,         474 and 475.
2.     Environmental Science
        Biology majors desiring a concentration in environmental science should focus         primarily on biology and chemistry. Biology 325 or 475 is required. The following         biology courses are recommended: BLY 314, 352, 360 and 433. Upon         consultation with the student’s faculty advisor, additional biology electives are to         be selected from the following: Cell Biology/Biochemistry, Non-Vascular Plants,         Environmental Toxicology (BLY 515), Freshwater Ecology (BLY 526), A Chemistry         minor is required. Additional courses augmenting this concentration include: CH         314, GY 111, 112 and 311; GEO 310; and SY 467.
3.     Pre-Health Professions
        Biology majors planning a career in medicine, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy,         veterinary medicine, or other pre-professional fields should follow the         recommended curriculum for biology majors. A year of physics and one or more         semesters of genetics and cell biology are strongly recommended for pre-health         professional students.
Areas I, II, and III of the General Education Requirements for Biology are specified on page 46 (College of Arts and Sciences section). Note that Area IV requirements (Mathematics and Natural Sciences) are fulfilled by the major requirements specified above.
The Biology Honors Program offers bright, academically motivated undergraduate students the opportunity to develop research and communication skills in preparation for a graduate or professional career. To apply for admission into the program, a student must:
1.    Have completed BLY 121, BLY 122, CH 131, CH 132, plus one or more upper        division biology courses.
2.    Have earned a 3.5 GPA or better in biology courses attempted.
3.    Have earned a 3.0 GPA or better overall.
4.    Obtain a recommendation from a faculty member.
In addition to fulfilling the requirements of the standard biology program, honors students must complete:
1.    A minimum of two semesters (six hours) of Honors Research in Biology (BLY        499).
2.    A formal research prospectus including an introduction, proposed methods, and         relevant literature citation. The prospectus must be submitted and approved         before the final semester of honors research is undertaken.
3.     A formal written report in the form of a scientific paper.
4.     A poster presentation at the USA Annual Research Forum.
Twenty-four hours of biology are required, including:
1.     Biology 121, 122 (General Biology).
2.    Sixteen hours of biology electives, at least eight of which must be taken at the         University of South Alabama.
The Master of Science degree in Biology is designed to provide qualified students the opportunity to further their knowledge in generalized and specialized areas of biology, as indicated by course offerings and research interests of the faculty. In addition, the Department incorporates into its offerings some areas of study leading to concentrations in Basic Medical Sciences (through cooperative agreement with the College of Medicine - see next page) and in Marine Biology (through cooperative agreement with the Department of Marine Sciences and/or the Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory - see below). A student may also concurrently pursue a Class A Professional teaching Certificate (through cooperative agreement with the College of Education - see below). Admission to the M.S. Program does not automatically qualify a student for entry into one of the special areas of concentration; students desiring such entry should familiarize themselves with the special conditions noted below and contact the Department for special rules and conditions.
Students are admitted each semester.
The following criteria supplement the Graduate School criteria (see Categories of Admission):
1.    Undergraduate major in Biology, Botany, or Zoology with a minimum GPA of 2.8         (on a 4-point scale) in all biological courses taken.
2.    Undergraduate organic chemistry sequence.
3.    One year of physics or geology.
4.    Mathematics at least through calculus or statistics.
5.    Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of at least 1100 on the Verbal and         Quantitative portions, with at least a score of 500 on Verbal. (An MCAT score of 24         may be substituted for the GRE by persons intending to enter a cellular/molecular         area.)
6.    Students who do not speak English as their native language must submit a         minimum TOEFL score of 600.
1.     Undergraduate major or minor (or equivalent) in Biology, Botany, or Zoology.
2.     A minimum undergraduate GPA of 2.5 (on a 4-point scale), with a minimum of 2.8         on all biological courses taken.
3.    Submission of GRE (or MCAT) score as outlined above, but without minimum         score requirements and a minimum TOEFL score of 600.
The Department of Biological Sciences accepts Non-Degree Graduate Students within the general admission and credit regulations of the University of South Alabama with certain reservations and limitations. Students should consult the Department concerning these limitations before applying for such status. Included, but not limited to, are the following:
1.     Students are restricted to enrollment in courses prefixed BLY that the Chair          determines will advance their career development in biological sciences. Only in          exceptional cases wherein it is determined to the satisfaction of the Chair that the          aforementioned career goals are enhanced will a non-degree student be          permitted to enroll in courses in other departments.
2.    Students must confer with the Chair or the Graduate Coordinator of the          Department of Biological Sciences before attempting to enroll in any class.
