Graduate Degrees

Degree Programs
The Department of Biology offers three degrees: M.S. (Plan A) which includes a thesis, M.S. (Plan B) which is more coursework-oriented, and the Ph.D. Two interdisciplinary specializations are available for graduate students - Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Biology (EECB) and Marine Biology.

Degree Requirements
The following is only a summary of the requirements for the degrees. A complete specification of the requirements is given in the Graduate Handbook.

General Requirements
Regardless of the plan that you choose, these requirements must be fulfilled.

Introductory Seminar
All new Biology graduate students are required to take Zool 691C, a one-credit orientation to the faculty and facilities of the department and other resources at the University.

Annual Seminar
All Biology graduate students are required to take at least one graduate-level seminar or topics course each year.

Annual Progress Report
All Biology graduate students are required to meet with their thesis, program, or dissertation committee at least once a year. All Biology graduate students other than those in their first year are required to submit a progress report to the Graduate Instruction Committee each fall semester; this report also will be reviewed by the student's MS or PhD committee.

Annual Research Presentation
All Biology graduate students are required to give a formal public presentation on their research at least once each year (except their first year in the program).

M.S. Plan A - Thesis
Course Requirements

Plan A requires a minimum of 24 credit hours of course work and 6 credit hours of ZOOL 700 (thesis). The 24 credit hours must include at least 12 credit hours of 600- or higher-level course work. The 24 credit hours may include up to 6 credit hours from related departments and up to 2 credit hours of ZOOL 699. The principal component of the Plan A M.S. program is original research reported in the thesis. The thesis must be defended in a public oral presentation followed by questions on the work from the thesis committee.

Time Limit
The Master’s degree is to be completed within five years.

M.S. Plan B - Non-thesis
Course Requirements

Plan B is a non-thesis program and requires a minimum of 30 credit hours in 400- through 700-level courses. The 30 credit hours must include at least 6 but not more than 16 credit hours from related departments (excluding courses cross-listed in Biology or applicable to the Biology BA or BS degree), 1 credit of ZOOL 691C, and a minimum of 18 credits of 600-700 level courses. Additionally, at least 2 but not more than 5 credits of ZOOL 699 may be included within the 30 credits but not towards the 18 credits of 600-700 level courses. A research paper based on original scientific work is required. This research is reported in a written paper and an oral presentation to the student’s program committee.

Time Limit
The Master’s degree is to be completed within five years.

Ph.D.
Course Requirements
EFFECTIVE FOR FALL 2002
, APPLICANTS WITHOUT A M.S. MAY APPLY FOR ADMISSION DIRECTLY INTO THE Ph.D. PROGRAM
For students matriculating with a master's degree in Biology (or equivalent), there are no course requirements for the Ph.D. degree other than the general requirements listed above (Zool 691C in the first year, and at least one graduate seminar or topics course each year), and any courses required by the student's dissertation committee. For students matriculating with only the bachelor's degree, a minimum of 30 credits in 400-800 level courses is required for the Ph.D. At least 24 of these credits (with a maximum of 6 credits from 400-level courses) must be for approved coursework excluding directed research (699) and dissertation (800). Zool 691C is required in the first year, and at least one graduate seminar or topics course in each following year. As many as 6 of the 30 credits can be from related departments. All courses cross-listed with Biology, and all Biology courses which can be counted towards a Biology BA or BS, are considered Biology courses, not courses in a related department. A student's dissertation committee may also require additional courses.

Comprehensive Examination
Each doctoral student must pass an oral comprehensive examination, administered by the student’s dissertation committee, that emphasizes the dissertation field or research area but may cover any facet of biology.

Teaching
Teaching experience, typically but not necessarily as a teaching assistant, is required of all doctoral students.

Dissertation and Defense
The dissertation defense consists of a public oral presentation of the research, together with oral examination by the dissertation committee focused on but not restricted to the research.

Time Limit
The Ph.D. degree is to be completed within seven years. For students who enter as Master's students and subsequently switch to the Ph.D. program without completing the master's degree, the seven-year limit counts from when the student entered the Biology graduate program, not from the switch to the Ph.D. program.