2017-18 Academic Catalog

Biological Sciences

Department Head: Dr. Angus Dawe
Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Mark Welch
General Biology Coordinator: Dr. Donna M. Gordon

219 Harned Hall, 295 Lee Blvd
Box GY
Mississippi State, MS  39762
Telephone: 662-325-3120
E-mail: grad_studies@biology.msstate.edu, msgb@biology.msstate.edu

Graduate study leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees is offered in Biological Sciences. Major areas of emphasis include molecular, developmental, cellular and organismal biology. An emphasis in biological sciences will be interdisciplinary, drawing from courses in and out of the department relating to a single unifying field, such as cell biology, evolutionary biology/ecology, or microbiology.  Graduate research and teaching assistantships are available.

Highly qualified undergraduates at Mississippi State are encouraged to consider applying to the Accelerated Program.  This program permits enrollment in up to 9 hours of graduate-level courses in Biological Sciences during the student’s final year of undergraduate studies.  Upon completion of graduate courses, undergraduate credit is also awarded.  Students would need to consult with potential graduate advisors to ensure graduate credit could be applied to a program of study for the M.S. degree.  Application to this program may be made as early as the end of the sophomore year (i.e., after completion of 60 or more hours of graded undergraduate courses).  This option is only available for students pursuing a thesis-based Master of Science degree in Biological Sciences.

A Master of Science degree in General Biology (GBIO) is offered through distance learning.  This degree program is designed for practicing K-12 teachers who need graduate-level comprehensive instruction in biology.  This web-based degree program culminates with a capstone hands-on learning experience in lab and field settings.

Admission Criteria

Requirements for entrance into the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in the Department of Biological Sciences include the following.

  1. A GPA of 2.75 on a 4.00 system for all undergraduate work and a GPA of 3.00 for all coursework in the biological sciences
  2. Three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic performance
  3. Submission of scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test
  4. A statement of professional interests and goals from the applicant

Requirements for admission to the Master of Science in General Biology include the following.

  1. A minimum GPA of 2.75 on a 4.00 system on the last 60 hours of the undergraduate degree and a GPA of 3.00 for all coursework in the biological sciences
  2. Three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic performance
  3. A statement of purpose, professional goals and interests, and work experience

Requirements for entrance into the combined B.S./M.S. program in the Department of Biological Sciences include the following.

  1. A GPA of 3.50 or higher on a 4.00 system for all undergraduate work (no fewer than 60 hours)
  2. Submission of a standard application for graduate studies in the Department of Biological Sciences, along with application fee
  3. Three letters of recommendation from individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic performance
  4. Submission of scores from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test prior to enrolling in graduate courses
  5. A statement of professional interests and goals from the applicant, including specification of one or more potential major professors

Contingent Admission

In some cases, a student can be accepted pending a particular condition, such as completion of a B.S. or M.S. degree or other conditions such as determined by the faculty and/or the Office of the Graduate School.  Graduate students accepted on a contingent basis may receive an assistantship.

Provisional Admission

An applicant who has not fully met the GPA requirement stipulated by the University may be admitted on a provisional basis. The provisionally-admitted student is eligible for a change to regular status after receiving a 3.00 GPA on the first 9 hours of graduate courses at Mississippi State University (with no grade lower than a C). The first 9 hours of graduate courses must be within the student's program of study.  Courses with an S grade, transfer credits, or credits earned while in Unclassified status cannot be used to satisfy this requirement.  If a 3.00 is not attained, the provisional student shall be dismissed from the graduate program.  Academic departments may set higher standards for students to fulfill provisional requirements; a student admitted with provisional status should contact the graduate coordinator for the program’s specific requirements.  A student will not be retained on provisional status for more than two semesters.  While in the provisional status, a student is not eligible to hold a graduate assistantship.  This option is not available for students pursuing the combined B.S./M.S. program.

Academic Performance

The graduate student must maintain an average of B (3.00) or higher for all courses after admission to the program.  Only grades of C or higher will be accepted for credit.  One course of the approved graduate program can be repeated; the two grades will be averaged.  All grades earned will be employed in overall GPA calculations.  Failure to demonstrate satisfactory progress toward completion of degree requirements, including earning two or more Cs or earning a grade of D or F, may be considered by the Graduate Committee in consultation with the student’s advisory committee to be sufficient cause for dismissal from the graduate program.  If the student’s GPA falls below 3.00, he/she will have a one-semester grace period in which to retain a teaching assistantship.  By the end of this grace period, the student must have achieved an overall 3.00 GPA.  This 3.00 GPA must be maintained for the duration of the graduate program, or the student will be recommended for dismissal from the graduate program.  The student may retain a teaching assistantship during this probationary semester.  During the probationary semester, the student must be enrolled in approved program requirements or, if the program has not yet been approved, in courses appropriate for the program.

