|Graduate Program Requirements|
Areas of Specialization
Graduate students in the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in biology may specialize in research activities at all levels of biological organization, with emphases on ecophysiology, cellular and molecular biology, endocrinology, and ecology of aquatic organisms, or on models related to human disease.
For admission in good standing, applicants must meet the following requirements, in addition to the Graduate School's standards:
The graduate program director in biology must approve admission on probation or with deficiencies in one of the above requirements. Three letters of evaluation from individuals who have a thorough knowledge of the applicant's academic abilities and potential are also required. Students may enter at the beginning of any semester.
Coursework, Thesis, and Dissertation
A dissertation embodying the results and analysis of an original experimental investigation is required for Ph.D. candidates. Students in the M.S. program may write a thesis based on a research project (Plan I) or, alternatively, may elect to submit a nonresearch project incorporating a review and analysis of one or more topics of current or historical interest in biology (Plan II).
Since scientific problems encountered today are multifaceted and require multidisciplinary approaches, students are expected to acquire a broad background in the physical and life sciences. Doctoral students must complete formal course work in or have equivalent training related to six of the following seven areas: ecology, physiology, cell biology, developmental biology, genetics, microbiology, and molecular biology. Master's students must have competency in five of these life-science areas. Each student is also expected to satisfactorily complete a course or sequence in biometry and any advanced courses designated by the student's graduate study committee consistent with the chosen area of specialization.
Each student must also enroll in three seminar courses approved by his or her graduate study committee, and one of the seminars must be outside the student's primary area of specialization. Also, each student is required to demonstrate proficiency in teaching by delivering formal course lectures or by conducting instructional laboratories.
To qualify for candidacy, a student in the master's program must satisfactorily complete either a written or an oral comprehensive examination. A doctoral student must take both written and oral comprehensive examinations. As part of a student's final defense of his or her dissertation, thesis or comprehensive review paper (Plan II), a public departmental seminar must be presented.
Class A Teaching Certification
Under the Alabama Department of Education's "Strengthened Subject Matter Option," students who complete requirements for the master's degree in biology can also receive class A teaching certification, providing that certain prerequisites and requirements are met. Complete details are available from the School of Education Certification Office, EB 100, 1530 3rd Avenue South, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-1250 (Telephone 205-934-7530).