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Biology Master of Science

Core Courses
Cell Molecular Biology
Graduate Course Descriptions

A program of study leading to a master of science in biology is offered by the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences. This program is designed to develop competency in the teaching of biology at the undergraduate level and also competency in research methods essential for pursuing doctoral studies.

The four areas of specialization are cell and molecular biology, physiology, ecological science, and an interdisciplinary program in space life sciences. After completing the core courses, the student may choose one of the four curricula and also a topic for thesis research. If the prerequisites for any of the courses have not been completed, the student must make up the deficiencies prior to taking the required courses. The details of the program are given below.

1.    Admission
    Admission to the master’s program is in conformity with the uniform requirements that the Board of Govenors has established for the entire SUS.
   A.    A 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale) cumulative grade point average covering the last 60 semester hours of undergraduate preparation or a possession of a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution of higher education;
   B.    Approval of applications from undergraduate seniors is conditional upon their completion of the baccalaureate by taking courses prescribed by the department prior to commencement of graduate studies;
   C.    A combined score of 1,000 on the verbal and quantitative section of the aptitude test of the Graduate Record Examination;
   D.    In addition to meeting the minimum numerical requirements, the other factors that will be considered are the quality of the student’s undergraduate preparation, the quality of the student’s undergraduate performance in specific courses, the student’s motivation and attitude as ascertained by at least two letters of recommendation written by undergraduate instructors, and/or a personal interview; and
   E.    Foreign students whose native language is not English must make a score of 550 or better on TOFEL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).
2.    Academic Requirements:
    The master’s degree requirements should be met in four to six semesters. The requirements include:
   A.    At least 31 semester hours of graduate credit (5000-level and above courses and 4000-level courses recommended by the student’s committee), including a minimum of 6 semester hours of thesis credit;
   B.    Teaching experience in at least one biology laboratory course recommended by the student’s supervisory committee;
   C.    Submission of an acceptable master’s prospectus;
   D.    Completion of an acceptable research thesis;
   E.    Passing the final comprehensive examination; and
   F.    Successful oral presentation of thesis.

Core Courses 
PCB 5455 Statistical Procedures 3
PCB 5205c Cell Structure and Function 3
BSC 5935/5921 Graduate Seminar/Colloquim 1*
BSC 7912 Graduate Directed Research 1-4
BSC 5971 Thesis 6-12
BSC 8920 Master’s Comprehensive Exam
* Student should enroll in seminar or colloquium each semester of residence.
Elective Courses
The three areas of emphasis are cell and molecular biology, physiology, and ecology.
Cell Molecular Biology (15 credit hours of electives) 
PCB 6524 Molecular Biology 4
PCB 5235 Immunology 4
Advanced Cell Biology 4
PCB 6525 Molecular Genetics 4
Radiation Biology 3
PCB 5595 Principles of Gene Manipulation 4
PCB 6175 Principles of Techniques in Election Microscopy 3
PCB 5025 Molecular Cell Biology 4
PCB 6615 Experimental Embryology 4
Physiology (15 credit hours)  
Cell Physiology 4
PCB 5727 Comparative Animal Physiology 4
PCB 5786 Membrane Physiology 4
PCB 5806 Endocrine Physiology 4
PCH 6835 Neurophysiology 4
ZOO 5890 Developmental Biology 3
Animal Reproductive Physiology 3
Ecology (15 credit hours)  
PCB 5307 Limnology 4
PCB 5325 Terrestrial Ecology 4
PCB 5314 Marine Ecology 4
PCB 5045 Environmental Ecology 3
PCH 5365 Physiological Ecology 4
BSC 6600 Microbial Ecology 4
PCB 5046 Ecological Processes 

