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Biology MS Degree

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Program Description

We invite you to become a valued member of a vibrant and productive scientific community. As our graduate student, you will be guided toward enhancing your critical and analytical thinking skills, and attaining modern research expertise essential to your career progression. Our advanced biomedical programs and excellent research facilities coupled with our location in the Research Triangle Park area offer an excellent environment in which to study. Our program boasts several opportunities for research seminars, internships and other cultural and academic enhancements to enrich your education. We offer our students greater depth and breadth in course work and introduce them to creative and productive inquiry leading to careers in teaching; research in governmental, industrial and academic organizations; and entrance into doctoral programs We require from students seeking unconditional admission to the program a "B" average for a minimum of 30 credits of undergraduate biology, credit for four semesters of chemistry, two semesters of physics, and mathematics through Calculus I. The DOB Chair exercises ultimate departmental authority over all matters pertaining to graduate education. The Chair may delegate authority to the Departmental Graduate Committee, chaired by the DOB Graduate Program Director, for operation and policies of the graduate program.


Scholarships

See scholarships available to NCCU (and other) majors.

Requirements

Basic Requirements

  • Completing two semesters of residence and at least 30 or 36 credits of graduate-level courses for the thesis and non-thesis options, respectively.
  • Taking graduate courses that are numbered at or above 5000 in Biology, Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Science. The 5000-level courses in Biology provide the graduating MS students automatically with a minor in Biomedical Sciences. Students who have not taken an undergraduate biochemistry course, need to take NCCU’s CHEM 4500 (Biochemistry; 3 credits) as a prerequisite for CHEG 5000. These students will not be able to take the required CHEG 5000 in the fall semester of Year I, and will have to wait until the following Fall semester.
  • Passing an approved 5000-level (or higher) course in biostatistics, bioinformatics (e.g. BIOG5410), computer science or computational science. Such a course is used to satisfy the foreign language requirement, and cannot be used for credit towards the graduate degree.
  • Passing a written Comprehensive Examination that examines the student’s comprehension of advanced cellular and genetic mechanisms as well as their biochemical basis.

The comprehensive exam can be taken in July/Summer session of Year I, or in November/Fall semester of Year II or April/Spring semester of Year II.

Upon passing the comprehensive exam and satisfying the foreign language requirement, students can submit their Application for Admission to Candidacy. The thesis-option students should have secured a research advisor by end of year I, consulted with the research advisor to identify faculty to serve on thesis committee, and completed The Plan of the Thesis to be submitted alongside the candidacy documents.

Degree Requirements

  • A cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or higher is required. A grade of "B" or better must be earned in the required graduate core courses for both thesis and non-thesis options.
  • At least 30 credits of biology (or approved chemistry and pharmaceutical science) courses including the thesis for the M.S. with thesis option and at least 36 credits including a project for the M.S. non-thesis project option are required.
  • Successful completion of an approved graduate biostatistics, bioinformatics or computer science course in lieu of the foreign language requirement.
  • Successful completion of a written Comprehensive Exam taken before applying for candidacy.
  • Successful completion of a three-credit thesis (BIOG 5900) including passing an oral examination (thesis defense) for the M.S. degree thesis option. For non-thesis option, the student has to complete a project (BIOG 5810).

Courses in The Biology Graduate Program

Core Courses in the M.S. with Thesis Option

  • BIOG 5310 - Cell Biology (3 credits)
  • BIOG 5120 - Genetics (3 credits)
  • CHEG5000 - Biochemistry (3 credits)
  • BIOG 5700 - Graduate Seminar (2 credits taken over two semesters)
  • BIOG 5800 - Research in Biology (3 credits)*&
  • BIOG 5900 - Thesis (3 credits)

* Students in the thesis option must submit a written progress report of their research, approved by their advisor, at the end of each semester to the DOB Graduate Program Director.

& Students can take up to 6 credits of BIOG5800 that count towards the total of 30 credits and towards their GPA.

