Master of Science In Biological sciences

Gain advanced training in the theory and application of biological sciences in conjunction with supervised independent research culminating in a research thesis.  

Our students' research has been presented at regional, national, and even international scientific conferences. Graduates perform at an advanced technical level in biotechnology and related industries or continue their education in Ph.D. or professional programs.

Be prepare for a successful career in the biological sciences with the Master of Science in Biological Sciences degree. The program offers you dynamic research experiences highlighting the breadth of biological disciplines and advanced courses to support a concentration in either molecular biology or ecology, evolution, and conservation. The program emphasizes practical applications of principles and theories and prepares you for research through training in field and laboratory techniques as well as biostatistics. Graduates from this program can transition directly into the workforce in a variety of biological fields or continue training in other graduate or professional programs.

The master of science in biological sciences uses a rolling admissions system, which means that when you complete your application, it is reviewed and decision is made by a faculty committee. In general, applications should be submitted at least four months prior to the semester that you wish to start.

For International students - please note that international student applications take longer to process, so it is recommended that international student applications be submitted at least six months prior to the semester that the applicant wishes to start.

RESEARCH PROGRAMS

The faculty of the Master of Science in Biological Sciences program have active research in the following areas: 

Animal behavior
Aquatic ecology
Biogeography 
Conservation biology 
Enzymology 
Functional morphology
Gene structure and DNA-protein interaction 

 

genome organization
herpetology insect genetics and molecular biology
invertebrate ecology
landscape ecology
microbiology 
molecular evolution 
paleontology

Phylogenetic analysis
Plant ecology
Prokaryotic and eukaryotic gene expression 
Protein biochemistry 
Reproductive physiology 
Vertebrate biology 
Evolution

 

Admission Requirements


Plan A: Two-year Program
To qualify for admission an applicant must have:

  • B.S. or B.A. degree from an accredited institution.
  • Grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.00 in their major (4.00 basis).
  • Satisfactory Graduate Record Examination scores.
  • Completed the following courses, or their equivalents:
  • Chemistry: two semesters of general chemistry, and two semesters of organic chemistry for applicants to the Molecular Biology Concentration
  • Biology: two semesters of introductory biology with laboratory and at least two upper-level courses in the area of study (for example, biochemistry, ecology, evolution, or molecular biology)
  • Mathematics: one semester of calculus, discrete mathematics, or probability.

Plan B: Combined B.S./M.S. Program
Students in either the biology or molecular biology and bioinformatics B.S. program can apply for admission to the M.S. program in the spring of their junior year. To qualify for admission an applicant must have:

  • Cumulative GPA of at least 3.30 (4.00 basis).
  • At least three credits of BIOS 499 culminating in a report, honors thesis, or presentation
  • At least three credits of upper level electives in area of study (300-level or above)
  • Approval of the Biology Graduate Programs Committee.

Foundational Courses
Students admitted to the program, but lacking necessary coursework to support their thesis research must obtain fundamental knowledge in their area of study. Therefore, this program offers graduate-level preparatory foundation courses to support the molecular biology and ecology, evolution and conservation concentrations. These courses do not count for credit toward the degree. Enrollment in any of these courses may be required for successful degree completion and is determined by the individual student’s graduate committee based on previous course work and thesis topic. 

 

Application Procedure

All applications must be submitted online

  • Application
  • A non-refundable application fee, payable to University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
  • A cover letter that states how obtaining the degree fits with the applicant’s goals and identifies at least three UW-Parkside faculty whose research is of interest to the applicant.
  • GRE scores.*
  • Official transcripts from each undergraduate and post- graduate institution the applicant attended. (Transcripts may not be sent through this portal, they must be sent directly from the institution.)
  • Curriculum vitae.*
  • Three letters of recommendation.* All submitted letters must have the official letterhead of the recommender’s institution.
  • (Optional) Additional materials such as those listed below for applicants seeking probationary admission.

*Items marked with an asterisk are not required for students completing their B.S. degree at UW-Parkside.

Submit letters of recommendation, statement of personal intent, and resume here


International Students Application

In addition to submitting the above application materials, international applicants must submit the following items. Please know that we do NOT review partially complete materials.

