Zoology

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The School of Biological Sciences offers graduate programs in Zoology leading to the Professional Science Masters, Master of Science, and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The Professional Science Masters is awarded on the basis of demonstrated scholarship, with emphasis on basic ecological knowledge, managing habitat for wildlife, and constituent consensus building. The Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees are awarded on the basis of demonstrated scholarship, with an emphasis on the ability to organize, conduct, and report original research. The department’s graduate program is organized around five disciplinary areas: ecology & ecosystem studies; environmental toxicology; evolution, genetics, and population biology; fisheries biology & aquaculture; and wildlife ecology & management. These research groups draw heavily upon the expertise of faculty members affiliated with SIU’s Center for Fisheries, Aquaculture, and Aquatic Sciences, Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory, and Center for Ecology. Graduate research in Zoology is facilitated by SIU’s geographic location, notably its proximity to extensive national forests, wildlife refuges, state parks, and other natural areas of diverse physiography.

Admission

Application forms can be obtained via the departmental webpage (zoology.siu.edu/graduate/apply/). A completed departmental application includes: the form, transcripts of all previous college credits, an official score report for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test, and three letters of evaluation that address the applicant's academic abilities. A nonrefundable application fee must be submitted with the departmental application form. Applicants pay this fee when applying electronically to the Graduate School. Students who wish to be considered for a University fellowship must have a complete application on file by December 1. There are no other application deadlines, but early contact with the department is encouraged.

Applicants for P.S.M., M.S. and Ph.D. programs must fulfill all admissions requirements of the Graduate School. Inquiries about Zoology graduate programs should be made to the Director of Graduate Studies in Zoology. More information is available on the department's website (zoology.siu.edu/graduate/index.php). Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to make contact with faculty members in their area of research interest prior to submitting an application.

Applicants to the P.S.M. program must possess the following academic background: 24 semester hours (or equivalent) in courses covering the basic principles of zoology (including animal diversity, ecology, and evolution); 9 credit hours of physical sciences (physics, chemistry, soil science, geology — at least 2 disciplines must be represented); one year of college mathematics including college algebra and trigonometry (calculus and statistics are also desirable); be within 6 credit hours of meeting class requirements for a Certified Wildlife Biologist (details can be found on The Wildlife Society web page (wildlife.org/) after completion of program course requirements; an undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 (A=4.0). Applicants that do not meet these requirements will be considered on individual merit.

Applicants to the master's program must possess the following academic background: 24 semester hours (or equivalent) in courses covering the basic principles of zoology (including animal diversity, genetics, ecology, and evolution); one year of college chemistry (organic and biochemistry are also desirable); one year of college mathematics including college algebra and trigonometry (calculus and statistics are also desirable); an undergraduate grade point average of at least 2.70 (A=4.0). Applicants with a GPA less than 2.70 will be considered on individual merit.

Applicants for the doctoral degree must have a solid background in biological science, hold a master's degree, and have a grade point average in graduate work of 3.25 or above. Applicants with a graduate GPA less than 3.25 will be considered on individual merit. Direct entry to the doctoral program for students with only a bachelor's degree, or accelerated entry from the master's program, is possible for students demonstrating exceptional potential.

Advisement and Progress Toward Degree

During the admission process and prior to registration, a student should consult with faculty members representing his or her area of interest to identify an advisor. Advisors will be assigned formally by the Director of Graduate Studies upon admission. A change in advisor later in the program must be coordinated and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies.

Each M.S. student, in consultation with the advisor, must assemble an advisory committee to be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies before the end of the first semester of enrollment. For the M.S. degree, the committee shall consist of at least three graduate faculty members, one of whom may be from outside the department, with the advisor serving as chair. For the doctoral degree, the advisory committee shall consist of five graduate faculty members, one of whom must be from outside the department, with the advisor serving as chair. A program of study must be approved by the advisory committee and submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies no later than second semester of enrollment. A research proposal must be approved by the advisory committee and submitted to the Director of Graduate Studies no later than the third semester. Students may not register for ZOOL 599 or ZOOL 600 before their proposal is approved.

