Graduate Degrees & Requirements

Transfer of Credits

Course for which transfer credits are sought must have been completed with a grade of "B" or better. Approval is required by the Chair of the Department.

Time   Limit

No student will be granted an M.S. degree unless all requirements are completed within a period of eight (8) consecutive calendar years from the time of admission to the program.


Students are required to spend one academic year in resident study on the campus. One academic year may include two adjacent regular semesters or one regular semester and one adjacent summer session. To satisfy the continuous residence requirement, the student must complete a minimum of eighteen (18) hours for the required period.

Admission To Candidacy Requirements

When approximately 12-15 semester hours have been completed, the student should make application for advancement to candidacy. Please note that students cannot be advanced to candidacy until:

  1. All admission requirements have been met.
  2. Notification of the program option the student is electing, or that is required.
  3. All incompletes ("I" grades) have been removed.
  4. The Graduate English Competency Examination (GECE) was passed, or in the event of failure, passed ENG 500 with a grade of B or better. Please reer to the Graduate Catalogue page 20, for the GECE exemption requirements.
  5. Earned a 3.00 cumulative G. P. A.
  6. The Application for Graduate Degree Candidacy is filed (GNST 500).

Degree   Requirements

A student seeking the M.S. in Biology degree must:

  1. Students should complete a minimum of thirty (30) semester hours, with a B or higher cumulative G.P.A. Six of the required semester hours must be in Thesis Research.
  2. Students should PASS the Graduate Area Comprehensive Examination (GACE). Students will be examined  in ONE (1) elective and TWO (2) core/required  courses (register for GNST 555 the semester you will complete 24 hours of course work, excluding the thesis research hours).
  3. Students should have successfully defended their thesis before the Graduate Committee and public audience.
  4. Students should submit an approved thesis to the Chair of the Department of Biology with one bound copy to the Department and one to the JSU library.
  5. Students should complete all departmental requirements (clearance for graduation by the program).


Pathway to graduation Timeline, Graduate school and Departmental Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Biology

Courses available for the M.S. degree in Biology provide appropriate preparation for:

1) Biological, marine and environmental sciences

2) Advanced professional degrees elsewhere in zoology, plant science, marine science, environmental biology, environmental health, biomedical science, toxicology, genetics, immunology, physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, anatomy and other associated areas

3) Research careers in industry, government and academic institutions, and professional degrees in medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, pharmacy and related health fields.

Upon receiving your admission letter, please contact the Graduate Program Director in the Biology Department: Dr. Ibrahim O Farah at 601-979-3466 or by email: ibrahim.o.farah@, to answer your questions about entering to the program.


The following is the timeline for matriculation and pathway to graduation.

Semester 1:

  1. Registration for 9-10 graduate credit hours. .A grade of C is not acceptable; students will be placed on probation and may lose funding.
  2. Students should attend the graduate program mandatory meeting to explain program requirements, timeline and pathway to graduation as well as required graduate studies forms and procedures, candidacy, GEGE and GACE exams as well as the required departmental forms.
  3. Students, who are not exempted from taking the GECE, should register to take the GECE exam, pass or take and pass ENG 500 with a B or higher grade (check with graduate studies and psychometrics for instructions on how to take this exam).
  4. The graduate program director will advise all new students for their first semester.
  5. In consultation with the program director, the student will be assigned an advisor who will be responsible for advising the student thereafter until graduation (departmental form 1 is due before the end of semester).
  6. All graduate students in the department should fill a mandatory progress report for the semester to the graduate program director (Forms should be picked up from JAP RM 404).

Semester 2:

  1. Registration (9-10 graduate credit hours. A grade of C is not acceptable (students will be placed on probation and may lose funding).
  2. Student should register (GNST 500) for degree candidacy after completing 12-15 hours of class work (excluding thesis hours).
  3. Student should apply for research compliance (IRB, IBC and IACUC) and obtain a written approval before they can start their research (departmental form 4).
  4. In consultation with the program director and advisor, student will be assigned a graduate advisory committee (departmental form 2).
  5. Students should work on their research proposal (prospectus) which should be presented to the advisory committee and if successful, committee approval form A for the graduate studies and departmental form 3 should be signed and submitted to the graduate studies and the department respectively.
  6. Students should be working on their research (thesis hours should only be used for time spent dingo research)
  7. Student should submit progress report before the end of the semester.


Semester 3:

  1. Registration for the remaining courses and thesis hours.
  2. Students should continue doing their research and writing of their thesis
  3. Students should register for the GACE (GNST 555; registration should be at the beginning of the semester the student will complete 24  hours of course work excluding thesis hours (Fill departmental form 5).
  4. When students are ready to defend their thesis research, they should make sure that their thesis draft is complete and sent to their advisory committee two week before they can get approval to announce their thesis defense (departmental form 6)
  5. Make sure other requirements such as teaching, mentoring or supporting classes, as well as research presentation requirements are met (refer to pathway to graduation checklist).
  6. Defend your thesis (departmental forms 7 a&b for oral defense and thesis evaluation; done during the defense. The committee should sign graduate studies form for the thesis defense (Defense Committee’s Report of Results). Form should be submitted to the department chair for signature.
  7. When thesis is approved by the committee, students should submit a signed departmental form 8 and obtain their graduation pin from the program director.
  8. Students should complete departmental form 9, when the thesis is ready for binding, printed and copied on 25% cotton paper, binding fees paid and a copy of the receipt attached to form 9 as well as the thesis form for graduate studies.
  9. Students should get clearance for graduation from the program director by submitting all departmental forms to check for the fulfilment of all graduation requirements.
  10.  Students should submit thesis and documentation to the department chair and the graduate school
  11. Students should follow the pathway to graduation checklist and abide by all graduate studies deadline, which are published on the graduate studies website.



Required Course Course Title Semester Hours
BIO 511 Biostatistics 3
BIO 515 Molecular Biology 3
BIOL 515 Molecular Biology Laboratory 1
BIO 540 Cell Biology, 3
BIO 540 Cell Biology Laboratory  
  or 1
CHEM 531 Biochemistry 3
CHML 531 Biochemistry Laboratory 1
BIO 589 Graduate Seminar 1
BIO 599 Thesis Research 6
  Total Hours 14

Elective Courses (Total = 16 semester hours) A student in consultation with his/her advisor and guidance committee must select a minimum of sixteen (16) semester hours from departmental course offerings to complete degree requirements. 

Department of Biology Graduate COurse Offerings

Elective Courses

In addition to the required courses shown above, the student must complete a minimum of 16 semester hours selected from some of the elective courses listed below.

Required Course Course Title

Semester Hours

BIO 509 General Genetics 3
BIO 515 Molecular Biology 4
BIO 513 Advanced Human Nutrition 3
BIO 530 Advanced Microbiology 4
BIO 531 Invertebrate Zoology 4
BIO 533 Biology of Water Pollution 4
BIO 534 Ichthyology 4
BIO 540 Cell Biology 4
BIO 550 Immunology and Serology 4
BIO 570 Human Physiology 4
BIO 587 Independent Study 2
BIO 517 Int. Remote Sensing 3
BIO 518 Appl. Remote Sensing 3
BIO 523 Ecology 4
BIO 650 Analysis of Hormone Action 3
BIO 561 Molecular Virology 3
BIO 575 Endocrinology 4
BIO 615 Principles of Bioremediation 3
CHEM 515 Environmental Chemistry 4
CHEM 531 Biochemistry 4
ITHM 520-531 Industrial/Technical Hazardous Materials Management courses 3-6