Apr 15, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
    
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Biology, M.S.


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College of Arts and Sciences  
Departments:

  • Molecular Biosciences
  • Integrative Biology

Concentrations:

  • Cell Biology and Molecular Biology
  • Ecology and Evolution
  • Environmental and Ecological Microbiology
  • Physiology and Morphology

 


Because of the many undergraduate courses that require hands-on experimental laboratories, both MB and IB support many graduate students as Teaching Assistants. MB and IB values high quality teaching at all levels of instruction. Research Assistant positions also are available to support research with specific faculty members depending on an individual faculty members funding. Numerous scholarship opportunities are also offered on a competitive basis through the USF Office of Graduate Studies.

Application to the Biology Major is through one of the two departments, with students selecting a formal Concentration. Refer to the Concentration listing in the Catalog for specific information and requirements.

The Department of Integrative Biology is committed to train the next generation of graduate students to prepare them for professional success in the biological sciences. Our program of graduate study is designed to foster the development of technical and analytical skills used in existing and emerging fields of discovery. The Department of Integrative Biology emphasizes learning and teaching about the interactions, across all scales, among humans and other diverse organisms in a range of environments. These interactions mediate the resilience of natural biotic systems, and enhance the sustainability of products and processes that are beneficial to ecosystems and consequently to human well-being. Thus, our mission is to create new knowledge and promote learning about ecosystem health and sustainability.

The mission of the Department of Molecular Biosciences (MB) is to prepare graduate students for professional careers in academia, government or industry in the areas of Cell Biology, Microbiology, and Molecular Biology. We pursue excellence in the following programmatic research areas: genome integrity and mechanisms of aging, bacterial pathogenesis and resistance, structural and computational biology.

Major Research Areas: Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, Signal Transduction and Gene Regulation, Cancer Biology, Developmental Biology, Microbiology, Ecology and Evolution, Environmental and Ecological Microbiology, Physiology and Morphology

Admission Information

Must meet University Admission and English Proficiency requirements as well as requirements for admission to the major, listed below.

  • Prospective students must apply to the Biology M.S. major with a specific concentration via the online application process through the USF Office of Admissions.
  • GRE is not required.
  • Acceptance by a faculty member in the IB or MB Department is MANDATORY. The Departments will make every effort to pair potential graduate students with appropriate faculty; however, it is recommended that applicants make direct contact with individual faculty via email to indicate an interest in the research being conducted in their laboratory.
  • It is expected that candidates for the M.S. degrees will have completed courses equivalent to those required for the B.S. in Biology at U.S.F.
  • Interviews may be required.  
  • Three letters of recommendation from faculty in sealed envelopes (on their university letterhead) with the envelope seal signed by the recommender. Students shall complete a Student Recommendation Form that can be found on the MB and IB website and submit it to the recommenders. 
  • A brief essay stating your intended field of research and professional goals. Please indicate your specific research interests, in order that we may refer your application to appropriate MB or IB faculty members. In the essay, please list 2-3 MB or IB faculty members that you would like to have review your file.

Curriculum Requirements


The Master’s Degree Requirements should be completed in two to three years. Students must choose a specific concentration in the M.S. degree that will be completed within either the MB or IB Department.

Total Minimum Hours - 30 post-bachelor’s

  • Core Requirements - 6 credit hours
  • Concentration (required) - 15 credit hours minimum
  • Non-Thesis (electives) or Thesis (Seminar/Thesis) - 9 credit hours minimum\

Core Requirements (6 Credit Hours)


Concentration Requirements


Students must select one of the following Concentrations.

Cell Biology and Molecular Biology (15 credit hours minimum)


Students select courses from the following (15 Credit hours minimum), or other graduate course approved by the supervisory committee.

Ecology and Evolution (15 credit hours minimum)


  • Credit Hours: 3
  •  

    Course work selected from the list below, or other graduate course approved by the Graduate Committee. The graduate student, major professor and Graduate committee will establish the specific courses for each graduate student. Specific course training beyond this point will be determined in each individual case by the special needs of the student as decided by the student’s Graduate Committee.

