The program leading to the Master of Science provides students with the opportunity to gain a solid foundation in modern interdisciplinary biology in preparation for careers as professional biologists in industry, government, or education and research organizations or for further professional training.
Areas of specialization available through the Department of Biological Sciences are:
- Wetlands Restoration
- Parasitology and Microbiology
- Morphological and Molecular Evolution
- Speciation and Ecological Genetics
- Nuclear structure and Function
- Virology and cell communication
- Comparative & Ecological Physiology
- Cellular Mechanism in Skin
- Scientific Inquiry in Learning and Teaching
- Evolutionary Biology
- Exercise Physiology
- Freshwater Ecosystems
- Large-scale ecology, Conservation, and Forest Ecology
Instructional areas within the department consist of formal course work, laboratory research, and special topic seminars. In order to provide flexibility and an interdisciplinary approach, specific prerequisites for many graduate courses are not listed. However, areas of prior training are recommended for students in order to obtain maximum benefits. In addition, the other life science departments (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Pharmacology and Toxicology) as well as the Departments of Chemistry, Geological Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics, Physics, Psychology, and the College of Engineering and Computer Science, currently offer courses that support the biology program. A graduate in biology, therefore, may receive exposure to subjects in the field of specialization, in related biological fields, and in supporting disciplines outside the department.
Students may pursue an M.S. degree in biology through one of two options. Option 1 requires the submission and oral defense of a thesis based on original research performed while enrolled as a graduate student at the university. Although there is little specific course work required for this option, candidates will be advised to enroll in graduate-level courses deemed appropriate for successful understanding of the research to be undertaken. Option 2 is a course work option that requires the successful completion of 30 semester credits of graduate-level course work, including a critical literature review, a laboratory rotation, and a final oral examination. The desired option can be elected by students only after consultation with the chair of the graduate committee. Consideration for electing the appropriate option must be given to the availability of research topics and advisors and to the student's research and educational interests.
All candidates, regardless of the option chosen, are required to obtain a major advisor and an advisory committee. The advisory committee will help formulate a study program, provide counseling, and evaluate student progress. If a student is uncertain of a major field of interest or of an appropriate option, the department graduate committee will assign a temporary advisor who will function in place of an advisory committee until the student selects an option and is accepted by an advisory professor.
All candidates must meet requirements for the Master of Science degree defined in the section Degree Requirements. They must, in addition, meet the specific requirements of the option chosen.
To meet the minimum requirement for admission to the graduate program in biological sciences, applicants must fulfill the requirements for admission established by the Graduate School. In addition, a bachelor's degree in the biological or biochemical sciences including course work in organic chemistry, physics, and calculus is strongly recommended. Admission preference is given to students with a grade point average of 3.0 or better on a 4.0 grading scale. Letters of recommendation and GRE General Test scores are also used in evaluating students for admission. MCAT and LSAT scores can substitute for GRE scores.
The Department of biological Sciences is housed in two buildings, the Biological Sciences building and the Matthew O. Diggs Laboratory for Life Science Research. The Biological Sciences building was completed in 1975 and presently is being renovated. It contains approximately 100,000 square feet and houses facilities of the Biological Sciences; Biomedical Sciences; Clinical Laboratory Science; and the Neuroscience, Cell Biology, and Physiology. The new Matthew O. Diggs III Laboratory for Life Science Research, which opened in November 2007 is at the forefront of "green" building design. The facility is one of the first university research laboratories in Ohio registered under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
The LEED Green Building Rating System(TM) is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability through a variety of energy-saving methods. A research laboratory typically consumes four times more energy than a normal classroom building, but the new facility will use far less energy than most facilities of its kind.
The green building technologies in the 45,000-square-foot building include:
- A 30 percent reduction in water use by installing waterless urinals, low- flow lavatories and other plumbing fixtures;
- A reduction in "heat island effect" through an Energy Star roof that reflects more sunlight back into the atmosphere using fewer dark surfaces;
- Day lighting to 75 percent of the building through vertical glazing, which accepts more winter solar heat;
- Sunshading devices that help manage solar heat gain;
- Low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emitting adhesives and sealants, paints, carpet and composite wood are used throughout;
- At least 75 percent of the waste from construction and demolition will be recycled or salvaged, instead of sent to landfills and incinerators;
- Reduced energy consumption through heat recovery, efficient HVAC equipment and increased insulation;
- Continuous measurement and verification of energy consumption.
The department maintains classrooms and research laboratories with specialized instrument rooms, cold rooms, constant temperature rooms, animal rooms, a greenhouse, radioisotope laboratories, an electron microscopy center including complete darkroom capability. Major items of available research equipment include liquid scintillation counter; amino acid analyzer; infrared, visible, and ultraviolet spectrophotometers; spectrofluorometer; DNA and protein chip technology; flow cytometer; epifluorescence and confocal microscope; greenhouse and experimental garden; field and aquatic sampling gear; preparative ultracentifuges; nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer; mass spectrometer; a wide range of instruments for light microscopy; transmission and scanning electron microscopes; preparative and analytical chromatography instruments; specialized cell and tissue culture facilities, and facilities for recombinant DNA research; and computer services, A biological preserve plus additional wooded areas on campus totaling 200 acres provide opportunities for field-oriented research and teaching experiences. Nearby natural areas include an extensive wetlands and a wide variety of aquatic habitats.
The department has excellent working relationships with other departments on campus, with the scientific complex of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, and with several facilities that are affiliated with the Wright State University School of Medicine.
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