Biology, Master of Science (M.S.)

Program Learning Goals in Biology

Students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate a deep knowledge of biology and develop advanced competency in specific areas of interest consistent with the primary focus of the program that the student develops with their faculty-based committee.

2. Demonstrate a deep knowledge of how to use an empirical approach (with appropriate methods, experimental design, and data analysis) to evaluate biological phenomena in new ways.

a. Application of critical thinking to design, collect, interpret, and present the student’s own original scientific data in a laboratory/field course.

b. Accurately evaluate biological information (data, concepts, phenomena) from primary literature that is relevant to the student’s original research.

3. Communicate new biological knowledge (typically obtained during the thesis research) effectively in written, oral, and visual formats.

a. Communicating original thesis research effectively in written format.

b. Communicating original thesis research effectively in oral format.

c. Communicating original thesis research effectively in visual format.

4. Demonstrate the ability to conceive, design, and conduct original scientific research (for MS students only).

a. Conceive and design original research.

b. Implement and complete original research.


Degree Requirements

The M.S. is designed for students seeking research experience. Successful candidates must demonstrate the mastery of essential research techniques and the ability to communicate effectively the results of research and scholarship. Requirements for the degree are:

  1. 30 credit hours, consisting of 24 hours of formal course credit (at least half of the 24 hours must be from courses numbered above 499.
  2. A thesis proposal (BL 598, 1 credit hour).
  3. A research thesis (BL 599, 5 credit hours)
  4. Attend the Biology Seminar at least 12 times during their tenure. The course may be taken once for credit (BL 581, 1 credit).
  5. Pass a comprehensive examination upon completion of the course requirements (see below for additional details). 

M.S. students may petition to take up to 8 credit hours of biology-related courses from other John Carroll departments or from other institutions.

Comprehensive Examination 

All M.S. students are required to pass a comprehensive examination upon completion of the requirements. Only two opportunities are granted to take this exam. If a student fails the first exam, a second comprehensive exam must be taken no sooner than 30 days after the first exam. Failure to pass this exam on both attempts will result in dismissal from the program, and no graduate degree will be granted. The format of both exams will be determined by the student’s committee as follows:

Oral or written examination consisting of questions that reflect the student’s educational experience and thesis and that seek to integrate knowledge across those areas. The examination will be administered by the thesis committee after successful completion of the thesis.

Additional Notes

For any Biology course that is cross-listed at both the 400 and 500 level, graduate students must take the 500-level course. The 500-level courses typically require an additional oral presentation or paper beyond the requirements for the corresponding 400-level course.