     

  • Credit Hours: 1-4
  • Selected Topics Include:

    • Comparative Approaches in Evolution (3 Credit Hours)
    • Marine Botany (4 Credit Hours)
  • Credit Hours: 3
  • Credit Hours: 1-4
  • Selected Topics Include: 

    • Advances in Marine Ecology (1 Credit Hour)
    • Scientific Writing (2 Credit Hours)
    • Advances in Population Biology (1 Credit Hour)
    • Advances in Herpetology (1 Credit Hour)
  • Credit Hours: 4
  • Credit Hours: 1-3

Environmental and Ecological Microbiology (15 credit hours minimum)


Physiology and Morphology (15 credit hours minimum)


  • Credit Hours: 3
  •  

  • Course work selected from the list below, or other graduate course approved by the Graduate Committee. The graduate student, major professor and Graduate committee will establish the specific courses for each graduate student. Specific course training beyond this point will be determined in each individual case by the special needs of the student as decided by the student’s Graduate Committee.

  •  

  • Credit Hours: 1-4
  • Selected Topics Include:

    • Comparative Approaches in Education (3 Credit Hours)
    • Ecological and Functional Morphology (3 Credit Hours)
  • Credit Hours: 1-4
  • Selected Topics Include:

    • Advances in Physiology (1 credit hour)
    • Ecoimmunology (3 credit hours)
    • Ornithology (3 credit hours)
    • Physiology of Movement (3 credit hours)
    • Ichthyology (4 credit hours)
  • Credit Hours: 4

Comprehensive Oral Qualifying Examination


A comprehensive examination (thesis proposal, seminar/presentation and defense of thesis proposal) is required for all master’s students. This examination is open to all departmental faculty. Students must take their comprehensive exam within two semesters of matriculation and the exam is normally taken after the completion of all formal course work. Thesis students must take the examination at least one semester before the thesis is presented.

Non-Thesis (9 credit hours)


For students enrolled in the non-thesis program a minimum of 9 hours of elective courses taken beyond the concentration and core requirements, and a review paper of a topic approved by the supervisory committee is required as well as successful completion of the comprehensive oral qualifying exam after all course work has been completed. For non-thesis master’s students, this exam will occur at the end of the program of study.

Thesis (9 hours)


  • Credit Hours: 1
  •  

  • All thesis students must present a seminar to the Department and must be enrolled in BSC 6935, during the final semester. The seminar should be a concise summary of the research completed to satisfy the requirements for the M.S. Degree. The seminar is open to the general public and must be announced two weeks prior to the presentation. Upon completion of the seminar, the general public will be invited to ask questions. At the discretion of the student’s graduate committee, members of the committee may continue to question the graduate student after the general public has departed the seminar room. Each student is expected to defend his/her research to the unanimous satisfaction of the graduate committee.

    Seminar requirement: One presentation, excluding the thesis seminar and defense. Students should present posters or oral presentations based on their thesis research at national/regional professional meetings. The student’s graduate committee must approve the presentation.  

    Presentation of the thesis seminar (BSC 6935) and successful defense of the thesis.

     

  • Credit Hours: 2-19 (8 credit hours minimum)
  •  

  • Submission of a thesis proposal and approval by the major professor, graduate committee and graduate director.
    A minimum of eight (8) thesis research credit hours (BSC 6971).  Thesis research should be publishable and students are encouraged to publish their findings.

Degree Progress


A student must be registered for an appropriate load (in no case fewer than two [2] graduate hours) in the College for the semester in which all degree requirements are satisfactorily completed. A student who receives three grades below “B” in structured courses required by the advisory committee will be dropped from the program. Registration in courses entitled Directed Research; thesis must be with the approval of the major professor and must be commensurate with each student’s research plan. Students may not register in Thesis: Master’s until a Supervisory Committee has been formed and completed the oral qualifying examination. A student who enrolls in courses entitled Thesis: Master’s but does not submit a thesis will not be certified for graduation.

Department Handbooks


Department Handbooks  
IB: http://biology.usf.edu/ib/forms-library/
MB: http://biology.usf.edu/cmmb/grad/forms/

 

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