Master of Science (M.S.)

The M.S. degree is designed for students seeking research experience. Successful candidates must demonstrate the mastery of essential research techniques and the ability to communicate effectively the results of research and scholarship. Minimum requirements for the degree are 30 credit hours, consisting of 24 hours of formal course credit (at least half of the 24 hours must be from courses numbered above 499), a thesis proposal (BL 598, 1 credit hour), and a research thesis (BL 599, 5 credit hours). Course descriptions are available on this website.

Master of Arts (M.A.)

The M.A. degree consists of 30 hours of formal class credit, at least half of which must be from courses numbered above 499. Course descriptions are available on the departmental website. The M.A. degree does not require thesis research.

M.S. and M.A. students may petition to take up to 8 credit hours of biology-related courses from other JCU departments.

Other Requirements

All graduate students in the M.S. and M.A. degree programs are required to participate in the Biology Seminar Program on a regular basis during their tenure. The course may be taken once for credit (BL 581, 1 credit).

For any Biology course that is cross-listed at both the 400 level and 500 level, graduate students must take the 500 level course. The 500 level courses require an additional oral presentation or paper beyond the requirements for the corresponding 400 level course.

In addition, all graduate students in both degree programs are required to pass a comprehensive examination upon completion of the requirements.  Only two opportunities are granted to take this exam.  If a student fails the first exam, a second comprehensive exam must be taken no sooner than 30 days after the first exam.  Failure to pass this exam on both attempts will result in dismissal from the program, and no graduate degree will be granted.  The format of both exams will be determined by the student’s committee as follows:

Master of Science:  Oral or written examination consisting of questions that reflect the student’s educational experience and thesis and that seek to integrate knowledge across those areas.  The examination will be administered by the thesis committee after successful completion of the thesis.

Master of Arts:  Oral and/or written examination is required.  The type of examination is decided by the student’s examination committee.

In some cases, a student and the committee may feel that an alternative examination would be appropriate.  In this case, the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies may be petitioned via the Biology Department chair.