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    University of Memphis
   
 
  Dec 13, 2017
 
 
    
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog

Biological Sciences, (MS)


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MS Degree Program


Program objectives are: (1) understand biological principles, concepts, and theories, and in-depth knowledge in a chosen specialty; (2) develop expertise in experimental design, data analysis, and oral and written presentation of research results; and (3) become competitive for professional positions in the biological sciences.

Program Admission


  1. Application to The University of Memphis Graduate School. Application can be made on-line (http://apply.memphis.edu/ and http://www.memphis.edu/biology/graduate/).
  2. Official transcripts of all previous academic coursework must be sent directly to The University of Memphis Graduate Admissions from the issuing institution. An overall minimum grade point average of 2.75 (on a 4.0 scale) at the undergraduate level is usually competitive. Applicants whose highest degree is from a foreign institution must have their credentials evaluated by any credentialing agency listed on the National Association of Credential Evaluation Services’ website. The course-by-course report is required.
    1. Applicants must have satisfactorily completed (“C” or better) three upper division courses within the following six areas: Ecology, Genetics, Cell Biology, Microbiology, Physiology, and Evolution.
    2. Students must have satisfactorily completed (“C” or better) five courses within the following nine areas: General Chemistry I, General Chemistry II, Organic Chemistry I, Organic Chemistry II, Biochemistry, Physics I, Physics II, Calculus, and Statistics. Other courses in the sciences may substitute for these requirements.
  3. The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is required and scores for the Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical Writing sections are an important factor in the admission process. GRE scores should be submitted directly to The University of Memphis Graduate Admissions by the testing agency.
  4. Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Student Application, to be submitted in an online fillable form (http://www.memphis.edu/biology/graduate/graduate-application.php).
  5. A written letter from a prospective advisor within the Department of Biological Sciences that states that he/she will accept the applicant and how the student will be funded while in the program must be submitted to the Department of Biological Sciences. Applicants for the Master’s degree are expected to have made prior contact with potential research advisors in the department’s graduate program. This is a critical first step; no applicants will be accepted without an advisor. Faculty research interests are listed on the departmental website; applicants are encouraged to interact directly with those faculty members who have research interests that match their own interests.
  6. Two letters of recommendation from persons capable of assessing the applicant’s suitability for graduate work in biology must be submitted to the Department of Biological Sciences.
  7. International students for whom English is not their native language must submit proof that they have taken the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL); acceptable minimums are 550 for paper-based (PBT) and 79 for internet-based (IBT) exams. International applicants for Graduate Teaching Assistantships in the Department of Biological Sciences must obtain a score of 26 or higher on the spoken English component of the TOEFL iBT. Alternatively, applicants must take the SPEAK test (Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit) and obtain a score of 50 or higher in order to be appointed as a Teaching Assistant. The SPEAK test is The University of Memphis version of the TSE (Test of Spoken English), which was produced by Educational Testing Service.

Program Requirements (Thesis)


  1. A minimum of 30 semester hours is required beyond the baccalaureate degree, of which 21 must be at the 7000 level.
  2. A grade point average of 3.0 must be maintained. A student whose grade point average drops below 3.0 will have one semester to raise his or her GPA to 3.0 or better. Continuation of a student who fails to reach a 3.0 overall GPA during two semesters while in the graduate program is at the discretion of the Graduate Studies Committee (in consultation with the student’s advisory committee).
  3. BIOL 7000 , BIOL 7004 , BIOL 7102 , BIOL 7200 , BIOL 7600 , and BIOL 7996 . Attendance at departmental seminars is mandatory. BIOL 7000  must be completed during the first year of residence and BIOL 7600  in the last semester.
  4. All students are required to take and pass a written and oral Comprehensive Examination administered by the student’s advisory committee usually before the end of their fifth semester in residence. The scope of this examination is broad and includes a review of general biological principles. This exam must be taken at least one semester prior to graduation.
  5. Presentation of research (BIOL 7600 ) and a thesis (BIOL 7996 ) as approved by the student’s Advisory Committee. NOTE: Students electing to write a thesis should familiarize themselves with the Thesis/Dissertation Preparation Guide before starting to write.
  6. Pass a final oral examination administered by the student’s advisory committee. This exam is a defense of the thesis research and is usually taken in the student’s final semester.

Program Requirements (Non-Thesis)


  1. A minimum of 36 semester hours of graduate courses is required, of which 26 must be at the 7000 level. The total number of semester hours required for graduation will be determined by the student’s advisory committee based on academic background. No more than 3 semester hours can be satisfied by BIOL 7092 .
  2. BIOL 7000 , BIOM 7004 , and BIOL 7200 . BIOL 7000  must be completed during the first year of residence. Attendance at departmental seminars is mandatory. Though students will not present in BIOL 7200 , their participation is expected.
  3. A grade point average of 3.0 must be maintained. A student whose grade point average drops below 3.0 will have one semester to raise his or her GPA to 3.0 or better. Continuation of a student who fails to reach a 3.0 overall GPA during two semesters while in the graduate program is at the discretion of the Graduate Studies Committee (in consultation with the student’s Advisory Committee).
  4. All students are required to take and pass a written and oral Comprehensive Examination, administered by the student’s advisory committee usually before the end of their fifth semester in residence. The scope of this examination is broad and includes a review of general biological principles.

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