Course of Study

BS + Non-Thesis MS (4 + 1) Program

This is a five-year ("four plus one") program in which students can receive the MS degree with an additional year of study beyond their final undergraduate year.

The course of study for a student in the BS + Non-Thesis MS Program is as follows:

  1. Eligibility for graduation with the MS degree will require a minimum of 30 credits of graduate-level course work (i.e., courses that are dual-listed (UG) or graduate-only (G)) and a minimum overall GPA of 3.0.

  2. Students begin taking graduate-level courses during their senior undergraduate year, or even during their junior year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete a minimum of 2 courses for graduate credit for letter grade (A, B, C etc.) before the end of their senior year. Students who complete 2-3 graduate courses as undergraduates should be able to complete their MS degree in one additional year beyond the BS. Note, courses taken for graduate credit do not count toward the BS degree. After earning the BS degree, the student will be formally admitted to the MS program by the Graduate School. In order to be admitted, the student will need to apply online to the Graduate School for admission to the MS program, and pay the graduate application fee.

  3. Once admitted to the MS program, students must complete at least two formal graduate courses for letter grade in their first semester. Note, formal courses are those for which the student receives a letter grade (A, B, C, etc.) and do not include Research Credits (BIOL9001), Biology Seminar (BIOL9003), Research Progress (BIOL9004), teaching techniques and professional development.

  4. A minimum of eighteen (18) of the 30 graduate credits applied toward their MS degree must be derived from formal courses in which the student receives a letter grade (A, B, C etc.). Note, formal courses are those for which the student receives a letter grade (A, B, C, etc.) and do not include Research Credits (BIOL9001), Biology Seminar (BIOL9003), Research Progress (BIOL9004), teaching techniques and professional development.

  5. The student may apply up to 3 credits of research in biology (BIOL9001) each semester toward the 30-credit requirement.

  6. Registration and attendance in the Biology Seminar (BIOL9003) are required each semester the student is enrolled in the program as a graduate student.

  7. Registration and attendance in Research Progress in Biology (BIOL9004) are required each year the student is enrolled in the program as a graduate student.

  8. Each student in the program must have an Advisor and an Advisory Committee (AC), approved by the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS). The AC must consist of a minimum of two faculty members, including the Advisor. The Advisor must be a member of the Department of Biological Sciences. When the AC is constituted, the appropriate form listing the composition of the AC and signed by the Advisor and DGS must be placed in the student's file with the graduate secretary. The AC must be in place before the end of the first semester the student is admitted to the BS + MS program. The student will be expected to select an AC that is appropriate for his/her course of study. The AC will be responsible for working with the student to design his/her course of study, and for approving the student's list of courses and the student's written paper.

  9. A written paper based on library research on a subject approved by the student's AC is required for completion of the MS program. The AC will be responsible for directing the student's library research, and the student should seek input from members of their AC at frequent intervals throughout the course of their library research and writing of the paper. Students may enroll for up to 10 credits in Library Research (BIOL9002) applied toward the 30 credits needed for the MS. A copy of the completed paper, signed by all members of the AC affirming its acceptability, must be placed in the student's file with the graduate secretary. The paper will be presented and defended before the AC, and the defense will be open to the public. Note, because this is a Non-Thesis MS program the student does not submit a thesis to the Graduate School.

  10. Each student is required to meet with their AC at least once each academic year, including any undergraduate year that the student is in the 4+1 program. A written report of these meetings, signed by the student and all members of the AC, must be placed in the student's file with the graduate secretary