3180 Biology

Programs Offered:

  • Master of Science in Biological Sciences
  • General degree
    • Concentration in Applied and Environmental Microbiology (AEM)
    • Concentration in Biotechnology
    • Concentration in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Physiology (CMBP)
    • Concentration in Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry (MGB)
    • Concentration in Neurobiology and Behavior (NB&B)
    • Concentration in Bioinformatics
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Biology
    • Concentration in Applied and Environmental Microbiology (AEM)
    • Concentration in Cellular and Molecular Biology and Physiology (CMBP)
    • Concentration in Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry (MGB)
    • Concentration in Neurobiology and Behavior (NB&B)
    • Concentration in Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry with Interdisciplinary Specialization in Bioinformatics

Department of Biology
Georgia State University
P.O. Box 4010
Atlanta, Georgia 30302-4010
Phone: 404/413-5300
E-mail: tfhudson@gsu.edu
biology.gsu.edu

Yi Pan, Interim Chair
Ritu Aneja, Director of Doctoral Program
William Walthall, Director of Master’s Program

Biology faculty members are actively engaged in a wide variety of research endeavors. Research efforts are concentrated in the following specific areas: applied and environmental microbiology (AEM), cellular and molecular biology and physiology (CMBP), molecular genetics and biochemistry (MGB), and neurobiology and behavior (NB&B).

Graduate research assistantships and teaching assistantships in the department are available to qualified students admitted to the graduate program. In addition, students may also qualify for support from grants and contracts in connection with their research programs.

The Department of Biology accepts applications for all semesters. In order to be considered for graduate assistantships, applicants must have all application materials in the department by the posted deadline. Foreign applicants should allow at least two months for processing of their application materials.

Applicants may obtain additional information about the Department of Biology or specific disciplines by contacting the Graduate Coordinator, Tameka Hudson, at the addresses above.

Additional Admission Requirements

In addition to the general requirements of the College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Biology has the following requirement. Applicants must complete and submit the Supplemental Application form for Biological Sciences to the Biology Department.

Program Financial Information

Effective summer 2009, lab fees will be assessed automatically for students who register for certain courses. As a result, students will no longer be required to purchase lab fee cards. For more information, please feel free to contact the department or review the GoSolar or catalog course listings to determine if a course includes a lab fee.

Degree Requirements

Master of Science

Students may choose between two degree options. The non-thesis option emphasizes coursework and the thesis option emphasizes research. However, students enter under the non-thesis track. Transfer to the thesis option requires the approval of a thesis proposal by a three-member faculty committee that includes the thesis adviser.

In addition to the general degree plan, there are six discipline specific concentrations: applied and environmental microbiology (AEM), cellular and molecular biology and physiology (CMBP), molecular genetics and biochemistry (MGB), neurobiology and behavior (NB&B), bioinformatics, and biotechnology. Students wishing to concentrate in AEM or Biotechnology must apply directly to those programs.

All entering M.S. students should obtain a copy of the departmental M.S. Policy Document. The document is available on the biology website or in the Graduate Coordinator’s office.

Non-Thesis Option (40 hours):

  1. Forty hours of classroom coursework, to be selected from 6000 and 8000-level courses, must include:
    • One course in biochemistry. This requirement may be waived if the student has taken and successfully completed an equivalent undergraduate course with a grade of B or higher.
    • Two hours of Seminar (Biol 6960/6970 or 8700). Students may take one 6960 and one 2 hour section of 8700 or two 2 hour sections of 8700. Each 2 hour section is equivalent to one credit hour.
  2. The successful completion of a laboratory or literature-based research paper. In order to satisfy this requirement, the student must select a major professor and enroll in BIOL 8888, Non-Thesis MS Research. A maximum of four credit hours of BIOL 8888 may be counted toward the 40-hour course requirement.

Thesis Option (40 hours):

  1. Twenty-six hours of classroom coursework, selected from 6000 and 8000-level courses, must include:
    • One course in biochemistry. This requirement may be waived if the student has taken and successfully completed an equivalent undergraduate course with a grade of B or higher.
    • Two hours of Seminar (Biol 6960/6970 or 8700). ). Students may take one 6960 and one 2 hour section of 8700 or two 2 hour sections of 8700. Each 2 hour section is equivalent to one credit hour.
  2. An orally defended thesis proposal
  3. Fourteen hours of BIOL 8999, Thesis Research.
  4. A thesis.
  5. A final presentation, directed primarily to the defense of the thesis.
M.S. in Biology with a concentration in Biotechnology
Application/Acceptance:

Students must apply in writing for admission. Students not currently enrolled in the M.S. programs must concomitantly apply for admission to the M.S. program; admission will be into both the M.S. program and the biotechnology concentration. In addition to the M.S. program admission requirements, applicants to the Biotechnology concentration must have completed CHEM 6600 (Biochemistry) or its equivalent with a grade of “B” or higher. Admission to the concentration will be made by the Biotechnology Area Committee on the basis of credentials and is dependent on space availability.

