The M.S. in Biology program is intended for Biology students and for students majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BCMB) or in Environmental Science/Environmental and Conservation Biology (ES/ECB). Research is initiated in the junior year or earlier, and is completed during the fifth year at which time a thesis is presented and defended. Research may be conducted outside of the Biology Department as long as a faculty member in Biology serves as the supervising faculty member.
No later than the beginning of the junior year, students should contact a faculty member whose research interests mesh with their own. With the consent of the faculty member, the student applies to the M.S. program by completing the Application: Part 1 no later than April of the junior year. If accepted, the student must complete the Application: Part 2 by October 15 of their senior year. Please note that application deadlines differ for student graduating off cycle (either a semester early or late), or who have advanced standing; such students should contact Academic Advising for alternative dates.
Program of Study
All courses required for the B.A. must be completed by the end of the senior year. In addition to major requirements, students must complete two 300-level directed research courses that count toward the 10 credit master's degree. These two courses may count toward the 32 credits need for graduation, but not toward major requirements. During the fifth year the student is enrolled in eight graduate-level courses, typically fulfilled by directed research, directed reading, and the graduate seminar. These courses must be completed with at least a B- grade.
Departmental eligibility requirements
The program is intended for students who complete undergraduate degrees at Clark in Biology, BCMB or ES/ECB. Students must also have initiated a research project as reflected in two 300-level directed research courses by the end of the senior year.
Master's degree candidates must have an Advisory Committee, which is responsible for administering the thesis defense and approving the thesis (see below). The Advisory Committee includes the student's advisor, who must be a full time or adjunct faculty member in the Biology Department, and at least two additional members of the Biology Department (these may include full-time faculty, research faculty, and post-doctoral fellows). Additional scholars may be invited to join the Advisory Committee.
Master's Thesis and Defense
Master's degree candidates must complete a master's thesis and pass a thesis defense. The defense includes a public presentation and an oral examination administered by the Advisory Committee. The thesis is written under the supervision of the student's advisor, and is based on the student's original research. After the defense has been passed and revisions required by the Advisory Committee have been made, the thesis is submitted to the thesis advisor for final approval and signature. The original copy, bearing the advisor's signature, must be delivered to the University Format Advisor no later than six weeks before Commencement (if the student is participating in Commencement activities). One copy must be submitted to the Biology Department, and another to the thesis advisor. The biology department will pay the cost of printing and binding the departmental copy of the thesis, as well as copies for the student and the advisor.
Students are required to pay a one-time program fee of $1,000 which is assessed in the first semester of graduate study. Graduate students also pay a $15.00 activity fee in the fall and in the spring semesters and a one-time Enrollment Fee of $100 in the first semester of graduate study.
Please note: Students who stay beyond the fifth year must register as a non-resident student and pay the $200/semester non-resident fee as well as a $500/semester lab fee. It is also important to note that ADP students are allowed one year of non-residency beyond the fifth year.
- Kathryn Brown (M.A. 2007) is working in the lab of Professor Deborah Robertson at Clark University
- Laran Kaplan (M.A. 2006) is working in Chicago for a year before continuing her graduate studies
- Samuel Licciardo (M.A. 2006) is attending medical school at New York Medical College in Valhalla, NY
- Kiley Maguire (M.A. 2005) is developing new transgenic crops as a research associate for the Monsanto Company in Boston
- Alexis Messler (M.A. 2005) is working at the Moose Hill Wildlife Sanctuary, Massachusetts Audubon Society
- Katherien Shaw (M.A. 2005) is a Ph.D. candidate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program at the University of Connecticut at Storrs
- Sarah Deroko (M.A. 2004) is a research associate at University of Massachusetts Medical School
- Katie Kopycinski (M.A. 2004) is a research technician at Wyeth Pharmaceuticals
- Julie Mazeika (M.A. 2004) is a research fellow in Molecular and Cellular Biology at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
- Alex Nagle (M.A. 2004) is a resident at Albany Medical College
- Michael Gershenovich (M.A. 2003) is a research associate at Genzyme Corporation
Advice for prospective students
Students should have an area of research and an advisor chosen by the middle of their junior year. Students are advised to review the research interests of the faculty and to contact those professors whose research matches their interest.