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DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Faculty: Chairman and Professor: Stuart Tsubota, PhD, University of California-Berkley; Professors: Thomas Bonner, PhD, University of Cincinnati; Steven W. Chan, PhD, University of Hull; Vice Provost and Associate Professor: P. Michael Fox, PhD, University of Illinois-Urbana; Associate Professor: David Brannigan, PhD, University of New Hampshire; Assistant Professors: Laurie Cook, PhD, University of Rochester; Tracey Householder, PhD, University of Rochester; Adam Rich, PhD, SUNY at Stony Brook; Rey Sia, PhD, Columbia University.
Department of Environmental Science and Biology Graduate Faculty: Distinguished Service Professor: Joseph C. Makarewicz, PhD, Cornell University; Professors: James M. Haynes, PhD, University of Minnesota; Christopher J. Norment, PhD, University of Kansas; Assistant Professor: Mark D. Norris, PhD, University of Minnesota.
The Master of Science in Biological Sciences provides students with a solid and comprehensive background in the field of biological sciences, including molecular biology, ecology, genetics and evolution, environmental sciences, and whole organism and human biology. Upon completion of the program, students are prepared to enter a PhD program; teach biologically related courses at the K-12 grade level (providing the student holds the appropriate New York state teaching certificate) or the community college level; or pursue scientific careers in private industry or government agencies. The graduate program's small classes, and close working relationships with the advisor and advisory committee, are ideal for students seeking a rigorous graduate education in a small-college atmosphere. A limited number of graduate teaching and research assistantships are available.
Students pursuing a MS in Biological Sciences may study under the supervision of professors in either the Department of Biological Sciences or the Department of Environmental Science and Biology. The focus of the biological sciences program is on cell/molecular biology and physiology. The focus of the environmental science and biology program is on plant and animal biology, population, community and ecosystem ecology, and environmental sciences (water quality analysis, limnology, fisheries, wildlife, watershed analysis, toxicology, biogeochemistry, wetlands, etc.), conservation biology, etc.
At SUNY Brockport, a Master of Science in Biological Sciences may be obtained under one of two plans:Plan I
A traditional program requiring a thesis based on original research. Students considering further graduate study or employment in government or private laboratories are encouraged to enroll in this plan.
- A written thesis based on original investigation.
- Thirty to 39 credits constituted as follows: at least 15 credits of courses at the 600 level or above, which may include a maximum of six credits for thesis research and a maximum of six credits for independent study; and at least one credit of graduate seminar.
- In lieu of a thesis, a refereed publication may be accepted.
- Detailed information on requirements, regulations governing comprehensive and thesis exams, etc., in the biological sciences are presented in the Handbook for Graduate Students, available from the department secretary, Room 103, Lennon Hall.
A non-thesis program designed for, but not restricted to, teachers, medical technologists, lab technicians and other employed persons. This plan permits a more flexible course of study than does a traditional thesis program. It requires an independent research experience, but permits imaginative projects.
- A written report or other appropriate product based on independent research.
- Thirty-four to 39 credits constituted as follows: at least 17 credits of courses at the 600 level or above, which may include a maximum of six credits for independent research and a maximum of six credits for independent study; at least one credit of graduate seminar.
- Detailed information on requirements, regulations governing comprehensive and thesis exams, etc. in the biological sciences are presented in the Handbook for Graduate Students available from the department secretary, Room 103, Lennon Hall.
The applicant should have completed a baccalaureate degree, including 18 credits of biology, at an accredited institution (see pg. 23 for further details) with a minimum overall grade point average of 3.0 (A=4.0). The student should have a background in the natural and physical sciences appropriate to his or her research interests, both in course work and skills areas such as biostatistics and computer software applications.
An applicant may be admitted as a candidate with a grade point average of less than 3.0. However, this may occur only if a faculty member in the Department of Biological Sciences or the Department of Environmental Sciences and Biology is willing to act as an advocate for the applicant's admission to the program, and to serve as the applicant's graduate advisor. Applicants admitted to the program may be required by their Advisory Committee to take courses at the undergraduate level to remove any deficiencies. These deficiencies must be included in the Plan of Study, but they will not be credited towards the master's degree. Such courses may be taken on a Pass/Fail basis with the consent of the instructor and the candidate's Advisory Committee.
