Graduate Catalog 2013-2014
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Biology MS

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College : Sciences Degree :MS
Department : Biology Option : Thesis, Nonthesis
Program Websites : http://biology.cos.ucf.edu/graduate-program/

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

The Master of Science in Biology program offers a broad range of training opportunities ranging from the sub-cellular to entire ecosystems. Our program offers broad-based training in a variety of disciplines including Conservation Biology, Ecology, Evolution, Physiology, Genetics and Cell and Developmental Biology.

CURRICULUM

The Master of Science in Biology program offers a thesis-based degree as research training (plus courses) for students. The thesis degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours, 15 of which must be at the 6000 level. Students must receive a commitment from a faculty advisor BEFORE admission into the program - please see more information at the Department of Biology's web site.
Total Credit Hours Required:
30-40 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor's Degree

The Biology MS program is based on a thesis research experience, as well as courses. The degree requires a minimum of 30 credit hours, 15 of which must be at the 6000 level, with a minimum of 24 credit hours of formal course work (excluding thesis credit hours and other research-related credit hour options).

Most graduate courses require reading and critical analysis of the primary literature in biology, and students are required to present both thesis proposals in advance of their thesis work, and a thesis defense and examination with the advisory committee upon completion of that work. Students work with thesis advisors and advisory committee members throughout the planning and conduct of their research, and are expected to meet with their advisory committee at least annually.

Required Courses—7 Credit Hours

  • BSC 6XXX Seminar in Biology (2 credit hours; 1 credit hour each of two semesters)
  • PCB 6095 Professional Development in Biology I (1 credit hour)
  • PCB 6096 Professional Development in Biology II (1 credit hour)
  • STA 5175 Biometry (3 credit hours), or a suitable substitute, as approved by the thesis advisory committee

Elective Courses—17 Credit Hours

All students in both thesis and nonthesis options must take 17 credit hours of electives.  The electives must be selected in conjunction with the faculty adviser (thesis option) and advisory committee members and approved by the program graduate coordinator.

A listing of the courses offered by the Department of Biology can be found in the catalog menu at the top of the page under "courses"

Thesis—6 Credit Hours

  • BSC 6971 Thesis (a minimum of 6 credit hours)

Examinations

A thesis proposal defense is required. The purpose of the proposal defense is to present the planned research and its foundations as a seminar to an interested audience of peers and the advisory committee. The proposal should be distributed to advisory committee members at least two weeks in advance of the defense, and the defense should be advertised (contact the graduate program administrator two weeks in advance). Public attendees typically have an opportunity to ask questions and comment following the seminar, after which the committee meets with the student to further discuss the proposal. The advisory committee must then vote to accept or reject the proposal. The thesis proposal defense must be passed a minimum of one semester preceding the oral thesis defense (i.e., the proposal defense and thesis defense cannot occur in the same semester). 

The oral thesis defense is composed similar to the proposal defense. A student must have approval of the thesis advisory committee to defend before the defense is scheduled - meaning that the thesis advisory committee must have received the thesis at least two weeks before that approval. Given that time period plus the two-week notice for the defense, students should plan a defense four weeks after they have distributed their thesis to committee members for approval.

Nonthesis Option—40 Credit Hours

The non-thesis option is not offered to incoming students, but is available if needed to current PhD or MS students in lieu of a dissertation- or thesis-based degree, respectively, and with advisory committee agreement. Students seeking to enter a non-thesis MS degree in the Department of Biology must apply to the Professional Science Masters program. 

Required Courses—7 Credit Hours

  • BSC 6XXX Seminar in Biology (2 credit hours; 1 credit hour each of two semesters)
  • PCB 6095 Professional Development in Biology I (1 credit hour)
  • PCB 6096 Professional Development in Biology II (1 credit hour)
  • STA 5175 Biometry (3 credit hours), or a suitable substitute, as approved by the thesis advisory committee

Restricted Electives—12 Credit Hours

 

  • Electives (12 credit hours) in at least three of the five areas below.
    • Ecology
    • Evolutionary Biology
    • Genetics
    • Physiology
    • Cell and Developmental Biology

 

A listing of the courses offered by the Department of Biology can be found in the catalog menu at the top of the page under "courses".

Unrestricted Electives—7 Credit Hours

Additional, unrestricted electives (7 credit hours) must be approved by the Biology graduate coordinator.

Research Report—2 Credit Hours

  • BSC 6909 Research Report (2 credit hours)

Examination

Nonthesis students must take the comprehensive exam no later than the semester preceding that of graduation. If a student fails the comprehensive examination, a minimum of four weeks must elapse before reexamination. The comprehensive exam may be taken a maximum of two times.

Independent Learning

Nonthesis students are required to complete a research report as their independent learning experience.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements, applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended
  • Official, competitive GRE score taken within the last five years
  • Three letters of recommendation that address the applicant's capabilities and likelihood of success as an M.S. student.
  • Résumé
  • A written statement of past experience and research, area of interest, and immediate and long-range goals
  • A computer-based score of 230 (or 89 internet-based score) on the Test of English as a Foreign language (TOEFL) if an applicant is from a country where English is not the official language, or if an applicant's degree is not from an accredited U.S. institution, or if an applicant did not earn a degree in a country where English is the only official language or a university where English is the only official language of instruction. Although we prefer the TOEFL, we will accept IELTS scores of 7.0.

Applicants do not need to have an undergraduate degree in a biological science, but are expected to have 18 hours of biological sciences, including ecology and genetics. Courses in organic chemistry, calculus, and statistics are also recommended. After acceptance, minor deficiencies must be remedied by enrollment in the appropriate course at the first opportunity.

Applicants to the thesis option should first identify faculty who match their own research interests, and then contact faculty in advance to inquire about research opportunities in faculty labs and to solicit agreement that a faculty member is interested in serving as the student's dissertation advisor. Applicants to the thesis option who do not have a consenting thesis advisor within the department faculty will not be accepted into the program.  Applicants to the non-thesis option or the Conservation Biology PSM need not seek a thesis advisor.

Applicants who do not have a competitive GPA or GRE may occasionally be accepted if there is other convincing evidence of potential for high achievement and success. For U.S. applicants, GRE scores can be self reported prior by the submission deadline if the official score cannot be received in time. Admission will be conditional upon receipt of the official score. Applicants failing to satisfy minimum program criteria should submit a GRE Subject (Advanced) Biology Test score at or above the 50th percentile.

Application Deadlines

Students applying for summer or spring admission will be considered on an ad hoc basis but must complete their applications by December 1.

Biology MS Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15Jan 15

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International Applicants Jan 15Jan 15

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International Transfer Applicants Jan 15Jan 15

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