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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 Biology.” This document is available from the departmental office on the Biology website, 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.

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", 30 hours of graduate credit hours All Biology graduate students, including those with a BMS or Marine Biology concentration, must complete at least 15 hours of formal coursework, 6 of
    which must be in BLY (excluding directed studies and thesis). No course at the 400 level or below may be taken for graduate credit. A maximum of 6 credit hours for Directed Studies (BLY 594) and 9 hours for Thesis (BLY 599) may be granted. The student's graduate advisory committee must approve all courses. 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 beyond the 24 hour minimum..
  1. Complete a thesis representing original research. A maximum of 9 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.
  1. Enroll in Biology Seminar (BLY 592) during at least 2 times during residency.
  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.

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). In order 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.

  1. Make an oral defense of the thesis.


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