Applicants for graduate study must submit the following documents to the Office of Graduate Admissions:
- Completed application form for graduate study as a matriculated student, i.e., as a degree candidate. The application should contain a word-processed statement of the applicant's objectives for graduate study and main area of interest within the biological sciences.
- Transcript(s) of records of all undergraduate and graduate studies.
- Two letters of recommendation from persons who have knowledge of the applicant's training and aptitude for graduate study (letters from academic referees are preferred).
- A word-processed document of at least three pages illustrating the applicant's technical writing skills.
- Graduate Record Examination scores on the General Test, the Biology Subject Test or the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Subject Test are required. Information on the place and time of this examination may be obtained from the Office of Graduate Admissions; from the Educational Testing Service, Box 955, Princeton, NJ 08540; or on the Web at www.gre.org.
The Admission Process and the Major Advisor
Admission to the MS in Biological Sciences program is dependent not only upon the candidate's qualifications, but also on the willingness of a faculty member to act as the major advisor for the candidate. Therefore, it is important that applicants to the MS in Biological Sciences program contact potential advisors during the application process. Potential advisors should be faculty members with research or teaching interests similar to the applicant's. Applicants should list potential major advisors (including those faculty members they already have contacted) in a cover letter accompanying their application materials.
The Major Advisor
The graduate coordinator assigns a temporary advisor to the student to guide the selection of courses in the first semester. The student must select a faculty member to act as a permanent major advisor by the middle of the first semester. The candidate and major advisor request the assistance of two faculty members to constitute the candidate's Advisory Committee to guide the student through the degree program. Upon completion of one academic year or its equivalent, the candidate's progress is reviewed by the Advisory Committee.
Candidate's Advisory Committee
It is the responsibility of the candidate's Advisory Committee to:
- Draw up a Plan of Study in cooperation with the candidate by the end of the first semester of matriculation;
- Act in an advisory capacity concerning thesis research or the independent research experience;
- Determine the content of, administer, and evaluate the candidate's oral comprehensive examination by the end of the second semester of matriculation;
- Evaluate the candidate's written thesis or product of the independent research experience and judge whether it satisfies the requirements for the degree. (Formal credit for thesis is awarded under BIO 704; formal credit for independent research experience is awarded under BIO 702.);
- Determine the content of, administer, and evaluate the candidate's defense of thesis (Plan I) or defense of report (Plan II); and
- Terminate the candidate's graduate program at SUNY Brockport if the deadlines above or the required GPA are not met by the student.
Degree requirements should be completed within three years of the date of matriculation. With written approval of the Advisory Committee and the graduate coordinator, extensions of up to two years (i.e., five consecutive calendar years total in the program) may be granted.
Continuation in Program and Graduate Dismissal Policy
"Students who are deemed as not making progress toward the degree, as defined by published departmental policy, may be dismissed from the program." (Faculty Senate Resolution #3, February 1992). The Handbook for Graduate Studies available from the Department of Biological Sciences provides criteria for continuing in the biological sciences program. These criteria include:
- Maintenance of 3.0 cumulative grade point average as specified in the SUNY Brockport graduate probation and dismissal policy.
- Completion of a Plan of Study by the end of the first semester of matriculation.
- Successful completion of an oral comprehensive exam by the end of the second semester of matriculation.
- Successful completion of a thesis and thesis defense.
Certain courses with the BIO discipline code are taught by faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences and others are taught by the faculty in the Department of Environmental Science and Biology. Both are included in the list below. Courses designated with the are taught by the faculty of the Department of Environmental Science and Biology.
BIO 500 Plant Diversity † (A). Prerequisites: One general biology and one 400-level ecology course. Indepth study of plant diversity, including plant structure and ecological adaptations, reproductive biology, evolutionary history, and principles of plant classification. Laboratories and field work survey the diversity of plants and teach the use of technical keys. Students critically review current plant systematics literature and write a research paper. 4 Cr. Even fall
BIO 505 Plant Ecology † (A). Prerequisites: One general biology and one 400-level ecology course. Indepth study of plant ecology including population and community dynamics, evolution of life history traits, physiological responses to environmental stresses, plant-animal interactions, and the role of vegetation in ecosystem processes. Field and laboratory studies explore experimental and analytical techniques used in plant ecology. Students analyze and discuss current readings in plant ecology and write a research paper. 4 Cr. Odd fall
BIO 506 Wildlife Ecology † (A). Prerequisites: One general biology and one 400-level ecology course. In-depth study of wildlife ecology including basic principles of wildlife ecology and management as they apply to terrestrial vertebrate game species. Lecture topics include population ecology, nutrition, disease, habitat management, economics, and the human dimension of wildlife management. Laboratory and field work include computer modeling, analysis of case studies, and habitat preference and suitability modeling. Students critically review current literature and evaluate a wildlife management plan. 4 Cr. Even fall
BIO 513 Topics in Plant Biology † (A). Prerequisite: ENV 400 and 405. In-depth discussion of recent scientific literature and experimental data in plant biology, ecology and systematics. Students critically analyze current scientific literature and write a research paper. 3 Cr.
