The degree of master of science in biology is designed to provide students with a solid foundation in their subfield of biology and to prepare them to either purse an advanced degree at another institution or obtain employment in industry, government or education. Graduate-level courses are offered in cell and molecular biology, organismal biology, and ecology and evolution.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have completed at least eight undergraduate courses in biology or supporting disciplines (chemistry, physics, mathematics, etc.) with a grade point average of at least 3.0 in these courses. Exceptions may be made for applicants showing marked improvement during their undergraduate program or demonstrating exceptional aptitude or achievement in other ways.

Applicants must submit both general and subject test GRE scores.

Program Description

The program requires two years of full-time work including course work in biology and research. Eight courses (2 per semester) are required for the master of science degree.

At least five of the eight courses must be in biology, and all must be at the 600 level. BIOL 660 (Graduate research) and BIOL 680 (Thesis) cannot account for more than three of the required eight courses. Applicants whose undergraduate program is too narrow or limited may be required to take additional courses. In such cases, the student must achieve the equivalent of a B.S. or B.A. degree in biology from Bucknell University.

Candidates for the master of science degree are required to pass a course in statistics or biostatistics unless they have already passed such a course as an undergraduate.

By the end of the first semester, candidates must identify a research adviser. By the end of the second semester, they must form a graduate committee consisting of their research adviser and two other professors (one can be from outside of the department), develop a detailed program of study (approved by the graduate committee), and pass an oral defense of a written thesis research proposal.

By the end of their second year, each candidate must present a formal departmental seminar and have a written research thesis completed and approved by the candidate's graduate committee. Specific deadlines are published by the Bucknell University graduate school and the Department of Biology.

Facilities and Resources

The biology department is housed in a modern building with spacious labs and state-of-the-art facilities for graduate research in several areas of biology. Research is being carried out in the following disciplines: cell biology, molecular biology, ecology, evolution, biochemistry, physiology, genetics, animal behavior, plant-animal interactions, conservation biology, regulation of gene expression, ecological genetics, plant physiology, plant development and invertebrate zoology. Students specifically interested in studying animal behavior should apply to the Animal Behavior Graduate Program.

Courses Offered

602. Microbiology (II; 3, 4)
Ultra-structure, behavior, metabolism, molecular biology, and development of micro-organisms. Roles in disease and food production. Laboratory will emphasize cultivation and identification. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

603. Behavioral Neuroendocrinology (I; 3, 0)
Relationship between the neuroendocrine system and animal behavior, including human behavior; incorporating and integrating evolutionary, developmental, and clinical perspectives. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

604. Biology of Cancer (I or II; 3, 0)
The study of the molecular and cellular mechanisms that create cancer. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

612. Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (I; 3, 3*)
Gross morphology with emphasis on functional and evolutionary modifications of animal structure. Gross dissection and techniques used in morphology. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

613. Mammalogy (AI; 3, 3*)
Biology of mammals, including evolution, classification, biodiversity, behavior, anatomy, physiology, ecology, and conservation. Lab will include specimen identification, preparation, and field study. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

614. Amphibian Biology and Conservation (I; 3, 3)
The biology of amphibians, including classification, physiology, reproduction, ecology, evolution, and conservation. Laboratory section will include identification of amphibians and field work to identify conservation issues surrounding local amphibian populations. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

616. Plant Growth and Development (AI; 3, 3)
The physiological and molecular bases of growth and development at the organ, tissue, and cellular levels. Effects of environmental stimuli and hormones on gene expression and the resultant changes at higher levels of organization. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

618. Principles of Physiology (I or II; 3, 3)
Emphasizes the breadth of physiology and explores physiological principles of animals from a cellular, organismal, medical, and ecological framework. Laboratory focuses on experimental design and independent research. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

619. 620. Seminar (I or II; R; 3, 0)

621. Behavioral Ecology (II; 3, 0)
The consideration of behavioral adaptations to various ecological situations. Topics include habitat choice, foraging behavior, defenses against predation, mate choice, and brood care. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 621.

622. Physiological Mechanisms (AII; 4, 3)
Integration of cell and organ physiology; emphasis on protein, ion transport, nerve and muscle physiology, cardiovascular, renal, and respiratory systems. Prerequisites: permission of the instructor.

623. Mammalian Histology (II; 3, 3)
A detailed study of the microscopic architecture and associated physiology of mammalian cells, tissues, and organ systems. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

624. Neurophysiology (I; 3, 0)
A study of neural signaling via stimulus-response with an emphasis on cellular integration. Sensory-motor as well as more complex brain systems will be explored. Prerequisitie: permission of the instructor.