Non-Thesis Option (40 hours):

  1. Prerequisite (5):
  2. Core Courses (5):
    • BIOL 6696 Laboratory in Molecular Biological Techniques (4)
    • BIOL 8970 Topics in Molecular Biological Sciences (Instrumentation) (1)
  3. Laboratory Practica (15):
    • BIOL 6440 Practica in Biotechnology (15) (Mini-mester; 5 credit hours each time taken)
  4. Non-Thesis Research Paper Preparation (4):
    • BIOL 8888 Non-Thesis Master’s Research (4)
  5. Seminar (2 sections):
  6. Electives (9) (Approved by Biotechnology Committee)
  7. Laboratory Practica: Both technique-based and project-based rotations will be offered. Students will meet with an adviser upon entering the concentration to determine rotations that best suit the student’s goals and needs.
  8. Research Paper: Upon completing of each rotation, the student will submit a progress report covering activities engaged in during the rotation. An adviser will mentor the student in the writing process. The three progress reports will constitute the non-thesis research paper and will comprise the basis of a portfolio, which the student can use as evidence of training and accomplishments.

Thesis Option (40 hours):

For admission into the Thesis option, the student must have a Thesis proposal accepted.

  1. Prerequisite (5):
  2. Core Courses (5):
    • BIOL 6696 Laboratory in Molecular Biological Techniques (4)
    • BIOL 8970 Topics in Molecular Biological Sciences (1)
  3. Laboratory Practica (15):
    • BIOL 6440 Practica in Biotechnology (150) (Mini-mester; 5 credit hours each time taken)
  4. Thesis Research (4):
    • BIOL 8999 Thesis Research (4) (Up to 10 credit hours of BIOL 8800 (Practica) can be applied towards the Thesis Research requirement. 4 credits must come from 8999.)
  5. Seminar (2 sections):
  6. Electives (9) (Approved by Biotechnology Committee)
  7. Laboratory Practica: Both technique-based and project-based rotations will be offered. Students will meet with an adviser upon entrance into the concentration to determine rotations that best suit the student’s goals and needs.
  8. Research Paper: The student will submit a Thesis proposal to be accepted by a Thesis Committee. The student will complete a Thesis to be defended before the Thesis Committee. The thesis may be based upon research done during the rotations.
  9. Examination: The MS examination will consist of an oral defense of the Thesis.

Requirements for Biology M.S. Program with Interdisciplinary Emphasis in Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics has grown from the creation of large biological databases that required computational approaches for efficient manipulation and analysis to a multi-faceted discipline that also includes microarray technology, statistical analysis, and molecular modeling. We offer non-thesis and thesis options for this interdisciplinary degree. The non-thesis option requires a minimum of 40 semester credit hours of coursework and a non-thesis report. The thesis option requires a minimum of 26 semester hours of coursework and 14 credit hours of research.

Biology and Chemistry courses must be selected from courses numbered 6000 and 8000. (Biol and Chem 7000-7999 are not applicable toward the M.S. Degree in Biology.) Math and Computer Science courses at the 7000 level that serve as prerequisites for 6000 and 8000-level interdisciplinary courses may be applied towards the coursework requirement.

Coursework must include:

  1. One course in biochemistry of at least three hours [normally CHEM 6600 (5 hours) or CHEM 6610 (3 hours)], although higher level courses may be selected. This requirement may be waived if the student has successfully passed an equivalent undergraduate course with a grade of B or better (in the case that the biochemistry work is waived, the student must still complete requisite hours of coursework).
  2. BIOL 6564 Advanced Genetics (4)
  3. BIOL 6640 Fundamentals of Bioinformatics (4)
  4. Two hours of BIOL 6960/BIOL 6970 or BIOL 8700. Students may take one hour of each or two hours of BIOL 8700.
  5. Twelve hours of interdisciplinary coursework to be selected from among the following:
    • CSC 6310 Parallel and Distributed Computing (4) [Prerequisites: CSC 7350 (Java Programming for Bioinformatics) and CSC 7351 (Unix/C Programming for Bioinformatics)] (these two programming courses provide credits toward the Bioinformatics degree.)
    • CSC 6350 Software Engineering (4) [Prerequisites: CSC 7352 (Data Structures for Bioinformatics); CSC 7351 is a prerequisites for CSC 7352]
    • CSC 6710 Database Systems (4) [Prerequisites: CSC 7352 (Data Structures for Bioinformatics); CSC 7351 is a prerequisites for CSC 7352]
    • CSC 6730 Data Visualization (4) [Prerequisites: CSC 7350 (Java Programming for Bioinformatics) and CSC 7351 (Unix/C Programming for Bioinformatics)]
    • CSC 8710 Deductive Databases and Logic Programming (4) [Prerequisite: CSC 6710]
    • MATH 6544 Biostatistics (3)
    • MATH 6548 Methods of Regression and Analysis of Variance (3) [Prerequisite: MATH 6544 or BIOL 6744 (Biostatistics)]
    • STAT 8050 Statistics for Bioinformatics (3) [Prerequisite: MATH 6544 or BIOL 6744 (Biostatistics)]
    • STAT 8540 Advanced Methodologies in Biostatistics (3) [Prerequisite: MATH 6752 (Mathematical Statistics II)]
    • * Course counts towards degree requirements.

