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    Northern Illinois University
   
 
  Nov 23, 2017
 
 
    
2016-2017 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Master of Science in Biological Sciences


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The minimum requirement for admission to the master of science degree program is a baccalaureate degree with a major in an area of biological sciences or in a closely related field such as biochemistry or biophysics. The baccalaureate degree should have courses equivalent to those required for the B.S. degree at NIU, including organismal diversity; two semesters of principles of biology, and genetics; chemistry through one year of organic; one year of physics; and mathematics through introductory calculus. Such courses not completed before admission to the Graduate School, as well as other undergraduate courses deemed appropriate to the pursuit of the master’s degree in a particular specialty in biological sciences, may be required and must be taken early in the student’s program. Students with deficiencies may find that the total number of semester hours required exceeds that stated under the requirements for the degree/specialization.

Although applicants are not required to submit scores other than the GRE General Test score required for admission to the Graduate School, the submission of scores on either the GRE Subject Test in biology or biochemistry, or on the MCAT, could enhance their application.

Check departmental information for any additional requirements.

The student learning outcomes for this degree are located at http://www.niu.edu/assessment/clearinghouse/outcomes/index.shtml.

Requirements for Degree without a Specialization


A minimum of 30 semester hours is required for the M.S. degree without a specialization, and no more than 12 semester hours of combined credit in BIOS 699 and BIOS 770 may be applied toward those 30 hours. If a student has completed the equivalent of BIOS 570X (or BIOS 572X and BIOS 573X) and/or BIOS 670 with a grade of C or better, the course may be waived as a requirement in the graduate program, and other course work substituted, with the approval of the department. The student is required to pass a final oral comprehensive examination.

Choose one of the following two options:


Each student will declare, with the consent of the departmental graduate committee, one of the following two options.

Thesis Option


The thesis option is intended primarily for students wishing to focus on certain areas of biology and for those considering further graduate education. Each student must enroll in BIOS 699, Master’s Thesis, and submit a written thesis. A maximum of 12 semester hours of combined credit in BIOS 699 and BIOS 770 may be applied toward the degree. The student’s research adviser will serve as chair of the graduate committee that will administer a final oral comprehensive examination including a defense of thesis.

Non-Thesis Option


The non-thesis option is intended primarily for students wishing to become generalists by taking course work in several areas within the biological sciences. This option may be appropriate for students who desire to qualify for careers that require such breadth in biology, for example, teaching in a secondary school or community college, administration, or interpretive work in parks and nature centers.

The student’s program will be designed with the advice and approval of the departmental graduate coordinator, with a minimum of 3 semester hours to be earned in each of six of the following seven areas of study. A course may satisfy a requirement in only one area of study.

    Animal biology
    Cellular, molecular, and developmental biology
    Ecology and evolution
    Genetics
    Microbiology
    Physiology
    Plant biology

In addition, the student must take a total of 4 semester hours of BIOS 770, Independent Study, under the guidance of a faculty member, and submit an acceptable research paper on a topic approved by the student’s final examination committee. This committee shall include the faculty member directing the student’s work in BIOS 770. The enrollment in BIOS 770 must begin within the first 15 semester hours that are to be part of the student’s program of courses for the degree, and must span at least two terms.

Courses taken for an undergraduate degree may be used to satisfy the non-thesis option distribution requirements, with the consent of the department, providing that a grade of B or better was earned. Such courses, however, cannot be credited toward the master’s degree.

Specialization in Bioinformatics


A minimum of 30 semester hours is required for the M.S. degree with a specialization in bioinformatics. The specialization in bioinformatics is designed to teach the skills necessary for the analysis of large amounts of biological information using computer technology. The student must have taken, or take as deficiency course work, BIOS 300, Cell Biology, BIOS 308, Genetics, CSCI 240, Computer Programming in C, and CSCI 241, Intermediate Programming in C and C++, or the equivalent(s). Deficiency work must be satisfied with a grade of C or better during the first two semesters of enrollment in the program.