3.    Students seeking to change from non-degree status to a degree-granting          program must reapply and be evaluated as any other student who has not          previously applied to such program.
The Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory is supported by nineteen colleges and universities in Alabama to form one marine campus. Students in the MS program Biological Sciences at the University of South Alabama may take courses through the sea laboratory and apply credits earned toward fulfilling requirements for the MS degree. Students frequently choose to spend part of their time, particularly in the summers, at Dauphin Island and the rest of their time on the main campus in Mobile. Other arrangements are also possible.
Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory publishes an Information Bulletin each year. Students may request a copy of the Information Bulletin by writing or calling: Registrar, Dauphin Island Sea Laboratory, Post Office Box 369-370, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, (251)861-2141.
The purpose of this track is to provide qualified beginning graduate students with an opportunity to become research scientists in biology with an emphasis in basic medical science. Course work and research opportunities are offered in the Departments of Biochemistry, Microbiology/Immunology, Pharmacology, Physiology, and Structural and Cellular Biology in the College of Medicine, as well as in the Department of Biological Sciences. Students fulfill the normal criteria for the MS degree in Biology. Students must complete thesis research in basic medical sciences. This track prepares the student for additional graduate study in the basic medical sciences leading to the Ph.D. degree. A non-thesis option is not available.
Students are expected to choose a major professor and to define a thesis topic by the end of the first year in residence. The student and the major professor select an advisory committee consisting of the major professor, who may be from either Basic Medical Sciences (with a co-major professor from Biological Sciences) or the Department of Biological Sciences, and at least one other member from Biological Sciences.
The Department offers several types of assistantships to qualified students. Application forms for assistantships with primary responsibilities in teaching and preparing laboratories are available from the departmental office. In addition, some assistantships with primary responsibility in research are usually available each year. These assistantships are associated with grants and contracts that support the research of individual faculty members. In all cases, assistantships are approved by the Dean of the Graduate School upon recommendation of the appropriate sponsor within the University. To be eligible for an assistantship, MCAT or GRE scores must be submitted to the Biology Department.
Students will find detailed explanation of special departmental requirements in a document, “Special Policies and Procedures Regarding the Master’s Degree Program in the Department of Biological Sciences.” This document is available from the departmental office and describes initial orientation for new students, administration of the comprehensive examination, departmental seminars, and the like.
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.
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 which at least twenty-four         hours must be course work at the 400 or 500 level. No course at the 300 level or         below may be taken for graduate credit. A maximum of six 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 a foreign language, mathematics, computer skills,         statistics, and/or require the student to take additional course work beyond the         twenty-four hour minimum.
2.    Complete a thesis representing original research. A maximum of six hours credit         will be granted for the thesis. Enrollment in Biology 599 (Thesis) is not permitted         until the student’s research prospectus has been approved by the advisory         committee and the Directory of Graduate Studies, College of Arts and Sciences.
3.     Enroll in Biology Seminar during at least two semesters of residency.
4.    Complete successfully a comprehensive written examination in the student’s         general area(s) of expertise as indicated by their research project and course         work. The student’s graduate committee determines what defines the ‘area(s) of         expertise’. This examination may be taken only after the student has completed         18 hours of graduate work excluding thesis credits. The student, with the         endorsement of the major professor, should submit to the department a letter of         intent to take the examination one month prior to its administration. The         comprehensive examination is a requirement for graduation, not for admission to         regular graduate standing. The examination should be taken at least one         semester before graduation. Candidates failing the comprehensive examination         may be examined over the parts of the test which they failed after a minimum         three-month delay. No portion of the comprehensive examination may be taken         more than twice.
5.    Make an oral defense of the thesis during the last semester of residency.
6.    A student that starts as a ‘thesis student’ will be allowed to change their status to         non-thesis only with the majority consent of their committee.
Non-Thesis Program
Students planning to pursue the Ph.D. degree are encouraged to follow the thesis option. However, a non-thesis curriculum is available for those students who so elect. The student will be required to complete the same degree requirements as those for a student who chooses the thesis option, with the following exceptions.
1.    A thesis will not be required. Consequently BLY 599 (Thesis) may not be taken,         and the six semester hours normally associated with it must be earned through         formal course work.
2.    The student must complete BLY 594 (Directed Studies) under the direction of a         major professor. The student must also have a faculty committee whose         members will decide if the student’s report relating to the directed study is         satisfactory. The committee normally will consist of the major professor and two         others. The student is required to present an open seminar about the directed         study during the last semester of residency.
3.    A non-thesis student is allowed to change their status to ‘thesis’ only with the         majority consent of their committee.

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