Biology (MS)

Biology (MS)

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The Master of Science in Biology program provides graduate level coursework with an emphasis on hands-on problem solving and scientific discovery. Students will learn and understand how organisms maintain homeostasis, reproduce, evolve, and how they interact with each other and their environment, within the following areas Genetics, Evolution, Ecology, Cellular and Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, Organismal Biology, and Physiology. Graduates of our program are rigorously prepared to be competent, confident and competitive individuals for a variety of careers in the biological sciences. Graduates of this program pursue successful careers in industry, education, policy administration, public health, and matriculate to PhD programs. Individuals have the choice of selecting between a thesis and non-thesis option.

  • Why UTRGV?

    • Ranked #79 among 300+ national universities by Washington Monthly in 2018
    • Accredited, cutting edge degree program
    • Experienced, dedicated faculty
    • Affordable tuition (ranked #1 in net price among national universities by Washington Monthly in 2018 and #3 most affordable university in America 2018 by BestValueSchools.com)
    • Demonstrated student success in research, professional certification and career advancement
  • Admission Requirements

    Step #1: Submit a UTRGV Graduate Application at www.utrgv.edu/gradapply. There is no application fee.

    Step #2: Request your official transcripts to be sent electronically to gradapps@utrgv.edu or mailed to:

    The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
    The Graduate College
    Marialice Shary Shivers Bldg. 1.158
    1201 W. University Drive
    Edinburg, TX 78539-2999

    *Please Note: If you are a graduate of UTPA, UTB, or UTRGV you do not need to request an official transcript to be sent to the Graduate College.

    Review and submit all Program Requirements:

    • Either (A) an undergraduate degree with major in biology or (B) 30 hours of undergraduate
      courses in biological sciences or closely related disciplines, with 15 hours at the upper‐level,
      with completion of at least 3 credit hours in 4 of the following general categories: genetics,
      evolution, ecology, molecular and cell biology, organismal biology, and physiology.

    • Official transcripts from each institution attended (must be submitted directly to UTRGV).
    • Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.
    • Two  letters  of  recommendation  from  professional  or  academic sources.
    • Letter of Intent which describes your academic and career goals. The letter should state whether you are pursuing the thesis or non-thesis option..
    • GRE General Test. GRE test scores are valid for 5 years. A waiver of the GRE requirement will be granted to applicants who show proof of completing a graduate degree (master’s or doctoral).
    • Applicants pursuing the thesis option must have a prospective faculty supervisor. A prospective faculty advisor must be a faculty member who has agreed to work with the student if accepted into the program. The student should not enter the name of a faculty member if have not discussed the application with him or her. The student should contact prospective faculty advisors to set up meetings with them before submitting the application.

    Additional requirements for domestic applicants who attended foreign universities:

    • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for 2 years. For additional information, visit the Additional Documents for Domestic Applicants who Attend Foreign Universities section of our website.
    • Certified English translation of educational records.

    Additional requirements for international applicants:

    • TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paper-based, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internet-based for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. For additional information, visit the English Proficiency Exam section of our website.
    • Certified English translation of educational records.
    • Financial   Documentation  showing sufficient funds to cover all expenses (living and academic) for the first year of study. For additional information, visit the Financial Documentation section of our website.
    • Immigration  documents, including a current copy of your valid passport. For additional information, visit the Immigration Documents section of our website.

    UPDATE ON INTERNATIONAL ADMISSIONS FROM U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT:

    • SEVP regulations prohibit the issuance of a Form I-20 based on conditional admission, effective July 13, 2016. University officials can only issue a Form I-20 when students have met all standards for admission for the program of study listed on the Form I-20. These standards for admission include any English proficiency requirements.

  • Program Contact

    Program Coordinator: Dr. Robert Dearth

    Phone: (956) 665-8750

    Office: Edinburg Campus, SCNE 1.312

    E-Mail: robert.dearth@utrgv.edu 

  • Deadlines

    Deadlines:

    Applications will be accepted year round and prospective students are encouraged to apply at least 2 months before classes start to ensure a timely application review.  Applying early will also give prospective students the best opportunity to be considered for scholarships and other possible funding opportunities.