Master of Science in Biological Sciences

BIO 8011Seminar I 11
BIO 8021Seminar II 11
ST 8114Statistical Methods 24
Additional graduate-level coursework18
BIO 8000Thesis Research/ Thesis in Biological Sciences6
Total Hours30
1

Only one hour of BIO 8011 and one hour of BIO 8021 will be credited towards the degree.

2

 Or appropriate substitute, as approved by the advisory committee.

An exit seminar, a final comprehensive examination, and a thesis are required.  At least 12 hours of coursework must be 8000-level.

Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences

BIO 8011Seminar I 11
BIO 8021Seminar II 11
ST 8114Statistical Methods 24
Graduate-level coursework to be determined by student's graduate committee
BIO 9000Dissertation Research/ Dissertation in Biological Sciences20
1

Only one hour of BIO 8011 and one hour of BIO 8021 will be credited towards the degree.

2

 Or appropriate substitute, as approved by the advisory committee.

An exit seminar, a comprehensive examination, a dissertation, and a dissertation defense are required.

The Doctor of Philosophy course requirements are determined by the student’s advisory committee.  Mandatory academic performance is the same as specified by Graduate School policy.

Accelerated Program 

A student accepted into the accelerated program is allowed to enroll in graduate courses in the student’s final undergraduate semester. The student and advisor may select up to 9 hours that will satisfy both undergraduate and graduate requirements.  These courses may be split level (i.e., split 4000-6000 level) or 8000 level classes.  The student should take the courses for graduate credit (i.e., 6000 level or higher).  To register for graduate courses, the student must first submit to the Office of the Graduate School a completed Undergraduate Request to Enroll in Graduate Courses(s) form (http://www.grad.msstate.edu/forms/pdf/accel.pdf).  The combination of undergraduate and graduate credit hours may not exceed 13 hours within a semester.  After successfully completing the graduate-level classes, the student and undergraduate advisor will complete a request to receive undergraduate credit for the course.  After receiving the request, the Registrar will grant credit for the undergraduate course and give the same grade as received for the graduate course.  For the case of a split-level class, the transcript will show credit for both the 4000 and 6000 levels on the transcript.  In the case of an 8000 level class, an undergraduate course of the same title will be entered on the transcript to allow dual credit.

Students are permitted to opt out of the combined program at any time, at which point they can complete only the undergraduate portion of the program.  No additional dual counting of courses will occur after the student opts out of the combined program.

Students will receive the Bachelor’s degree once the requirements for the Bachelor’s degree are met.  Students will be required to complete all of the requirements for both the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in order to receive both degrees, and those requirements will be identical to the requirements for students enrolled in traditional B.S. and M.S. programs.  Students will be classified as undergraduates until they fulfill all the requirements for the undergraduate degree.  At that time, they will be classified as graduate students and will be subject to all the guidelines pertaining to the M.S. in Biological Sciences degree.  Students admitted to this program should read and understand guidelines in the Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Student Handbook before registering for any courses for graduate credit.

Master of Science in General Biology

Requirements for the Master of Science in General Biology (GBIO) include a 33-hour program of coursework and a written comprehensive examination administered at the beginning of the final term.  Each student will be required to complete Capstone in Modern Biology, an intensive face-to-face course of planned, hands-on lab-and field-based activities.

For additional information, write to the Graduate Coordinator listed at the beginning of this page.

BIO 6013Genetics and Molecular Biology3
BIO 6023Principles of Evolutionary Biology3
BIO 6033Fundamentals of Biotechnology3
BIO 6043Developmental and Reproductive Biology3
BIO 8023Modern Microbiology3
BIO 8033Advanced Cell Biology3
BIO 8043Ecology and the Environment3
BIO 8053Comprehensive Study of Animals3
BIO 8063Comprehensive Study of Plants3
BIO 8093Experimental Biology and Biostatistics3
BIO 8183Capstone in Modern Biology3
Total Hours33

BIO 6013 Genetics and Molecular Biology: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite:Consent of instructor). Three hours video and online. Analysis of the transmission of geneteic information from molecular to organismal levels;examination of ways in which genotype detremines phenotype. (Intended for K-12 science teachers. Course cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements in a non-distance degree program )

BIO 6023 Principles of Evolutionary Biology: 3 hours.

