WCSU Graduate Catalog 2018-2019


Master of Science in Integrative Biological Diversity

Theodora Pinou, CSCU Graduate Coordinator, SB 242 (203) 837-8793
Lisa Taylor, Department Secretary, SB 220 (203) 837-8791
Fax: (203) 837-8769


Participating WCSU Faculty  N. Connally; J. Cordeira; K. Giamanco; M. Monette; T. Philbrick; T. Pinou; R. Prunier; H. Reynolds; E. Wong. 


Partnering Organizations and Associations:

Southern Connecticut State University; Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History; Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; Housatonic River Valley Association; Candlewood Lake Authority; Woodcock Nature Center; Norwalk AquariumAtlantic Marine Conservation Society; Connecticut Audobon; FirstLight Power Resources; Cape Eleuthra Institute; Great Hallow Nature Preserve and Ecological Research Center; The Leatherback Trust; The University of Guadalajara CUCBA; and The University of Athens.   

Program Overview and Mission

The 30 credit Master of Science (MS) degree in Integrative Biological Diversity brings together graduate courses and faculty expertise across the Connecticut State Colleges and University System (CSCU) to train students to 1.) use molecular methods to assess organismal diversity and environmental health; 2.) examine, quantify and describe organismal diversity across temporal and spatial scales by using technologies such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and 3.) communicate to stake- holders the importance and sustainability of biological resources. Students will have the opportunity to collaborate with local partnering companies, organizations, and state agencies in order to help prepare for careers in ecosystem management and reclamation, policy and environmental consulting, sustainable business, education and non-­government organizations. This program is available to secondary education teachers and others who are interested in a graduate-level degree that focuses on the ecological, physiological, and natural history of biological organisms. The program is also for students interested in attending doctoral programs in the future. Students can enroll full-time or part-time. Only full time students are eligible for graduate assistantships and/or grant funded training fellowships.

The Master of Science in Integrative Biological Diversity requires that all students engage in biodiversity monitoring as a component of stewardship, and learn to communicate the importance of diversity to human health and the conservation of resources.

Students are required to participate in courses at a minimum of two CSCU campuses for degree completion, and to present their work at an annual conference.

Learning Goals and Objectives

The MS in Integrative Biological Diversity will produce professionals who

  • can define diversity and explain the interconnections of organisms that are the result of millions of years of coexistence and adaptation,
  • are able to measure and monitor biodiversity using spatial and temporal dimensions,
  • understand the adaptive relationship between form and function and mechanisms that control this relationship, and
  • strive to maintain biodiversity through policy, sustainable development, and science.

Admission Requirements

The program is open to all students enrolled in current Biology or Environmental related graduate programs. New applicants are required to have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited school. The student should have an undergraduate cumulative average of at least 3.0 on a GPA scale of 1-4 in the appropriate academic areas, or recommendation by the graduate program coordinator. Social science majors with biology or natural sciences backgrounds are also encouraged to apply.


To complete an application: Graduate Application

Degree Requirements

MS in Integrative Biological Diversity includes a total of 30 credits in two options.

Option 1: 27 credits of coursework, and 3 credits of stewardship.

Option 2: 21 credits of coursework, 3 credits of stewardship, 6 credits of thesis.

Hybrid Stewardship Seminar:

Stewardship and Climate Change are points of synthesis for students participating in this program. A 1 credit hybrid Stewardship Seminar will introduce graduate students to the theory and practice of stewardship, and expose them to participating CSCU faculty, the habitats they study, and their collaborators. It will be required for all new students, and the hybrid course may rotate campuses every fall.

Applied Stewardship Experience:

Students who successfully complete the hybrid Steward Seminar will engage in applied stewardship (2 credits) with a faculty of appropriate disciplinary expertise. Students will commit to 6 hours per week of biodiversity monitoring, and work with faculty experts to map and record their study organism(s). Maps and records of student work will be added to the program database of Study Taxa.

Master of Science in Integrative Biological Diversity

Required courses  9 SH
Hybrid Stewardship Seminar  1 SH
Applied Stewardship  2 SH
Climate Change (SCSU/EVA 559)  3 SH
Technology Course (several options)  3 SH
Electives courses 21 SH
Thesis Track 15 SH
Thesis Research (for thesis track only)   6 SH
Non-Thesis Track 21 SH
Total Credits 30 SH
All students will participate in an annual stewardship conference


Available WCSU Courses:

Students should consult courses available at Southern Connecticut State University Department of Biology and the Department of Environment, Geography, and Marine Sciences for additional course options. A designation of “T” indicates technology course.

BIO 5XX   Stewardship Seminar 1 SH
BIO 5XX   Applied Stewardship 2 SH
BIO 504     Limnology 3 SH
BIO 530     Population Genetics (T) 3 SH 
BIO 538     Molecular Mechanisms of Animal Development 3 SH
BIO 539     Molecular Biology of Prokaryotes (T) 3 SH
BIO 540     Aquatic Vascular Plants  4 SH
BIO 543     Stream Ecology  4 SH 
BIO 545     Advanced Systematic Biology  3 SH 
BIO 551     Soil Ecology  3 SH 
BIO 555     Environmental Physiology (T)  3 SH 
BIO 556     Herpetology  4  SH
BIO 560     Behavioral Ecology 3 SH 
BIO 565     Topics in Animal Behavior  3 SH 
BIO 592     Independent Thesis Research  1-6 SH 
BIO 598     Faculty-Developed Study  1-4 SH
BIO 599     Student-Developed Study 1-6 SH