    *Note: This program only admits applicants during Fall, Spring, Summer I and Summer II semesters.

  • Tuition Estimate

    Residency Per 3-Credit Hour Course Semester (9-Credit Hours) Total Estimated Cost
    Texas Resident $1,359.29 $3,563.87 $16,311.48
    Non-Resident/International $2,625.29 $7,361.87 $31,503.48


    *We estimate that tuition and fees will closely approximate the rates shown above; however, rates are subject to change. Please note that the rates above are estimated for on-campus students and those enrolled in 16-week online programs. The rate is different for Accelerated Online Programs (AOP). Visit the tuition and fees page for detailed information.

  • Course Requirements

    Thesis Option
     
    Required Courses 5
    BIOL 6201: Scientific Communication 2
    BIOL 6305: Biometry 3
     
    Free Electives 24
    Chosen from the following:
    BIOL 5136: Current Issues in Biology 1
    BIOL 5300: Graduate Biology for Educators 3
    BIOL 5312: Vertebrate Evolutionary Biology 3
    BIOL 5316: Advanced Environmental Toxicology 3
    BIOL 5317: Advanced Bacterial Genetics 3
    BIOL 5340: Statistical Ecology 3
    BIOL 5342: Restoration Ecology 3
    BIOL 5344: Advanced Mammalogy 3
    BIOL 5346: Advanced Aquatic Entomology 3
    BIOL 5388: Advanced Global Change Ecology 3
    BIOL 5402: Molecular Virology 4
    BIOL 5403: Advanced Remote Sensing Technology 4
    BIOL 5404: Advanced Ichthyology 4
    BIOL 5405: Advanced Plant Physiology 4
    BIOL 5406: Advanced Mycology 4
    BIOL 5407: Plant Ecology 4
    BIOL 5408: Advanced Plant Pathology 4
    BIOL 5409: Advanced Herpetology 4
    BIOL 5410: Marine Plant Science 4
    BIOL 5411: Advanced Ecological Physiology 4
    BIOL 5412: Advanced Ornithology 4
    BIOL 5414: Advanced Plant Systematics 4
    BIOL 5418: Advanced Electron Microscopy 4
    BIOL 5421: Biotechnology 4
    BIOL 5422: Conservation Biology 4
    BIOL 5424: Advanced Microbial Ecology 4
    BIOL 5426: Advanced Marine Ecology 4
    BIOL 5427: Coastal Ecology 4
    BIOL 5432: Animal Behavior 4
    BIOL 5452: Advanced Marine Zoology 4
    BIOL 5480: Animal Communication 4
    BIOL 6198: Topics in Biology 1
    BIOL 6301: Molecular Techniques and Laboratory Instrumentation 3
    BIOL 6303: Advanced Ecology 3
    BIOL 6304: Systematic Biology 3
    BIOL 6307: Animal Bioenergetics 3
    BIOL 6308: Plant‐Microbe Interactions 3
    BIOL 6310: Plant-Animal Interactions 3
    BIOL 6312: Advanced Cellular and Molecular Biology 3
    BIOL 6313: Advanced Endocrinology 3
    BIOL 6316: Molecular Genetics 3
    BIOL 6319: Scientific Philosophy 3
    BIOL 6320: Vector Biology 3
    BIOL 6321: Applied Microbiology 3
    BIOL 6322: History of Biology 3
    BIOL 6324: Evolutionary Theory 3
    BIOL 6330: Molecular and Cellular Evolution 3
    BIOL 6365: Biological Research Problems 3
    BIOL 6390: Biology Internship 3
    BIOL 6398: Advanced Topics in Biology I 3
    BIOL 6400: Neuroscience 4
    BIOL 6404: Fish Ecology 4
    BIOL 6412: Subtropical Ornithology 4
    BIOL 6420: Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 4
    BIOL 6429: Advanced Agroecology 4
    BIOL 6499: Advanced Topics in Biology II 4
    BIOL 6185, 6285, 6385, 6485, 6585, 6685: Graduate Research 1-6
     
