Prospective graduate students for the Master of Science degree should have completed an undergraduate major consisting of a minimum of 20 credit hours in biology, including courses covering the areas of organismal biology, cell and molecular biology, ecology, evolution and genetics. A student may be admitted with deficiencies in one or more of these areas but should be aware that the Graduate Advisory Committee may require the student to make up deficiencies with no credit toward the master's degree. The applicant should have completed a minimum of a year (two semesters) of general chemistry and one semester of organic chemistry. A course in general physics is strongly recommended, especially for those students interested in physiology.
Certain areas of study may require additional background in biochemistry, statistics, calculus or computer programming.
After making contact with potential advisers, students are required to submit with their application the Graduate Record Examination General Test scores, three letters of recommendation from individuals who know the student's scientific potential, and a statement of professional goals and interests.
Students typically matriculate only in the fall semester. Application deadline is February 1.
The Department of Biology Masters of Science Program is committed to providing a strong and unique training plan for advanced students of the discipline that will prepare them well for their future career goals. The program takes advantage of the current strengths of the department, basic scientific research and excellent biology pedagogy. Students will develop their intellectual potential by pursuing advanced course work in biology and by successfully completing a research thesis. They will have the option to develop their teaching skills by participating in mentored teaching.
The biology graduate program is a thesis/research concentration for students who wish to continue the study of biology as a scholarly pursuit and who later continue work toward the Ph.D., work for industry or government, or wish to teach, primarily in two year colleges. The primary objective of the program is to enrich the student's subject knowledge and give the student a rigorous experience in research and thesis-writing. Students can also acquire training and experience in teaching. Training in teaching is provided through courses and the mentored teaching of biology laboratories. Thus, students not only gain research experience, they also learn to be effective teachers and communicators.
Currently, the biology department has research strengths in the following areas:
- Cell Biology and Genetics
- Comparative and Functional Morphology
- Developmental Biology
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Plant Biology
More information regarding faculty research can be found Department of Biology website at http://www.jmu.edu/biology/graduate/index.shtml.