Master of Science in Biology


Our MS degree program has thesis research tracks in General Biology and in Applied Ecology, and non-thesis tracks in General Biology and Bioinformatics. Requirements are listed below. Many of our graduate students are employed as Graduate Assistants or Part-time Instructors, helping to teach our non-science-major labs under the direction of our PhD faculty. Prospective students should also visit the Graduate School web page, where an online application link is available. If you have questions, contact Dr.Oliver Oakley, Graduate Program Coordinator for the Department of Biological Sciences; Oliver.Oakley@eku.edu, 859-622-3057.

Thesis Track

Graduate students must complete a minimum of 30 graduate semester hours for the M.S. degree. The program of study must include:

  • Six hours of thesis research (BIO 891)
  • Six hours of 'Biology core' courses: Biology and Ethics (BIO 800; 1 hour), Scientific Literature and Writing (BIO 801; 2 hours), and a course in statistics (either BIO 810 or STA 700; 3 hours)
  • 18 additional hours in biology or related subject areas. Students completing a 30 hour program must have at least 12 hours of 800-level course credit, in addition to thesis research hours. Students may complete more than 30 hours of coursework, but at least 50% of non-thesis coursework must be at the 800-level.

All students must also:

  • Demonstrate their knowledge of biology and preparation for carrying out their thesis research by successfully passing an oral defense of their written thesis proposal (GRD 857A; exam administered by the student's graduate committee)
  • Pass an oral examination in defense of their thesis (GRD 858A)

Applied Ecology Option:

Students must also complete a minimum of 30 graduate semester hours and their program of study must include:

  • Six hours of thesis research (BIO 891)
  • Six hours of 'Biology core' courses: Biology and Ethics (BIO 800; 1 hour), Scientific Literature and Writing (BIO 801; 2 hours), and a course in statistics (either BIO 810 or STA 700; 3 hours)
  • Eight (8) hours of 'Applied Ecology core' courses: Aquatic Ecosystems (BIO 848; 3 hours), Field Methods in Ecology (BIO 849; 3 hours), and Dynamics of Ecosystems (BIO 850; 2 hours)
  • 10 additional hours of 700- or 800-level courses. Students completing a 30 hour program must have at least 12 hours of 800-level course credit, in addition to thesis research hours. Students may complete more than 30 hours of coursework, but at least 50% of non-thesis coursework must be at the 800-level.

Non-thesis Track

Graduate students must complete a minimum of 36 graduate semester hours for the M.S. degree. The program of study must include:

  • Nine hours of 'Biology core' courses: Biology and Ethics (BIO 800; 1 hour), Scientific Literature and Writing (BIO 801; 2 hours), Current Review of Biology (BIO 880; 3 hours), and a course in statistics (either BIO 810 or STA 700; 3 hours),
  • At least 12 additional hours of 800-level courses (in biology or related subject areas) plus 15 additional hours of 700- or 800-level courses (in biology or related subject areas)

All students must also:

  • Demonstrate their knowledge of biology and preparation for completing their research paper by successfully passing an oral defense of their written BIO 880 proposal (GRD 857A; exam administered by the student's graduate committee)
  • Pass an oral examination in defense of the review written for BIO 880 (Current Review of Biology)

Bioinformatics Option:

The Departments of Computer Science and Biological Sciences at Eastern Kentucky University currently offer MS degrees in Applied Computing and Biology, respectively. Students can choose the Bioinformatics Option either in the Computer Science department or Department of Biological Sciences. Either program involves approximately two years of academic study at EKU. In the third year of the program, students will then enter a research internship at the University of Louisville or UK School of Medicine, where they will apply their academic training and experience by engaging in a collaboration with a biomedical investigator. The goal of the program is to develop scientists with both appropriate skills in Computer Science and a full understanding of the nature of the biological questions under investigation. 