    Capstone Requirement 7
    Thesis
    BIOL 7100: Thesis Proposal 1
    BIOL 7301: Thesis I 3
    BIOL 7302: Thesis II 3
     
    Total graduate hours for degree: 36
     
    Non-Thesis Option
     
    Required Courses 8
    BIOL 6201: Scientific Communication 2
    BIOL 6305: Biometry 3
    BIOL 6365: Biological Research Problems 3
    Or
    BIOL 6390: Biology Internship 3
     
    Free Electives 28
    Chosen from the following:
    BIOL 5136: Current Issues in Biology 1
    BIOL 5300: Graduate Biology for Educators 3
    BIOL 5312: Vertebrate Evolutionary Biology 3
    BIOL 5316: Advanced Environmental Toxicology 3
    BIOL 5317: Advanced Bacterial Genetics 3
    BIOL 5340: Statistical Ecology 3
    BIOL 5342: Restoration Ecology 3
    BIOL 5344: Advanced Mammalogy 3
    BIOL 5346: Advanced Aquatic Entomology 3
    BIOL 5388: Advanced Global Change Ecology 3
    BIOL 5402: Molecular Virology 4
    BIOL 5403: Advanced Remote Sensing Technology 4
    BIOL 5404: Advanced Ichthyology 4
    BIOL 5405: Advanced Plant Physiology 4
    BIOL 5406: Advanced Mycology 4
    BIOL 5407: Plant Ecology 4
    BIOL 5408: Advanced Plant Pathology 4
    BIOL 5409: Advanced Herpetology 4
    BIOL 5410: Marine Plant Science 4
    BIOL 5411: Advanced Ecological Physiology 4
    BIOL 5412: Advanced Ornithology 4
    BIOL 5414: Advanced Plant Systematics 4
    BIOL 5418: Advanced Electron Microscopy 4
    BIOL 5421: Biotechnology 4
    BIOL 5422: Conservation Biology 4
    BIOL 5424: Advanced Microbial Ecology 4
    BIOL 5426: Advanced Marine Ecology 4
    BIOL 5427: Coastal Ecology 4
    BIOL 5432: Animal Behavior 4
    BIOL 5452: Advanced Marine Zoology 4
    BIOL 5480: Animal Communication 4
    BIOL 6198: Topics in Biology 1
    BIOL 6301: Molecular Techniques and Laboratory Instrumentation 3
    BIOL 6303: Advanced Ecology 3
    BIOL 6304: Systematic Biology 3
    BIOL 6307: Animal Bioenergetics 3
    BIOL 6308: Plant‐Microbe Interactions 3
    BIOL 6310: Plant-Animal Interactions 3
    BIOL 6312: Advanced Cellular and Molecular Biology 3
    BIOL 6313: Advanced Endocrinology 3
    BIOL 6316: Molecular Genetics 3
    BIOL 6319: Scientific Philosophy 3
    BIOL 6320: Vector Biology 3
    BIOL 6321: Applied Microbiology 3
    BIOL 6322: History of Biology 3
    BIOL 6324: Evolutionary Theory 3
    BIOL 6330: Molecular and Cellular Evolution 3
    BIOL 6398: Advanced Topics in Biology I 3
    BIOL 6400: Neuroscience 4
    BIOL 6404: Fish Ecology 4
    BIOL 6412: Subtropical Ornithology 4
    BIOL 6420: Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 4
    BIOL 6429: Advanced Agroecology 4
    BIOL 6499: Advanced Topics in Biology II 4
     