(Prequisite:Consent of Instructor). Three hours video and online. Current concepts in genetic variation, natural selection, and adaptation of populations;speciation, extinction, and phylogenetics;patterns of human evolution. (Intended for K-12 science teachers. Course cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements in a non-distance degree program)

BIO 6033 Fundamentals of Biotechnology: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite:BIO 6013 and BIO 8033, or consent of instructor). Three hours video and online. Fundamental principles of animal and plant biotechnology including recombinant DNA technology, gene-based diagnostics,genetically modified organisms and transgenics. (Intended for K-12 science teachers. Course cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements in a non-distance degree program)

BIO 6043 Developmental and Reproductive Biology: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites:BIO 6013 and BIO 8033 or consent of instructor).Three hours video and online. Study of reproduction and development from gametes through birth in mammals;focusing on stages, anatomy, physiology, mechanisms, genetics. (Intended for K-12 science teachers. Course cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements in a non-distance degree program)

BIO 6113 Evolution: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: MA 1313 or equivalent, BIO 1134 and BIO 1144, BIO 3103 or BIO 4133). Historical development of evolutionary theory; phylogeny and systematic; historic or organic evolution; molecular and phenotypic variation in populations; genetic drift and natural selection; speciation

BIO 6114 Cellular Physiology: 4 hours.

(Prerequisites: Seven hours of biological science and two semesters of organic chemistry). Three hours lecture. Three hours laboratory. A study of the morphology and function of the cell. (Same as PHY 4114/6114)

BIO 6123 Behavioral Ecology: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: MA 1313 or equivalent, BIO 1134 and BIO 1144, BIO 3103 or BIO 4133). Three hours lecture. This course focuses on the influence that animal behaviors have in determining their survival, and reproductive success using a hypothesis driven framework

BIO 6133 Human Genetics: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: BIO 1134 and BIO 1144 or BIO 2113 or consent of instructor)Three hours lecture Principles of Mendelian and molecular genetics as applied to humans. Description and causes of human genetic diseases and other anomalies. (Same as GNS 4133/6133)

BIO 6143 Population Genetics: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: Both BIO 1134 and 1144, or BIO 2113, or consent of instructor. Three hours lecture. Study of the structure of genetic variation in populations and its applications in life sciences

BIO 6203 Taxonomy of Spermatophytes: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: BIO 2113 and BIO 2213). Two hours lecture. Three hours laboratory. Classification and nomenclature of seed plants; introductory methods of collection; laboratory studies of representative plant families

BIO 6204 Plant Anatomy: 4 hours.

(Prerequisites: BIO 2113 and BIO 2213). Two hours lecture. Four hours laboratory. Structure and development of cell types, tissues, roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits of seed plants, with emphasis on angiosperms

BIO 6213 Plant Ecology: 3 hours.

Two hours lecture. Three hours laboratory. Conceptual overview and contemporary application of ecological principles related to plant distributions as local to global scales. Laboratory incorporates research planning, data collection, and analysis

BIO 6214 General Plant Physiology: 4 hours.

(Prerequisites: BIO 2113 and CH 1213). Three hours lecture. Three hours laboratory. Chemical and physical activities of the plant; absorption; transpiration; mineral nutrition; photosynthesis; translocation; growth processes

BIO 6224 Aquatic Botany: 4 hours.

(Prerequisite:BIO 2203 and one of BIO 3104 , BIO 4213 or WF 3133 or graduate standing;or consent of instructor). Three hours lecture. Four hours laboratory,every other week. Growth forms,taxonomy and morphology, and physiological adaptations of hydrophytic vegetation; ecolgical interactions involving hydrophytes; function of plants in aquatic ecosystems

BIO 6233 Living with Global Change: 3 hours.

Three hours lecture. Holistic examination of the interrelationship between human activities and ecological systems, with an emphasis on the concept of “sustainable” natural resource management

BIO 6303 Bioinstrumentation: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: BIO 4304/6304). Two hours lecture. Two hours laboratory and demonstrations. Theory and practical application of electrical, optical and other instruments employed in microbiology and medical technology

BIO 6324 Microbiology and Ecology of Soil: 4 hours.

(Prerequisite: BIO 3304). The study of diverse soil microbial communities and how they influence the structure and function of ecosystems (natural and managed) and the global biosphere (same as PSS 4314/6314)

BIO 6404 Environmental Microbiology: 4 hours.