For the Non-Thesis Option:

  1. Thirteen hours of electives which may include:
    1. Biology courses including four hours of research (BIOL 8800)
    2. CHEM 6110, Physical Chemistry I (3) and CHEM 6450, Molecular Modeling Methods (3)
    3. Additional computer science or math and statistics courses in excess of the 12 hour requirement.
  2. The successful completion of a laboratory or literature-based research paper on a topic that includes a relevant bioinformatics component. The guidelines for the research paper are similar to those for the Biology, M.S. non-thesis research paper; however, one of the committee members must be from the math or computer science department.

For the Thesis Option:

  1. An approved and successfully defended thesis proposal. The guidelines for the written proposal and oral defense are similar to those for the Biology M.S. thesis proposal;however, the thesis topic must be on a topic that includes a relevant bioinformatics component and one of the thesis committee must be from the math or computer science department.
  2. Fourteen hours of BIOL 8999 (Thesis Research).
  3. A thesis.
  4. A final oral presentation directed primarily to defense of the thesis.

Doctor of Philosophy

The Department of Biology offers programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree in Biological Sciences. Specialized programs of study are provided in the following core disciplines: applied and environmental microbiology, cellular and molecular biology and physiology, molecular genetics and biochemistry, and neurobiology and behavior, molecular genetics & biochemistry with interdisciplinary specialization in bioinformatics.

General Requirements: At least 90 hours of graduate credit are required for the Ph.D. in Biological Sciences. To satisfy the minimum requirements for the degree, the student must complete successfully:

  1. 32 hours of graduate classroom coursework, which must include:
    • Discipline-specific core courses (8 hours)
    • Discipline-specific electives (8 hours)
    • Discipline-specific topics/concepts and seminar (14 hours, which must include at least 6 hours of topics or concepts and one hour of BIOL 8550 and three hours of BIOL 6801)
    • BIOL 9991 or BIOL 9992 (2 hours to be taken during qualifying exam)
  2. Proficiency in biochemistry. This requirement can be fulfilled by completion of CHEM 6600 or waived if the student has completed an equivalent undergraduate or graduate level course with a grade of B or higher. Substitution of an equivalent discipline-related subject (appropriate to the student’s program of study) will be considered on a case-by-case basis and requires prior written approval of the Area Program Director.
  3. 58 hours of biology research (BIOL 8800 or BIOL 9999). At least 30 hours must be BIOL 9999.
  4. A qualifying examination.
  5. A dissertation.
  6. A final oral presentation, directed primarily to the defense of the dissertation.

Specific Requirements: The following coursework constitutes the minimum core requirements for each discipline. Substitutions in the curriculum may be made based on the recommendation of the student’s research adviser and require the prior written approval of the Biology Graduate Committee. Students will be expected, however, to demonstrate knowledge of all material covered in discipline-specific core courses (below) during the qualifying examination.

Requirements for Biology (MGB) Ph.D. Program with Interdisciplinary Specialization in Bioinformatics

Departmental Requirements (4 hours; may be used to meet Elective requirement)

  • BIOL 6640 Fundamentals of Bioinformatics (4)

Interdisciplinary Requirements (12 hours)

Courses in Bioinformatics offered by the Mathematics and Statistics and/or Computer Science Departments (specified prerequisites may be used to satisfy the 12 hour requirement). In consultation with the Major adviser, the student will submit a course plan to meet these requirements for approval by the MGB Graduate Director. Interdisciplinary courses include:

  • MATH 6544 Biostatistics (3)
  • MATH 6548 Methods of Regression and Analysis of Variance (3) [Prerequisite: MATH 6544 or BIOL 6744 (Biostatistics)]
  • STAT 8050 Statistics for Bioinformatics (3) [Prerequisite: MATH 6544 or BIOL 6744 (Biostatistics)]
  • STAT 8540 Advanced Methodologies in Biostatistics (3) [Prerequisite: MATH 6752 (Mathematical Statistics II)]
  • CSC 6310 Parallel and Distributed Computing (4) [Prerequisites: CSC 7350 (Java Programming for Bioinformatics) and CSC 7351 (Unix/C Programming for Bioinformatics)] (these two programming courses provide credits toward the Bioinformatics degree.)
  • CSC 6350 Software Engineering (4) [Prerequisites: CSC 7352 (Data Structures for Bioinformatics); CSC 7351 is a prerequisites for CSC 7352]
  • CSC 6710 Database Systems (4) [Prerequisites: CSC 7352 (Data Structures for Bioinformatics); CSC 7351 is a prerequisites for CSC 7352]
  • CSC 6730 Data Visualization (4) [Prerequisites: CSC 7350 (Java Programming for Bioinformatics) and CSC 7351 (Unix/C Programming for Bioinformatics)]
  • CSC 8630 Advanced Bioinformatics (4)
  • CSC 8710 Deductive Databases and Logic Programming (4) [Prerequisite: CSC 6710]