Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences (BGES)

Graduate Degrees in Biology

Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Science in Biology

Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Regulatory Biology
Master of Science Degree - Thesis Option
Master of Science Degree - Nonthesis Option

Graduate Programs in Biology

The Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences offers programs of course work and research leading to the Master of Science degree in Biology and to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Regulatory Biology. Faculty members from the Department of Biology and staff members of The Lerner Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic work in cooperation to offer graduate training covering the broad range of biological sciences. The Department also offers an interdisciplinary Master of Science degree in Environmental Science. These programs are open to both full-time and part-time students. Listings of current graduate courses are provided elsewhere. In April 1998, the University Graduate Council approved an agreement for graduate cross-registration at Northeast Ohio public universities.

Faculty Research and Career Information

The biology graduate faculty includes members of the CSU faculty and staff members of The Lerner Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic. Because of this cooperation, a wide range of specialization is available. Students completing graduate degrees in biology are employed in research and teaching positions in private industry, hospitals, governmental agencies, environmental action groups, and colleges and universities. Contact the Graduate Program Office (phone 216-687-3511 or 216-687-2440 or email gpd.bges@csuohio.edu) of the Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences for specific information.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet the University admission requirements with respect to GPA, GRE and TOEFL. Applicants must submit transcripts from all undergraduate and any previous graduate study, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores (General Test only), two letters of recommendation, a statement of personal career goals and research interests, and--for applicants without a degree from an English-language Institution--the score from the TOEFL or an equivalent test of English competency. Applicants must have a minimum of one semester of statistics or calculus, one semester of organic chemistry, one semester of physics, and a strong background in biology essentially equivalent to the CSU undergraduate core curriculum. Questions should be directed to the BGES Graduate Program Director.

The official CSU admissions site is for graduate students and specifically for international graduate students.

Graduate Assistantships/Fellowships

Full-time graduate students pursuing thesis or dissertation research may be supported through teaching assistantships or fellowships by the department for a period that, as a rule, should not exceed three years for the M.S. or five years for the Ph.D. Full-time teaching assistants are expected to work 20 hours per week and must enroll as full-time students (currently 8 credit hours, including research credits). Research assistantships may be available from the research grants of individual faculty. A limited number of tuition waivers, which carry a service requirement of 10 hours of work per week, can be awarded to students with superior credentials as funds are available. Requests for Assistantships should be indicated on the CSU application form or by letter to the BGES Graduate Program Director.

Awards are competitive based on all application materials. Initial decisions are usually made based on completed applications on hand in April for Fall Semester and, as available, in November for Spring Semester. Required minimums for GPA, GRE and TOEFL scores are higher than those used for admission to the program. Current annual stipend levels for teaching assistantships are $14,500 for M.S. students and $21,000 for the Ph.D. students; these also are the minimum levels for research assistantships. A special Cellular and Molecular Medicine research assistantship may be available for qualified applicants.

Common Degree Requirements

All M.S. and Ph.D. students are required to enroll in Graduate Orientation and to attend Departmental Seminars. Before registering for courses, all newly admitted students must meet with the BGES Graduate Program Director. Students must also comply with all Graduate College requirements and procedures.

Minimum GPAs exist for particular degree options as described below. A student receiving one grade of F or two grades of less than B is subject to review by the Graduate Committee; dismissal from the Biology graduate program may be recommended. Complete, current program requirements and any changes are described in the BGES Graduate Program Handbook, which is available (along with standard forms) online or from the BGES Graduate Program Office.


Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Regulatory Biology

The Ph.D. program provides a comprehensive background in biological science with a focus on regulation in biological systems ranging from the molecular to the ecosystem level. The program is offered jointly by CSU and The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. Besides course work, a comprehensive exam, and teaching experience, the degree requires a written dissertation based on original scientific research of sufficient quality for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

  1. Selection of a Major Advisor and an Advisory Committee. The Major Advisor typically is the primary supervisor and source of support for the student's dissertation research. Together, the Major Advisor and Advisory Committee supervise the student's plan of study and research proposal, monitor the student's progress, certify that requirements have been met in a timely fashion, and process all petitions, progress reports, and other communications with the Graduate Committee.
  2. Completion of a minimum of 90 credit hours--with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0--distributed as follows:
    2.1. Total course work and research
    type of work credit hours
    Courses (minimum) 32
    Research (minimum) 40
    Additional Courses or Research 18
    Total Minimum 90 hours
    2.2. Required Courses: Each Ph.D. student must complete BIO 704 (Biochemistry), BIO 700 and 702 (Orientation), BIO 784 (Writing & Editing Grant Proposals), and BIO 740 (Biostatistics) or an equivalent graduate-level statistics course, for example, PSY511.
    2.3. Seminars: Each Ph.D. student must complete at least four seminar courses (BIO 888).
    2.4. Course Work Summary :
    courses credits
    BIO 700 & 702, Orientation 2
    BIO 704, Biological Chemistry 3
    BIO 740, Biostatistics 3
    BIO 784, Writing & Editing Grant Proposals 1
    BIO 884, Departmental Research Seminar (2 times; no more than 3 times for credit) 2
    BIO 888, Seminar (4 times) 4
    Additional 700-800 level courses 19
    Total Minimum Required 32
    2.6. Remaining Courses: Each Ph.D. student formulates an individual program of study in consultation with the Major Advisor and the Advisory Committee. This includes areas of course work concentration as well as remaining elective courses to fulfill degree requirements described above.
    2.7. Research: The student's individual research project should be of sufficient quality to be published in a refereed scientific journal.
  3. Satisfactory fulfillment of a teaching requirement consisting of two one-hour lectures under the supervision of a professor in (preferably) one introductory and one advanced course.
  4. Satisfactory performance in the Doctoral Candidacy Examination. This oral examination takes as its point of departure an original research grant proposal written by the student in the general area of the student's research. [Models for the grant proposal are the NIH NRSA or NSF or American Heart Association regular postdoctoral proposal. Accordingly, the description of proposed research should be 10-15 pages in length, and the research should be hypothesis-driven.] The intent of the examination is to provide a fair appraisal of the student's knowledge and understanding of the areas relevant to the proposed research and cognate areas indicated by the student's course work and plan of study. Additional study or course work may be required as a result of this examination. Two unsuccessful attempts to pass this examination shall result in a recommendation for dismissal from the program. Satisfactory completion of this examination admits the student to candidacy for the Ph.D.
  5. Completion of at least one year (i.e., three consecutive terms) in residence as a full-time student (as defined by the university) after admission to candidacy. Degree candidates must be continuously enrolled for a minimum of one credit hour of BIO 895 from the time they are accepted as a Ph.D. candidate until graduation.
  6. Presentation of the results of the dissertation at a departmental seminar.
  7. Defense of the dissertation before a faculty committee.
  8. Submission of the approved dissertation together with an article based on the dissertation, in a format suitable for submission to a refereed scientific journal.

Master of Science Degree in Biology

The Master of Science degree may be earned through either a thesis or a non-thesis program. A student will be admitted to candidacy when the following requirements are met:

  1. Deficiencies in undergraduate preparation are corrected.
  2. Eight graduate hours of course work are completed with a GPA of 3.0 or better.
  3. The plan of study and, for the thesis option, the CSU Thesis Research Proposal are approved by the Advisory Committee and accepted by the Graduate Committee.

M.S. Degree, Thesis Option

Besides course work, the degree requires a written thesis based on original scientific research of sufficient quality for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Requirements for the thesis option

