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Graduate Program in Biology

About the Program

In general terms both an M.Sc. and Ph.D. are intended to give students in-depth knowledge of a specific area of current biology.  This is accomplished primarily by hands-on research on a problem of relevance to advancing the current frontiers of knowledge.  Consequently, the thesis/dissertation project should be publishable.  The student should acquire competence in technical skills, experimental design, analysis of data, and an understanding of the current body of knowledge pertaining to the research project.  These comments apply to both the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees.  The degrees differ in that an M.Sc. student should receive more detailed direction in selection and execution of a project, whereas a Ph.D. student should develop the capacity to work more independently and be able to select, plan and execute projects entirely independently.  An M.Sc. graduate should have some background knowledge and technical skills in a narrow area of research and should be competent to conduct future related research under direction.  A Ph.D. graduate should have a broader knowledge and be able to function as an independent researcher capable of providing the above direction.

A consequence of the above philosophy is that primary emphasis is placed on hands-on research with minimal course requirements serving to provide background and enhance breadth of knowledge.