Credits required from core courses: 17 credits. Total credits in the thesis option: 30 credits

Core Courses in the M.S. Non-thesis (Project) Option

  • BIOG 5310 - Cell Biology (3 credits)
  • BIOG 5120 - Genetics (3 credits)
  • CHEG5000 - Biochemistry (3 credits)
  • BIOG 5700 - Graduate Seminar (2 credits taken over two semesters)
  • BIOG 5800 - Research in Biology (3 credits)**
  • BIOG 5810 - Graduate Project (3 credits)

**For students in the non-thesis only 3 credits of BIOG5800 count towards the total of 36 credits and towards their GPA.

Credits required from core courses: 17 credits.

Total credits in the non-thesis option: 36 credits

Elective Courses in The Biology Graduate Program

Elective Courses in Biology include:

  • BIOG 5140 - Toxicology (3 credits)
  • BIOG 5330 - Fundamentals of Neuroscience (3 credits)
  • BIOG 5410 - Bioinformatics (3 credits)
  • BIOG 5420 - Immunology (3 credits)
  • BIOG 5820 - Graduate Research Rotations (2 credits)

Elective Courses in affiliated departments (e.g. Chemistry and Pharmaceutical Science) include:

  • PHRG 5000 – Principles of Pharmacology
  • CHEG 5210 – Principles of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Drug Development
  • PHRG 5100 – Drug Discovery
  • PHRG 5120 – Advanced Biochemistry Lab
  • PHRG 5240 – Assay Technologies
  • PHRG 5250 – Metabolic Diseases
  • CHEG 5350 – Computational Science

For information on faculty research interests, please visit the department of biology webpage at http://www.nccu.edu/academics/sc/artsandsciences/biology/index.cfm and click on the “faculty research interests link”

Minimum Period of Study

  • It is possible for a well-prepared student to complete the Master of Science degree in two years (four semesters and a complete summer).
  • Student need to be registered every semester during the academic year
  • Students who do not register in a semester must petition to be readmitted to the Graduate School.

University regulations require that a graduate student has six calendar years to complete the degree. The six-year limit begins on the date of the student's registration in his/her first course for a graduate degree at NCCU. When special circumstances warrant, extension of time may be requested by petition to the Dean of the Graduate School. The policy on extension of period of study is described in detail in both the university catalog and the Graduate School Handbook.

Transfer of Credit From Extramural Programs

Upon approval by the Department of Biology and the Graduate School, a student may be permitted to transfer a maximum of six credits from a previously attended graduate or professional school program. Through the inter-institutional agreements with Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State University and Wake Forest University students can take approved graduate courses toward the M.S. degree when such courses are not offered at NCCU.

To obtain detailed information on the policies, procedures, and requirements of the Graduate School, students should refer to the University Catalog and the Graduate School’s Graduate Student Handbook in reference to the following topics:

  • Admissions: Admissions procedure; Types of admission; Admission of international applicants
  • Finances: Fees and expenses; Financial assistance
  • Registration: Registration of graduate students in 4000-level courses; Transfer of graduate credit; Withdrawal from a course; Residence requirement
  • Grades and credits: Grading system and grade appeal policy; Quality points; Grade point average requirements
  • Satisfactory academic progress policy
  • Policy on extension of time for graduate studies
  • Degree requirements: Admission to candidacy; Undergraduate preparation; Majors and minors; The Students' Special Committee; Language or other research tool requirements; Comprehensive examinations; Thesis/research projects
  • Academic integrity policies

To obtain specific departmental information, students should refer to the Department of Biology Graduate Student Handbook.


Contact Information

Name: Delores Grant, Professor
Email: dgrant@nccu.edu
Phone: (919) 530-7018
Fax: (919) 530-7780
Office Location: 218 Julius L. Chambers Biomedical/Biotechnology Research Institute (BBRI)
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Name: Amal Abu-Shakra, Professor
Email: aabushak@nccu.edu
Phone: (919) 530-6408
Fax: (919) 530-7773
Office Location: 2244 Mary M. Townes Science Building
Contact Details: View Complete Profile or  vCard Icon Download vCard

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