    Capstone Requirement
    Oral Comprehensive Exam
     
    Total graduate hours for degree: 36
     

    Course Descriptions

    BIOL 5136: Current Issues in Biology               [1‐0]

    Discussion and analysis of active areas of research in biology at an advanced level. Topics will vary by semester offered.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 5300: Graduate Biology for Educators               [3‐0]

    This course covers integrated biological principals from molecules through the biosphere, with a focus on specific contributions that knowledge of those principles has made to the physical, intellectual and esthetic welfare of humanity. The course will include lectures, readings of scholarly and popular literature, discussion, and a scholarly paper based on individual investigation of literature.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 5312: Vertebrate Evolutionary Biology               [3‐3]

    A course covering the theories and techniques employed in the study and conservation of vertebrate populations and their associated habits. Topics include predator/prey relationships, foraging theory, reproductive ecology and mating systems, disease ecology and community structure with a particular emphasis on the evolutionary advantages and pressures associated with development of vertebrate life histories and distributions.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 5316: Advanced Environmental Toxicology               [3‐0]

    An advanced treatment of physiological and systematic interactions of environmental pollutants with biological systems.

    Prerequisites: BIOL 2401 and 2402 or 3411 and 6 hours of Organic or Biochemistry or consent of instructor.

    BIOL 5317: Advanced Bacterial Genetics                [3‐0]

    Bacterial genetics from both classical and molecular perspectives. Topics include transcription, translation, mutagenesis, transduction, transformation, conjugation and transposition. The lab is structured as a semester‐long research project in which bacterial strains are randomly mutagenized, mutants are analyzed, and the mutated gene is identified. Laboratory fee.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 5340: Statistical Ecology               [3‐0]

    The application, interpretation, and critique of statistical methods for analyzing arrays of species‐by‐samples data as arise in biological monitoring of environmental impacts and fundamental studies of community ecology. Topics include standard diversity indices, hierarchical clustering, multidimensional scaling, principal components analyses, analysis of similarities and selected advanced topics. This course will emphasize the use of statistical software packages and reporting of results.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing and one course in Ecology or consent of constructor.

    BIOL 5342: Restoration Ecology               [3‐0]

    This course explores the relevance of ecological principles applicable to the recovery of degraded ecosystems. With an emphasis on the reestablishment of ecosystem functioning to facilitate recovery, topics discussed relate to the implementation and monitoring or restoration projects across systems and disturbances.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing and one course in Ecology or consent of constructor.

    BIOL 5344: Advanced Mammalogy               [2‐3]

    A study of anatomy, evolution, distribution, systematics, ecology and physiology of mammals of North America. A research project is required. Critical review of current literature and studies of recent advances in Mammalogy are emphasized. Laboratory fee.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 5346: Advanced Aquatic Entomology               [3‐0]

    Aquatic insect identification, taxonomy, ecology and use in bioassessment of water quality. Lower Rio Grande regional fauna emphasized. Lecture, lab and field work.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing. $5 laboratory fee.

    BIOL 5388: Advanced Global Change Ecology               [3‐0]

    This course will cover different aspects of global change, a critical environmental problem caused by human activities (e.g., non‐sustainable agricultural practices). This course will address lectures, discussion, and assignments related to topics such as habitat transformation, species extinctions, and spread of diseases, invasive species, global warming and the impact of these factors on conservation efforts.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 5402: Molecular Virology               [3‐1]

    This course emphasizes current research on the genome organization and replication of viruses, functions and regulations of viral genes, molecular mechanisms of virus‐host and virus‐vector interactions, and novel molecular control strategies. Students will be introduced to the history of virology, taxonomy of viruses, symptomatology, epidemiology, diseases and management of viral diseases.

    Prerequisite: BIOL 3403. Laboratory fee.

    BIOL 5403: Advanced Remote Sensing Technology               [4‐0]

    This course provides training in the use of electromagnetic radiation for monitoring environmental conditions and resources. Emphasis will be placed on the operation of various remote sensors, collection of analog and digital data, and use of computer software for image processing, interpretation and integration of imagery into geographic information systems.

    Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

    BIOL 5404: Advanced Ichthyology

    A study of ecology, distribution, adaptations, physiology, systematics and evolution of freshwater and marine fishes, with an emphasis on local forms. Laboratories will stress identification and other practical applications of modern ichthyological techniques. Laboratory fee.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 5405: Advanced Plant Physiology               [3‐3]

    Physiology of plants, cell structure and function, nutrition, metabolism and factors influencing growth and development.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

    BIOL 5406: Advanced Mycology               [3‐3]

    Subject areas shall include morphology and taxonomy, structure‐function relationships, physiology and genetics, molecular biology, parasitism of animals and plants, applied and environmental mycology.

    Prerequisites: BIOL 3401, BIOL 3412 or BIOL 3413.

    BIOL 5407: Plant Ecology               [3‐3]

    This course will introduce students to the theoretical framework and current research in plant ecology. Plant ecology focuses on factors that influence the distribution and abundance of plants and their interactions with each other and their environment. Resource availability, seed dispersal, competition, herbivory, and disturbances all interact to influence plant survival and growth, and topics such as these are the focus of this class. We will also address timely issues relevant to current research in plant ecology such as exotic species invasions, global climate change, and human‐driven changes to disturbance regimes. These topics will be discussed in relation to the primary scientific literature and other mainstream sources such as newspapers and magazines.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 5408: Advanced Plant Pathology            [3‐3]

    The causes, nature and control of plant diseases. Principles of plant disease development. Laboratory fee.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 5409: Advanced Herpetology               [3‐3]

    A study of the anatomy, evolution, distribution, systematics, ecology and physiology of amphibians and reptiles, primarily of North American species with special emphasis on local forms.

    Prerequisites: Graduate standing. Laboratory Fee.

    BIOL 5410: Marine Plant Science               [3‐3]

    The common local marine flora including the microscopic and algal forms and aquatic angiosperms.

    Credit Restriction: Not open to students with previous credit for BIOL 4410. Laboratory fee.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 5411: Advanced Ecological Physiology               [2‐3]

    A comparative study of the physiological adaptations of vertebrate animals to their environments. Emphasis is placed on the physiological basis of animal distribution and evolution.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 5412: Advanced Ornithology               [3‐3]

    Studies in avian biology with emphasis on taxonomy, behavior and ecology. Cannot take for credit if have had BIOL 4412 or equivalent. Laboratory fee.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 5414: Advanced Plant Systematics               [3‐3]

    A study of literature and methods of experimental plant systematics, phylogenetic considerations, field and herbarium techniques and modern biosystematic approaches applied to selected taxa will be emphasized. Laboratory fee.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

    BIOL 5418: Advanced Electron Microscopy               [3‐3]

    An introduction to electron microscopy including scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Topics include the principles of electron microscopes, cell ultrastructure, specimen preparation, microtomy, immunocytochemistry, operation of electron microscopes, and graphic arts. Laboratory fee.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 5421: Biotechnology               [3‐3]

    This course will survey many areas of biotechnology. Human disease, genetic engineering of organisms, forensics and the latest technologies used in biotechnology will be focus areas. The laboratory will be based on discussion groups and Internet based exercises to answer questions in a wide variety of questions in areas relating to biotechnology.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing AND ONE of the following courses:   BIOL 3401 OR BIOL 3412 OR BIOL 3413 (one of these) AND also CHEM 2323 and CHEM 2123.

    BIOL 5422: Conservation Biology               [3‐3]

    Focus on the controlled use and systematic protection of natural resources such as forests, soils, and water systems. Conservation integrates concepts of geography, climatology, geology, geomorphology, chemistry, and biology into one applied standing.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

    BIOL 5424: Advanced Microbial Ecology

    An introduction to the diversity of microbes found in nature. Emphasis is placed on the ecological significance of bacterial communities found in terrestrial, aquatic and extreme environments, as well as their metabolic activities, interactions and survival strategies. Microbial bioremediation and biogeochemistry are also addressed.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 5426: Advanced Marine Ecology

    This course will include discussion of marine ecosystems and processes with a focus on the marine environment of South Texas.