  • A completed online Application for Graduate International Student Admission.
  • Application fee.
  • If applicant’s native language is not English, and/or undergraduate degree instruction was not in English, then an Official Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score must be obtained. A score of 525 on the paper test (197 computer based or 71 internet based) is required. For information regarding the location of the test centers nearest you and for making arrangements to take the TOEFL test visit the website: http://www.ets.org/toefl
  • A Sponsorship Statement Form documenting support for one year of study.
  • Original bank statement or bank letter documenting sufficient funds for one year of study. Photocopies and FAX cannot be accepted.
  • Official transcripts from all secondary schools, colleges and universities attended. Records must be in the original language with certified English translations. Official records should include all exam, test results, certificates, diplomas or degrees received.
  • To receive transfer credits from a foreign university a prospective student must have their transcripts evaluated through one of the recommended companies:
  • ECE (Educational Credential Evaluators)
  • WES (World Education Services)
  • One Earth International Credit Evaluators

Potential Graduate students must purchase the “Catalog Match Request” to ensure transferability of coursework.


Transfer Student Admissions

Transfer applicants who are admitted to the master of science in biological sciences program receive a statement of advanced standing indicating which courses have been accepted from the previous institutions and how they equate to UW-Parkside courses; the statement also identifies their adviser. Students should contact their adviser as soon as possible after receiving the statement of advanced standing. Generally, students are allowed to transfer up to 12 credits of graduate work from regionally accredited institutions.

Requirements for the Master of Science in Biological Sciences (30 credits)

A minimum of 30 graduate credits (courses numbered 600-799) are required for the degree. Some graduate courses are cross-listed with undergraduate offerings (courses numbered 300-499). These are marked with an asterisk (*) in the list below. Courses taken at the undergraduate level cannot be repeated for graduate credit. 

Required Core Courses (20-22 credits)
BIOS 711 Thesis 16-18 cr.

BIOS 731 Graduate Seminar  4 cr.

Students are required to complete a research thesis, and the research thesis must be aligned with the chosen concentration and approved by the thesis committee. Students enroll in BIOS 711 for 16 to 18 credits depending on previous course work. Fulfillment of the thesis requirement depends upon satisfactory completion, documentation, and oral presentation of the thesis research, as judged by the student’s thesis committee.

Concentrations (8-10 credits)
Choose one:

Ecology, Evolution and Conservation Concentration
This concentration provides advanced training in the theory and application of molecular biology, in conjunction with supervised independent research culminating in a research thesis. Graduates achieve specialized skills and training toward advanced-level technical careers in biotechnology and related industries or continue their education in Ph.D. or professional programs.

Required course (2 credits)
BIOS 645 Research Process in Ecology and Evolution    3 cr

Elective courses (6-8 credits)
Students must complete a minimum of 6 elective credits. Electives must be approved by the student’s thesis committee. Electives will be chosen to complement the student’s previous education and experience, and to support the student’s educational and career goals.

Choose two courses:

  • BIOS 612 Biometry  4 cr.
  • BIOS 614 Molecular Evolution*   3 cr.
  • BIOS 636 Conservation Biology Lab*   2 cr.
  • BIOS 690 Advanced Topics in Ecology and Evolution 1-4 cr.
  • BIOS 699 Independent Study  3 cr.

Molecular Biology Concentration
This concentration provides innovative training in the theory and application of biological sciences with an emphasis on ecological and evolutionary patterns and processes including aspects of conservation biology and natural resource management. Graduates will participate in advanced course work and supervised independent research resulting in a research thesis. Graduates achieve specialized skills and training toward careers in the private and public natural resource management sector, including positions with local, state and federal agencies, or continue their education in Ph.D. or professional programs.

Required course (2 credits)
BIOS 675 Advanced Molecular Biology  3 cr.

Elective courses (6-8 credits)
Students must complete a minimum of 6 elective credits. Electives must be approved by the student’s thesis committee. Electives will be chosen to complement the student’s previous education and experience, and to support the student’s educational and career goals.

Choose two courses: 

  • BIOS 612 Biometry  4 cr.
  • BIOS 611 Microbial Physiology and Diversity  3 cr.
  • BIOS 614 Molecular Evolution*  3 cr.
  • BIOS 653 Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics of Nucleic Acids*   4 cr.
  • BIOS 655 Protein Biochemistry and Bioinformatics*  4 cr.
  • BIOS 690 Advanced Topics in Molecular Biology  1-4 cr.
  • BIOS 699 Independent Study  3 cr.
  • CHEM 620 Advanced Biochemistry*    3 cr.

