Graduate Biology Program

Graduate Program Coordinator:
Dr. Justin Williams
Box 2116
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX 77341

Graduate Handbook
Graduate Catalog

Degrees Offered:

Master of Arts
Master of Science
Master of Education in Secondary Education

Biology, the study of living things, is an exciting and dynamic field that offers many areas of focus. Graduate studies in the biological sciences provide opportunities to study viruses, bacteria, protists, fungi, plants, and animals, and to investigate the biochemical, physiological, anatomical, behavioral, or ecological processes that make each organism unique. Specific areas of faculty research interests include. parasitology, systematics of insects and plants, vegetation mapping, animal, plant and bacterial physiology, cellular signal transduction, genomics, micro and macro evolution, vertebrate reproduction, animal mating systems, entomology, behavioral ecology, and ecology of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

The Department of Biological Sciences is located in the Lee Drain Building, which houses facilities including teaching and research laboratories, the Warner Herbarium, Sam Houston State Vertebrate Museum, Texas Bird Sound Library, an animal rearing facility, greenhouse, scanning electron microscope, and modern molecular biology research equipment. The Department also operates the Center for Biological Field Studies, a 250 acre field station within five miles of campus that is dedicated to research and teaching.

The Department of Biological Sciences offers MA and MS degrees in Biology and is a contributing partner to the interdisciplinary MS degree in Forensic Science along with the College of Criminal Justice and Department of Chemistry. The MS degree in Biology allows for specialization in one of several areas of Biology and is designed for those students planning to pursue careers in research or environmental biology with governmental agencies and industry. The MS degree in Biology is also appropriate for students planning to continue their training in PhD programs at other institutions or in professional schools. The MS degree in Forensic Science is a degree that prepares the student to work for or consult with various agencies in the criminal justice system.

The MA degree in Biology is primarily designed for secondary education teachers who wish to increase their competency in the field of biology. This degree is not recommended for students who plan to pursue doctoral studies. Students pursuing the Master of Education degree may specialize in Biology as a teaching field.

GRADUATE STUDENT SUPPORT 

Competitive teaching and research assistantships are available to graduate students in Biology through the Department of Biological Sciences and individual faculty members, respectively. Teaching assistantships pay a stipend of $13,014 over nine months each year for at least two years. To apply for a teaching assistantship, a TA Application should be completed and sent to Dr. Sibyl Bucheli, Graduate Committee Chair, Department of Biological Sciences, 1900 Avenue I, Box 2116, Huntsville, TX  77341-2116.  The deadline for TA applications is April 15 for admission in the fall and December 1 for admission in the spring. University scholarships are also available. The department also offers competitive research grants to support research activities and travel to scientific meetings.

Admission Requirements

Students seeking admission to the graduate program in the Biological Sciences must submit the Graduate Studies Application for Admission with the one-time application fee to the Office of Graduate Studies, official transcripts of all college-level work (including the transcript that shows the date the undergraduate degree was conferred), official GRE scores, and a statement of purpose. Two letters of recommendation from faculty in the undergraduate major field of study at the student’s undergraduate degree-granting institution are required with the application for admission.

To be granted regular admission to the graduate program, applicants must have an undergraduate degree in biology or a related field. Applicants having an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than biology must successfully complete the equivalent of an undergraduate minor in the biological sciences before being considered for regular admission. For regular admission to the graduate program, applicants must also have a GRE score and undergraduate GPA in concordance with the following formula: {[( 200*GPA) Averaged % ranking] > 300 ]}. For a final admissions decision, GRE scores and undergraduate GPA do not constitute the primary criteria to end consideration of an applicant. Applicants with combined scores of slightly less than 300 using the above formula may be considered for probationary admission.

Master of Arts, 38 Semester Hours with a Minor, 32 Semester Hours without a Minor.

This degree program is well suited for many training objectives, but it is most often recommended for secondary teachers who wish to prepare in two fields. A student may opt to include a minor. This plan requires 32 semester hours (38 with a minor field) of graduate credit. No more than two 400 level courses in the major field and one 400 level course in the minor field may be applied toward the degree. If opting for the MA with a minor, 26 hours are taken in Biology, including BIO 520, and 12 semester hours of graduate credit are required in a minor field that logically supports the major. Completion of a literature-based review paper is required.