    Prerequisite: BIOL 3409.

    BIOL 5427: Coastal Ecology               [3‐3]

    This course examines the major nearshore habitats and communities of the western Gulf of Mexico including: beaches, sand dunes, estuaries, salt marshes, mud flats, sea grass meadows and rocky shores. Emphasis is placed on directed, field‐oriented, individual research projects.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing and one course in general ecology or zoology or consent of the instructor.

    BIOL 5432: Animal Behavior               [3‐3]

    This course examines the biological basis of animal behavior learning, behavioral genetics, development of behavior, neural and endocrine mechanisms, adaptive significance of behavior and social behavior.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing, four semester hours of upper‐division biology.

    BIOL 5452: Advanced Marine Zoology               [3‐3]

    Structural, physiological and ecological relationships of common marine animals, stressing invertebrates of coastal waters.

    Prerequisite: BIOL 3414 recommended. Laboratory fee.

    BIOL 5480: Animal Communication               [3‐3]

    This course examines the factors that have shaped the evolution of communication in animals. Topics include the role of physics and physiology in the evolution of signaling adapted to different environment and the role of social context in animal communication.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 6198: Topics in Biology               [0‐1]

    Specialized context and field experiences not available in other courses.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 6201: Scientific Communication               [1‐0]

    Students learn to review, interpret, analyze, present, and write various scientific topics. Students will explore a topic for scientific investigation, formulate testable hypotheses, design controlled experiments, conduct scientific literature searches, and interpret the methods and results of primary literature articles, as well as refine their oral presentation skills. Students will aslo learn to make proper use of bibliographic citations, write technical papers and prepare various documents related to professional development in the biological sciences. This course is required for all graduate students and recommended to take in their first semester.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

    BIOL 6301: Molecular Techniques and Laboratory Instrumentation               [2‐3]

    This course studies the theory and application of laboratory techniques, with an emphasis on molecular techniques. The course may be team taught by various members of the graduate faculty as expertise dictates.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

    BIOL 6303: Advanced Ecology               [2‐0]

    Utilization of modern techniques to analyze interrelationships between plants, animals and the environment. Terrestrial and freshwater environments will be considered. Laboratory fee.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 6304: Systematic Biology               [3‐0]

    Theory and methods of taxonomy, classification, phylogeny and biogeography.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

     

    BIOL 6307: Animal Bioenergetics               [3‐0]

    This course provides a detailed examination of the ecology and physiology of energy extraction and allocation in animals. The effects of temperature and the proximate and ultimate mechanisms that drive allocation strategies under varying environmental conditions will be emphasized. Students will gain experience in critical thinking about their own research and the research of others through weekly paper discussions.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

    BIOL 6308: Plant‐Microbe Interactions               [3‐0]

    The course will cover advanced plant pathology topics and several others not covered in BIOL 4408/5408. The graduate student will become familiar with the concepts underlying the interactions of microbes and plants across a continuum of symbioses. Modern ideas from very recent scientific literature concerning the molecular nature of plant pathogenicity and resistance will be emphasized.

    Prerequisites: BIOL 4408 or BIOL 5408; BIOL 3401, BIOL 3412, BIOL 3413 or BIOL 3415; consent of instructor.

    BIOL 6310: Plant-Animal Interactions               [3‐0]

    The function and structure of ecosystems are maintained largely by the interaction between plant and organisms of which animals play a major role. This course explores a set of important, representative interactions, ranging from mutualisms to antagonisms, including the co-evolutionary contexts. Lecture will provide an overview of key and necessary concepts for class discussion of selected readings and student presentations. One or two guest lectures will illustrate a specific and less studies aspect of an interaction.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

    BIOL 6312: Advanced Cellular and Molecular Biology               [3‐0]

    An in‐depth study of the physical and molecular activity at the cellular level. Topics to be emphasized include nucleic acid structure and organization, gene expression and its regulation, protein structure and recombinant DNA techniques.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing, BIOL 3412 or equivalent, CHEM 3303 or equivalent.

