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Academics

Academics

Master of Science
Natural Sciences - Biology

College of Letters and Sciences

Program Description

The M.S. in Natural Sciences program develops a broad-based scientific background in one of four tracks: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geosciences. The program also develops the research skills necessary to design and conduct original research.  

The opportunity to take graduate courses in a specific track or combine graduate courses from each of the tracks allows the student to design a graduate course of study to suit his or her own specific interests and goals. The two-year curriculum allows students to focus on required courses and complete research in a timely manner. Graduate assistantship employment opportunities provide tuition and competitive stipends.  

The Natural Sciences Program has...
• Broadly trained faculty with diverse areas of expertise with regional, national and international research programs.
• Well-equipped, modern laboratories as well as access to protected natural areas.
• A wide variety of study-abroad courses that allow students to conduct research projects abroad.

The Master of Science in Natural Sciences Biology Track emphasizes development of a broadly-based scientific background as well as research skills necessary to design and conduct original research. The opportunity to take graduate courses in biology and focus in a specific sub-discipline of biology or combine graduate courses from geology and environmental sciences allows the student to design a graduate course of study to suit his or her own specific interests and goals.

In the first year, students take courses stressing communication skills necessary to present reports and research results, research design and data analyses as well as electives allowing specialization in particular areas of interest. Students select a three-member faculty advisory committee to guide their course options. One faculty member from the advisory committee will serve as the faculty mentor.

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the program will be able to pursue a broad range of careers in the natural sciences. Common areas of employment include public agencies, non-profit organizations, government service, and private business. Students will also be prepared to move into a doctoral-level degree program.

Admission Requirements

In addition to the Columbus State University Graduate School Admissions requirements, all interested applicants must submit the following materials to be considered for admission for all tracks in the Natural Sciences program.
• Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, demonstrated excellent preparation in the Biological, Chemical, Environmental and/or Geological Sciences or permission of the program director.
• Undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
• A minimum combined score of 290 on the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Exam. The GRE must have been taken in the last five years.
• A one page statement of experience and interests.
• Two letters of reference. References should come from persons familiar with the applicant's academic or professional experience.

Learning Outcomes

Graduates will be able to:
• Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key concepts, principles, theories, and methods with in the core discipline of the Natural Sciences: biology, chemistry, environmental science, and geosciences.
• Employ critical and analytical thinking in application of the scientific method, including formulating and testing hypotheses, designing experiments, analyzing data, interpreting results, and drawing conclusions.
• Report orally and in writing research results and conclusions according to accepted standards of the chosen area of core study.

Additional Program Requirements

The maximum course load for a graduate student in a given semester is 12 semester hours. The maximum course load for a student holding a graduate assistantship is 10 semester hours.

Program Of Study

Area 1 Program Core Required Hours: 3
ENGL 5149G Grant Writing

Area 2 Thesis Option Program Concentration Required Hours: 18
Take the following course 4 times for credit (4 credit hours)
BIOL 6795 Biology Seminar Series (1 hour)

Take the following course
BIOL 6215 Principles of Experimental Design and Applications in Biology (4 hours)

Biology Elective (3-4 credit hours). Select one course from the following list:
BIOL 6515 Advanced Selected Topics in Cellular and Molecular Biology (3-4 hours)
BIOL 6516 Advanced Selected Topics in Organismic Biology (3-4 hours)
BIOL 6517 Advanced Selected Topics in Ecological and Evolutionary Biology (3-4 hours)
BIOL 6555 Selected Topics in Biology (1-4 hours)

Other Electives (6-7 credit hours). Select any 5000G+ BIOL (except BIOL 6821, which cannot be used in this area), CHEMENVSGEOLGEOG with adviser approval.


Area 2 Non-Thesis Option Program Concentration Required Hours: 27
Take the following course 4 times for credit (4 credit hours)
BIOL 6795 Biology Seminar Series (1 hour)

Select the following course
BIOL 6215 Principles of Experimental Design and Applications in Biology (4 hours)

Biology Electives (3-4 credit hours). Select one of the following courses:
BIOL 6515 Advanced Selected Topics in Cellular and Molecular Biology (3-4 hours)
BIOL 6516 Advanced Selected Topics in Organismic Biology (3-4 hours)
BIOL 6517 Advanced Selected Topics in Ecological and Evolutionary Biology (3-4 hours)
BIOL 6555 Selected Topics in Biology (1-4 hours)

Other Electives (15-16 credit hours). Select any 5000G+ ATSC, BIOLCHEMENVSGEOLGEOG with adviser approval.


Area 3 Thesis Option Required Hours: 15
BIOL 6931 Master of Science Thesis Research (1-9 hours), repeated for a total of 15 hours.
BIOL 6000 Masters Thesis Defense (0 hours)

Area 3 Non-Thesis Option Required Hours: 6
Complete 6 credit hours from the following
BIOL 6821 Master of Science Literature/Topic Paper (1-6 hours)
BIOL 6698 Master of Science Biology Internship (1-6 hours)

Total Required Hours:  36 Credit Hours