(Prerequisite: BIO 3304). Two hours lecture. Four hours laboratory. Terrestrial, aquatic, and subsurface microbial ecosystems. Microbiology of water and wastewater treatment, solid waste disposal, landfarming, impact of hazardous waste, and environmental reclamation. Spring/odd years

BIO 6405 Pathogenic Microbiology: 5 hours.

(Prerequisite: BIO 3304). Three hours lecture. Four hours laboratory. The microorganisms producing disease in man and lower animals; means of transmission; protection against disease

BIO 6413 Immunology: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: BIO 3304 and CH 4513). Three hours lecture. Survey of the functions of the immune system. Emphasis on mammalian immunology, including T- and B-cell interactions in humoral and cell mediated immunity

BIO 6414 Microbiology of Foods: 4 hours.

(Prerequisite: BIO 3304). Two hours lecture. Four hours laboratory. Isolation and classification of the microorganisms associated with spoilage of commercial and domestic preserved foods. Same as FNH 4414/6414

BIO 6424 Eukaryotic Microbiology: 4 hours.

(Prerequisites: BIO 1134, BIO 1144, and BIO 2103). Three hours lecture. Three hours laboratory. This course examines aspects of the basic biology and evolution of microbial eukaryotes (protists) from a comparative perspective

BIO 6433 Principles of Virology: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: BCH 4603 , BIO 3103 and BIO 3304 ). Three hours lecture. Principles of viral infectivity, multiplication, and chemical constitution

BIO 6442 Bacterial Genetics Laboratory: 2 hours.

(Prerequisite: BCH 4603,BIO 3304 and concurrent enrollment in BIO 4443/6443 ). Four hour laboratory.The genetic and molecular manipulation of bacteria and their viruses

BIO 6443 Bacterial Genetics: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: BCH 4603, BIO 3304 or consent of instructor). Three hours lecture. The genetics of bacteria and their viruses including: replication, rearrangement, repair, transfer, regulation, and methods of manipulation and analysis of DNA

BIO 6463 Bacterial Physiology: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: BIO 3404 and BCH 4603). Three hours lecture. Structure and function relationships and major aerobic and anaerobic metabolic pathways in microorganisms

BIO 6503 Vertebrate Histology: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: BIO 1134 and BIO 1144 ). Two hours lecture. Three hours laboratory. Study of the microscopic anatomy, structure, and function of major cell types and tissues

BIO 6504 Comparative Vertebrate Embryology: 4 hours.

(Prerequisite: BIO 1134 and BIO 1144). Two hours lecture. six hours laboratory. The embryology of the vertebrates; the fertilization of the egg; stages of cleavage and the development of organs and systems

BIO 6514 Animal Physiology: 4 hours.

(Prerequisites: Ten hours of biological science and organic chemistry). Three hours lecture. Three hours laboratory. Functions and interrelationship of the systems of the body. (Same as PHY 4514/6514)

BIO 6563 Evolutionary and Developmental Biology: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: BIO 1134 and BIO 1144). Three hours lecture. A comparative study of the cell, molecular, and developmental regulatory mechanisms that have evolved to generate the body plans of a wide range of metazoan embryos, from sponges to humans

BIO 6603 Ethnobotany: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: BIO 1134 and BIO 1144, or AN 1143 and AN 1343). Three hours lecture. Relationships between plants and humans through examination of cultures, uses of plants, paleothbobotany, and the science of botany

BIO 6673 Industrial Microbiology: 3 hours.

Three hours lecture. Introduction to microbial anatomy, physiology, and genetics.Use of microorganisms and their by-products. Identification and control of biofouling, biocorrosion, and biodegradation of products and processes. (Same as CHE 4673/6673)

BIO 6703 Avian Diversity: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: BIO 1134 and BIO 1144, or permission of instructor). Two hours lecture. Three hours laboratory. A detailed survey of bird biology, with emphasis on their unique evolutionary adaptations. Laboratory includes field-identification, independent research and examination of bird reference collection

BIO 6990 Special Topics in Biological Sciences: 1-9 hours.

Credit and title to be arranged. This course is to be used on a limited basis to offer developing subject matter areas not covered in existing courses. (Courses limited to two offerings under one title within two academic years)

BIO 7000 Directed Individual Study in Biological Sciences: 1-6 hours.

Same as GCRL Zoology 561. Hours and credits to be arranged. Directed Individual Study courses usually require prerequisites of BIO 4326/6326

BIO 8000 Thesis Research/ Thesis in Biological Sciences: 1-13 hours.

Thesis research/Thesis. Same as GCRL Zoology 561. Hours and credits to be arranged

BIO 8011 Seminar I: 1 hour.

