The program leading to the Master of Science degree provides students with the opportunity to gain a solid foundation in modern interdisciplinary biology. Graduates transition into careers as professionals in industry, government, education, healthcare and research organizations, or pursue further professional training.
Areas of specialization available through the Department of Biological Sciences include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Cell structure and function (focus on the nucleus)
- Comparative and ecological physiology
- Evolutionary biology
- Freshwater ecosystem ecology
- Aquatic biogeochemistry
- Germline development and sexual reproduction
- Large-scale ecology
- Host-microbe interactions
- Community ecology
- Invasive species
- Conservation biology
- Molecular mechanisms of neuronal and muscular diseases
- Protein interactions and networks
- Regeneration and stem cell biology
- Regulation and function of gene expression
- RNA biology
- Biology education, curriculum design, and assessment
- Speciation and ecological genetics
- Virology and cell communication
Students may pursue an M.S. degree in biology through one of two options:
- Option 1 (most students chose this option) requires the submission and oral defense of a thesis based on original research performed while enrolled as a graduate student at the university. Candidates will be advised to enroll in specific graduate-level courses deemed appropriate for successful understanding of the research to be undertaken.
- Option 2 is a coursework option that requires the successful completion of 30 semester credits of graduate-level course work, including a critical literature review, a laboratory rotation, and a final oral examination.
In their application, prospective students should indicate whether they prefer to pursue Option 1 or Option 2. If no option is stated, the graduate committee will assume the prospective student will pursue the thesis option.
All candidates, regardless of the option chosen, are required to obtain a major advisor and an advisory committee. The advisory committee will help formulate a study program, provide counseling, and evaluate student progress.
All candidates must meet requirements for the Master of Science degree defined in the section degree requirements. They must, in addition, meet the specific requirements of the option chosen.
Admission and Scholarship
To meet the minimum requirement for admission to the graduate program in biological sciences, applicants must fulfill the requirements for admission established by The Graduate School. In addition, a bachelor’s degree in the biological or biochemical sciences including coursework in organic chemistry, physics, and calculus is strongly recommended. Admission preference is given to students with a grade-point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 scale.
Graduate assistantships and tuition scholarships are available to students on a competitive basis. Applicants are ranked based on their prior GPA, relevant experience, letters of recommendation, and fit with faculty research interests. Students awarded assistantships are given a stipend and a tuition waiver and only granted to Option 1 thesis-based students. Stipends are approximately $13,000 for a 10-month contract, with opportunities for summer funding. Assistantships are available for two years pending progress on research. Teaching assistantships are paid for 20 hrs/week teaching for the department. Research assistantships are paid for research done for a grant. Students must maintain full time (6 credit hours) status to have a financial assistantship. Scholarships cover tuition and are given to both thesis and non-thesis students.
Graduates of the Master’s of Science degree program in biological sciences will be able to:
- Demonstrate how to formulate and critique arguments using accepted scientific theory and data
- Apply norms of communication, including speaking and writing that are accepted in the field of biology
- Read and synthesize primary literature within the field of biology
- Demonstrate the ability to design, carry out, analyze and interpret results from experiments in biology
- Demonstrate expertise within a particular field of biology
- Demonstrate how to identify and pursue a career in biology
The Department of Biological Sciences is housed in two buildings, the Biological Sciences Building and the Matthew O. Diggs Laboratory for Life Science Research. The Biological Sciences building was completed in 1975 and contains approximately 100,000 square feet. It houses facilities of the Biological Sciences, Biomedical Sciences, Medical Laboratory Science, and the Neuroscience, Cell Biology, and Physiology department. The Matthew O. Diggs Laboratory for Life Science Research opened in November 2007 and is at the forefront of “green” building design. This facility was one of the first university research laboratories in Ohio registered under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
The department maintains classrooms and research laboratories with specialized instrument rooms, cold rooms, constant temperature rooms, animal rooms, and a greenhouse. Major equipment items available for research include liquid scintillation counter; amino acid analyzer; infrared, visible, and ultraviolet spectrophotometers; spectrofluorometer; next-generation sequencers; flow cytometer; epifluorescence and confocal microscope; an electron microscope, greenhouse and experimental garden; field and aquatic sampling gear; preparative ultracentrifuges; nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer; mass spectrometer; a wide range of instruments for light microscopy; transmission and scanning electron microscopes; preparative and analytical chromatography instruments; specialized cell and tissue culture facilities, and facilities for recombinant DNA research; and computer services. A biological preserve plus additional wooded areas on campus totaling 200 acres provide opportunities for field-oriented research and teaching experiences. Nearby natural areas include an extensive wetlands and a wide variety of aquatic habitats.
The department has excellent working relationships with other departments on campus, as well as with several facilities affiliated with the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine and the scientific complex of the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Dayton Regional STEM School.