Biology (M.S.) (Spring 2007)

Administered by Biological and Allied Health Sciences

Effective Spring 2007

This page describes the general biology M.S. program. The department also offers a master's level Radiologist Assistant program.

Admission. In addition to the requirements of the graduate school, a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts in biology, or its equivalent, is required. Two letters of recommendation are also required (see below for details). 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 adviser. Others may submit a letter from any professor with the ability to evaluate the applicant's laboratory research potential. A minimum of two weeks is required for review of a completed application by the department's graduate committee.

Candidacy. 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:

Graduation. A minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate-level courses is required.

A total of 30 credits is required for graduation. Biostatistics (53.546) is required. Master of Science Thesis (50.593) is required for students in the thesis option. All other courses are considered elective courses, but require the approval of the student's adviser and advisory committee.

50.411 Radiation Biology

50.455 Environmental Microbiology

50.457 Entomology

50.472 Animal Cell Physiology

50.474 Vertebrate 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

50.535 Bioinformatics and Genomic Analysis

50.550 Mycology

50.551 Conservation Biology

50.552 Limnology

50.559 Ornithology

50.560 Population Biology

50.561 Animal Behavior

50.570 Medical Parasitology

50.571 Endocrinology

50.575 Cell Physiology

50.576 Neurophysiology

50.580 Comparative Animal Physiology

50.589 Current Topics in Biology

50.591 Directed Study in Biology

50.593 Master of Science Thesis

Marine science courses offered at Wallops Island, Va.

55.431 Ecology of Marine Plankton
55.432 Marine Evolutionary Ecology
55.464 Biological Oceanography
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 Behavioral Ecology

Thesis Option. This option is recommended for students planning to continue their graduate studies or professional training. A minimum of 18 semester hours must be taken from 500-level courses. 50.593 Master of Science Thesis accounts for six of these semester hours. An oral defense of the thesis is required.

Non-Thesis Option. This option is tailored for students interested in non-research-oriented careers. A minimum of 18 semester hours must be taken from 500-level courses. In addition, one of the following must be completed:

50.591 Directed Study in Biology for three semester hours, which must be defended orally.
A departmental research paper based on the literature must be submitted and defended orally. The departmental paper carries no semester hour credit.