Professional Science Masters

All requirements of the Graduate School must be satisfied. At least 30 hours of graduate credit (13 hours at the 500 level) is required beyond the bachelor's degree, including 24 hours of graded courses required by the program. A grade point average of 3.2 in graduate coursework must be maintained. Failure to meet this requirement will result in academic probation.

A capstone project consisting of a grant proposal presented to the agency providing the summer internship and approved by the Program Director must be completed prior to graduation.

Master of Science Degree

All requirements of the Graduate School must be satisfied. At least 30 hours of graduate credit (15 hours at the 500-level) is required beyond the bachelor's degree, including 21 hours of graded coursework, two hours of ZOOL 589, six hours of ZOOL 599, and two or more courses in a specific area representing the research tool. A grade point average of 3.00 in graduate coursework must be maintained. Failure to meet this requirement will result in academic probation and loss of financial support from the department.

Thesis

Students must prepare and defend a thesis based on the results of original research. the nature of the research is developed by the student in consultation with the advisor and advisory committee. The thesis is evaluated by the advisory committee and must be successfully defended before graduation. The defense consists of a presentation of thesis results in public seminar, followed by a closed session of oral evaluation by the advisory committee. A final version of the thesis must be approved by the advisory committee, the Director of Graduate Studies, the Department Chair, and the Graduate School. M.S. candidates must follow all Graduate School procedures in applying for graduation and deposit one bound copy of their thesis with the department.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

All requirements of the Graduate School must be satisfied. Students entering the doctoral program are expected to have taken courses in the broad areas of animal diversity & evolution, ecology, and cell biology & genetics. Admission to the Ph.D. program requires two courses in two of these areas and three courses in the third. Students may be admitted with deficiencies, but must acquire the necessary coursework as part of their doctoral studies.

There is no minimum credit-hour requirement beyond the Graduate School's residency and dissertation requirements. A student, in consultation with his or her advisory committee, prepares a program of study that includes courses (including two semesters of ZOOL 589), seminars, and research. A research tool, consisting of at least two courses in a specific subject area, is required. A 3.25 grade point average in graduate coursework must be maintained. Failure to meet this requirement will result in loss of financial support from the department.

Preliminary Examinations

Written and oral examinations are taken after the tool requirement and major portion of any other formal coursework are completed, usually at the end of the second year of graduate study. The examinations focus on the student's area of research expertise as defined by the student, the advisor, and the advisory committee, and approved by the Director of Graduate Studies and the Department Chair. Administration and evaluation of these examinations is governed by the department's Preliminary Examination Policy. Students must pass both preliminary examinations to advance to candidacy.

Dissertation

Students must prepare and defend a dissertation based on the results of original research. The nature of the research is developed by the student in consultation with the advisor and advisory committee. Students must register for at least 24 hours of ZOOL 600 Research and Dissertation (only six hours are permitted prior to candidacy). The dissertation is evaluated by the advisory committee.

Final Examination

With the approval of the advisory committee, the candidate requests the Director of Graduate Studies to schedule a dissertation defense. The defense consists of a presentation of dissertation results in a public seminar, followed by a closed session of oral evaluation of the student's dissertation research by the advisory committee. A final version of the dissertation must be approved by the advisory committee, the Director of Graduate Studies, the Department Chair, and the Graduate School.

Graduation

Ph.D. candidates must follow all Graduate School procedures in applying for graduation and deposit one bound copy of their dissertation with the department.

Concentration in Ecology

Students opting to declare Ecology as a concentration shall follow the same program as students in the Zoology Ph.D. degree program that do not declare a concentration subject to the following: The Seminar in Ecology (PLB 589A) or equivalent (equivalent agreed upon by the student's committee) must be taken once each year until a student achieves candidacy. The research tool shall be statistics. The student's advisory committee shall consist of at least two members from outside the Department of Zoology.