BIO 514 Introduction to Immunology (A). Covers current concepts in immunology, structure and functions of the immunoglobulins, role of cell-mediated immunity, protective role of the immune system, and disease and injury related to malfunctions of the immune system. 3 Cr. Fall
BIO 515 Molecular Biology (A). Prerequisite: Instructor's permission. Covers the biosynthesis and function of macromolecules, especially nucleic acids. Includes topics in regulation, molecular virology, transposition and transformation, as well as recombinant DNA methods. 3 Cr. Spring
BIO 519 Principles of Limnology † (A). Prerequisite: ENV 303. In-depth study of the physical, chemical, and biological properties of lakes and streams including top-down/bottom-up control of food webs, eutrophication, nutrient cycling, acid precipitation, and paleolimnology. Students critically analyze classical and current limnological literature and write two research papers. Recommended for students interested in oceanography and marine biology. BIO 521 is the complementary laboratory. 3 Cr. Fall
BIO 521 Limnology Laboratory † (A). Prerequisite: ENV 303. In-depth study of laboratory and field methods of limnology including sampling and identification of selected aquatic organisms, chemical analyses of water, and operation of physical, chemical and biological sampling gear. Students conduct field exercises on lakes, using department vessels, and in streams. Each student will choose a lake to study and provide a report on its limnological status using methods learned in class. Recommended for students interested in oceanography and marine biology. BIO 519 is the complementary lecture course. 2 Cr. Fall
BIO 522 Population Biology † (A). Prerequisites: One general biology and one 400-level ecology course. In-depth study of populations including genetics, growth and regulation, life tables, the exclusion principle, predator-prey theory, species equilibrium theory, and human population growth. Students analyze current scientific literature on population biology and write a research paper. 3 Cr.
BIO 523 Biology of Pollution † (A). Prerequisites: One general biology and one general chemistry course. In-depth study of the biology and chemistry of pollution including water pollution problems, the effects of pollutants on organisms at the molecular, cellular, physiological and behavioral levels, and their effects on populations, communities, and ecosystems. Emphasizes toxicity testing techniques and data analysis. Students review scientific literature on a pollution topic, write a research paper, and present their findings to the class. 3 Cr. Odd spring
BIO 526 Recombinant DNA (A). Considers theory and techniques in the recombinant DNA field. Includes topics such as cloning vectors, restriction analysis, PCR methods, and expression of cloned genes in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Also considers examples and implications of recombinant DNA methodology in plants and agriculture, as well as in medicine, human genetics and disease. 3 Cr. Fall
BIO 527 Animal Behavior † (A). Prerequisites: One general biology course and one 400-level ecology course. In-depth study of animal behavior, including behavior in relation to adaptation and phylogenetic history, methods of studying behavior, the effects of genes and the environment on behavior, relationships between neural and endocrine function and behavior, foraging strategies, mating strategies and systems, and social systems. Includes a research project and readings in current scientific literature, and emphasizes scientific writing skills. 3 Cr. Fall
BIO 528 Microtechniques (A). Examines the theory and techniques of tissue preparation by paraffin and plastic sectioning, with an emphasis on the application of these techniques to a hospital pathology lab. Covers photomicrography, histochemistry and immunocytochemistry. 3 Cr.
BIO 529 Electron Microscopy (A). Covers the theory of electron optics and skills of electron microscopy, and methods of specimen preparation and skills of ultramicrotomy. Strongly emphasizes lab work and stresses technique. 4 Cr.
