Sep 28, 2023  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology, M.S. (Biology Concentration)

Biology Concentration

Graduate School Contact:

Angela Edwards;; 423-439-4703

Thomas C. Jones, Ph.D., Graduate Coordinator

307 Brown Hall
Box 70703
(423) 439-6930



Fred Alsop; Ranjan Chakraborty; Allan Forsman; T. J. Jones; Karl Joplin; Istvan Karsai; Dhirendra Kumar; Tom Laughlin; Foster Levy; Yusheng (Chris) Liu; Timothy McDowell; Cecilia McIntosh; Hugh Miller; Darrell Moore; Rebecca Pyles; Leonard Robertson; Blaine Schubert; James Stewart; Lev Yampolsky.

General Program Information

The Master of Science degree program in Biology is designed to provide a broad-based education while developing research skills. Areas of particular interest to the faculty include Anatomy, Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences, Cell Biology, Conservation Biology, Developmental Biology, Ecology, Genetics, Immunology, Microbiology, Paleontology, Physiology, and Systematics. Students successfully completing the M.S. program are encouraged to seek doctoral degrees. The program has financial support available in the form of Graduate Assistantships and Tuition Scholarships. Decisions on offers of support are initiated at the end of March for the following academic year. In order to receive full consideration, applicants are encouraged to submit all materials by February 1 although support is sometimes available for students who apply after that date.

Program Admission Requirements

Students applying for admission to graduate study:

  1. Must submit a general GRE score.

  2. Must have a 3.0 overall grade point average (4.0 system) in mathematics and science courses.

  3. Must have an undergraduate major in the life or physical sciences, with supporting courses in general chemistry, one year of organic chemistry (microbiology concentration will accept one semester of organic and one semester of biochemistry), and one year of physics.

  4. A course in calculus and/or a course in probability and statistics is recommended.

  5. Must have 2-3 letters of recommendation submitted on their behalf.

The student will choose a major professor by the end of the first semester. To facilitate this selection, during their first semester students will interview faculty members to determine their research interests and explore the potential for student participation in ongoing research programs. The major professor, in consultation with the student, recommends at least two additional members of the student’s advisory committee. Persons from outside the program may also be added. The advisory committee will meet with the student to set up the plan of study based on the student’s background and interests. The program must be approved by one of the program coordinators. The student’s advisory committee will meet with the student a minimum of once per semester to assess progress, check the plan of study being followed, make suggestions and provide supervision as needed. The advisory committee’s composition is not binding, and it may be changed upon written justification. It is the student’s responsibility to maintain acceptable progress toward the completion of all degree requirements.

All students pursuing an M.S. in Biology are required to complete a thesis. A minimum of 30 semester credits are required for the degree. The thesis (writing) comprises three (3) of the 30 credits. BIOL 5900  and/or BIOL 5910  may be taken for a total of nine (9) credit-hours.

Before admission to candidacy, the student must meet the minimum requirements of the Graduate School and the student’s advisory committee. Before graduation the student must satisfactorily complete a written qualifying examination preferably near the end of the third semester. One re-evaluation is allowed. Failure to complete the evaluation satisfactorily will result in removal from the program. The evaluation will include emphasis on interrelationships, problem solving, and analysis.

Final evaluation involves an oral presentation of the thesis and an oral examination in the area of specialization.

Core Course Requirements

The core requirements are as follows:

  1. All students must take Bibliographic Research (5600) their first fall semester.
  2. BIOL 5500  is required. Two semesters of BIOL 5700  are required. (All students are expected to attend departmental seminars regularly.)
  3. Students will take at least two of the Topics courses (BIOL 6100 BIOL 6200 BIOL 6300 BIOL 6400 .) Selection of the appropriate courses will be made in consultation with the student’s advisory committee and/or the graduate coordinator.
  4. BIOL 5960  Thesis is required.

Total Required for Program: 30 Credit Hours