Master of Science, 32 Semester Hours with Thesis.

This degree program is designed for those students who select all of their courses from those offered in the Biology program unless otherwise authorized by the Graduate Advisor and the faculty research advisor. No more than two 400 level courses in the major field and one 400 level course in the minor field may be applied toward the degree. Students with this degree are prepared for positions as professional biologists in the public or private sector, teaching at the college level or to begin doctoral programs in the biological sciences. This is a research-oriented degree requiring a thesis. This plan requires 32 semester hours of graduate credit, at least 26 of which must be in courses numbered 500 or above. Six hours of thesis (3 hours each of BIO 698 and BIO 699) and BIO 520 (2 hours) are counted toward this 32-hour degree program.

Master of Science, 38 Semester Hours with a Minor and a Thesis.

Students with this degree are prepared for positions as professional biologists in the public or private sector, teaching at the college level or to begin doctoral programs in the biological sciences. This is a research-oriented degree requiring a thesis. This plan requires 38 semester hours of graduate credit. No more than two 400 level courses in the major field and one 400 level course in the minor field may be applied toward the degree. Included in the 38 hours are BIO 520 (2 hours), BIO 698 and BIO 699 (6 hours of thesis), 18 hours of Biology courses and a minor of 12 hours in a field that supports the major. The minor must be approved by the minor-granting program.

Master of Education in Secondary Education.

This degree plan is designed primarily for the secondary teacher. All such degrees originate in the College of Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and require the completion of a minimum of 36 hours of graduate credit, 30 of which must be in courses numbered 500 or above. Twelve to 24 hours of professional education course work are required (12 hours minimum for minor and 6 hours minimum for a second minor). A comprehensive examination is required. Students may elect from 12 to 24 semester hours in biology in this 36-semester-hour program. A thesis is not required. Course requirements are adjusted to meet individual student needs by the M.Ed. program and the Graduate Advisor for Biology.

OTHER SCHOLARLY REQUIREMENTS 

In order to receive the MA or MS degree, all graduate students are required to pass a comprehensive examination based on their course work and general biological concepts. The nature of this examination, which may be written and/or oral, will be determined by the faculty. Students must be enrolled the semester they take the comprehensive examination. For MA degrees, a literature-based review paper is prepared in consultation with the student's faculty advisor. Students must defend the literature-based review before the student's advisory committee, and present it to the faculty in seminar format. For MS degrees, students complete a thesis research project under supervision of the student's thesis advisor, and present the thesis to the faculty in seminar format. The thesis must also be defended before the student's thesis committee. Once enrolled in BIO 699, a student must be continually enrolled until graduation.

 

Visit the Biological Sciences Graduate Student Organization page.



Department of Biological Sciences

1900 Ave. I, Lee Drain Building (LDB) Suite 300
P.O. Box 2116
Huntsville, Texas 77341
Phone: 936.294.1540 Fax: 936.294.3940

DNA electrophoresis showing the inserts in eight different (Escherichia coli) clones. We are cloning promoters from Mycobacterium smegmatis which are active in stationary phase.

Primm Lab

The Steelcolor Shiner (Cyprinella whipplei) is a common minnow that consumes terrestrial and aquatic insects and is an important player in regulating nutrient dynamics in stream ecosystems.

Hargrave Lab

Habitat assessment and inventories of small mammal populations.

Thies Lab

Reconstructing the paleoenvironment of northwestern Botswana by comparing indigenous species with fossil material excavated from two cave systems.

Thies Lab

The orangethroat darter (Etheostoma spectabile) is a common darter that consumes benthic grazing invertebrates affecting a stream primary productivity and creating a trophic cascade within an aquatic ecosystem.

Hargrave Lab

A collaboration with Dr. Howard K. Reinert at the College of New Jersey to investigate habitat use of the Boa constrictor which has recently invaded the island of Aruba. Potential niche overlap could become a concern for the conservation of the endangered Aruba Island Ratttlesnake.