If the student has completed the equivalent of BIOS 567, BIOS 570X (or BIOS 572X and BIOS 573X), BIOS 638, BIOS 643, BIOS 646, and/or BIOS 670 as an undergraduate with a grade of C or better, the course may be waived as a requirement in the graduate program, and other course work substituted, with the approval of the student’s graduate committee.

Students must pass a final comprehensive oral and written examination covering course material.

Specialization in Human Anatomical Sciences


A minimum of 30 semester hours is required for the M.S. degree with a specialization in human anatomical sciences. The nonthesis option is intended to equip the graduate to teach human anatomy and human physiology at the community college level, while the thesis option is directed toward research. The course work is designed to provide students with a solid background in the human anatomical sciences, including skills in the dissection of human cadavers.

Students pursuing this specialization must have previously taken, or must take as deficiency course work, BIOS 355 - Human Physiology (4), and a course in Human Neurobiology.

If the student has completed the equivalent of BIOS 545, BIOS 546, BIOS 570X (or BIOS 572X and BIOS 573X), and/or BIOS 670 as an undergraduate with a grade of C or better, the course may be waived as a requirement in the graduate program, and other course work substituted, with the approval of the student’s graduate committee.

Non-Thesis Option


Students pursuing the non-thesis degree must demonstrate teaching proficiency in Human Anatomical Sciences by either (a) completing a minimum of 4 hours of credit in BIOS 626 - Methods of Teaching Human Anatomy, or (b) by submitting an acceptable teaching portfolio to the students committee. The teaching portfolio will include a record of courses taken and grades, classes taught or assisted as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, a statement of teaching philosophy and practice, and other evidentiary materials demonstrating teaching experience and competency. The teaching portfolio must be submitted to and approved by the student’s advisory committee no later than the date of the final comprehensive examination.

Required Courses


Other requirements


Students must take a minimum of 4 semester hours of BIOS 770, Independent Study, under the guidance of an anatomy faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences, and submit for that course an acceptable teaching project on a topic approved by the student’s graduate committee. This committee must be formed within the student’s first 9 semester hours of enrollment in the M.S. program and must be chaired by the anatomy faculty member directing the student’s work in BIOS 770.

Students must pass a final written and oral comprehensive examination covering course material and the teaching project. Normally, students pursuing full-time graduate study will be required to take the comprehensive examination within two academic years of admission to the Graduate School. A student who fails the examination may, with the permission of the department, repeat it once.
 

Thesis Option


Same as the non-thesis option except students are exempt from the Teaching Proficiency requirement, but must enroll in BIOS 699 and submit a written thesis. A maximum of 12 semester hours of combined credit in BIOS 699 and BIOS 770 may be applied toward the degree. The student’s research adviser will serve as the chair of the graduate committee that will administer a final written and oral comprehensive examination covering course material and including a defense of thesis. A student who fails the examination may, with the permission of the department, repeat it once.

Specialization in Biology Teaching


A minimum of 36 semester hours is required for the M.S. degree with specialization in biology teaching. Students pursuing this specialization must have a B.S. degree in the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, earth and space science, or physics) and a current ISBE educator licensure (Type 09 licensure or a B.S. degree with a Type 03 licensureand a minimum of 32 semester hours of science content). The candidate must have one year or more of teaching experience in science.

The student will be required to take a proficiency examination in biology at the beginning and end of their program. In addition, the student will be required to conduct an approved action research project including submitting a written paper as well as present and defend the project (BIOS 770 or BIOS 699). The action research project will be developed under the supervision of the graduate adviser and conducted in a school setting with district approval.

If the student has completed the equivalent of BIOS 570X (or BIOS 572X and BIOS 573X), and ETR 521 and ETR 522 (or BIOS 670) as an undergraduate with a grade of C or better, the courses may be waived as a requirement in the graduate program and other course work substituted with the approval of the student’s graduate committee.

Requirements


One of the following:


Biology Electives


Minimum of 9 semester hours of credit of graduate-level courses within the department.

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