Accelerated B.S./Master's Degree Program:
The M.S. in Biology program is intended for biology and biochemistry and molecular biology, and environmental science/environmental and conservation biology majors who develop sharply focused research interests. Students should have most, if not all, their course work behind them so that they can focus on research. It is expected that students will complete their research and write a thesis within the 5th year. Research foci for the M.S. include cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, and various topics in ecology and evolution.
During their junior year, students contact a faculty member whose research interests mesh with their own (descriptions of Clark and UMass Medical Center faculty are available on the web). With the consent of the faculty member, the student then applies to the program by completing their Application: Part 1 no later than April 1 of the junior year. If the student is accepted and enrolls in the program, they must complete the Application: Part 2 of the B.A./M.S. application by Oct. 15 of their senior year. Please note: application deadlines differ for students who are graduating off cycle (either a semester early or late) or with advanced standing; such students should contact Academic Advising for alternative deadlines. To ensure that the student can focus on research in the senior year, students should normally have completed the chemistry, mathematics, and physics requirements of the Biology or BCMB major by the end of the junior year. The program is open only to Clark Biology or BCMB majors.
Program of Study
All courses required for the B.A. must be completed by the end of the senior year. At any stage of their B.A. degree, two 200-level courses that are in addition to those required by the major must be completed, these will often be fulfilled by directed research credits during the junior or senior year. All students entering the Accelerated B.A./Masters Degree Program must pursue research and take at least two graduate-level courses during their senior year (the research may be conducted outside of the biology department, as long as a member of the biology department acts as the supervising faculty member). 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 M.S. is intended for biology, biochemistry and molecular biology and environmental science/environmental and conservation biology majors only. Students must complete the chemistry, mathematics and physics requirements for the biology major by the end of the junior year. Student who complete majors related to biology may be considered for the M.S. program in biology if they will have completed all the course requirements for the biology major, and two 200-level courses in addition to those required by the major by the time they receive their bachelors degree.
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 department of biology (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 four 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
- 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
- Freya Hendrickson (M.A. 2003) is a research technician at the Smithsonian
Environmental Research Center
- Ok Shin (M.A. 2003) received her Ph.D. in Immunology at Tufts University (2009)
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 is of interest.