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Dr. Zen Faulkes
Biology Graduate Program Coordinator
Phone: 956-665-2614
Fax: 956-665-3657
zfaulkes@utpa.edu

 


The Department of Biology offers courses leading to a Master of Science in Biology and providing minor and support areas for degrees in other fields.  See history.

Credit for a 5000-level course is not given to a student with previous undergraduate credit in a similar course. Only 15 hours of 5000-level courses may count toward a graduate degree. 

Students pursuing a master's degree in related fields can include 12 to 18 hours of work in Biology. 

Students pursuing the Master of Science degree with a major in Biology can include 6 to 9 hours of work in an approved minor or support area.

Admission Requirements 

1. The applicant should consult http://www.utpa.edu/dept/biology/requirements.html

2. Admission to the graduate program with a major in Biology requires a minimum of 24 hours of undergraduate Biology with at least 12 hours at the advanced level. As undergraduate preparation, each student should have completed 3 to 4 hours in each of the following categories: Evolution or Genetics, Cell Biology or General Microbiology, Organismal or Environment Biology, and Mammalian or Plant Physiology. Entering graduate students who have deficiencies in one or more areas must remove them the first time that the course(s) is offered. 

3. Full-time graduate students, who do not meet the above requirements, may take up to 9 hours of leveling work while taking a limited number of graduate hours. 

4. A minimum grade point average of 3.0 in upper level undergraduate biology courses (based upon a 4.0 system) is required. 

Degree Requirements

Enrollment While Completing Leveling Work

The following courses may be taken while enrolled in leveling work: 
Biology 6365 
Biology 6305 
Biology 6101 (3-hour limit) 

General Degree Requirements

a. Preliminary Oral Assessment. The purpose of the graduate program is
to provide advanced training in biology. It is expected that all
students entering the program will possess a basic understanding of
general concepts in biology. By the end of the student's first semester
of graduate work, the student's Graduate Committee will administer a
Preliminary Oral Assessment to determine the student's understanding of
general biological principles. The student's performance will help the
Graduate Committee in formulating recommendations for the degree plan
and for removing deficiencies. If deficiencies or weaknesses in basic
biology are apparent, the Graduate Committee will recommend that the
student take appropriate undergraduate courses, or engage in self-study in the areas of deficiency. These courses and/or studies must be
completed before the comprehensive oral examination (and thesis defense) is taken.

b. Comprehensive Oral Examination and Thesis Defense. After satisfactory completion of the required number of courses (and the presentation of a seminar on the thesis research for those pursuing the thesis option) the student must take a comprehensive examination (and thesis defense for thesis students). The examination (and thesis defense) will be conducted by the Graduate Committee, but it is open to all Biology Graduate Faculty members. The Biology Graduate Faculty must be notified of the examination date, time and place at least two weeks prior to the examination. There is no time limit, but the examination (and thesis defense) ordinarily lasts at least two hours. For thesis students, the first round of questions are devoted to a defense of the thesis and the second and subsequent rounds of questions are over basic biological concepts and principles. For non-thesis students, all questions are on general biology. At the end of the Comprehensive Oral Examination (and Thesis Defense), the Graduate Committee will assign a grade of "pass" or "fail," based on a majority vote of the committee. 
If the student fails the Comprehensive Oral Exami-nation (and Thesis Defense), he or she may be granted permission to take a second examination, if doing so is approved by the Graduate Committee, the chair of the Biology Department, and the dean of College of Science and Engineering. In no case will a second examination be given until at least one semester has passed. After two failures, no further examination is allowed. 

c. Biology Grades. All graduate students in Biology are expected to maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 throughout their MS degree program. Any student whose GPA falls below 3.0 will be placed on probation. To remain in the graduate program, the student must restore his or her GPA to 3.0 by the end of the next semester (fall or spring). 

