2019-2020 Academic Catalog 
    May 31, 2020  
2019-2020 Academic Catalog

Biological Sciences, MS


Program Description:

The program leading to the Master of Science provides students with the opportunity to gain a solid foundation in modern interdisciplinary biology in preparation for careers as professional biologists in industry, government, or education and research organizations or for further professional training.

Areas of specialization available through the Department of Biological Sciences are:

  • Wetlands Restoration
  • Parasitology and Microbiology
  • Morphological and Molecular Evolution
  • Speciation and Ecological Genetics
  • Nuclear structure and Function
  • Virology and cell communication
  • Comparative & Ecological Physiology
  • Cellular Mechanism in Skin
  • Scientific Inquiry in Learning and Teaching
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Exercise Physiology
  • Freshwater Ecosystems
  • Large-scale ecology, Conservation, and Forest Ecology

Instructional areas within the department consist of formal course work, laboratory research, and special topic seminars. In order to provide flexibility and an interdisciplinary approach, specific prerequisites for many graduate courses are not listed. However, areas of prior training are recommended for students in order to obtain maximum benefits. In addition, the other life science departments (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology) as well as the Departments of Chemistry, Geological Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics, Physics, Psychology, and the College of Engineering and Computer Science, currently offer courses that support the biology program. A graduate in biology, therefore, may receive exposure to subjects in the field of specialization, in related biological fields, and in supporting disciplines outside the department.

Students may pursue an M.S. degree in biology through one of two options. Option 1 requires the submission and oral defense of a thesis based on original research performed while enrolled as a graduate student at the university. Although there is little specific course work required for this option, candidates will be advised to enroll in graduate-level courses deemed appropriate for successful understanding of the research to be undertaken. Option 2 is a course work 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. The desired option can be elected by students only after consultation with the chair of the graduate committee. Consideration for electing the appropriate option must be given to the availability of research topics and advisors and to the student’s research and educational interests.

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. If a student is uncertain of a major field of interest or of an appropriate option, the department graduate committee will assign a temporary advisor who will function in place of an advisory committee until the student selects an option and is accepted by an advisory professor.

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.

For additional information on the department and its programs, you might wish to consult our web site at http://biology.wright.edu. (http://biology.wright.edu.)

Admissions Requirements:

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 course work 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 grading scale. Letters of recommendation and GRE General Test scores are also used in evaluating students for admission. MCAT and LSAT scores can substitute for GRE scores.


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 presently is being renovated. It contains approximately 100,000 square feet and houses facilities of the Biological Sciences; Biomedical Sciences; Clinical Laboratory Science; and the Neuroscience, Cell Biology, and Physiology. The new Matthew O. Diggs III Laboratory for Life Science Research, which opened in November 2007 is at the forefront of “green” building design. The facility is one of the first university research laboratories in Ohio registered under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

The LEED Green Building Rating System(TM) is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability through a variety of energy-saving methods. A research laboratory typically consumes four times more energy than a normal classroom building, but the new facility will use far less energy than most facilities of its kind.

The green building technologies in the 45,000-square-foot building include:

  1. A 30 percent reduction in water use by installing waterless urinals, low- flow lavatories and other plumbing fixtures;
  2. A reduction in “heat island effect” through an Energy Star roof that reflects more sunlight back into the atmosphere using fewer dark surfaces;
  3. Day lighting to 75 percent of the building through vertical glazing, which accepts more winter solar heat;
  4. Sunshading devices that help manage solar heat gain;
  5. Low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emitting adhesives and sealants, paints, carpet and composite wood are used throughout;
  6. At least 75 percent of the waste from construction and demolition will be recycled or salvaged, instead of sent to landfills and incinerators;
  7. Reduced energy consumption through heat recovery, efficient HVAC equipment and increased insulation;
  8. Continuous measurement and verification of energy consumption.

The department maintains classrooms and research laboratories with specialized instrument rooms, cold rooms, constant temperature rooms, animal rooms, a greenhouse, radioisotope laboratories, an electron microscopy center including complete darkroom capability. Major items of available research equipment include liquid scintillation counter; amino acid analyzer; infrared, visible, and ultraviolet spectrophotometers; spectrofluorometer; DNA and protein chip technology; flow cytometer; epifluorescence and confocal microscope; greenhouse and experimental garden; field and aquatic sampling gear; preparative ultracentifuges; 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, with the scientific complex of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and with several facilities that are affiliated with the Wright State University School of Medicine.

For additional information:

Program Requirements:

Students who are candidates for the Master of Science degree in biology must meet the following requirements:

  1. The candidate must complete a minimum of 30 semester credits. A maximum of 8 credits of graduate courses may be transferred from other institutions. At least 20 semester hours must be at the 6000-8000 level in biological sciences and related fields.
  2. One course in scientific or technical writing (such as BIO 6080  or ENG 5330 and 5440) is required.
  3. Candidates must be registered in the quarter in which they defend their thesis.
  4. The candidate must maintain a 3.0 cumulative average; no more than 6 credit hours of “C” grades may be applied to the degree.
  5. The degree options have the following requirements:

Option 1: Thesis Option

  • Candidates must complete at least three graduate seminars. Two of the three seminars must be offered by the Department of Biological Sciences faculty as BIO 8000 .
  • The College of Science and Mathematics requires a Program of Study to be filed with the Graduate School by the second week of the second semester of enrollment for full-time students, and by the time 12 hours have been taken for part-time students.
  • Candidates must submit an approved thesis proposal with the Graduate Committee by the end of the second semester. This proposal should be prepared in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. Students who have not done so will not be permitted to continue enrollment in BIO 8990  (Graduate Research). Upon acceptance of the thesis proposal by the advisory committee, one copy is filed in the graduate student’s file. Research may deviate from the original proposal; however, suitable supplementary information must be submitted to the advisory committee.
  • Candidates must submit and orally defend a thesis based on original research performed while enrolled as a graduate student at the university.

Option 2: Coursework Option

  • Candidates must complete 30 credit hours of graduate course work. For all Option 2 students, except those in the Environmental Sciences program, a maximum of 8 credits can be earned in departments other than life science departments.
  • Four graduate seminars are required, two of which must be taken in the Department of Biological Sciences.
  • Candidates must form an advisory committee and file a Program of Study by the second week of the second semester before the end of their second semester (or 17 credit hours).
  • Candidates must complete 4-6 credit hours of BIO 6990  (Special Problems in Biology). A copy of their written report must be put in the student’s department file. A maximum of 4 credit hours of BIO 699 and BIO 899 together can apply to degree requirements.
  • Candidates must write a critical review (BIO 7990 ) and pass an oral exam administered by the advisory committee upon completion of course work. A maximum of 4 credit hours of BIO 7990  can apply to degree requirements.

Total: 30 Hours


Seminars are 1 credit hour courses and may be 7 or 14 weeks (instructor decision).