2022-2023 Graduate Catalog 
    Sep 23, 2023  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Biological Sciences (M.S.) - Biology Specialization

Location(s): Brookings Main Campus

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Program Coordinator/Contact

Radhey Kaushik, Department Head
Volker Brözel, Professor/Graduate Coordinator
Department of Biology and Microbiology
Alfred Dairy Science Hall 228, Box 2104A

Program Information

The Department of Biology and Microbiology provides students with a wide range of opportunities for advanced study. The graduate faculty offer expertise and graduate student advisement in subdisciplines from molecular biology through ecology. Faculty members are very successful in obtaining extramural funds to support graduate student projects. Graduate students have modern research laboratories, equipment and field research sites available to carry out their research projects. The learning environment, scholarly excellence and quality of teaching are areas of strength in the department’s Graduate Program.

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Knowledge of program: Exhibit knowledge concerning biological and/or microbiological systems/sciences at a level appropriate to a M.S. degree holder.
  • Communication skills: Be able to effectively express themselves orally and in written form.
  • Understand scientific method: Understand the scientific methods and techniques for solving research problems and analyze scientific data using the appropriate statistics.
  • Use statistics to analyze data: Be able to use statistics to analyze scientific data.
  • Specialization: Specialize in some area of biology, biotechnology and/or microbiology, but still be broadly based in knowledge in cellular and molecular biology.
  • Publish research: Be able to conduct and publish scholarly research. (Option A)
  • Professional Development: Demonstrate professional development and competence so that they may enter the work force in academia or industry.

Course Delivery Format

Biological Sciences courses are delivered face-to-face and enhanced with web-based instruction. Online delivery may be offered for specific courses.

Available Options for Graduate Degrees

Master of Science Option A - Thesis 30 Credit Hours
  Option B - Research/Design Paper 32 Credit Hours

Core Requirements

For details see specific program: Biological Sciences (M.S.)  

The student, major advisor and Advisory Committee select the discipline specific emphasis area of the biological sciences. The courses will be identified on the student’s Plan of Study no later than the end of the first year of study.

Option A - Thesis

  • XXX 790 - Seminar Credits: 2
  • XXX 798 - Thesis Credits: 5-10
  • 3 or more credits of STAT courses numbered 500-level or higher
  • 6 additional course credits, designed to meet the interests and individual needs of the student
  • Electives Credits: 9-14

Option B - Research/Design Paper

  • XXX 790 - Seminar Credits: 2
  • XXX 788 - Master’s Research Problems/Project minimum Credits: 2-3
  • 3 or more credits of STAT courses numbered 500-level or higher
  • Electives Credits: 18-19

Total Required Credits: 30 (Option A), 32 (Option B)

Master’s Graduation Requirements

  • Yearly evaluation (research progress + coursework)
  • Presentation of Thesis/Paper (public) during last semester of program
  • Oral defense of Thesis (committee) during last semester of program
  • Thesis (Plan A) - OR - Research Paper (Plan B) completion

Additional Admission Requirements

GRE: Scores ranking above the 50th percentile will strengthen the case for admission
TOEFL: 90 Internet-based
​TOEFL Essentials: 9.5
IELTS: 6.5
Duolingo: 115

At least two letters of reference or Personal References must be sent to the Department.  A personal statement that includes a description of the applicants involvement in research, the applicants research interest, and career goals is also required.

Retention in the program is dependent on formation of a committee and completion of review matrix by the end of the first year. In ensuing years, students must have a committee meeting and complete review annually.

General Requirements

Graduate students should consult with their advisor before registering for graduate coursework.

For additional information refer to the Master’s Degree Requirements .

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