    BIOL 6313: Advanced Endocrinology               [3‐0]

    Advanced study of the endocrine system with emphasis on humans. Topics include: hormonal control of homeostasis, feeding, stress and reproduction; function of endocrine organs, cellular mechanisms of hormone action, and animal models of endocrinology, endocrine techniques and endocrine related diseases.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

    BIOL 6316: Molecular Genetics               [3‐0]

    Subject matter in this course will be dealing with the modern concepts of genetics with emphasis on molecular‐level investigations of DNA, gene structure, transcription, translation and gene regulation as elucidated through studies of gene cloning, recombinant DNA technology and biochemical genetics.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing and one of the following courses:  BIOL 3401 OR BIOL 3406 OR BIOL 3412 OR BIOL 3413 OR BIOL 3415 OR BIOL 4417.

    BIOL 6319: Scientific Philosophy                [3‐0]

    A study of the characteristics of science and the relationship between modern science and culture. A student interactive course investigating how science actually proceeds, how it should ideally be carried out, the motivations and roles of the individuals involved, and their interaction with society as a whole.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 6320: Vector Biology                [3‐0]

    Study of medically important insects. The focus will be on insect vectors and the diseases that they can transmit. We will examine insect life history, population dynamics, ecology, and human impact. We will also cover some basic epidemiology and disease transmission models.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 6321: Applied Microbiology               [3‐0]

    This course is primarily associated with the commercial exploitation of microorganisms, and involves processes and products that are of major economic, environmental and medical importance to humankind. Aspects of industrial microbiology such as production of valuable microbial products via fermentation processes will be emphasized. Key aspects of microbial physiology to elucidate the versatility of microorganisms for their diverse metabolic activities and products will be included in the course.

    Prerequisite: BIOL 3401. $4 laboratory fee.

    BIOL 6322: History of Biology              [3‐0]

    A survey of the events that have led to the development of biology as a science, with in‐depth discussions of the order, timing and chronology of discoveries in biology from antiquity to the present. Trends of thought in the biological sciences with emphasis on notable contributors will be highlighted.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

    BIOL 6324: Evolutionary Theory               [3‐0]

    Examination of current and historical concepts in research on micro and macroevolution. Topics include natural and sexual selection, adaptation, homology, phylogenetic reconstruction, gene flow, molecular evolution, speciation, hybridization and extinction.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 6330: Molecular and Cellular Evolution               [3‐0]

    This course involves the study of the appearance of life on earth and its subsequent evolution at the molecular and cellular levels.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

    BIOL 6365: Biological Research Problems               [3‐0]

    The student, in conference with his or her committee chair, will define an independent research problem. The student’s committee will approve the problem prior to enrollment. Non‐ thesis students must give a department presentation about their proposed BIOL 6365 research project prior to enrollment. If taken in summer, the student should enroll in no other course that summer term. The student’s report will be written in an approved scientific style. One copy will be retained by the faculty member directing the research, and one copy will be placed in the student’s biology graduate program file. Laboratory Fee.

    Prerequisite: Departmental seminar (non‐ thesis students).

    BIOL 6390: Biology Internship

    Paid or volunteer work in an industrial, educational, private agency, or government facility, under the general supervision of collaborating personnel. The student must secure the appointment for such work, but faculty will assist in finding opportunities. The collaborating personnel and the student Sciences Department. Successful completion requires a letter from the collaborating personnel detailing the student’s qualifying experience, an acceptable scholarly report, and a seminar presentation. The instructor must be a full‐time member of the Graduate Faculty.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing, permission of the instructor and Department Chair.

