Biological Sciences: Integrative and Organismal Biology M.S.

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Biological Sciences: Integrative and Organismal Biology M.S.

Program Overview

The Integrative and Organismal Biology (IOB) option offers a home to students interested in basic organismal biology in all of its diverse aspects (physiology, neurobiology, behavior, cell biology, genetics, evolution, ecology, systematics, etc.), in both terrestrial and aquatic environments. Modern biology employs approaches and tools ranging from molecular to ecological levels to gain a deep understanding of organismal functions and adaptations. Students in IOB approach their studies with a focus on organisms, and apply whatever tools are necessary to answer thematic and specific questions. Students interested in combining hands-­on biological projects with research on teaching and learning biology at the post-­secondary level should choose this option. Students completing degrees in IOB will be prepared for a wide range of professional careers in animal and/or plant biology, whether in academia, government, research, or non­profit organizations.

Contact

University of New Hampshire
Spaulding Hall
38 Academic Way
Durham, NH 03824

  • Oxidized and reduced forms of nitrogen are the most common and costly input nutrient that often limits carbon assimilation in plants. The forms of nitrogen present in plants are nitrate and ammonium, which are very mobile in the soil. N (especially as NO3) is also the cause of significant...
    Oxidized and reduced forms of nitrogen are the most common and costly input nutrient that often limits carbon assimilation in plants. The forms of nitrogen present in plants are nitrate and ammonium, which are very mobile in the soil. N (especially as NO3) is also the cause of significant...
  • My master’s research focuses on the formation, persistence, and toxicity of deep-water layers of cyanobacteria in some of these clear-water lakes in New Hampshire and aims to answer an important part of the broader question of when do cyanobacteria blooms produce toxins. New Hampshire boasts some...
    My master’s research focuses on the formation, persistence, and toxicity of deep-water layers of cyanobacteria in some of these clear-water lakes in New Hampshire and aims to answer an important part of the broader question of when do cyanobacteria blooms produce toxins. New Hampshire boasts some...
  • My work aims to begin understanding the relationship between cyanobacteria density and toxicity in the water versus the air, and the factors that increase or decrease their aerosolization. I will be investigating the cyanotoxins microcystins, liver toxins, and BMAA, a neurotoxin. This will be an...
    My work aims to begin understanding the relationship between cyanobacteria density and toxicity in the water versus the air, and the factors that increase or decrease their aerosolization. I will be investigating the cyanotoxins microcystins, liver toxins, and BMAA, a neurotoxin. This will be an...
  • My research focuses on the transfer of cyanobacteria toxins from lakes to food plants via direct exposure to lake water at the roots as well as  indirect indirect exposure via aerosolized toxins deposited on plant surfaces.  Specifically, I am focusing on the cyanobacteria toxin Microcystin, a...
    My research focuses on the transfer of cyanobacteria toxins from lakes to food plants via direct exposure to lake water at the roots as well as  indirect indirect exposure via aerosolized toxins deposited on plant surfaces.  Specifically, I am focusing on the cyanobacteria toxin Microcystin, a...

Curriculum & Requirements

M.S. Degree Requirements

Students plan a program of study in conjunction with their advisor and Master’s Thesis Committee, including the required core courses and competencies. Completion of at least 30 credits, including research credits, is required. A thesis proposal is developed within the first year. Students complete thesis research for 6 to 10 credits; the degree is completed when results are acceptable, a formal thesis presentation and defense has occurred, and the thesis is approved by the Master’s Thesis Committee and accepted by the Graduate School.

A common set of policies and guidelines applies to both Biological Sciences degree options (IOB and MB). Additional option­ specific course recommendations or requirements may be established by the faculty within each option.

Number of Credits Required

The M.S. degree requires completion of a minimum of 30 credits, 6-­10 of which may be earned for thesis research (BIOL 899 Master's Thesis ). The Biological Sciences Program specifies 2 credits’ worth of required coursework (BIOL 901 Introductory Graduate Seminar); most students use 6 more credits to satisfy the competency requirement in experimental design/analysis (BIOL 811 Applied Biostatistics II or BIOL 933 Design, Analysis, and Interpretation of Experiments, 4 credits) and recommended coursework in writing/communication (BIOL 902 Writing and Publishing Science or BIOL 950 Scientific Communication, 2 credits). Other graduate coursework approved by the student’s committee can substitute for any of these courses except BIOL 901 Introductory Graduate Seminar.

