M.S. IN BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES THESIS AND CAPSTONE PATHS
- Completed NSU application
- Bachelor’s degree in science from an accredited institution or an approved degree credentialing agency for international students.
- Cumulative GPA of at least 3.0
- Major GPA of at least 3.0
- Two letters of recommendation
- International students must meet the English proficiency requirements
- GRE, MCAT, DAT, OAT or PCAT scores required
The thesis and capstone paths within the M.S in Biological Sciences are designed to enhance the education of students for jobs and careers in all fields of biology, including PhD programs and professional medical programs. Traditionally, Master’s in Biology programs have placed heavy emphasis on course-based learning. Reflecting the hands on and critical thinking skills that are required for careers in biology, our thesis and capstone programs place increased emphasis on research. In both the thesis and capstone paths, students will have ample time to perform research in various capacities. This ensures that students can develop critical thinking skills focused on applications, while tackling significant questions in biology. Both paths of study culminate in the creation of a novel and significant piece of writing, ensuring that graduates can effectively communicate their scientific findings to the community at large. All entering M.S. students are accepted into the capstone path. Additional research proposal development is required to enter the research path.
Students in either path will benefit from:
- Access to faculty who are leaders in their fields, which range from genomics, quantitative microbiology, ecology, immunology and systems biology. Faculty profiles can be found here.
- Access to funding to present their work at conferences.
- Small class sizes that enhance learning and faculty interactions.
- Competitively allocated teaching assistantships that include stipends and scholarships.
- Access to resources at both of our state of the art campuses in sunny South Florida; the Oceanographic Campus located in Dania Beach, FL, and Main Campus, located in Davie, FL.
- Access to a seminar series where the best and brightest minds in a wide range of fields present their research.
The total number of credits in both paths is 36 credits.
All students that are accepted into the M.S. program begin in the capstone path. Students in the capstone path take four core courses, and five elective courses. Students must take 3 capstone research courses (3 credits each) totaling a minimum of nine credits.
Central to the capstone path is the submission and defense of a capstone paper. This is typically done at or near the completion of formal coursework. The capstone is a scholarly review, based upon a comprehensive literature search, and synthesis of the chosen topic, typically involving analysis of previously published data. Carrying out a capstone takes place with guidance from a major professor. Typically, capstone students find a major professor by approaching faculty in the student's area of interest. Prior to beginning a capstone and registering for capstone credits, the student must write a proposal, which must be approved by the student's major professor, committee, and the Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences, and be submitted to the Program Office.
Given the research-centered focus of the thesis path, students will take a minimum of 5 thesis research courses (3 credits each) totaling a minimum of 15 credits.
A thesis is an original contribution to knowledge resulting from the systematic study of a significant problem or issue. To be allowed entry into the thesis track the student must secure agreement from a faculty member to be the student's major professor. Students in this path are strongly encouraged to approach professors in their first semester of study. Prior to beginning thesis research and registering for thesis credits, the student must write a proposal, which must be approved by the student's major professor, committee, and the Chair of the Department of Biological Sciences and the Program Office.
Students in the thesis path will benefit from:
- Access to labs in our state of the art research facilities at the Oceanographic Center Campus and/or the Collaborative Center of Research.
- Funding to support supplies for their thesis project.
- Substantial one-on-one time with their faculty supervisor.
- A collaborative and rigorous research atmosphere.
- The ability to perform hands on research to develop answers to some of the most pressing questions in biology.
Prospective students are welcome to contact faculty members regarding current opportunities in their research lab.
For further details, students are referred to section 3.8 of this catalog and to the online guidelines for the capstone or thesis track found on the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography Student Information page.
Capstone and Thesis Curriculum
Core Courses - 12 Credit Hours
- BCOR 5000 Graduate Seminar
- BCOR 5585 Genomics
- BCOR 5150 Immunobiology
- BCOR 5350 Principles of Epidemiology
Biological Science Electives - 9 Credit Hours (Thesis Path) or 15 Credit Hours (Capstone Path)
There are 2 required electives for both the thesis and capstone path which are:
- BCOR 5580 Scientific Methods and Experimental Design
- BCOR 5779 Biostatistics
Students can choose from any of the electives listed below, as well as those listed in the MSMS program
- BCOR 5560 Biodiversity/Biogeography
- BMHS 5200 Pathophysiology
- BMHS 5300 Pharmacodynamics
- BMHS 5400 Advanced Regional Anatomy/Lab
- BMHS 5500 Advanced Biochemistry
- BMHS 5250 Systems Neuroscience
- BMME 5500 Molecular Evolution
- BMME 5600 Training in Standard Molecular Biology Methods
- BMME 5701 Ecosystems Applications
- BMME5750 Stable Isotopes
- BMME 6000 GIS and Environmental Remote Sensing
- BMME 6001 Laboratory q-PCR and Culture Techniques
- BMME 6600 External Biology/Biotechnology Internship
- BMME 6650 Molecular Forensics
- BMME 6700 Advanced Molecular Genetics Laboratory Methods
- BMME 6750 External/Biology/Biotechnology Internship II
- BMME 6770 Bacterial Evolutionary Genetics
- BMME 8050 Programming Data Structure/Algorithm
- BMME 8051 Database Management and Applications
- BMME 8052 Data Visualization
- BMME 8053 Introduction to Bioinformatics
- BMME 8054 Data Mining
- BMME 8058 Ichthyology
- MSMS 5060 Scientific Communication
- MSMS 6209 Biodiversity
Research Courses - 9 Credit Hours (Capstone Path) or 15 Credit Hours (Thesis Path)
- BMME 7000 Thesis (3 credits x 5 = 15 total hours)
- BMME 7010 Capstone (3 credits x 3 = 9 total hours)