COMBINED B.S./M.S. PROGRAM

Students in this program meet Plan A requirements with the following modifications: only 2 credits of BIOS 731 are required; research completed to meet the undergraduate senior thesis requirement may be applied toward the credit requirement for the M.S. degree. A minimum of 30 graduate credits (courses numbered 500-799) are required for the degree, and 50% of the required credits must be at the 700-level courses. Elective course requirements are defined by each student’s thesis committee.

Foundational Courses
Students in the program must have or obtain fundamental knowledge in their area of study. Therefore, this program offers graduate-level preparatory foundation courses to support the molecular biology and ecology, evolution and conservation concentrations. These courses do not count for credit toward the degree. Enrollment in any of these courses may be required for successful degree completion and is determined by the individual student’s graduate committee based on previous course work and thesis topic. 

  • BIOS 503 Microbiology 3cr.
  • BIOS 505 Principles of Ecology 3 cr.
  • BIOS 509 Molecular Biology 3 cr.
  • BIOS 514 Evolutionary Biology 3 cr.
  • BIOS 536 Conservation Biology 3 cr.

BIOLOGY COURSES (BIOS)

503       Microbiology      4 cr
Prereq: BIOS 260 or consent of instructor. Freq: Spring.
Advanced   treatment of the structure, growth and activities of microorganisms including medical microbiology, microbial pathogenesis, and environmental microbiology. Three-hour lecture; three-hour lab.

505       Principles of Ecology     4 cr
Prereq: BIOS 101, 102, and 210. Freq: Fall (odd years).
An introduction to the relations of plants and animals to their organic and inorganic environments, with an emphasis on the phenomena and causes of distribution and abundance at the population and community levels. Includes a field-oriented laboratory. Three-hour lecture; three-hour lab; field trips.

509       Molecular Biology          3 cr
Prereq: BIOS 260, CHEM 322 or consent of instructor. Freq: Spring.
Regulation of DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis and the control of the synthesis of other macromolecules. Three-hour lecture/discussion.

514       Evolutionary Biology      3 cr
Prereq: BIOS 101, 102, and 260. Freq: Spring.
Introduces basic mechanisms of evolutionary change including population genetics and speciation. Considers evolutionary history including phylogenetic estimation, the fossil record, and biogeography. Three-hour lecture.

536       Conservation Biology      3 cr
Prereq:  BIOS 102 or 104 or ENVS 101. Freq: Occasionally.
Introduces biological and social aspects of conservation. Includes a history of the conservation movement emphasizing modern techniques for monitoring and maintaining biological diversity. Focuses on applications to local and regional conservation problems. Three-hour lecture.

611       Microbial Physiology and Diversity          3 cr
Prereq: BIOS 303 or consent of instructor. Freq: Alternate years.
Explores diverse molecular mechanisms of microbial physiology. Topics include microbial regulation of gene expression, metabolism, behavior, symbiosis, and applications to biotechnology.  Three-hour lecture/discussion.

612       Biometry           4 cr.
Prereq: BIOS 210 or equivalent, consent of instructor. Freq: Spring.
Statistical methods for ecological and evolutionary studies. Techniques for displaying and analyzing multivariate data, including plotting multi-dimensional data, multivariate analysis of variance, reducing variable dimension with principal components, grouping/classifying observations with cluster analysis and discriminant analysis. Estimation of abundance and survival from mark-recapture studies, deterministic and stochastic matrix models of population trends, and hierarchical modeling, especially of population dynamics. Additional topics vary based on student interest. Three-hour lecture; three-hour lab.

614       Molecular Evolution        3 cr
Prereq: BIOS 309 or 314, or consent of instructor. Freq: Occasionally.
Examines the evolution of nucleic acids and proteins.  Considers five major topics: genetic variability; the causes of molecular evolution and the neutral theory; methods of detecting genetic variability; the use of molecular markers for estimating phylogeny and the evolution of genome structure. Three-hour lecture/discussion. Cross-listed with BIOS 414.

