The Biology Department offers two programs of graduate study that lead to master of science degrees. Students in the master of science degree program in biology create individual programs of study that are designed to meet specific needs. The program may be broadly based and include course work in several areas of biology, or it may provide for concentration within a specific area of biology. The master of science degree program in biology with a biochemistry emphasis is designed to meet the needs of biochemically oriented students. Biochemical specialization can be focused toward molecular biology, cytology developmental biology, microbiology or physiology (animal or plant) at the discretion of the student and the student’s graduate advisory committee.
One of the strengths of the master’s degree program is that it provides the opportunity for students to participate in a graduate research project. Many of these projects utilize field-oriented research because of the unique geographical setting of the university. Laboratory research is also supported in such areas as genetics, virology, immunology and physiology. Department facilities include a green house, herbarium, Lake Superior research boat, the Longyear Forest, molecular biology labs, a small-animal colony, and a zoological collection. The members of the Biology Department faculty all have doctoral degrees, and most are actively involved in the department’s graduate program.
Programs must include a minimum of 32 credit hours of graduate courses. A minimum of 16 credit hours must be 500-level courses in biology. A minimum of 20 credit hours of biology courses are required. Graduate students must carry out a plan of study which includes research and thesis. Candidates must perform original research under the direction of a research adviser and present a seminar and thesis based on the research at the conclusion of their program. The student’s advisory committee must approve a formal research proposal providing a review of literature and clear explanation of methods prior to the start of data collection. The candidate will defend his or her thesis at an oral examination. The thesis must be be accepted by the Biology Department and the Office of Graduate Education.
Students will be assigned a thesis adviser prior to admission. Applicants are strongly encouraged to communicate with the thesis adviser early in the application process. Applicants are required to comply with the regular admission requirements of the Office of Graduate Education. In addition:
- All applicants must submit scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) at the time of admission.
- Applicants must include an essay indicating their background, career goals and research interests.
- Student’s entering the biology/biochemistry degree must have completed CH 342 Physical Chemistry II or its equivalent with a grade of “B.” Credit for this course will not count for the degree.
- Applicants must submit three letters of recommendation.
- Students must have a thesis adviser prior to admission. To identify the adviser, students should contact a faculty member and establish the willingness of that person to serve as the adviser, as indicated by a memo from the faculty member to that effect.
Regular admission will be granted to graduates of four-year accredited institutions who have been admitted by the Office of Graduate Education, meet all of the admission requirements of the Biology Department and have a minimum undergraduate grade point average of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale.
Applicants are expected to have a solid background in biology, including at least one year of general biology and other courses as deemed necessary by the graduate thesis advisor. Course work in chemistry (general chemistry and organic chemistry) and physics (minimum one semester with lab) is also expected. When a student's past course work does not meet these expectations, the graduate thesis advisor and the Department of Biology graduate committee will recommend appropriate courses to strengthen the background of the student.