    BIOL 6398: Advanced Topics in Biology I

    Topics will cover specialized areas of study in the biological sciences that tend not to be part of regular course offerings. Subjects may vary from semester to semester, depending on the faculty member teaching the course. A student may take this course up to two times for credit.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 6400: Neuroscience                  [4‐3]

    This course studies the integrative functions of the animal nervous system from molecules to behavior.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

    BIOL 6404: Fish Ecology               [4‐3]

    Interactions of fishes especially teleosts, with their physical and biotic environment. The lab emphasizes fieldwork and includes  and  individual  student  project.  

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

    BIOL 6412: Subtropical Ornithology               [3‐3]

    Ecology, history, behavior and conservation of subtropical bird communities, focusing on breeding birds of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Students will perform field studies of birds and several field trips will be held. Laboratory fee.

    Prerequisites: Graduate standing.

    BIOL 6420: Plant Biochemistry and Molecular Biology               [3‐3]

    The lecture portion of this course will present the unique biological aspects of plants in the context of their biochemistry, physiology and cellular and molecular biology. The laboratory portion of this course will teach students the unique lab techniques involved in the study of plant biochemistry and molecular biology.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing and one of the following courses: BIOL 3401 OR BIOL 3406 OR BIOL 3412 OR BIOL 3413 OR BIOL 3415 OR BIOL 4417.

    BIOL 6429: Advanced Agroecology               [3‐3]

    Ecological concepts and principles are applied to the design and management of sustainable agroecosystems. Alternatives for agriculture are discussed in terms of ecosystem structure and function. A weekly three‐hour lab is required, with lab fees charged.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 6499: Advanced Topics in Biology II               [3‐3]

    Topics will cover specialized areas of study in the biological sciences that tend not to be part of regular course offerings. Subjects may vary from semester to semester, depending on the faculty member teaching the course. A student may take this course up to two times for credit.

    Prerequisite: Graduate Standing.

    BIOL 6185, 6285, 6385, 6485, 6585, 6685: Graduate Research

    Faculty supervised research designed for students who are working on a research or the thesis project. Courses are offered with between 1 and 6 semester credit hours. A maximum of six semester credit hours of graduate research will count toward the degree; subsequent enrollments will not count.

    Prerequisites: Graduate standing or consent of instructor.

    BIOL 7100: Thesis Proposal               [1‐0]

    All graduate students undertaking a thesis will be required to enroll for credit in this class. All biology graduate students are strongly encouraged to attend other students’ thesis proposal presentations each semester they are enrolled in graduate school. Students in this class will give a presentation on their planned thesis research before other graduate students and faculty. The presentation should include the conceptual basis for the project, the hypothesis to be tested or questions to be answered, and details of the methodology planned to be used in answering the question.

    Prerequisite: Graduate standing.

    BIOL 7301: Thesis I               [3‐0]

    The Biology graduate student will actively engage in supervised research needed to meet thesis requirements. This includes but not limited to design of an original research problem with a written proposal, collection and analysis of original data and writing of a scientific report in acceptable publication format. Students enrolled in this course must attend and actively participate in the Biology Graduate Program Journal Club & Data Review. This course is required for all Biology M.S. thesis students. Once enrolled a student must be continously enrolled in a Thesis course until graduation. This excluded summer, unless the student is graduating.

    Prerequisite: Instructor’s permission.

    BIOL 7302: Thesis II               [3‐0]

    The Biology graduate student will continue to engage in supervised research needed to meet thesis requirements. This includes completion, submission and oral defense of their thesis. The course is to be taken after Thesis I. Students enrolled in this course must attend and actively participate in the Biology Graduate Program Journal Club & Data Review. This course is required for all Biology M.S. thesis students. Once enrolled a student must be continously enrolled in a Thesis course until graduation. This excluded summer, unless the student is graduating.

    Prerequisite: Instructor’s permission.

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