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Graduate Program

Graduate Program

The Department of Biology offers two graduate degrees: the Master of Science (with a thesis) and the Master of Arts (without a thesis) (see Degree Requirements MS, MA).  The Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS) administers the graduate program.  Following is information about the organization of the biology graduate program.

 I.  Degree Requirements

Click here to view the current graduate catalog

  • M.S.:  24 hours of coursework + 6 hours of thesis
  • M.A.:  36 hours of coursework
  • Required courses:  Scientific Presentation (BIOL 60001)


(1) Students must obtain approval from the Chair of COGS for more than 3 hours of “Assigned Problems” (BIOL 70950)
(2) All adds/drops after classes begin MUST be approved by the Chair of COGS

II.  Committee on Graduate Studies (COGS)

The role of COGS is to review graduate student applications, apply for student stipends/tuition, monitor graduate student progress, serve as a “Graduate Advisory Committee” for MA students, review Adkins proposals for summer research, and advocate for graduate students and the graduate program.

Dr. Amanda Hale is the Chair of COGS and the current members of COGS are Drs. Chumley, Drenner and Jeffries

III.  Graduate Advisory Committee


  • Guide/provide constructive criticism on research
  • Help select/approve coursework


  • Major Advisor + (at least) two other faculty members.  Faculty members from outside the university can serve on MS thesis committees.  To serve on MS thesis committees, faculty members outside the university must be appointed to the Graduate Faculty by the College of Science and Engineering.

Highly recommended that you:

  • Form your thesis advisory committee early
  • Meet regularly and keep your committee informed about your coursework and research progress

IV.  Adkins Fund Proposals

The Adkins Fund is an endowed fund that provides $3,600 summer salary stipends for graduate students to conduct their research.

M.S. students work with their major professor and graduate committee to put together a proposal for Adkins Fund support. The student also presents a 15-min seminar to students and faculty in the department as part of Scientific Presentation.

V.  Travel

M.S. students may receive up to $1,000 of travel support to present their thesis research at a scientific meeting.

VI.  Guidelines for Normal Progress for M.S. students

First semester:

  • Discussions with individual faculty regarding research and possible thesis topics
  • Select major thesis advisor

Second semester:

  • Select graduate advisory committee
  • Meet with advisory committee to discuss project and coursework
  • Submit Adkins Fund proposal and present seminar to department as part of Scientific Presentation

Third Semester:

  • Committee Meeting:  discuss research progress and review coursework

Fourth Semester


  • Committee meeting to discuss research, coursework, expanded thesis outline.
  • Obtain schedule of deadlines for graduation from College website


  • First draft of thesis to committee.
  • File “Intent to Graduate Form” with College. 


  • Final draft to committee
  • Final draft of thesis must be submitted to Dean at least five days prior to thesis defense.


  • Final Oral Exam
  • All materials to College, library, and department.

May:  Graduation!!