Biology, Physiology Concentration (M.S.) - Graduate - 2009 University Catalog

You are viewing the 2009 University Catalog. Please see the newest version of the University Catalog for the most current version of this program's requirements.

The graduate programs in the Biology and Molecular Biology Department are designed to enable a student to develop his or her preparation for a career in biological fields requiring advanced training or for the teaching profession.

Research facilities of the Biology and Molecular Biology Department are maintained in Science Hall and include specialized equipment for molecular biology, electron microscopy, botany, microbiology, immunology, aquatic biology, tissue culture, animal behavior, and cell physiology. Additionally, the facilities at the New Jersey Marine Sciences Consortium, New Jersey School of Conservation, and other departments in the College of Science and Mathematics are available for cooperative graduate research. Faculty research interests include aquatic and terrestrial ecology, developmental biology, parasitology, microbiology, immunology, cell physiology, molecular biology, plant physiology, entomology and evolutionary mechanisms. The Biology and Molecular Biology Department has recently established a state-of-the-art molecular biology laboratory for teaching both introductory and advanced courses in molecular biology and biotechnology.

The Biology and Molecular Biology Department offers thesis and non-thesis students opportunity for graduate research under faculty supervision in selected areas of biology. Original research should not exceed 8 semester hours for thesis students and 5 semester hours for non-thesis students. Students must complete a minimum of 26 semester hours in biology , 9 hours of required courses, a minimum of 5 hours of research and a maximum of 18 hours of electives.

The MS in Biology with a concentration in Biology Science Education is intended for certified Biology teachers interested in enhancing and updating their content expertise, exploring and conducting research on biology learning, and expanding their insights into pedagogy. Students will complete 32 semester hours of coursework in biology, biology education, and curriculum and teaching and/or educational foundations. Students must take a minimum of 20 credits in biology and 6 credits in College of Education and Human Services and can take a maximum of 6 credits outside the department including BIOL courses taken as a non-matriculated student, courses taken in other MSU departments, and courses transferred from other institutions. Students must receive a B or better in these courses and the credits can not have counted toward another degree.

This is a non-thesis program that can include graduate research under faculty supervision. Introduction to Biological Research (BIOL 599) as well as Research in Biological Literature (BIOL 597) within this concentration will focus on science education as it applies to Biology. Original research (BIOL 599) should not exceed 4 credits.

The MS in Biology with a concentration in Molecular Biology addresses the needs of Biology educators, other Biology professionals and those wishing to re-tool their job skills. This program helps to meet the challenges of improving science literacy and implementing new science curriculum standards, and to meet the needs of surrounding biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.  Hands-on experience is emphasized and real world problems are presented to the students.  Students also get a firm grounding in molecular biology theory.


Prior to matriculation for the Master of Science degree in biology, the student should have completed a subject matter of at least twenty-four semester hours in biology and have adequate preparation in college chemistry, mathematics and physics.

In cases where there has been a weak undergraduate program in the major and/or collateral fields, prerequisite courses, which will not count towards graduate credit, may be assigned.

The matriculation program for MS candidates is prepared in consultation with the biology Graduate Program Coordinator. Changes in the program can be made only with the written approval of the Graduate Program Coordinator. It is the responsibility of the student to keep the coordinator informed of progress in the program.

In addition to these requirements listed for the MS in Biology, candidates for admission to the Biology Science Education Concentration must have teaching certification in Biology.

BIOLOGY w/CONC:Physiology

Complete 32 semester hours including the following 3 requirement(s):


    Complete the following 4 courses:

    BIOL 520 Plant Physiology 3
    BIOL 540 Mammalian Physiology 3
    BIOL 544 Comparative Animal Physiology 4
    BIOL 592 Graduate Colloquium 1

    Complete 14 semester hours -16 semester hours from the following list (14 semester hours required if Thesis option is chosen).