636       Conservation Biology Lab            2 cr.
Prereq BIOS 210 or 610 and BIOS 305 or 505, or BIOS 336, Consent of instructor. Freq: Spring (Odd Years)
Practical experience applying the theories from general ecology & conservation biology towards developing conservation strategies for species and communities. Cross-listed with BIOS 436.

645       Research Process in Ecology and Evolution          2 cr
Prereq: BIOS 305 and consent of instructor. Freq: Fall.
Provides a capstone experience in applied field and laboratory research. Includes sampling natural and experimental populations and ecological communities coupled with advanced statistical and analytical methods for ecology and evolution. Not open to students with credit in BIOS 445.

653       Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics of Nucleic Acids      4 cr
Prereq: BIOS 260, 309, and consent of instructor. Freq: Spring.
Covers techniques and theory of nucleic acid isolation (DNA and RNA) and analysis including laboratory and computational methods. Includes common laboratory methods for isolating and characterizing nucleic acids. Eight-hour lecture/lab.

655       Protein Biochemistry and Bioinformatics  4 cr
Prereq: BIOS 260, 309, and consent of instructor. Freq: Spring.
Provides practical experience in protein expression, purification, and characterization with emphasis on enzymology and use of computer programming for development of relevant bioinformatics applications. Eight-hour lecture/lab.

675       Advanced Molecular Biology        3 cr
Prereq: BIOS 260, 309 or 509; and consent of instructor. Freq: Alternate years.
In-depth coverage of selected research topics in molecular biology such as DNA replication, transcription, translation, and other current topics. Three-hour lecture.

690       Advanced Topics in Molecular Biology      1-4 cr
Prereq: BIOS 260, 309 or 509; and consent of instructor. Freq: Occasionally.
Selected advanced topics in molecular biology.

699       Independent Study          1-3 cr
Prereq: Consent of instructor. Freq: Fall, Spring.
Advanced study performed under the supervision of a regular faculty member. Suitability as an elective for the master’s of science in biological sciences is determined on a case-by-case basis by the graduate program committee.

711       Thesis   1-9 cr
Prereq: Consent of instructor. Freq: Fall, Spring.
Dissertation for master of science in biological sciences. Graded on a credit/no-credit basis.

731       Graduate Seminar          1 cr
Prereq: Consent of instructor. Freq: Fall, Spring.
Research reports, special topics, and reports from recent literature.  Graded on a credit/no-credit basis.

Chemistry (CHEM) Courses

620       Advanced Biochemistry  3 cr
Prereq: BIOS 240 or CHEM/BIOS 307 or CHEM 324 or consent of instructor. Freq: Spring (even years).
Advanced topics in biochemistry including thermodynamics, protein structure, and enzyme kinetics and mechanisms. Not open to students with credit in CHEM 410.                                 

Continuation

  • The master of science in biological sciences program requires a cumulative GPA of 3.00 (B) or better in all graduate courses taken in the program unless conditions for probationary status require higher grades.
  • With approval of the department’s graduate committee, students with a grade of C in a graduate course may be allowed to continue. However, a maximum of two C’s is allowed.
  • Students who have finished all course and credit requirements (30 credits) and are still working on a thesis project require a continuous registration of at least 1 credit each fall and spring semester. Students who have not maintained continuous registration must apply for reinstatement.
  • Students should select a faculty adviser at the time of matriculation or at least by the end of the first semester. With the assistance of the adviser, the student will formulate a research problem. The adviser will provide space, equipment and supplies, and technical assistance when possible. By the end of the first semester, the student should select a thesis committee that consists of the faculty adviser and two other faculty members. The thesis committee provides oversight of the student’s research progress and approves the student’s course of study. The program culminates in a written thesis that thoroughly documents the research activity, and an oral presentation open to the public.

Time Limit
It is expected that most students will complete the degree within two years. A candidate for the master of science degree who fails to complete the degree within three years will be placed on probation for one semester before being dropped from the program. Exceptions to this limit require authorization by the departmental Graduate Programs Committee.

Financial Assistance
Students may receive a stipend (research assistantships, traineeships) to assist with educational expenses.  Students who complete the FAFSA (fafsa.gov) may also qualify for Federal Student Loans.

CONTACT INFO

Daphne Pham Ph.D.  |  262-595-2172  |  pham@uwp.edu

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