Baylor University
Department of Biology
College of Arts and Sciences

Baylor > Biology > Graduate Programs > Master of Science in Biology > M.S. in Biology Degree Requirements
M.S. in Biology Degree Requirements

  1. Course work—A minimum of 30 semester hours, including at least 24 hours of course work. These 24 hours must include Biometrics (Bio 5412) and 4 semester hours of Research Methods in Biology (Bio 5201 and 5202). At least 12 hours of this course work must be at the 5000 level. Six of the 30 semester hours must be thesis research (Bio 5V99) leading to an approved thesis.
  2. Courses Outside the Major Field—Ordinarily, all courses used to complete the course requirements must be in Biology. However, appropriate courses from other departments may be taken upon approval of the major advisor and the departmental Graduate Program Director.
  3. Residence Study—A minimum of 1 academic year of study must be undertaken in residence at Baylor.
  4. Thesis—A research thesis is required for the M.S. degree. A written proposal of the thesis research must be presented to (and approved by) the student's advisory committee by the end of the second semester of work.
  5. Major Advisor and Advisory Committee—In consultation with the departmental Graduate Program Director, the student should select one member of the Biology graduate faculty to serve as his/her major advisor. The major advisor should be selected as soon as possible, but not later than the end of the first semester of graduate work. The major advisor will oversee the student's program of study and the thesis research. The student and the major advisor, with approval of the departmental Graduate Program Director, will appoint an advisory committee for the student, consisting of at least two members of the graduate faculty in Biology (one of these is the major advisor) and one member of the Baylor graduate faculty from outside the Department of Biology. This committee must be appointed no later than the end of the second semester of graduate work. The advisory committee will be responsible for guiding the student in his/her academic work and for the evaluation of the comprehensive oral examination and the thesis defense.
  6. Deficiencies in General Biology—The purpose of the graduate program is to provide advanced education in biology. It is expected that all students entering the program will possess a basic understanding of general concepts in biology. Early during the student's first semester in residence, he/she will take the Advisory Exam. If results of this exam indicate deficiencies or weaknesses in basic biology, the advisor and the committee will recommend that the student take appropriate undergraduate courses or engage in self-study in the areas of deficiency.
  7. Teaching—All graduate students are encouraged to participate in a one-semester teaching experience approved by the departmental Graduate Program Director. This is usually satisfied by serving as a teaching assistant in one or more classes. However, for students not serving as teaching assistants, alternative activities involving a teaching experience may be arranged in consultation with the student's major advisor and the departmental Graduate Program Director.
  8. Seminar Requirements—Each student in the M.S. program must present an exit seminar to the Biology faculty on his/her thesis research. he seminar must be presented prior to the comprehensive oral examination. Students are also expected to attend all departmental seminars during their term of residence.
  9. Comprehensive Oral Examination—After satisfactory completion of the required number of courses, and the presentation of a departmental seminar on the thesis research or other approved topic, the student must take a comprehensive oral examination conducted by the Advisory Committee. This is an open examination, and all members of the Biology faculty are invited to attend. All biology faculty must be notified of the examination date, time, and place at least 2 weeks prior to the examination. The examination is conducted by the Examination Committee, and other faculty may participate at the invitation of the advisory committee. The oral examination will last approximately 2 hours. Normally, the student will first briefly review his/her thesis research, and the first hour will be devoted to a defense of the research. During the second hour, the student will be tested over basic concepts of biology. At the end of the oral examination, the Examination Committee will assign a grade of "pass" or "not pass", based upon a majority vote of the Examination Committee.

    If the student fails the comprehensive oral examination for the Master's degree, he/she may take a second examination only with the approval of the department and the Dean of the Graduate School. In no case will the examination be given until an interval of one semester has passed. After two failures, no further examination is allowed, and the student is dismissed from the program.
  10. Grades—All graduate students in Biology are expected to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 throughout their program. Any student whose GPA falls below 3.0 will be placed on probation. The student must restore his/her GPA to 3.0 by the end of the next semester in order to remain in the graduate program. The student is not eligible to receive financial assistance from the University during the probationary semester.

Department of Biology