  1. Selection of a Major Advisor and an Advisory Committee. The Major Advisor typically is the primary supervisor and source of support for the student's thesis research. Together, the Major Advisor and Advisory Committee supervise the student's plan of study and research proposal, monitor the student's progress, certify that requirements have been met in a timely fashion, and process all petitions, progress reports, and other communications with the Graduate Committee.
  2. Completion of a minimum of 32 credit hours--with a minimum grade-point average of 3.2--distributed as follows:
    2.1. Total course work and research
    Type of work Minimum credits
    Courses 24
    Research 8
    Total Minimum* 32 hours
    * Including no more than 7 credit hours of 400-level courses (which cannot have BIO or EVS prefixes).
    2.2. Required Courses: Each student must complete BIO 504 (Biochemistry), BIO 500 and 502 (Orientation). [Students who have never taken a college-level statistics course must take a CSU statistics course, preferably at the graduate level, approved by the Graduate Program Director, for example, PSY511.]
    2.3. Seminars: Each M.S. student must complete at least three seminar courses (BIO 688).
    2.4. Remaining Courses: Each student formulates an individual program of study in consultation with the Major Advisor and the Advisory Committee. This includes areas of course work concentration as well as remaining elective courses to fulfill degree requirements described above.
    2.5. Course Work Summary :
    courses credits
    BIO 500 & 502, Orientation 2
    BIO 504, Biological Chemistry 3
    BIO 684, Departmental Research Seminar (1 time; no more than 2 times for credit) 1
    BIO 688, Seminar (3 times) 3
    Additional 400-600 level courses (at least 3) 15
    Total Minimum Required* 23
    * Including no more than 7 credit hours of 400-level courses (which cannot have BIO or EVS prefixes).
    2.6. Research: The student's individual research project should be of sufficient quality to be published in a refereed scientific journal.
  3. Continuous enrollment for a minimum of 1 credit-hour from the time the research plan is approved until graduation.
  4. Presentation of the thesis at a department seminar.
  5. Defense of the thesis before a faculty committee.
  6. Submission of the approved thesis together with an article based on the thesis, in a format suitable for submission to a refereed scientific journal.

M.S. Degree, Non-Thesis Option

Students in the non-thesis option may earn the M.S. degree in Biology by completing a minimum of 32 hours of course work and passing a comprehensive examination based on a Library Research Paper containing a critical review of original scientific literature on a topic chosen by the student. The Graduate Program Director serves as the Advisor.

Requirements for the non-thesis option

  1. Completion of a minimum of 32 credit hours--with a minimum grade-point average of 3.2--distributed as follows:
    1.1. Total course work 32 hours
    Total Minimum Required* (32)
    * May not include research credits (e.g., BIO 691/695) or more than 7 credit hours of 400-level courses (which cannot have BIO or EVS prefixes).
    1.2. Required Courses: Each M.S. student must complete BIO 504 (Biochemistry) and BIO 500 (Orientation I). [Students who have never taken a college-level statistics course must take a CSU statistics course, preferably at the graduate level, approved by the Graduate Program Director, for example, PSY511.]
    1.3. Seminars: Each M.S. student must complete at least three seminar courses (BIO 688).
    1.4. Remaining Courses: Each M.S. student formulates an individual program of study in consultation with the Graduate Program Director. This includes areas of course work concentration as well as remaining elective courses to fulfill degree requirements described above.

    1.5. Course Work Summary
    courses credits
    BIO 500, Orientation 1
    BIO 504, Biological Chemistry 3
    BIO 684, Departmental Research Seminar (1 time; no more than 2 times for credit) 1
    BIO 688, Seminar (3 times) 3
    400-600 level courses 25
    Total Minimum Required* 32
    * May not include research credits (e.g., BIO 691/695) or more than 7 credit hours of 400-level courses (which cannot have BIO or EVS prefixes).
  2. Selection of an Examining Committee to supervise the Library Research Paper. Successful completion of the comprehensive examination (BIO 690) by presenting and defending the Library Research Paper before the committee. Two unsuccessful attempts to pass the comprehensive examination will result in a recommendation for dismissal from the program.

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Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences
College of Science, Cleveland State University
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Update: 3 January, 2005

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Mailing Address
Cleveland State University
Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences
2121 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44115-2214
Campus Locations
Main / Undergraduate Office
Basic Science Building
2399 Euclid Avenue
Room SI-219
(216) 687-2440
bges@csuohio.edu

Graduate Office
Basic Science Building
2399 Euclid Avenue
Room SI-219
(216) 687-2440
gpd.bges@csuohio.edu

Fax Numbers
(216) 687-6972 (Main)

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