Master of Science in Biology

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Description

The Master of Science in Biology provides students with a solid and comprehensive background in the field of biological sciences, including molecular biology, cell biology, physiology, genetics, microbiology, human biology and developmental biology. Upon completion of the program, students are prepared to enter a PhD program, medical or dental schools; work in academic, industrial or government research laboratories; or teach biologically related courses at the community college level or at the K-12 grade level (providing the student holds the appropriate New York state teaching certificate). Small class sizes and close working relationships with the advisor and advisory committee are ideal for students seeking a rigorous graduate education in a small-college atmosphere. A limited number of graduate teaching and research assistantships are available.

At The College at Brockport, a Master of Science in Biology may be obtained under one of two plans (Plan I or Plan II). Students must select a plan by the end of their first semester.

Plan I

A traditional program requiring a thesis based on original research. Students considering further graduate study or employment in government or private laboratories are encouraged to enroll in this plan.

Plan II

A non-thesis program designed primarily for individuals who are employed full time and desire a more flexible course of study than that of Plan I. This plan requires an independent research experience.

Admission to the Program

Admission to the MS in Biology program depends not only on the candidate's qualifications, but also on the willingness of a faculty member to act as the major advisor for the candidate. Therefore, it is important that applicants contact potential faculty advisors with similar research or teaching interests during the application process. Applicants should list potential major advisors (including those faculty members they already have contacted) in a cover letter accompanying their application materials. Visit the program's website to find out more about the research interests and background of potential faculty advisors.

The applicant should have completed a baccalaureate degree at an accredited institution, including 18 credits of biology. The student should have a background in the natural and physical sciences appropriate to his or her research interests, both in course work and laboratory skills.

The application process is managed by the Center for Graduate Studies, and application materials are available online. The application includes:

  1. A written statement of the applicant's objectives for graduate study and main area of interest within the biological sciences.
  2. Official transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate studies.
  3. Two letters of recommendation from persons who have knowledge of the applicant's training and aptitude for graduate study (letters from academic referees are preferred).
  4. A writing sample illustrating the applicant's technical writing skills, up to three pages long.
  5. Graduate Record Examination scores on the General Test, the Biology Subject Test or the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Subject Test are optional.

Applicants admitted to the program may be required by their Advisory Committee to take needed prerequisite courses at the undergraduate level. These courses must be included in the Plan of Study, but they will not be credited towards the master's degree. Such courses may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis with the consent of the instructor and the candidate's Advisory Committee.

For further information about applying to this program, please contact the Center for Graduate Studies.

Plan I Program Requirements

Major Departmental Requirements (30-39 credits)

A written thesis based on original investigation.

600-level or above courses (15-25 credits)

  • BIO 692 Graduate Seminar (1 credit minimum)

At least 14 credits of courses at the 600 level or above, which may include

  • BIO 704 Thesis Research (6 credit maximum)
  • BIO 699 Independent Study (6 credit maximum)
  • BIO 702 Independent Research (3 credit maximum)

The following list reflects course offerings at the date of publication. Other courses may satisfy this requirement by advisement.

  • BIO 623 DNA Cloning Laboratory (3 credits)
  • BIO 643 General Microbiology (3 credits)
  • BIO 656 Systems Physiology (3 credits)

Biology electives from the following (5-24 credits)

  • BIO 504 Developmental Biology (4 credits)
  • BIO 507 Advanced Cell Biology (3 credits)
  • BIO 514 Immunology (3 credits)
  • BIO 515 Molecular Biology (3 credits)
  • BIO 520 Mechanisms of Aging (3 credits)
  • BIO 522 Animal Physiology and Histology (4 credits)
  • BIO 526 Recombinant DNA (3 credits)
  • BIO 533 Bacterial Physiology and Genetics (4 credits)
  • BIO 555 Neurophysiology (3 credits)
  • BIO 566 General Endocrinology (3 credits)
  • BIO 567 Biochemistry I (3 credits)
  • BIO 568 Biochemistry II (3 credits)
  • BIO 570 Biochemistry Lab (1 credit)
  • BIO 575 Cancer Biology (3 credits)
  • BIO 580 Genomes and Proteomes in Biomedicine (3 credits)
  • BIO 583 Bioinformatics (3 credits)

Additional Degree Requirements 

Plan II Program Requirements

Major Departmental Requirements (34-39 credits)

A written report or other appropriate product based on independent research.

