Master of Arts in Biological and Environmental Sciences

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

*The Biological and Environmental Science program is currently not accepting any students into the program.

Faculty  P. Boily; N. Connally; J. Cordeira; R. Gyure; M. Monette; T. Philbrick; T. Pinou (Graduate Coordinator); R. Prunier; S. Wagener; E. Wong 

Program Overview and Mission

The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Biological and Environmental Sciences degree program provides an opportunity for advanced study through intensive classroom presentations, seminars, laboratory and field experiences.

The M.A. program enables students to: pursue industrial, public service, or technical careers in the biological and environmental sciences; upgrade their knowledge in support of secondary school teaching; prepare for further studies leading to the Ph.D. in biology.

Learning Goals and Objectives

A student completing an M.A. in Biological and Environmental Sciences should

  • demonstrate an understanding of the scientific process and be able to apply it to designing and analyzing biological experiments
  • demonstrate an in-depth understanding of the factual and theoretical bases of one or more areas of biology
  • be able to communicate effectively in both oral and written presentations
  • acquire the specific knowledge and understanding needed to further his or her professional career
  • possess the computer and library skills necessary to continue learning beyond the M.A. degree, as well as information relevant to his or her specific interests and needs

Admission Requirements

A student seeking admission to the M.A. in Biological and Environmental Sciences program must meet the following requirements in addition to the general requirements described in this graduate catalog:

  • Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree in the biological sciences with a GPA of at least 2.70, or equivalent background. Applicants with an undergraduate GPA of less than 2.70, or with an undergraduate degree in a field other than biology, may be required to submit scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in biology in support of their application. Both the undergraduate record and GRE scores will then be considered.
  • A narrative statement describing the student’s career goals and an explantion as to why the student would like to pursue a graduate degree; in particular, students should cite why they are seeking admission to Western Connecticut State University. 

Final admission requires approval by the program coordinator and the dean of arts and sciences.

Degree Requirements

Advising Committee

Each student will choose an adviser based on his or her interests. After the student completes six credits with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, the student and adviser will then choose two other faculty members to compose the student’s committee. A committee member from outside the department of biological and environmental sciences must be approved by the department.

Course Work and Related Requirements

Students must complete 24 to 30 semester hours of course work, depending upon choice of the thesis or non-thesis option, and must pass a final examination. A cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 is required for graduation.

Master of Arts in Biological and Environmental Sciences

a.  Required Course: BIO 500 Graduate Seminar 3 SH

b.  Additional Course Requirements: 21 to 27 SH to be chosen from the following list:

BIO 504     Limnology 3 SH
BIO 510     Current Topics in Biology 3 SH 
BIO 530     Population Genetics  3 SH 
BIO 516     Current Topics in Cell and Molecular Biology  4 SH 
BIO 535     Advanced Molecular Biology  4 SH 
BIO 536     Molecular Oncology  3 SH
BIO 537     Molecular Endocrinology  3 SH 
BIO 538     Molecular Mechanisms of Animal Development 3 SH
BIO 539     Molecular Biology of Prokaryotes 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  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 

Other 500-level BIO courses may be added to this list. A student should see the program coordinator before taking a BIO course not on this list. A maximum of six semester hours in 400-level courses may be applied to the degree. Some 400- or 500-level courses from other departments may be approved by the student’s committee. A student should obtain committee approval before taking a course in another department.

c.  Thesis or nonthesis option. Students will choose from the following options:

1. Thesis. A minimum of 24 semester hours of course work, plus a thesis. All courses must be approved by the student’s committee. The thesis proposal must be approved by the student’s committee, the program coordinator, and the school dean. Thesis students will be required to present their research in a department seminar.

2. Nonthesis. A minimum of 30 semester hours in a planned program of courses. All courses must be approved by the student’s committee.

d. Final Examination

Thesis students must pass a thesis defense. Nonthesis students must pass a comprehensive examination. The examination or thesis defense will be administered by the student’s committee during the student’s final semester. The student’s GPA must be at least 3.0 at the time of the thesis defense or comprehensive examination.

e.  Grade Point Average

A student’s cumulative GPA must be at least 3.0 to be eligible for graduation.