BIO 530 Ornithology † (A). Prerequisites: One general biology and one 400-level ecology course. Indepth study of birds explores their form, function, ecology, and evolution. Includes anatomy and physiology, origins and biophysics of flight, migration and annual cycle, mating systems, and population and community ecology of birds. Includes laboratory and field study of anatomy and flight, identification techniques, census methods, and trapping and banding. Students conduct a project with a resident bird species and write a grant application. 4 Cr. Even spring
BIO 539 Conservation Biology † (A). Prerequisites: One general biology and one 400-level ecology course. In-depth study of conservation biology, including current theories and data from evolutionary biology, ecology and genetics as they relate to the conservation of biological diversity. Includes causes of extinction, habitat loss and fragmentation, design of nature reserves, landscape ecology, application of population biology principles to species conservation, and population viability analysis. Students analyze current scientific literature and present to the class an analysis of a current issue in conservation biology. 3 Cr. Spring
BIO 540 Herpetology † (A). Prerequisites: One general biology and one 400-level ecology course. Indepth study of reptile and amphibian biology by exploring their form, function, ecology, and evolution. Includes origins, anatomy and physiology, mating systems, population and community ecology of herpetofauna, and their conservation biology. Includes laboratory and field study of identification, capture techniques, and census methods. Students critically review current scientific literature and prepare a research paper. 4 Cr. Odd spring
BIO 543 Biotechniques III - Immunoassays (A). Covers principles of radioimmunoassays (RIA) and enzyme-ligand-sorbent immunoassays (ELISA). Provides hands-on learning of either/both methods and applying them to assay biological samples. Discusses accuracy, precision and variability and limitations of the procedures. Given second four weeks of the semester only, with eight three-hour laboratory sessions. 1 Cr.
BIO 545 Histology (A). Explores the microanatomy of animal tissues and organs with an emphasis on functional correlations. Includes lab examinations of prepared slides and fresh material, as well as normal and pathological tissues. 4 Cr. Fall
BIO 559 Mammalogy † (A). Prerequisites: One general biology and one 400-level ecology course. Indepth study of mammalian biology including form, function, ecology, and evolution of mammals. Includes origins, anatomy and physiology, diet and feeding strategies, population and community ecology, and social systems. Laboratory and field activities emphasize mammalian classification, habitat selection, and population biology of small mammals. Students critically review current readings in mammalogy and analyze a long-term data set for a small mammal population. 4 Cr. Odd fall
BIO 566 General Endocrinology (A). Covers the relationship between the molecular structure of a hormone and its ability to regulate growth, metabolic and reproductive processes; mechanisms of action at cell and molecular levels; various endocrine diseases. 3 Cr. Spring
BIO 567 Biochemistry I (A). Covers proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and other biomolecules with an emphasis on buffers, structures, experimental methods, main energy 80 Biological Sciences production pathways and biosynthesis. Requires application of concepts and information to experimental data and deduction of structures, functional roles and mechanisms. 3 Cr. Fall
BIO 568 Biochemistry II (A). Emphasizes topics such as metabolic pathways, human nutrition, chromosomes and genes, protein biosynthesis, cell walls, immunoglobulins, muscle contraction, cell motility, membrane transport, and excitable membranes and sensory systems. Investigates the experimental evidence for the structure and functions of biomolecules. 3 Cr. Spring
BIO 570 Biochemistry Lab (A). Course fee. Covers biochemical analyses, including preparation, separations and characterization of products from a variety of biological sources. Provides experiments with enzymes and experiments designed to measure inherent changes in the dynamics of living systems. 1 Cr. Fall
BIO 583 Aquatic Invertebrates † (A). Prerequisites: One general biology and one 400-level ecology course. In-depth study of aquatic invertebrates and their importance in stream and lake ecosystems, including invertebrate biology and ecology, classification and identification (insects, crustaceans, mites, annelids, mollusks, etc.), use of dichotomous keys and sampling equipment, and preservation techniques. Students learn to predict habitat or water quality conditions based on the invertebrate fauna present, create an aquatic macroinvertebrate collection, and evaluate the validity of biotic indices of aquatic system health. 4 Cr. Odd spring
BIO 584 Fish Ecology † (A). Prerequisites: One general biology and one 400-level ecology course. Indepth study of fish and fisheries biology including fish anatomy and physiology in relation to fish behavior and ecology, classification to the ordinal level, population dynamics (recruitment, growth, mortality, environment), and fishery management principles and applications. Students research a fisheries topic, write a paper, and present their findings to the class. BIO 590 is the complementary laboratory. 3 Cr. Even spring
