The primary goal of the MS Biology program is to provide advanced training and experience in ecology, evolutionary biology, and bioinformatics. Students will address contemporary biological problems relying upon current theory and a variety of research tools. The program features an exciting range of subdisciplines, including evolutionary ecology, human-disease biology, systematics and phylogenetics, organismal and population biology, community and ecosystem ecology, and conservation biology. Many students find this training ideal for competitive job placement upon completing their degree. For example, public or private agencies and organizations seek individuals that approach problems synergistically with an understanding of organisms both in nature and in the lab. Other students will find the MS Biology program an excellent foundation for admission to top-tier PhD programs in ecology, systematics, evolution, organismal biology, bioinformatics, genomics, and related fields.
Coursework in this program is highly flexible and intended to provide a solid foundation for problem solving and post-graduate learning; the emphasis in training, however, is on student-driven independent research and opportunities to share this research within the department, at national or international meetings, and through the preparation of a thesis ultimately publishable in peer-reviewed journals. With active field-research programs, core facilities that range from environment-controlled laboratories to DNA sequencing, a natural history museum with associated research collections for specimen-based study, and a talented, collegial faculty that interact at a variety of levels, students can expect the MS Biology program to provide a learning environment that is challenging, stimulating, and enabling.
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