One hour seminar. Weekly seminar on current research in the Biological Sciences. Attendance is mandatory for on-campus Biological Sciences graduate students not enrolled in BIO 8021

BIO 8021 Seminar II: 1 hour.

One hour seminar. Weekly seminar on current research in the Biological Sciences and one formal presentation of the student’s research; serves as the student’s public exit seminar

BIO 8023 Modern Microbiology: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite:Consent of instructor). Three hours video and online. Fundamental principles of microbiology, including microbial structure,replication, and diversity;role of microorganisms in human health and the environment. (Intended for K-12 science teachers. Course cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements in a non-distance degree program)

BIO 8033 Advanced Cell Biology: 3 hours.

(Prerequisiste:Consent of instructor). Three hours video and online. Study of eukaryotic cellular and sub-cellular structure and function;integration of cellular processes to understand the cell as a whole. (Intended for K-12 science teachers. Course cannot be used to satisfy degree requirement in a non-distance degree program)

BIO 8043 Ecology and the Environment: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite:Consent of instructor). Three hours video and online. Investigation of biodiversity, ecological hierarchies, and interactions between biota and the environment. Includes as introduction to contemporary environmental science issues. (Intended for K-12 science teachers. Course cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements in a non-distance degree program)

BIO 8053 Comprehensive Study of Animals: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites:BIO 6023 or consent of instructor). Three hours video and online. Study of invertebrate and vertebrate animals,including reproduction, development, physiology,behavior, ecology and evolution. (Intended for K-12 science teachers. Course cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements in a non-distance degree program)

BIO 8063 Comprehensive Study of Plants: 3 hours.

(Prerequisiste:BIO 6023 or consent of instructor). Three hours video and online. Study of plants from bryophytes to angiosperms, including growth, photosynthesis, respiration, nutrition, reproduction, ecology, and evolution. (Intended for K-12 science teachers. Course cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements in a non-distance degree program)

BIO 8093 Experimental Biology and Biostatistics: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: Consent of instructor). Three hours video and online. Experimental design and methods for statistical analysis of biological data, with an emphasis on inquiry using the scientific method.(Intended for K-12 science teachers. Course cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements in a non-distance degree program)

BIO 8103 Advanced Ecology: 3 hours.

(Prerequisite: BIO 3104). Two hours lecture. Three hours laboratory. Selected topics with special references to bioenergetics, population and human ecology; with student research project

BIO 8113 Biogeography: 3 hours.

Three hours lecture. Study of the geographic distribution of life. Emphasis placed on climatic, geologic, and human influence, dispersal mechanisms and evolutionary history

BIO 8123 Speciation: 3 hours.

Three hours seminar. Species concepts, species delimitation, evolution of reproductive isolation, modes of speciation, and the rate of speciation are discussed

BIO 8163 Invasion Ecology: 3 hours.

Three hours lecture. Theoretical and empirical ecology of species invasion. Discussion-based with an emphasis understanding the invasion process from ecological, evolutionary, and biogeographical perspectives

BIO 8183 Capstone in Modern Biology: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites:Thirty hours of BIO graduate work and consent of instructor). Three hours lecture. Hands-on laboratory and field experiences which demonstrate the major techniques of molecular, cellular, organismal and ecological biology. (Intended for K-12 science teachers. Course cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements in a non-distance degree program)

BIO 8191 Seminar in General Biology: 1 hour.

(Prerequisites: 33 hours of BIO graduate work and consent of the instructor.) One hour seminar. Conduit for interactions with faculty members to assist students in preparing for the comprehensive exam in the MS in General Biology degree program. (Intended for K-12 science teachers. Course cannot be used to satisfy degree requirements in a non-distance degree program.)

BIO 8223 Plant Metabolism: 3 hours.

(Prerequisites: BIO 4214 and organic chemistry). Three hours lecture. Photosynthesis, respiration, nitrogen metabolism, and other metabolic processes

BIO 8233 Molecular Applications: 3 hours.

Two hours lecture. Two hours laboratory. Discussion of the fundamental principles behind basic molecular applications used in biology with a focus on methods employed to study DNA, RNA and proteins

BIO 8990 Special Topics in Biological Sciences: 1-9 hours.

Credit and title to be arranged. This course is to be used on a limited basis to offer developing subject matter areas not covered in existing courses. (Courses limited to two offerings under one title within two academic years)

BIO 9000 Dissertation Research/ Dissertation in Biological Sciences: 1-13 hours.

Same as GCRL Zoology 561. Hours and credits to be arranged