M.S. in Biology
Bioinformatic Option
M.S. in Applied Computing
Bioinformatic Option
Core Courses (6 hours): Core Courses (12 hours):
BIO 810 (3) – Biostatistics OR STA 700 (3) – Applied Statistical Inference
BIO 801 (2) – Scientific Literature and Writing in Biology
BIO 800 (1) – Biology and Ethics

CSC 730 (3) - Concepts of Programming Systems.
CSC 745 (3) - Theory of Database Systems

CSC 815 (3) - Computer Administration and Security
CSC 834 (3) - Software Engineering and Project Management I

Bioinformatic Option’s Courses (27 hours): Bioinformatic Option’s Courses (18 hours):

CSC 730 (3) - Concepts of Programming Systems.
CSC 831 (3) - Data Structures and Algorithms I
CSC 740 (3) - Database Programming OR CSC 745 (3) - Theory of Database Systems
BIO 711 (3) – Experimental Approaches in Molecular Biology

CECS 660 (3) – at University of Louisville

BIO 798 (3) AND BIO 881 (3)) - Applied Computing Project in Bioinformatics (Research at the University of Kentucky or University of Louisville transferred in to EKU as as BIO BIO 798 and 881)

 

BIO 810 (3) – Biostatistics OR STA 700 (3) – Applied Statistical Inference
BIO 731 (4) – Experimental Approaches in Molecular Biology
BIO 733 (3) – Bioinformatics  or CECS 660 (3) Bioinformatics at the University of Kentucky
BIO 800 (1) – Biology and Ethics

BIO 801 (2) - Scientific Literature and Writing

BIO 798 (2) AND BIO 881 (3) - Applied Computing Project in Bioinformatics (Research at the University of Kentucky or University of Louisville transferred in to EKU as as BIO 798 and 881)

Total hours = 33 Total hours = 30
  Contact the Computer Science Department for details

Undergraduate equivalents that may be required as prerequisites:

  • CS requirements: courses equivalent to CSC 190, 191, and 195 at Eastern Kentucky University
  • BIO requirements: courses equivalent to BIO 111 and 112, 315, and 348 at Eastern Kentucky University

 

Master of Science in Biology (Thesis Program)

    Biology Core       6 hours

    Electives       18 hours

    Thesis       6 hours

    Exit Requirement

    • GRD 857a: MS Biology Oral Comprehensive defense-of-thesis-proposal Exam
    • GRD 858a: MS Biology Oral Comprehensive Defense of Thesis Exam

    TOTAL CURRICULUM HOURS       30 hours


    Master of Science in Biology Applied Ecology Option (Thesis)

    Biology Core        6 hours

    Thesis       6 hours

    Applied Ecology       11 hours

    PLUS one course from:

    Electives       7 hours

    Exit Requirement

    • GRD 857a: MS Biology Oral Comprehensive defense-of-thesis-proposal Exam
    • GRD 858a: MS Biology Oral Comprehensive Defense of Thesis Exam

    TOTAL CURRICULUM REQUIREMENTS       30 hours


    Master of Science in Biology (Non-Thesis Program)

    Biology Core       6 hours

    Electives       27 hours

    Current Review in Biology       3 hours

    Exit Requirement

    • GRD 857a: MS Biology Oral Comprehensive defense-of-research-proposal Exam
    • GRD 858a: MS Biology Oral Comprehensive defense of BIO 880 research Exam

    TOTAL CURRICULUM REQUIREMENTS       36 hours*


    Master of Science in Biology Bioinformatics Option (Non-Thesis)

    Biology Core      6 hours

    Bioinformatics       27 hours

    Exit Requirement

    • GRD 857a: MS Biology Oral Comprehensive defense-of-applied-research proposal Exam
    • GRD 858a: MS Biology Oral Comprehensive defense-of-applied research Exam

    TOTAL CURRICULUM REQUIREMENTS       33 hours

    Courses equivalent to BIO 111 and BIO 112, or BIO 315, 348, CSC 190, 191, 195 may be required as prerequisites.


    Program EXIT Requirements

    Successfully passing the oral comprehensive examination (GRD 857a) and by successfully defending their thesis (or, if pursuing the non-thesis program, their current review BIO 880 paper, or applied research project if Bioinformatics option) in an oral examination (GRD 858a). 

    Thesis program — Six semester  hours of Thesis Research (BIO 891) are required in the 30-hour thesis program. A thesis based on the student’s research must be submitted. Eighteen hours of electives will complete the requirements for the degree. The Applied Ecology Option requires completion of  a thesis. Credit will not be given for BIO 880 (Current Review of Biology) or BIO 881 (Independent Study) in this program.

    Non-Thesis program — Three semester hours of BIO 880 (Current Review of Biology) are required in the 36-hour nonthesis program. Twenty-seven hours of electives will complete the requirements for the degree. The Applied Ecology Option cannot be completed under this plan. Credit will not be given for BIO 891 (Thesis Research) in this program.

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