WCSU Graduate Catalog 2020-21


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 (Department Chair); R. Prunier; H. Reynolds; E. Wong. 


Program Overview and Mission

The Master of Science (MS) degree in Integrative Biological Diversity blends the biological and environmental sciences with current social issues in order to train students to assess, manage, and think critically about biodiversity issues. The Integrative Biological Diversity degree combines graduate courses with faculty expertise across the Connecticut State Colleges and University (CSCU) System. Students have opportunities to collaborate with partnering organizations to engage in real-world practice. This program is suitable for secondary education teachers, current environmental science professionals, and others who are interested in a graduate-level biology degree that focuses on the ecological, physiological, and natural history of biological organisms.

Learning Goals

The MS in Integrative Biological Diversity develops environmentally-responsible stewards that can apply scientific thinking to conserve biological resources, manage biodiversity, and address the concerns of stakeholders.


Students in the MS in Integrative Biological Diversity program will:

  1. Apply the use of technologies (e.g. molecular methods or use of geographic information systems) to assess biological diversity and/or environmental health.
  2. examine, quantify and describe organismal diversity across temporal and spatial scales (e.g. using geographic or phylogenetic analysis)
  3. communicate with stakeholders about critical issues surrounding biodiversity (e.g., climate change, sustainability, emerging infectious diseases).

Learning Outcomes:

The MS in Integrative Biological Diversity will produce professionals who

  1. can define diversity and explain the interconnections of organisms that are the result of millions of years of coexistence and adaptation,
  2. are able to measure and monitor biodiversity using fundamental ecological techniques as well as in spatial and temporal dimensions,
  3. understand the adaptive relationship between form and function and mechanisms that control this relationship, and
  4. strive to maintain biodiversity through policy, sustainable development, and stewardship.

Admission Requirements

A student wishing to obtain a MS in Integrated Biological Diversity must hold a baccalaureate degree in biology, environmental science, or related program. The program welcomes students from diverse educational backgrounds (including non-science majors) who have experience or have completed previous coursework in biodiversity. The applicant should have an undergraduate cumulative average of at least 3.0 on a GPA scale of 1 –­ 4 or a recommendation from the graduate program coordinator. Prospective students should submit all undergraduate transcripts and a 500 word essay explaining why they would like to join the program. Students can enroll full-time or part-time, but only full-time students who successfully complete the stewardship seminar are eligible for graduate assistantships and/or grant-funded training fellowships. The deadline to submit an application for Fall admission is March 15.

All materials should be forwarded to the Office of Graduate Admissions, Western Connecticut State university, 181 White Street, Danbury CT 06897 or sent as an attachment to graduateadmissions@wcsu.edu.

To learn more about the program and apply, visit MS Integrative Biological Diversity


To complete an application: Graduate Application

Degree Requirements

MS in Integrative Biological Diversity requires the completion of a total of 30 credits in one of 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.

Students also must take courses from a minimum of two CSUS campuses and present at a scientific conference.

Master of Science in Integrative Biological Diversity

Required courses  9 SH
Hybrid Stewardship Seminar  1 SH
Applied Stewardship  2 SH
Climate Change (SCSU/EVE 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:

A designation of “T” indicates technology course.

BIO 505   Stewardship Seminar 1 SH
BIO 506   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