BIO 588 Environmental Impact Analysis † (A). Prerequisite: ENV 303. In-depth study of environmental analysis principles and techniques including preparing an environmental impact statement (EIS) for a local development project. Topics include the National Environmental Policy Act, the New York Environmental Quality Review Act, relevant regulations and permit requirements (federal, state, local), and analysis of environmental impacts and alternatives. Students will demonstrate leadership of teams preparing EISs, and research and present key background information needed by all teams. Depending on the number of credits and session offered, may include field work. 4-6 Cr. Even summer
BIO 590 Fishery Techniques and Fish Identification † (A). Prerequisite: ENV 303. Indepth study of the theory and practice of laboratory and field techniques used by fisheries scientists. Hands-on activities include collecting fish (electro-fishing, nets), fish anatomy, fish identification, and quantitative analysis of fisheries data. Students write a paper critically evaluating a fishery technique and collect and prepare fish for the College collection. BIO 584 is the complementary lecture course. 2 Cr. Fall
BIO 614 Experimental Design † (A). Prerequisite: ENV 303. In-depth study of experimental design, hypothesis formulation and testing, data manipulation and analysis, and interpretation of biological data. Topics include descriptive statistics, exploratory data analysis, and parametric and non-parametric two-and multi-sample tests using analysis of variance, regression and other techniques. 3 Cr. Spring
BIO 618 Experimental Endocrinology (A). A lab course to accompany the lecture series on general endocrinology. Includes techniques such as surgery, biochemical analyses and physiological experiments to study hormone receptor interactions. Also includes library research of current literature. 3 Cr.
BIO 621 Water Chemistry † (A). Prerequisite: Two college chemistry courses. In-depth study of the theory and operation of analytical environmental chemistry instruments. Hands-on activities include flame and graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrophotometry, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), gas chromatography by micro-ECD, and autoanalyser techniques for nutrients. Extraction techniques for tissue (soxhletic) and water (C-18 empore filters) analysis are covered. Each student develops a water quality profile for a body of water. 4 Cr. Spring
BIO 622 Biology Seminar (A). Through discussion, deals with recent advances in selected areas of biology based on current literature and guest speakers. May be repeated for up to four credits toward the MS under different subtitles. Approved subtitles include: cellular biology ecology and evolutionary biology; genetics and molecular biology; biotechnology; plant sciences; and aquatic biology. 2 Cr.
BIO 623 DNA Cloning Laboratory (A). Explores procedures involved in the isolation and cloning of DNA. Utilizes methods such as bacterial and viral growth, quantitation and selection; restriction digestions, gene isolation and cloning, DNA ligase and PCR experiments, as well as site-specific mutagenesis. Also utilizes DNA fingerprinting using non-radioactive detection techniques. 3 Cr. Fall
BIO 673 Neurobiology (A). A biophysical approach to understanding neurobiology at the cellular and molecular level. Examines ion channel function and electrical signaling mechanisms, synaptic communication, and neuromodulation. Includes current research and relevant research techniques. 3 Cr.
BIO 692 Graduate Seminar (A). Required of all graduate students. Provides training in public speaking. Requires each student to present a seminar on some mutually agreeable topic in science that is critiqued for scientific content, style of presentation, quality of visual aids, impact on the audience, etc. 1 Cr. Every Semester
BIO 695 Topics in Biology (A). Current topics to be arranged by instructor in a special field of study. Details reflect student demand, needs and timely topics of interest. 1-3 Cr.
BIO 699 Independent Study (A). Designed individually through consultation between student and instructor to suit the student's needs and interests and the special competence of the instructor. Additional requirements may be imposed by the department. 1-4 Cr.
BIO 702 Independent Research Experience (A). Requires an independent research experience, but permits a more flexible course of study than does a traditional thesis program. Designed for Plan II of the MS program with teachers, medical technologists, lab technicians and other employed persons in mind. 1-6 Cr. Every Semester
BIO 704 Thesis (A). Provides for an individual investigation of an original problem to be submitted in a format acceptable to satisfy the requirements for the master's thesis as determined by department rules and regulations. 1-6 Cr. Every Semester
ENV 577 Field Biology † (A). Prerequisites: One general biology and one 400-level ecology course. Students take an in-depth look at the flora and fauna of various habitats in Western New York. Topics include the structure and function of biotic communities, techniques for species identification, qualitative and quantitative assessment of communities and ecosystems, and general conservation theory and practice. Students design and conduct a field project on the ecology of a local species. 4 Cr. Odd summer