Course-Type Masters Degree

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The Course-Type Master of Science (MS) degree is a coursework intensive program. This program provides a highly personalized curriculum which can be tailored to one’s intellectual interests and which can serve as a foundation for further education. This program can be completed in 1-2 years, depending on the intensity of the course load. Unlike our MS-Thesis and PhD programs, students are not expected to have a strong background in research.  All Course-Type MS students must complete two semesters of Directed Individual Study (research-based or literature-based) but the primary requirements of this program are driven by coursework.  

Who is a good candidate for this program?

  • Students facing a gap year between their undergraduate education and the next phase of their intellectual careers
  • Students who are interested in Biology but don’t have a strong research background
  • Working professionals who desire to acquire a Master’s so that they can advance in their careers

Course-Type MS Requirements

  • Course Work 32 credit hours in total- students will be able to take courses in Biology, Psychology, Chemistry, Oceanography, Philosophy, Scientific Computing, Biomedical Science, Human Nutrition, etc.
    • 21 letter-graded credit hours
    • 11 S/U credit hours- Directed Individual Study, Tutorial, Colloquium
  • Colloquium Students will attend one of our Fall/Spring Colloquium Series (either Biology, Neuroscience, or Ecology & Evolution).  This will expose you to cutting edge research in the field.
  • DIS Research Project Students will find a major professor to work with and they will complete a Literature or Research Based (minimum of 2 semesters)BSC 5900: DIS (6 hours total, S/U)
  • Comprehensive Examination The capstone assignment for the program is a written comprehensive examination to be administered by the student's Supervisory Committee. The students must have a 3.0 or greater upper-division GPA to be eligible to take the comprehensive examination.

Course-Type MS Completion Plan

Term1 Year Plan2 Year Plan
  • 9 letter-graded
  • 3  S/U (colloquium, tutorial, etc.)
  • 6 letter-graded
  • 2 S/U (colloquium, tutorial, etc.)
  • 9 letter-graded
  • 3 DIS
  • 2 S/U
  • 6 letter-graded
  • 3 S/U
  • 3 letter-graded
  • 3 DIS
  • Comprehensive Examination
Fall N/A
  • 6 letter-graded
  • 3 DIS
Spring N/A
  • 3 letter-graded
  • 3 DIS
  • Comprehensive Examination

The Program Director will initially advise students. Incoming students will find a major professor to work with, thereby forming a supervisory committee in the first year that will oversee the Comprehensive Examination, the DIS and submission of the research paper.

Course-Based MS Requirement Timeline

Requirement Action Latest Deadline
Meet with Program Director Meet with Program Director every semester End of Semester
Declare Major Professor (faculty member in Biology) Submit memo to Graduate Office End of 1st Semester
Program of Studies Form- list of courses that you plan to take Meet with Committee (Major Professor plus the Program Director). Submit Program of Studies to Graduate Office End of 1st Semester
DIS Requirement Literature/Research-based directed independent study with Major Professor for 2 semesters Final Semester
Comprehensive Examination Complete written examination Final Semester

Questions? Please contact:

April Wooten
Graduate Coordinator
(850) 644-3023

Dr. Alice Winn
Director of Course-Type MS Degree Program
(850) 644-9833

Dr. Nora Underwood
Associate Chair for Graduate Studies
(850) 644-4783