Degree Requirements

The following information outlines the expectations that will be placed on a student in the Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Program. Much of this can also be found in the Graduate Catalog.

Requirement for All Degrees

A Plan of Study approved by the student’s advisor must be submitted for approval to the Graduate College Dean before the student registers for his or her 12th semester hour. The Plan of Study is a student’s “blueprint” for completing graduation requirements. Students must also have a thesis committee (M.S.) or advising committee (M.A.) consisting of no fewer than three faculty (including the student’s advisor) assembled by the end of their first year. Students must meet with their committees at least once within their first year and at least once per semester (excluding the defense) in subsequent years.

M.S. Degree Requirements

  • Students must complete at least 32 hours of graduate coursework, including the thesis. The maximum amount of credit that may be earned for the thesis (BSC 681) is 12 hours.
  • Candidates for the M.S. degree must register for and participate in six hours of Graduate Seminar (BSC 660 and 661 during their first year and BSC 662 in at least two subsequent semesters) during each of the semesters in which they are actively enrolled in the graduate program and complete at least 18 hours in graded BSC electives at the graduate level (which may include BSC 660, 661, 662, and 681).
  • Not more than 6 hours of seminar (BSC 660, 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.

M.A. Degree Requirements

  • Students who select the M.A. option must complete a minimum of 36 hours of graduate coursework.
    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 Sciences will provide participating students with a systematic and integrated approach to the study of 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, informatics, and management into traditional and integrated science curricula provides students with the knowledge base necessary to effectively and innovatively assess and manage water resources.

Admissions Requirements for Watershed Resource Science Area of Emphasis

  • Must be admitted to the BSC master’s degree program;
  • Must have a bachelor’s degree which includes a minimum of 6 courses from the following disciplines: two courses in mathematics (must include 1 semester of calculus and one semester of statistics); two courses in physical science (physics, chemistry, geology, etc.); and two courses in life science (biology, agronomy, microbiology, etc.).

Degree Requirements for Watershed Resource Science Area of Emphasis

  • The curriculum of this program is made up of a research component, a core of required courses, and specialization in either environmental assessment, environmental management, or environmental informatics.
  • Students choosing the M.S. option must complete 32 hours of coursework including up to six hours of thesis.
  • 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 independent study credit.
  • A minimum of sixteen hours for M.S. and eighteen hours for M.A. degrees must be completed in coursework at the 600 level.
  • A successful graduate must complete the research core, which may be a thesis (M.S.) or independent study (M.A.) project, the core of required courses, and courses in a specialization chosen in collaboration with a faculty advisor.