    BIOL 533 Advanced Cell Biology 3
    BIOL 542 Advanced Endocrinology 3
    BIOL 543 Advances in Immunology 3
    BIOL 546 Topics in Physiology 3
    BIOL 547 Molecular Biology I 3
    BIOL 549 Topics in Developmental Biology 3
    BIOL 551 Intermediary Metabolism I 3
    BIOL 552 Biology of Lipids 3
    BIOL 554 Microbial Physiology 3
    BIOL 570 Ecology 3
    BIOL 571 Physiological Plant Ecology 4
    BIOL 576 Biology of Extreme Habitats 3
    BIOL 579 Physiological Ecology of Animals 3
    BIOL 586 Selected Avanced Topics in Biology 3-4
    STAT 541 Applied Statistics 3
    STAT 546 Non-Parametric Statistics 3
    STAT 547 Design and Analysis of Experiments 3
    STAT 548 Applied Regression Analysis 3

    Complete the following 2 requirement(s):


      Complete for 1 semester hours.

      BIOL 597 Research in Biological Literature 1

      Complete 1 of the following options:

      1. THESIS

        1. Complete for 6 semester hours.

          BIOL 698 Master's Thesis 4-6
        2. Submit the completed Thesis original and one copy to the Graduate Office. See Thesis Guidelines for details.


        1. Complete the following for 4 semester hours:

          BIOL 599 Introduction to Biological Research 4
        2. Successfully complete the Comprehensive Examination.

Course Descriptions:

BIOL520: Plant Physiology

Investigation of physiology of plants. Plant growth, development and reproduction as well as the new advances in plant physiology. Water relations of plants, mineral nutrition, physiological significance of soil and soil moisture, photosynthesis, respiration, plant biosynthesis and dynamics of growth. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor.

BIOL533: Advanced Cell Biology

Detailed analysis of cellular structure and function. Topics to be covered include the role of subcellular organelles in maintaining cell viability, analysis of cytoskeletal components, structure and function of the plasma membrane and cellular defects that lead to cancer and other disease states. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Matriculation in the biology master's program or permission of professor.

BIOL540: Mammalian Physiology

A broad survey of the physiology of mammalian systems aimed at graduate students who lack an upper-level background in physiology at the undergraduate level. The principles of homeostatis mechanisms as they apply to various organ systems will be stressed. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing, but not open to students who have completed undergraduate upper division Mammalian/Human Physiology classes.

BIOL542: Advanced Endocrinology

A study of the physiology of the mammalian endocrine system with emphasis on hormonal control of homeostasis. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Endocrinology and cell biology.

BIOL543: Advances in Immunology

To study in detail selected topics in immunology. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Immunology.

BIOL544: Comparative Animal Physiology

The physiological mechanisms involved in the varied responses of both vertebrates and invertebrates to critical fluctuations of their physico-chemical environment. 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Cell biology and zoology.

BIOL546: Topics in Physiology

To give the student an in-depth understanding of three specific areas of human physiology. The areas selected are those in which there is a rapidly expanding body of knowledge. The areas covered will be kidney physiology in health and disease; neurotransmitters and modulation in the central nervous system; homeostatic processes in the myocardium and blood vessel walls in health and disease. May be repeated once for a maximum of 6.0 credits as long as the topic is different. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Course in physiology.

BIOL547: Molecular Biology I

Central concepts at the cellular level will be emphasized. Contemporary viewpoints in the areas of biomolecules, energy yielding and energy requiring processes and transfer of genetic information. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Cell biology, and one year organic chemistry.

BIOL549: Topics in Developmental Biology

Seminar in the regulation of developmental events, including both classical morphogenesis and recent advances using techniques of cell and molecular biology. May be repeated once for a maximum of 6.0 credits as long as the topic is different. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Genetics and developmental embryology.

BIOL551: Intermediary Metabolism I

Discussion of interrelationships of catabolic and anabolic paths. Primary emphasis is placed on the metabolism of nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and proteins. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Biochemistry and cell biology.

BIOL552: Biology of Lipids

Biological cycles, unity and diversity in metabolic paths, metabolic evolution, metabolic control mechanisms and other special topics. Primary emphasis is placed on the metabolism of lipids. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Cell biology and organic chemistry.