626. Cytogenetics (II; 3, 3)
Study of chromosome structure, organizations, aberrations, and behavior. Multiple eukaryotic systems will be considered, with links to human disease. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

627. Molecular Biology (I and/or II; 3, 3)
Synthesis of DNA, RNA, and protein, and the regulation of these processes both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells; laboratory experience in the manipulation and analysis of genes. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

628. Endocrinology (I; 3, 0)
Integration of cell and organ physiology; emphasis on protein, ion transport, nerve and muscle physiology, cardiovascular, renal, and respiratory systems. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

634. Limnology (I; 3, 3)
The physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of freshwater communities are studied. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

637. Biology of Aging (I; 3, 0)
This course will explore questions in the biology of aging from a physiological, genetic, and evolutionary framework with an emphasis on critical reading of primary literature. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

639. Developmental Biology (II; 3, 3*)
This course provides an introduction to early animal development with emphasis on the molecular, cellular, and genetic mechanisms that drive the formation of the embryo. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

640. Biochemical Methods (II; 2, 6)
A course in laboratory techniques including cell fractionation and analysis of proteins and nucleic acids. Spectrophotometry, chromatography, centrifugation, electrophoresis, and methods of molecular cloning are emphasized. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as CHEM 658.

641. Organic Evolution (AII; 3, 3)
The principles and mechanisms of evolution in plants and animals, covering population phenomena, speciation, life history strategies, adaptation, systematics, and biogeography. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 641.

642. Neuroethology (I or II; 3, 0)
A course that integrates neurobiology and behavior in natural contexts. Emphasis on signal detection, recognition, discrimination, localization, orientation, and the control of complex acts. Neuronal and hormonal mechanisms, ontogeny and evolution of behavior will be considered. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 642.

643. Neural Plasticity (I; 3, 0)
Brain structure and function, emphasizing cellular and molecular approaches to neural development, plasticity and degeneration. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as PSYC 643.

647. Virology (II; 3, 2)
The study of virus structure, genome organization, replication and host-interactions. Emphasis will be on animal and bacterial viruses. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

648. Immunology (II; 3, 3*)
Development and function of the immune system in animals. The immune response in health and disease. Techniques in immunology. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

649. Special Topics in Biology (I or II; 3, 0)
Topics vary. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

652. Cell Biology (I; 3, 3)
Covers biomembranes, cell growth patterns, cell signaling, the cytoskeleton, cell organelles, and microscopic technique. Laboratory includes experience with cell culture. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

653. Ecosystem Ecology (AI; 3, 0)
Interactions between organisms and physical and chemical environment including nutrient cycling and energy flow, global biogeochemistry, temporal and spatial dynamics of ecosystems. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

654. Tropical Ecology (I or II; 3, 0)
Introduction to tropical ecology, including life history strategies of vertebrates and invertebrates, biodiversity management and conservation. Emphasis on class and individual projects, data collection, and journal keeping. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 654.

655. Social Insects (I; 3, 3)
Evolution and genetics of social behavior, caste, communication in foraging and colony defense, queen and worker control over reproduction, social homeostasis, and population dynamics. Occasionally may be taught as a laboratory science. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 655.

656. Plant-Animal Interaction (I; 3, 3)
The coevolution and ecology of plants and animals covering pollination ecology, seed dispersal, plant-herbivore interactions, and habitat constraints on the behavioral ecology of animals. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 656.

657. Ornithology (II; 3, 3)
The biology of birds, including evolution, behavior, anatomy, physiology, ecology, and conservation; lab trips focus on identification of birds in the field. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE 657.

658. Invertebrate Zoology (AI; 3, 3)
A survey of the invertebrate phyla covering phylogenetic relationships, functional morphology, ecology, life histories, symbiosis, ontogeny, and behavior. Includes hands-on study of organisms in lab and field. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

659. General Entomology (AI; 3, 3)
The biology of insects and their kin: anatomy, physiology, ecology, behavior, development, evolution, systematics, and diversity. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

660. Graduate Research (I or II; R; 0, 12 or 24) One half, one, or two full courses.

665. Introduction to Microscopy (II; 3, 3)
This course is designed as an overview of light and electron microscopy, with emphasis placed on the use of instrumentation. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor.

670. Primate Behavior and Ecology (I; 3, 3*)
Introduction to research on prosimians, monkeys, and apes, including diversity, social evolution, sexual selection, reproduction, social behavior, and cognitive abilities. Prerequisite: permission of the instructor. Crosslisted as ANBE/PSYC 670.

680. Thesis (I or II; 0, 6 or 12) Half or full course

Courses offered occasionally
631 Functional Genomics, 646 Environmental Physiology, 661 Systematic Biology

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