Biology (M.Ed.) (2003)

Administered by Biological and Allied Health Sciences

Effective Fall, 2003


An undergraduate degree in biology with a Level I certification is required. In addition to the requirements of the graduate school, a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in biology or its equivalent is required, general GRE scores, and two letters of recommendation (see below) are required. Undergraduate deficiencies must be addressed prior to admission to the program or during the first semester in consultation with the program coordinator. Deficiencies may be addressed by undergraduate course work without credit earned toward the degree, by graduate course work when suitable, or by outside readings. The method of satisfying deficiencies is decided by the student and graduate program coordinator in consultation with the departmental graduate committee. Two letters of recommendation from previous science faculty are required. At least one letter should be from a faculty member who instructed the applicant in an upper-level (junior or senior) biology course. Applicants with research experience should submit at least one letter from a research advisor. Others may submit a letter from any professor with the ability to evaluate the applicant's laboratory abilities. A minimum of two weeks is required for review of a completed application by the department's graduate committee.


To be admitted to candidacy, every biology graduate student must pass an oral candidacy examination. The purpose of the examination is to assess the breadth of the student's background in biology. The examination will cover general principles and concepts of biology.

The oral candidacy examination must be scheduled before completing 6 credit hours of graduate coursework and be successfully completed before scheduling beyond 12 hours. Candidacy requires, in addition, that the student has a 3.0 or higher QPA. The examination will consist of six oral questions addressed to the student by the examination committee. Each question will be given 10 minutes of the examination.

The Examination Committee is composed of:

The outcome of the candidacy examination will be determined by a simple majority vote by the examination committee. Each graduate faculty member present, whether or not they posed a question, shall have one vote. One of three outcomes is possible:

Unconditional Pass - The student may proceed with the program. The application for candidacy and for transfer credit, if applicable, should be made immediately following successful completion of the oral candidacy exam.

Conditional Pass - The examination committee decides that the student has an adequate background in biology, except in one or two key areas. A consensus is reached (by simple majority vote) as to conditions. Conditions may include an oral retest of problem areas, a written test in problem areas, or remedial actions. Remedial actions may include taking a course or readings and study in an specified area, for example. The student will be informed of the conditions decided upon by the committee. If after completing or attempting to complete the conditions, the examination committee decides that the student has not met the conditions set forth by the committee, he or she will be required to retake the entire examination according to the stipulations outlined above under "fail." If the student fails the examination at this retake, the student will be dismissed from the program.

Fail - The student must retake the entire exam at a later date to continue with the master's program. The student has one more chance to pass. In order to continue with the program, the student must pass the examination unconditionally on the second attempt.

Graduation. A minimum of 30 semester hours in graduate-level courses is required. A minimum of 18 semester hours must be taken from 500-level courses (see list below), including two required education courses: 60.501 Major Philosophies of Education and 79.591 Research in Education. Either 50.591 Directed Study in Biology or 50.592 Master of Education Thesis is required to fulfill the research component. An oral defense of the research component is required.


A total of 30 semester hours is required for a graduate degree in Biology. There are no required biology courses; all are considered elective courses. Courses are selected in conjunction with the student's adviser and advisory committee.

50.411 Radiation Biology

50.441 Cytogenetics

50.455 Environmental Microbiology

50.457 Entomology

50.462 Plant Anatomy

50.463 Biological Photographic Techniques

50.472 Animal Cell Physiology

50.474 Verterbrate Systems Physiology

50.477 Plant Physiology

50.478 Microbial Physiology

50.479 Integrated Physiology Laboratory

50.530 Evolution

50.531 Developmental Biology

50.532 Microbial and Molecular Genetics

50.550 Mycology

50.551 Conservation Biology

50.559 Ornithology

50.560 Population Biology

50.561 Animal Behavior

50.570 Medical Parasitology

50.571 Endocrinology

50.572 Comparative Animal Physiology

50.573 Systemic Physiology

50.575 Cell Physiology

50.576 Neuromuscular Physiology

50.590 Current Topics in Biology

50.591 Directed Study in Biology

50.592 Master of Education Thesis

The following courses are offered at the Marine Science Center, Wallops Island, Va.

55.431 Ecology of Marine Plankton

55.464 Biological Oceanography

55.432 Marine Evolutionary Ecology

55.490 Marine Aquaculture

55.491 Coral Reef Ecology

55.492 Marine Mammals

55.500 Problems in Marine Science

55.540 Environmental Science Education

55.541 Biology of Mollusca

55.570 Research Cruise-Biology

55.593 Behavior Ecology