BIOL554: Microbial Physiology

A study of microorganisms in terms of their morphology and metabolism. The significance of metabolic diversity and secondary metabolic products of various microorganisms will be explored through lecture topics. The economic significance of microbial metabolism in relation to industry and pathogenic diseases will be emphasized. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Microbiology.

BIOL570: Ecology

Basic ecological principles and concepts. Habitat approach to field exercises in fresh water and terrestrial ecology. Intra and interspecific relationships with all living members of the ecosystem, problems in plant and animal biology. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Botany and zoology.

BIOL571: Physiological Plant Ecology

The effects of soil, light, and water on plant growth, as well as, toxic effects of metals and salinity are measured using growth chamber and greenhouse facilities. 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Botany and one course in field biology.

BIOL576: Biology of Extreme Habitats

The course will describe the adaptations that allow the survival of plants and animals, as well as microorganisms, in a variety of extreme habitats. Some of these habitats include: deserts, arctic, grassland, estuaries. 3 sh.

BIOL579: Physiological Ecology of Animals

A variety of different animals, ranging from protists to mammals, will be examined and compared to demonstrate the physiological adaptations they have evolved to successfully survive and reproduce. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: Graduate standing in Biology or permission of instructor.

BIOL586: Selected Avanced Topics in Biology

This course is designed to provide advanced biology graduate students with a literature intensive exploration of current developments and specialized content in the biological sciences. Topics will cover specific research areas in ecology, physiology, molecular biology, embryology and bioinformatics. This course is designed to fulfill elective requirements of the biology masters degree. This course may be repeated once for a maximum of 8.0 credits. 3 - 4 sh.

Prerequisites: BIOL 520 or BIOL 540 or BIOL 547 or BIOL 570.

BIOL592: Graduate Colloquium

Students in this course will read primary resource material and interpret the data. This course will also teach students how to read, critique and present scientific data to a peer group. Students will analyze, discuss and present primary research articles with respect to scientific content, accuracy of the data and significance of the experiments. 1 sh.

Prerequisites: Matriculation in the biology master's program or permission of the professor.

BIOL597: Research in Biological Literature

To allow the student to investigate and evaluate a specific topic in biology under the supervision of a faculty member and to develop the student's skills in presenting current research in both the written and oral modes. 1 sh.

Prerequisites: Departmental approval.

BIOL599: Introduction to Biological Research

A research experience in which students will be exposed to current biologic techniques by working with scientific investigators in industry, or within the department. Students will work on projects involving research techniques, data collection and the analysis and interpretation of the data. 4 sh.

Prerequisites: Departmental approval.

BIOL698: Master's Thesis

Independent research project done under faculty advisement. Students must follow the MSU Thesis Guidelines, which may be obtained from the Graduate School. Students should take BIOL 699 if they don't complete BIOL 698 within the semester. 4 - 6 sh.

Prerequisites: Departmental approval.

STAT541: Applied Statistics

Review of estimation and hypothesis testing for one sample and two sample problems; introduction to non-parametric statistics and linear regression; fundamental principles of design, completely randomized design, randomized block design, latin square, and 2 factor design. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: STAT 330 or STAT 443 and permission of graduate program coordinator.

STAT546: Non-Parametric Statistics

Selected distribution-free tests and estimation techniques including sign, Kolmogorov-Smirnov, Wilcoxon signed rank, Mann-Whitney, Chi-square, rank correlation, Kendall's Tau, Kruskal-Wallace, Friedman, McNemar, and others. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: STAT 330 and permission of graduate program coordinator.

STAT547: Design and Analysis of Experiments

Fundamental principles of design; fixed, random and mixed models; factorial designs; designs with restricted randomization; split-plot design; confounding; fractional replication; experimental and sampling errors. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: STAT 541 or STAT 548, and permission of graduate program coordinator.

STAT548: Applied Regression Analysis

Fitting equations to data; matrices, linear regression; correlation; analysis of residuals; multiple regression; polynomial regression; partial correlation; stepwise regression; regression and model building; regression applied to analysis of variance problems; introduction to nonlinear regression. 3 sh.

Prerequisites: STAT 330 or STAT 443, and permission of graduate program coordinator.