MS Degree

This department offers both thesis and non-thesis degree programs.

A. MS Degree without Thesis - Requirements:

  1. Completion of 36 credits of approved course work. Except in unusual circumstances, no more than 12 credits of course work may be taken outside this department.
  2. Satisfactory performance on the Oral Masters Comprehensive Exam. This exam must be taken during the last semester of the student's program. See Appendix A for a description of the exam and dates of administration.

B. MS Degree with Thesis - Requirements:

  1. Completion of 24 credits of approved course work plus BiSc 299 and 300. Except in unusual circumstances, no more than 8 credits of course work may be taken outside this department.
  2. Satisfactory performance on the Oral Masters Comprehensive Examination. Same as non-thesis.
  3. MS Thesis

Thesis Research Director - any member of the Biology faculty who is a member of the graduate faculty may serve as a thesis director. The director aids the student in planning and conducting the thesis.

MS Thesis Proposal - the Proposal must be typed (double-spaced) and 2 copies must be presented to the Graduate Student Advisor with the signature of the thesis research director.

The proposal will usually consist of no more than 10 pages of text and should include: a brief review of literature pertaining to the problem, a statement of the hypothesis to be tested, an outline of the methods of investigation, a statement of how the data will be analyzed, a brief discussion of the scientific significance of the proposed research, and a bibliography. The style of the proposal shall be in accordance with that of the AIBS style manual or that of an appropriate professional journal. Upon submission of the proposal to the Graduate Advisor, a copy of the proposal will be given to one biology faculty member for review. The student and the research director may suggest reviewers. A faculty reviewer must report his/her approval or disapproval of the proposal and/or make any pertinent comments to the Graduate Advisor within 14 days of receipt of the proposal. Once approved by the Graduate Advisor and reviewer, a Thesis Topic Approval Form must be filed with the Columbian College. In most cases, the reviewer will serve as the departmental reader of the completed thesis. Major revisions of research procedures during the course of the work must be reported to the Graduate Advisor and approved by the faculty reviewer. Students are urged to consult with the faculty reviewer at any appropriate time

C. Preparation of the MS Thesis:

For information on the format, see the Theses and Dissertation page. The style of the thesis shall be in accordance with that of the AIBS style manual or that of an appropriate professional journal.

  1. Reading copies: These should be in approved thesis form. Two reading copies, signed and approved by the research director(s) must be submitted to the Graduate Student Advisor and the reader at least four weeks prior to the thesis deadline stated in the University Bulletin. The thesis reader is selected by the Graduate Student Advisor following consultation with the student and thesis research director. Any suggestions for changes should be made by the reader within 14 days after receipt of the draft. Changes should be made to the satisfaction of Thesis Director and the Reader, and the draft should be resubmitted to the Reader for formal approval within one further week. Unresolved differences of opinion will be decided by the Thesis Director. The thesis may then be typed in final form for submission to the Graduate College. Failure of the student to meet the above time limits may defer graduation.
  2. Final copies: Two unbound copies (double-spaced) of the approved thesis and the "Thesis Form", signed by the director and reader, must be presented to the Columbian College by the specified date. One bound copy must be presented to the Graduate Student Advisor and one bound to the Thesis Director.

D. All MS candidates are encouraged to present a seminar to the department on the topic of their research prior to graduation.

E. Checklist for steps for completing thesis:

  1. Choose thesis research director and topic.
  2. Prepare a Masters thesis research proposal and submit it for approval to the Graduate Advisor (2 copies) before initiation of experiments. Once approved file a Thesis topic approval form with the Columbian College.
  3. Submit reading copies of the thesis (2) to the Graduate Student Advisor at least four (4) weeks prior to the thesis deadline stated in the University Bulletin.
  4. Turn in approved final form of thesis. Two copies go to the Columbian College, one to the Graduate Advisor, and one to the Thesis Director.