Biological Sciences (MS or MA) Biology with emphasis in Watershed Resource Science (MS or MA)

Program Overview

The Department of Biological Sciences at Marshall University offers Master of Science (M.S.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees with a major in Biological Sciences. The M.S. degree in Biological Sciences is preparation for further study or employment requiring research experience in areas ranging from cellular and molecular to organismal and population biology. The M.S. degree requires the submission of an acceptable thesis. Potential M.S. students must be mentored by faculty members and are encouraged to contact potential faculty advisors about research projects and graduate assistantships prior to application for admission. Information about faculty may be accessed through the Biological Sciences web site (www.marshall.edu/biology). The Master of Arts degree does not require a thesis and allows students to strengthen their education in Biological Sciences through the completion of advanced coursework.

Admission Requirements

Participation in the graduate program in Biological Sciences requires admission to the Graduate College and acceptance by the department. Application deadlines are April 15 and November 15 for Fall and Spring admissions, respectively. A complete application includes 1) completed Graduate Application for Admission Form; 2) completed Graduate College Information Sheet; 3) official transcripts from all schools where undergraduate and/or graduate credits were earned; 4) three letters of recommendation from academic or professional references; 5) a written statement of educational and professional goals (250-500 words); and 6) general Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. Applicants must specify that official test scores are to be sent directly to Marshall University. Students interested in applying for teaching assistantships must submit a completed Application for Graduate Assistantship by April 15 or November 15 for the Fall or Spring semester, respectively. The Graduate Application for Admission Form and Graduate College Information Sheet are available from the Graduate Admissions Office, 100 Angus E. Peyton Drive, South Charleston, WV 25303. The Application for Graduate Assistantship Form is available from the Department of Biological Sciences, One John Marshall Drive, Huntington, WV 25755.

A combination undergraduate GPA of 2.75 and 1100 GRE score (composite verbal and quantitative test scores) and an undergraduate GPA in biology courses of 3.0 or higher are required for regular admission status. Provisional admission is extended in some circumstances. Students who are admitted provisionally must meet with their faculty advisors and demonstrate adequate progress toward graduation prior to registration for subsequent semesters. Provisional admission status can be converted to full admission status by recommendation of the faculty advisor to the BSC Graduate Program Committee.

Degree Requirements

Students selecting the M.S. option must complete at least 32 hours of graduate work, including the thesis. Theses must conform to the guidelines established by the Graduate College and the Department of Biological Sciences. The maximum amount of credit that may be earned for the thesis (BSC 681) is 12 hours. It must be completed and submitted to the Department and to the Graduate College by the date specified by the Graduate College for a specific semester. In addition, candidates for the M.S. degree must complete at least 5 semester hours of credit in Graduate Seminar (two hours of BSC 661 in the first semester and one hour of BSC 662 in each subsequent semester), and at least 18 hours in BSC electives at the graduate level (which may include BSC 661, 662, and 681). Not more than 5 hours of seminar (BSC 661-662) may be used to complete the 32-hour requirement. Not more than 4 semester hours credit in Independent Study (BSC 585-588) or Special Problems (BSC 650-652) may be used to complete the 32 hour requirement, and these may only be applied beyond the 18 hours in BSC graduate credits. Students may elect to take 6 hours of graduate work in a minor field. Successful completion of the program in Biological Sciences requires a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and no more than 6 credit hours of "C" grades may be applied to the total hours for graduation. Upon completion of course requirements and the thesis, M.S. candidates must pass a comprehensive oral examination.

Students who select the M.A. option must complete a minimum of 36 hours of graduate work. M.A. candidates do not conduct thesis research. The Graduate Seminar, BSC electives, Independent Study/Special Problems, GPA, "C" grades, and comprehensive oral exam requirements are as stated for the M.S. degree.

Area of Emphasis in Watershed Resource Science

Watershed Resource Science as an area of emphasis in Biological Science will provide participating students with a systematic and integrated approach to the study of our water resources as well as the analysis and implementation of the most effective way to assess their quality and manage their use and conservation. In this program, the integration of course offerings in assessment, bioinformatics, and management into traditional and integrated science curricula provides students with the knowledge base necessary to become effective and innovative workers in the assessment and management of our water resources.

The curriculum of this program is made up of a research component, a core of required courses, and specialization in environmental assessment, environmental management, or environmental informatics. Students choosing a research option must complete 32 hours of coursework and a thesis of minimally six hours course credit and will receive an MS degree. Students choosing a non-thesis option will receive an M.A. degree and must complete 36 hours of credit. The M.A. degree also requires completion of a minimum of three hours of research or independent study credit. A minimum of sixteen hours for MS and eighteen hours for M.A. degrees must be completed in course work at the 600 level.

To obtain full graduate status in this program, each applicant must be admitted to the BSC master's degree program plus must meet the following minimum entrance requirement: A bachelor's degree which includes a minimum of 6 courses from the following disciplines: Mathematics (must include 1 semester of calculus and one semester of statistics); two courses from physics, physical science, chemistry, or geology; and two courses from biology, agronomy, or life sciences.

A successful graduate must complete the research core, which may be a thesis (M.S.) or independent study (M.A.) project, core of required courses, and courses in a specialization chosen in collaboration with a faculty advisor.

Thesis (M.S.) Option

Hours

BSC thesis credit 6
BSC Seminar Sequence 5
Required Courses: 14
ES 660, Environmental Law I
BSC 531, Limnology or BSC 530, Plant Ecology
PS Special Topics, Bioassessment
Graduate GIS
Specialization 7
Courses from assessment, management, or environmental informatics

TOTAL

32


Non Thesis (M.A.) option

Hours

BSC independent study credit 3
BSC Seminar Sequence 5
Required Courses: 14
ES 660, Environmental Law I
BSC 531, Limnology or BSC 530, Plant Ecology
PS Special Topics, Bioassessment
Graduate GIS
Specialization 14
Courses from assessment, management, or environmental informatics

TOTAL

36


Specializations (courses chosen from among the following in collaboration with a faculty advisor)

Assessment: BSC 501, 505, 506, 508, 509, 516, 517, 518, 520, 522, 524, 526,530, 531, 542, 545, 546, 550, 560, 620-622; ES 645, 646, 648; GLY 525, 526, 530, 551, 551L, 555, 555L, 556, 556L, 557; PS 570, 580-583, 585-588; PHY 505, 515, 562, 563, 644

Management: ES 600, 602, 603, 604, 609, 614, 620, 640, 654, 655, 656, 660, 661, 662, 663, 674; GEO 510, 514, 515, 516, 517, 518; HST 503, 524, 540, 600; HUMN 530, 602; MGT 500, 502; PLS 500, 501, 502, 510, 511, 521, 530, 531, 540; PSC 533, 550, 552, 554

Environmental Informatics: BSC 510, 511; ES 605, 610, 626, 630; GEO 529, 530; PS 510, 511

 
 
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