Up to 8 credits of graduate credit from another institution may be transferred, provided the credits were not counted toward another degree, and the course grade was a B or higher. Petitions requesting transfer credit must be supported by the advisor and graduate committee, and approved by the UNH Graduate School.

Required Courses, Competencies, and Electives

All students in the Biological Sciences Graduate Program are required to take Introductory Graduate Seminar (BIOL 901 Introductory Graduate Seminar) and fulfill all applicable competency requirements (these may vary by option). Those with teaching assistantships (TAs) must enroll in College Teaching (LSA 900 College Teaching) before or concurrent with their first teaching assignment.

  1. Core Course. Introductory Graduate Seminar (Introductory Graduate Seminar (BIOL 901)). This first-­semester course focuses on key information and skills for a successful transition into the graduate program, familiarizing students with program requirements and faculty and providing an opportunity to meet others in their cohort.
  2. Competency in experimental design and analysis. This may be fulfilled by previous graduate coursework (as determined by the student’s advisor and committee), or by taking one graduate-level course. Two advanced courses in experimental design and analysis are offered, normally in alternate years. The first is Applied Biostatistics II (Applied Biostatistics II (BIOL 811)), and the second is Design, Analysis and Interpretation of Experiments (Design, Analysis, and Interpretation of Experiments (BIOL 933)). Either course, or an equivalent approved by the student’s advisor and committee (e.g. Analysis of Ecological Communities and Complex Data (NR 909)), can be used to fulfill this competency requirement.
  3. Electives. Students will work with their advisor and committee to identify additional courses appropriate for their area of specialization and their career objectives. Recommendations often include coursework in professional writing and communication: Scientific Writing (Writing and Publishing Science (BIOL 902)) is taught fall semester, and open to students at any stage of the program. Scientific Communication (Scientific Communication (BIOL 950)) is usually taught in spring. A course in Grant Writing (Grant Writing (NR 905)) is offered by the Department of Natural Resources.

Additional Information/Requirements

All students in the Biological Sciences Program are expected to present their research in public seminars (including the UNH Graduate Research Conference), and acquire teaching and/or mentoring experience.

A summary of M.S. and Ph.D. degree requirements is available at https://colsa.unh.edu/biological-sciences/program/ms/biological-sciences-integrative-and-organismal-biology, along with the program’s graduate handbook, which includes expectations, guidelines, and detailed policies.

Explore Program Details

M.S. THESIS TRACK in BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (all options)

Requirement Timing Notes
  Year One  
Meet with advisor at or before start of 1st semester Initial curriculum and research planning
BIOL 901 (Intro Grad Seminar) at or before start of 1st semester Core requirement
BIOL 903 (Grad Research Techniques – option-specific) first spring semester May be required in some options: consult advisor or option rep.
BIOL 811 or 933 or other graduate course approved by advisor & committee 1st year Experimental design/analysis competency; prior graduate coursework may fulfill
Preliminary research proposal end of 1st semester Usually as part of BIOL 901
MS Thesis committee formed by end of 1st semester Submit form to Graduate School
MS thesis proposal by end of 2nd semester Submit to advisor & committee
Annual progress review by GPCC spring semester Student and advisor reports submitted in advance; GPCC provides feedback
First committee meeting spring semester Present & get feedback on research proposal and summer research plans
Seminar presentation spring semester Coordinate with committee meeting if possible
Teaching/mentoring experience (may be either year) As defined by committee
  Second Year  
Formal committee meeting once per semester  
Presentation in UNH Graduate Research Conference or other public seminar on campus spring semester Presentation of thesis research at a professional meeting may substitute
Thesis defense: public seminar, oral exam by committee   Replaces annual review by GPCC in final year
File intent to graduate form by Graduate School deadline: https://www.gradschool.unh.edu/dates.php Submit form to Graduate School
Submit thesis by Graduate School deadline Electronic submission to Graduate School
Total credits required at completion Minimum 30 credits, including a thesis of 6-10 credits (BIOL 899)
  Possible Additional Year(s)  
Formal committee meeting once per semester  
Presentation in UNH Graduate Research Conference or other public seminar on campus one per year Fulfilled by thesis defense in final year
Annual progress review by GPCC spring semester (not required in final year) Student and advisor reports submitted in advance; GPCC provides feedback
File intent to graduate form, submit thesis to Graduate School by Graduate School deadlines  

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