Biological Sciences

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The biological sciences program provides broad interdisciplinary graduate training in biology leading to the Master of Science degree. This interdisciplinary program utilizes the faculty, facilities, and courses of Microbiology, Physiology, Plant Biology, and Zoology. The program is designed for those students who desire a broad-based curriculum rather than an in-depth program of study in only one of the biological sciences.

Master of Science (M.S.) in Biological Sciences

Requirements for Admission

All applicants must submit an application to the biological sciences program. Applicants must meet the minimal requirements of the Graduate School before being considered for admission to Biological Sciences. A completed application includes the program application form, three letters of recommendation, and transcripts of all previous college credit.

This program requires a nonrefundable $65 application fee that must be submitted with the application for Admissions to Graduate Study in Biological Sciences. Applicants must pay this fee by credit card.

In addition to Graduate School admission requirements, applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in a life science discipline. Specific options and concentrations may have additional prerequisites, as noted below.

Application forms are available online at gradschool.siu.edu/applygrad.

Thesis Option

Admission Requirements

Thirty-seven credit hours of undergraduate courses distributed among any four of the biological science areas (plant biology, microbiology, physiology and zoology): organic chemistry with laboratory: physics; statistics. Applicants deficient in these background areas may be admitted, but any deficiency must be successfully completed before the third semester of the registration program.

Advisement

No later than the end of the first semester of registration on the program, the student must arrange with a faculty member in one of the four biological science departments to serve as the research adviser. Following selection and approval of the adviser, an advisory committee is to be recommended to the director of the Biological Sciences Program for approval by the dean of the Graduate School. This committee shall consist of at least three members, each from a different biological science department, with the research advisor serving as chair. A program of course work must be approved by the advisory committee and filed with the director no later than the eighth week of the second semester of registration in the program. Any deviation from the course work program during the student’s tenure must be approved by the advisory committee and filed with the director. A research proposal for the thesis must be approved by the advisory committee and filed with the director no later than the end of the second semester of registration.

Graduation Requirements

A total of 30 credit hours of 400- or 500-level courses are required, with the following provisions:

  1. A minimum of 21 credit hours of formal graded courses in the biological sciences is required with no less than six credit hours coming from each of four of the biological science departments.
  2. At least 50% of the required total credit hours must be at the 500 level.
  3. At least one semester of seminar in two of the four biological science departments must be attended for credit.
  4. An overall 3.0 grade point average (A = 4.0) must be maintained with no course in which the grade is less than a C counting toward the degree requirements.
  5. A thesis embodying original research is required and may be counted for not less than three nor more than six hours of credit.
  6. A final oral examination is required consisting of a public presentation of the thesis research and a closed session of inquiry by the student’s research and advisory committee.

Non-Thesis Option

Admission Requirements

Thirty-seven credit hours of undergraduate courses distributed among any four of the biological science areas (plant biology, microbiology, physiology, and zoology); organic chemistry with laboratory; physics; statistics. Applicants deficient in these background areas may be admitted, but any deficiency must be successfully completed before the third semester of registration in the program.

Advisement

No later than the end of the first semester of registration in the program, the student must arrange with a faculty member in one of the four biological science departments to serve as the research adviser. Following selection and approval of the adviser, an advisory committee is to be recommended to the director of the Biological Sciences Program for approval by the dean of the Graduate School. This committee shall consist of at least three members, each from a different biological science department, with the research advisor serving as chair. A program of course work must be approved by the advisory committee and filed with the director no later than the eighth week of the second semester of registration in the program. Any deviation from the course work program during the student’s tenure must be approved by the advisory committee and filed with the director. A proposal for the research paper must be approved by the advisory committee and filed with the director no later than the end of the second semester of registration.

Graduation Requirements

A total of 40 credit hours of 400- or 500-level courses are required, with the following provisions:

  1. A minimum of 26 credit hours of formal graded courses in the biological sciences required with no less
    than eight credit hours including one 400- or 500-level laboratory course in each of three of the biological sciences departments.
  2. At least 50% of the required total credit hours must be at the 500 level.
  3. At least one semester of seminar in each of three of the biological science departments must be attended for credit.
  4. An overall 3.0 grade point average (A = 4.0) must be maintained with no course in which the grade is less than a C counting toward the degree requirements.
  5. A research paper is required demonstrating the ability to collect and analyze data and to report interpreted results in a scientific manner. A library research problem is acceptable, but must include an original contribution of analysis and interpretation. No less than three nor more than six semester hours of “Research” may be counted for credit in meeting requirements. (Only those courses listed as “Individual Research”, Introduction to Research”, etc. may be taken for credit. “Thesis Research” may not be used for this requirement.)
  6. A final oral examination is required, consisting of two parts:
    • a public presentation of the research paper
    • a closed session of inquiry by the student’s Research and Advisory Committee.

MEDPREP Concentration (Non-Thesis)

Admission Requirements

Each student must apply and be accepted to the MEDPREP program in the SIU School of Medicine.

Advisement

Students are advised by MEDPREP faculty in the SIU School of Medicine. Advisement arrangements are made immediately after admission.

Graduation Requirements

A minimum of 47 credit hours of 400- or 500-level courses are required, with the following provisions:

  1. A minimum of 20 credit hours of formal course work in the biological sciences and 12 credit hours of formal coursework in MEDPREP.
  2. At least 50% of the required total credit hours must be at the 500-level.
  3. A minimum of 12 credit hours of course work in MEDPREP (six of those credit hours to be completed during the summer prior to matriculation into the Biological Science program.)
  4. An overall 3.0 grade point average (A= 4.0) must be maintained with no course in which the grade is lower than a C counting toward the degree requirements.