Feb 21, 2024
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.
The submission of scores on either the GRE General Test or Subject Test in biology or biochemistry, or on the MCAT, could enhance an 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 a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 18 semester hours of combined credit in BIOS 699 and BIOS 770 may be applied toward those 30 hours. 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.
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 18 and a minimum of 12 semester hours of combined credit in BIOS 699 and BIOS 770 may be applied toward the degree. The student’s research advisor will serve as chair of the graduate committee that will administer a final oral comprehensive examination including a defense of thesis.
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.
Cellular, molecular, and developmental biology
Ecology and evolution
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 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 and BIOS 546 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 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.
One or more of the following electives (to fulfill 30 credit-hour requirement)
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.
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 18 and a minimum of 12 semester hours of combined credit in BIOS 699 and BIOS 770 may be applied toward the degree. The student’s research advisor 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.