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103 Lennon Hall
(585) 395-2193

Chairman and Professor: Stuart Tsubota, PhD, University of California-Berkley; Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor: Anne Huot, PhD, University of Vermont; Professors: Thomas Bonner, PhD, University of Cincinnati; Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor: P. Michael Fox, PhD, University of Illinois-Urbana; Associate Professors: Craig Lending, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Rey Sia, PhD, Columbia University; Assistant Professors: Laurie Cook, PhD, University of Rochester; Tracey Householder, PhD, University of Rochester; Adam Rich, PhD, SUNY at Stony Brook.

The Master of Science in Biological Sciences provides students with a solid and comprehensive background in the field of biological sciences, including molecular biology, cell biology, physiology, genetics, microbiology, human biology and developmental biology. Upon completion of the program, students are prepared to enter a PhD program, medical or dental schools; work in academic, industrial or government research laboratories; or teach biologically related courses at the community college level or at the K-12 grade level (providing the student holds the appropriate New York state teaching certificate). 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.

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.


  1. A written thesis based on original investigation.
  2. 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.
  3. Detailed information on requirements and 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.

Plan II
A non-thesis program designed primarily for individuals who are employed full time and desire a more flexible course of study than that of Plan I. This plan requires an independent research experience. Plan I students may not switch to Plan II; however, Plan II students may switch to Plan I.


  1. A written report or other appropriate product based on independent research.
  2. Thirty-four 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 independent research and a maximum of six credits for independent study; and at least one credit of graduate seminar.
  3. Detailed information on requirements and 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.

Admission Requirements
The applicant should have completed a baccalaureate degree, including 18 credits of biology, at an accredited institution (see the Graduate Admissions section in this catalog for further details). The student should have a background in the natural and physical sciences appropriate to his or her research interests, both in course work and laboratory skills.

Applicants admitted to the program may be required by their Advisory Committee to take courses at the undergraduate level to remove any deficiencies. These courses 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.

Admission Procedures
Applicants for graduate study must submit the following documents to the Office of Graduate Admissions:

  1. Completed application form for graduate study as a matriculated student, i.e., as a degree candidate.
  2. A written statement of the applicant's objectives for graduate study and main area of interest within the biological sciences.
  3. Transcript(s) of records of all undergraduate and graduate studies.
  4. 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).
  5. A writing sample of at least three pages illustrating the applicant's technical writing skills.
  6. Graduate Record Examination scores on the General Test, the Biology Subject Test or the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology Subject Test are required. In lieu of the GRE, the MCAT or DCAT also will be accepted at the discretion of the department. 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

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.

Visit the program's Web site at to find out more about the research interests and background of potential faculty advisors.

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:

  1. Draw up a Plan of Study in cooperation with the candidate by the end of the first semester of matriculation;
  2. Act in an advisory capacity concerning thesis research or the independent research experience;
  3. Determine the content of, administer and evaluate the candidate's oral comprehensive examination by the start of the third semester of matriculation;
  4. 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.);
  5. Determine the content of, administer and evaluate the candidate's defense of thesis (Plan I) or defense of report (Plan II);
  6. Terminate the candidate's graduate student status at SUNY Brockport if the student does not meet the deadlines above or the required GPA.

Time Limit
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.

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:

  1. Maintenance of 3.0 cumulative grade point average as specified in the SUNY Brockport graduate probation and dismissal policy.
  2. Completion of a Plan of Study by the end of the first semester of matriculation.
  3. Successful completion of an oral comprehensive exam by the start of the third semester of matriculation.
  4. Successful completion of a thesis and thesis defense, or of a Plan II report and report defense.

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.

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 526 Recombinant DN

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 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 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 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 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 595 Topics in Biology (A). To be defined by the instructor in accordance with the specific topic to be covered each semester. Additional information may be obtained from the department office. May be repeated under a different title. 1-4 Cr. BIO 618 Experimental Endocrinolo

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; genetics and molecular biology and biotechnology. 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 Exp

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

Last Updated 5/26/21