The degrees granted are in biology, but each program is tailored to the student's own interests and career plans. Specialization is accomplished by selection of courses, choice of thesis or dissertation topic, and participation in weekly seminars in the area of interest. The specific program is determined after consultation between the student and the advisory committee. The Department of Biology also offers a Master of Science program without a thesis requirement. Two major areas of specialization are available. These areas and the typical spectra of graduate courses available are as follows:
Each student is assigned a provisional advisor for assistance during the first semester. Prior to registration for the second semester each student selects a major professor, who will serve as director of the student's Graduate Advisory Committee. The composition of this committee is representative of the general field of study in which the student expects to work. The committee helps to plan the student's entire program. The committee generally meets with the student twice a year to offer suggestions and assess progress in the program and thesis or dissertation research.
A student is strongly advised to devote as much time as possible to graduate studies. To satisfy the residency requirement, M.S. students must attend the University as a full-time student for at least one full year. The Ph.D. program is a full-time only program.