Lutterschmidt Lab

Rhodobacter sphaeroides, a purple photosynthetic bacteria, whose genome has been completely sequenced and fully annotated.

Choudhary Lab

Methyl green agar plates for examining whether microorganisms synthesize and secrete DNAse enzymes which degrade extracellular DNA for nutrient acquisition.

Primm Lab

The desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) of California's and Mexico's Peninsular Ranges is a federally listed endangered species. Physiological adaptations allowing this large mammal to survive desert conditions are studied in Turner's lab.

Turner Lab

A chromatogram of DNA sequences from various clones.

Choudhary Lab

A gregarine (Nubenocephalus secundus) parasitizing the midgut epithelium of the blue-ringed dancer (Argia sedula). This is one of many new gregarine species described from an investigation for the biodiversity of these aquatic insect parasites.

T. Cook Lab

Parental feeding rates to nestlings are monitored at nests of Carolina Wrens as part of a study on parental investment strategies.

Neudorf Lab

A unicellular bi-flagellated alga (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii) is a model organism for studying the inctracellular signaling mechanisms that control movement of eukaryotic cilia and flagella.

Gaillard Lab

A genus of parasitic plants (Harveya) depends entirely on its hosts for water, minerals, and photosynthates. Such plants are of unique interest in molecular evolution and systematics.

Randle Lab

A fossil jaw of a gerbil lying outside of Gcwhihaba cave, Botswana. Gerbils are important indicators for paleoenvironmental reconstruction in the region.

Lewis Lab

A radio-tracked female Northern Cardinal as part of a study on extra-pair mating strategies.

Neudorf Lab

The white-tailed deer persists in historic home ranges despite encroaching development. Studies of urbanization influences fecundity, distribution, enzootic and epizootic disease, and parasites are of interest.

Turner Lab

Chromatophore is the photosynthetic apparatus of R. sphaeroides which allows this organism to harvest light energy.

Choudhary Lab

Female timber rattlesnakes (Crotalus horridus) demonstrate seasonal differences in baseline and stress-induced hormone responses due to reproductive condition. Corticosterone is significantly higher in gravid females due to stressors related to reproduction.

Lutterschmidt Lab

By examining what causes variation in modern African rodents, like this gerbil, we can better understand how environments have changed where we find their fossil ancestors.

Lewis Lab

A population of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cells exhibiting phototaxis, migration toward light. Some pharmacological agents inhibit phototaxis by inhibiting flagellar motility of the cells.

Gaillard Lab

Species-specific mange mite recorded for the first time in Texas from 6-year-old male white-tailed deer. Infection of the deer may be related to effects of crowding in rural/urban deer herds.

Turner Lab

The southern redbelly dace (Phoxinus erythrogaster) is a common stream minnow that consumes benthic algae, playing an important role in the regulation of periphyton biomass in small headwater streams.

Hargrave Lab

Male Northern Cardinals are banded and measured as part of a study of extra-pair mating behavior.

Neudorf Lab

We are investigating the reproductive timing and potential of the Boa constrictor which has recently invaded the island of Aruba and has become a concern for the conservation efforts of the endangered Aruba Island Rattlesnake.

Lutterschmidt Lab

Distribution, abundance, and reproduction of rural/urban deer herds are a growing concern in southeast Texas. Habitat impacts relative to human encroachment and high deer populations are being studied by Turner's lab.

Turner Lab

A large lineage of small moths (Gelechioidea) remains poorly known in the Nearctic, with only 30% of its species described. Modern morphological and molecular systematics are used with behavioral and ecological data to study and infer systematic relationships.

Bucheli Lab

A gregarine (Nubenocephalus secundus) parasitizing the intestine of the blue-ringed dancer (Argia sedula) by attaching to the epithelium with a long slender epimerite and a wide "suction cup"-like protomerite at its anterior.

T. Cook Lab

The reptile fauna from northwestern Botswana, including this chameleon, is helping us better understand how and why the climate has changed in this region over the last two million years.

Lewis Lab

This neotropical hemipteran (Neoplea absona) in the family Pleidae was a specimen used to revise the genus. Pleids, or pygmy backswimmers, are predators of micro-crustaceans in stagnant waters.

J. Cook Lab

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