600-level or above courses (15-25 credits)

  • BIO 692 Graduate Seminar (1 credit minimum)

At least 14 credits of courses at the 600 level or above, which may include

  • BIO 699 Independent Study (6 credit maximum)
  • BIO 702 Independent Research (6 credit maximum)

The following list reflects course offerings at the date of publication. Other courses may satisfy this requirement by advisement.

  • BIO 623 DNA Cloning Laboratory (3 credits)
  • BIO 643 General Microbiology (3 credits)
  • BIO 656 Systems Physiology (3 credits)

Biology electives from the following 5-24 credits

  • BIO 504 Developmental Biology (4 credits)
  • BIO 507 Advanced Cell Biology (3 credits)
  • BIO 514 Immunology (3 credits)
  • BIO 515 Molecular Biology (3 credits)
  • BIO 520 Mechanisms of Aging (3 credits)
  • BIO 522 Animal Physiology and Histology (4 credits)
  • BIO 526 Recombinant DNA (3 credits)
  • BIO 533 Bacterial Physiology and Genetics (4 credits)
  • BIO 555 Neurophysiology (3 credits)
  • BIO 566 General Endocrinology (3 credits)
  • BIO 567 Biochemistry I (3 credits)
  • BIO 568 Biochemistry II (3 credits)
  • BIO 570 Biochemistry Lab (1 credit)
  • BIO 575 Cancer Biology (3 credits)
  • BIO 580 Genomes and Proteomes in Biomedicine (3 credits)
  • BIO 583 Bioinformatics (3 credits)

Additional Degree Requirements

Other Information

The Major Advisor

The graduate coordinator assigns a temporary advisor to the student to guide the selection of courses in the first semester. The student must select a faculty member to act as a permanent major advisor by the middle of the first semester. The candidate and major advisor request the assistance of two faculty members to constitute the candidate's Advisory Committee to guide the student through the degree program. Upon completion of one academic year or its equivalent, the candidate's progress is reviewed by the Advisory Committee.

Candidate's Advisory Committee

It is the responsibility of the candidate's Advisory Committee to:

  1. Draw up a Plan of Study in cooperation with the candidate by the end of the first semester of matriculation;
  2. Act in an advisory capacity concerning thesis research or the independent research
  3. Determine the content of, administer and evaluate the candidate's comprehensive examination by the start of the third semester of matriculation;
  4. Evaluate the candidate's written thesis or product of the independent research experience and judge whether it satisfies the requirements for the degree. (Formal credit for thesis is awarded under BIO 704; formal credit for independent research experience is awarded under BIO 702.);
  5. Determine the content of, administer and evaluate the candidate's defense of thesis (Plan I) or defense of report (Plan II);
  6. Terminate the candidate's graduate student status at The College at Brockport if the student does not meet the deadlines above or the required GPA.

Graduate Dismissal Policy

"Students who are deemed as not making progress toward the degree, as defined by published departmental policy, may be dismissed from the program." (Faculty Senate Resolution #3, February 1992). The departmental Handbook for Graduate Studies available from the Department of Biology provides criteria for continuing in the biological sciences program. These criteria include:

  1. Maintenance of 3.0 cumulative grade point average as specified in The College at Brockport's graduate probation and dismissal policy.
  2. Completion of a Plan of Study by the end of the first semester of matriculation.
  3. Successful completion of a comprehensive exam by the start of the third semester of matriculation.
  4. Successful completion of a thesis and thesis defense, or of a Plan II report and report defense.

Successful fulfillment of these requirements will be determined by the candidate's Advisory Committee.

Contact Information for Questions and Advisement:

Student Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:

  1. Use appropriate biological terminology to clearly communicate scientific results in oral presentations and written reports targeting for a variety of audiences.
  2. Develop a testable hypothesis and design appropriate experiments to solve biological problems.
  3. Critically evaluate and interpret experimental results.
  4. Solve quantitative problems that are routinely encountered in research laboratories using basic mathematical and statistical skills.
  5. Competently employ common laboratory equipment and develop an understanding of relevant theory, strengths and limitations for techniques.
  6. Integrate concepts in cellular and molecular biology to explain higher level biological systems.
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