General Requirements for Thesis Program

a. Graduate students selecting the thesis option must complete 30 hours including the thesis. The choice of courses will be determined through consultation between the student and his or her graduate advisor and have the approval of the chair of the department. 

b. During the first semester of study following admission to graduate study, the student should choose from the Graduate Faculty a major professor who will serve as chairman of his or her Graduate Committee and two other faculty members chosen in conference with the major professor and the chair of the department. This committee will approve a plan of study for the student that must be approved by, and a copy filed with, the department chair and the dean of the College of Science and Engineering. The major professor and student should each retain a copy. This committee will also oversee progress and supervise the required comprehensive examination.

c. A thesis topic and plan for research will be chosen by the student and his or her major professor, subject to approval by the Graduate Committee.

d. The research will culminate in a thesis written in the style approved by the Graduate Committee and should be worthy of submission, in whole or in part, for publication in a reputable journal. Approval must be affirmed by the chair of the department and the dean of the college. 

e. Following acceptance of the thesis, evidenced by the signatures of the committee members and by the administrators indicated above, four copies should be presented for binding, and a fee to cover the cost of binding should be paid to The University of Texas-Pan American. The four bound copies will be distributed as follows: the first (original) and second copy in the library, the third copy with the Department of Biology and the fourth copy with the student. 

General Requirements for Non-Thesis Program

A non-thesis student must complete 27 or 30 hours of biological sciences and may include in his or her program a maximum of 6 to 9 hours in a related field for a total of 36 hours. 

Master of Science Degree Thesis Option

Required Courses 15 hours 

BIOL 6101 Biology Graduate Seminar (may be repeated three times)
BIOL 6305 Biometry 
BIOL 6365 Graduate Biological Research Problems 
BIOL 7300 Thesis 
BIOL 7301 Thesis 

Electives 15 hours 
Select 15 hours from the following:
BIOL 5304 Advanced Ichthyology 
BIOL 5307 Host-Parasite Relationships 
BIOL 5309 Advanced Herpetology 
BIOL 5311 Advanced Ecological Physiology 
BIOL 5312 Advanced Ornithology 
BIOL 5314 Advanced Plant Systematics 
BIOL 5315 Advanced Entomology 
BIOL 5316 Advanced Toxicology 
BIOL 5344 Advanced Mammalogy 
BIOL 5345 Advanced Plant Physiology
BIOL 5404 Molecular Virology
BIOL 5406 Advanced Mycology
BIOL 5408 Advanced Plant Pathology 
BIOL 5410 Marine Plant Science 
BIOL 5452 Advanced Marine Zoology 
BIOL 6302 Special Topics in Biology-Marine Ecology 
BIOL 6303 Advanced Ecology 
BIOL 6304 Systematic Zoology
BIOL 6308 Plant-Microbe Interactions  
BIOL 6313 Advanced Cell Biology and Physiology 
BIOL 6314 Aquatic Entomology 
BIOL 6316 Molecular Genetics 
BIOL 6319 Scientism
BIOL 6321 Applied Microbiology

TOTAL 30 hours 

Master of Science Degree Non-Thesis 

Required courses       9 hours
BIOL 6101 Biology Graduate Seminar 
BIOL 6305 Biometry 
BIOL 6365 Graduate Biological Research Problems 

Electives in major areas          18-21 hours 

Select from the following:
BIOL 5304 Advanced Ichthyology 
BIOL 5307 Host-Parasite Relationships 
BIOL 5309 Advanced Herpetology 
BIOL 5311 Advanced Ecological Physiology 
BIOL 5312 Advanced Ornithology 
BIOL 5314 Advanced Plant Systematics
BIOL 5315 Advanced Entomology 
BIOL 5316 Advanced Toxicology 
BIOL 5344 Advanced Mammalogy 
BIOL 5345 Advanced Plant Physiology
BIOL 5404 Molecular Virology
BIOL 5406 Advanced Mycology  
BIOL 5408 Advanced Plant Pathology 
BIOL 5410 Marine Plant Science 
BIOL 5452 Advanced Marine Zoology 
BIOL 6302 Special Topics in Biology-Marine Ecology 
BIOL 6303 Advanced Ecology 
BIOL 6304 Systematic Zoology 
BIOL 6308 Plant-Microbe Interactions
BIOL 6313 Advanced Cell Biology and Physiology 
BIOL 6314 Aquatic Entomology 
BIOL 6316 Molecular Genetics 
BIOL 6319 Scientism
BIOL 6321 Applied Microbiology 

Approved minor or support area 6-9 hours 
TOTAL 36 hours

1201 W. University Drive Edinburg, TX 78539-2999
956/665-UTPA  1-866-441-UTPA
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