2016-2017 Academic Catalog 
    May 30, 2024  
2016-2017 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Bachelor of Arts/Master of Science in Biology, BA/MS

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study


The M.S. program in Biology is intended for Biology students and for students majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BCMB) or Environmental Science/Environmental and Conservation Biology (ES/ECB). Research is initiated in the junior year or earlier, and is completed during the 5th year at which time a thesis is presented and defended. Research may be conducted outside of the Biology Department as long as a faculty member in Biology serves as the supervising faculty member.

No later than the beginning of the junior year, students should contact a faculty member whose research interests mesh with their own. With consent of the faculty member, the student applies to the MS program by completing the online application no later than May 1 of the junior year. Please note that application deadlines differ for students are graduating off cycle (either a semester early or late) or who have advanced standing; such students should contact Academic Advising for alternative dates.

Program of Study

All courses required for the B.A. must be completed by the end of the senior year. In addition to major requirements, students must complete two 300-level directed research courses that count toward the 10 credit master’s degree. These two courses may count toward the 32 credits needed for graduation, but not toward the major requirements. During the fifth year the student is enrolled in eight graduate-level courses, typically fulfilled by directed research, directed reading, and the graduate seminar. These courses must be completed with at least a B- grade.

Departmental eligibility requirements

The program is intended for students who complete undergraduate degrees at Clark in Biology, BCMB or ES/ECB. Students must also have initiated a research project as reflected in two 300-level directed research courses by the end of the senior year.

Advisory Committee

Master’s degree candidates must have an Advisory Committee, which is responsible for administering the thesis defense and approving the thesis (below). The Advisory Committee includes the student’s advisor, who must be a full-time or adjunct faculty member in the Biology Department, and at least two additional members of the Biology Department (these may include full-time faculty, research faculty, and post-doctoral fellows). Additional scholars may be invited to join the Advisory Committee.

Master’s Thesis and Defense

Master’s degree candidates must complete a master’s thesis and pass a thesis defense. The defense includes a public presentation and an oral examination administered by the Advisory Committee. The thesis is written under the supervision of the student’s advisor, and is based on the student’s original research. After the defense has been passed and revisions required by the Advisory Committee have been made, the thesis is submitted to the thesis advisor for final approval and signature. The original copy, bearing the advisor’s signature, must be delivered to the University Format Advisor no later than four weeks before Commencement (if the student is participating in Commencement activities). One approved copy is retained and bound by the Graduate School. When the final version of the thesis has been approved by the graduate school the student is responsible for printing three copies of the thesis on bond paper: one for the student, one for the faculty advisor and one for the department. The completed copies should then be signed by the faculty advisor and given to the Biology Department secretary for binding; the department will pay for binding of these three copies, which can take 4-8 weeks to come back from the bindery. If the student or faculty member requires additional copies, these must also be printed on bond paper, signed by the advisor and brought to the department secretary at the same time as the other copies; these additional copies are $17 each.

Program Advisor

(Signature Required on Accelerated Degree Program Advisor Form)
Professor Philip Bergmann
Lasry Center for Bioscience

Advice for prospective students

Students should have an area of research and an advisor chosen by the middle of their junior year. Students are advised to review the research interests of the faculty and to contact those professors whose research is of interest.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs of Study