Graduate Course Descriptions

BSC 5101 History of Biology (2) A survey of the historical developments from ancient times to modern times. A discussion of the milestones is a vital part of the course.
BSC 5921 Colloquium (1) Presentations by invited scientists. Compulsory attendance for a “S” or “U” credit.
BSC 5935 Graduate Seminar (1-2) Oral presentations on selected topics in the field of specializations.
BSC 5940 Supervised Teaching (variable 1-4).
BSC 5971 Thesis (3-6) may be accumulated up to a maximum of 15 hours.
BSC 6600 Microbial Ecology (4) Prereq: MCB 3023 Microbiology. Microbes in terrestrial and aquatic habitats, structure of communities, population interactions, abiotic factors, select habitats and ecology, role of microbes in space biology and biotechnology.
BSC 6935 Special Topics in Biology (1-4).
BSC 7912 Graduate Directed Research (1-4).
BSC 8970 Master’s Comprehensive Examination (0) Oral defense of Master’s thesis and research.
OCB 5050 Marine Biology (3) Prereq: PCB 2033C. Topics of marine ecosystem such as primary production, energy relations, physiochemical factors, taxonomic groups, deep estuaries, lagoons, and marshes are covered. Field trips supplementary.
OCB 5845 Estuarine Biology (3) Prereq: PCB 2033C. Study of the chemical and physical processes in estuaries and salt marshes as related to the seasonal and spatial patterns of plant and animal species. Emphasis on estuarine community structure and utilization by species and man. Field trips are required.
PCB 5025 Molecular and Cellular Biology (4) Prereq: PCB 3063 Genetics. Cell structure, role of genes, DNA replication, genetic recombination and regulation of genetic expression.
PCB 5045 Environmental Ecology (3) Global environment, global warming, air pollution, acid rain, ozone layer, species populations, environments, and pathological effects of pollutants on organisms.
PCB 5046 Ecological Processes (3) Prereq: PCB 3033. Population ecology, communities, and ecosystem junction. Emphasis on regulatory processes in the holistic function of ecosystems.
PCB 5205C Cell Structure and Function (3) Prereq: BSC 1011C. Subcellular structures as related to their biochemical and physiological role.
PCB 5235 Immunology (4) Prereq: BCH 4034 Biochemistry. Natural and acquired immunity, theories of antigen-antibody formation, humoral and cell-mediated systems, nature of antibodies, monoclonal antibodies and practical applications.
PCB 5307 Limnology (4) Prereq: PCB 3033 Ecology. Lotic and lentic systems, limiting factors, producers, primary production, food webs, total production, populations, species niches, holistic function, freshwater marshes, alternations of systems.
PCB 5314 Marine Ecology (4) Prereq: PCB 3033. Ocean environment and subdivisions, characteristics and subdivisions and ecology of communities, interspecific relationships and regulatory processes.
PCB 5325 Terrestrial Ecology (4) Prereq: PCB 3033 Ecology. Types of terrestrial systems, soils, vegetation formation, species ordination, biomes species distributions, ecological succession, colonization, stability, and preservation.
PCB 5365 Physiological Ecology (4) Prereq: PBC 3033 Ecology, Comparative Physiology. Terrestrial environment, plant adaptations, freshwater animals and activities, marine organisms and physiology, esturine adaptations, desert organisms and response to stress.
PCB 5455 Statistical Procedures (3) Prereq: STA 3053. Experimental design, data collection, measurement, estimation and testing. Analysis of variance, regression and correlation and multivariate statistics.
PCB 5595 Principles of Gene Manipulation (4) Prereq: PCP 4024 Molecular Biology. Maintenance of E. coli., molecular cloning with Lambda phage vectors, cloning with plasmids, cloning with M13 vectors, and sequencing of DNA and RNA genetic probes.
PCB 5665 Human Genetics (2) Prereq: PCB 3063C, BCH 4033. Basic principles and mechanisms of human genetics. Several hereditary disorders will be discussed and impact of genetic counseling examined.
PCB 5674 Evolutionary Biology (3) Prereq: PCB 3063. Theories of origin of life. Processes of evolution at population and phyletic levels, sources of variation, and detailed discussion of evidence. A synthesis of biological concepts.
PCB 5727 Comparative Animal Physiology (4) Prereq: PCB 3743. Vertebrate Physiology. Environment, adaptation. Thermal regulation, osmoregulation, renal physiology, respiration, circulation, sensory perception, and endocrine function.
PCB 5786 Membrane Physiology and Biophysics (4) Prereq: PCB 4023 Cell Biology. Cell membrane, permeation, active transport, bulk transport, action potentials, propagation of action potentials, and contractility.
PCB 5806 Endocrine Physiology (4) The emphasis is on vertebrate hormones. Types and chemistry of hormones; actions of pituitary, thyroid, parathyroid, thymus, adrenal hormones, control of reproductive cycles and hormones in development; and mechanisms of hormone action and regulation of function.
PCB 6175 Principles and Techniques of Electron Microscopy (3) Theory and practice of fixation, embedding, staining, and ultra sectioning for electron microscopy. Study of simple organisms, cells, and tissues.
PCB 6524 Molecular Biology (4) Prereq: PCB 4023 Cell Biology. Classes of macromolecules, nucleic acids, DNA technology, proteins, DNA replication, mutagenesis and mutations, protein synthesis, regulation of gene activity, and recombinant DNA and genetic engineering.
PCB 6525 Molecular Genetics (4) Prereq: PCB 3063. Genetics, gene structure, chromatin, DNA replication, transcription, protein synthesis, gene expression and regulation, oncogenes, DNA cloning, and genetic engineering.
PCB 6615 Experimental Embryology (4) Prereq: ZOO 3653. Developmental Anatomy. Experimental approach to fertilization, gastrulation, organogenesis, cytodifferentiation, and reconstitutive development.
PCB 6804 Animal Reproductive Physiology (3) Study of the vertebrate reproductive cycles. Development of sex, maturity, hormonal control, mating patterns, migrations, gestation in mammals, egg-laying, parental care, and associate phenomena.
PCB 6835 Neurophysiology (4) Prereq: PCB 3743 Vertebrate Physiology. Divisions of the nervous system, membrane potentials, propagation of action potentials, synapses and nerve conduction, nerve tracts and ganglia functions, brain, spinal cord, and autonomic nervous system.
PHZ 5156 Scientific Computations (4) Prereq: Knowledge of a computer language-FORTRAN, Pascal or Basic. Algorithms, models, fundamental numerical operations, linear algebraic functions, eigenvalue problems, and Monte Carlo methods.
ZOO 5215 Advanced Invertebrate Biology Prereq: ZOO 3203. Discussions of physiology, ecology and evolution of invertebrate animals.
ZOO 5690 Developmental Biology (4) Prereq: ZOO 3653. Developmental Anatomy. Fundamental concepts, gametogenesis, fertilization, gastrulation, differentiation, and organogenesis.