Jun 18, 2024  
Graduate Catalog 2012 - 2013 
Graduate Catalog 2012 - 2013 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biology, MS

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Department of Biological, Geological, and Environmental Sciences

Science Building Room 219
(216) 687-2440

Anton A. Komar, Ph.D. Graduate Program Director


Department faculty and staff members of The Lerner Research Institute (LRI) of The Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF) work in cooperation to offer graduate training in a broad range of biological sciences. For example, molecular and cell biologists at both Cleveland State and the LRI study regulation of signal transduction and gene transcription in cell division, programmed cell death, and cell differentiation in the context of normal development and disease states that include cancer, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune and neurological disorders. Other Cleveland State faculty participate in several programs focusing on local ecological and environmental issues that provide opportunities for graduate research. These include the Cuyahoga River Watershed Project and the OhioView consortium on remote sensing. The non-thesis Masters program offers as a possible specialization a track in Museum Studies for Natural Historians. The graduate program is open to full-time and part-time students as well as to non-degree students who are preparing themselves for entry into degree programs or are seeking to keep abreast of new developments in their fields of interest.

Faculty Research:

Current faculty information can be located on the Cleveland State University Faculty Profile page.


Departmental facilities include a large animal-care facility, cold rooms, darkrooms, fluorescent and light microscopes, environmental chambers, a greenhouse, and an assortment of computers with Internet access. The department also utilizes the newly established DNA Sequencing Facility and space in field stations in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and in Belize. Most CCF faculty are located in the new Research and Education Building of The Lerner Research Institute, with its state-of-the art facilities, including a vivarium and core facilities for biotechnology, transgenic mice, flow cytometry, microscopy, protein sequencing, and hybridoma work.

Career Information

Graduates are employed in research, teaching, and administrative positions in private industry, hospitals, governmental agencies, environmental action groups, and colleges and universities in the Cleveland area, throughout the United States and abroad. The graduate program also attracts established teachers, research scientists, and management and staff in diverse businesses with a biological or biomedical focus.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must meet College of Graduate Studies admission requirements regarding grade-point average, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, and TOEFL results. Applicants must have submitted official transcripts for all undergraduate and any previous graduate study, the GRE General Test scores, two letters of recommendation, and a statement of personal career goals and research interests. Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English-language proficiency by submitting official scores for the TOEFL, the Michigan Test, or an equivalent examination, unless they hold a degree from a U.S. institution. (See the section on International Students  in this Catalog.)

Applicants must have completed a minimum of one semester of statistics or calculus, one semester of organic chemistry, one semester of physics, and have a strong background in biology that is essentially equivalent to the Cleveland State undergraduate core curriculum. Questions should be directed to the BGES Graduate Program Director.

Submit application materials to the Graduate Admissions Office (U.S. citizens and permanent residents) or the Center for International Services and Programs (international applicants and current visa holders).

Apply Now: http://www.csuohio.edu/gradcollege/admissions/apply.html

Graduate Assistantships/ Fellowships

Full-time graduate students pursuing thesis or dissertation research may be supported through teaching assistantships or fellowships by the department for a period that, as a rule, should not exceed three years. This support includes tuition and a stipend. Full-time teaching assistants are expected to work twenty hours per week and must enroll as full- time students (currently nine credit hours, including research credits). Research assistantships may be available through the research grants of individual faculty. A limited number of graduate tuition waivers, which carry a service requirement of ten hours of work per week, may be awarded to students with superior credentials, as funds are available. Requests for assistantships should be indicated on the Application for Graduate Admission or by letter to the BGES Graduate Program Director. Awards are competitive, based on all application materials. Initial decisions usually are made based on completed applications on hand in March for fall semester and, if assistantships are available, in November for spring semester. Required minimums for grade-point average, GRE scores, and TOEFL score are higher than those for admission to the program. In order to hold a teaching assistantship, non-native, English-speaking teaching assistants must be assessed and certified as proficient in spoken English

Degree Requirements:

The Master of Science degree may be earned through either a thesis or a non-thesis program. A student will be admitted to candidacy when the following requirements are met:

  1. Deficiencies in undergraduate preparation are satisfied.
  2. Eight graduate hours of course work are completed with a grade point average of 3.0 orbetter.
  3. A plan of study and, for the thesis option, the research proposal are approved by the Advisory Committee and accepted by the Graduate Committee, and the Cleveland State Thesis Proposal Approval Form is submitted to and approved by the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies.

Thesis Option

Besides course work, the degree requires a thesis, based on original scientific research of sufficient quality for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.


  1. Selection of a Major Advisor and an Advisory Committee. The Major Advisor typically is the primary supervisor and source of support for the student’s thesis research. Together, the Major Advisor and Advisory Committee supervise the student’s plan of study and research proposal, monitor progress, certify that requirements have been met in a timely fashion, and process all petitions, progress reports, and other communications with the Graduate Committee.
  2. Completion of a minimum of 32 credit hours with a minimum grade-point average of 3.0 distributed as follows:
    1. Total course work and research
      Courses (minimum) 23 credits
      Research (minimum) 8 credits
      Additional courses or research 1 credit
      Total minimum* 32 credits
      *College of Graduate Studies regulations specify that all courses must be 500-level or above; not more than seven credit hours of 400-level courses in related areas and not offered by the BGES Department may be included, if approved by the Advisory Committee and the BGES Graduate Committee.
    2. Required courses: Each student must complete BIO 500  and BIO 502  (Graduate Orientation), BIO 504  (Biological Chemistry), and BIO 540  (Biostatistics) or an equivalent college statistics course.
    3. Seminars: Each M.S. student must complete at least three seminar courses (BIO 688  ) and complete one credit of BIO 684  (Research Seminar).
    4. Remaining courses: Each student formulates an individual plan of study in consultation with the Major Advisor and the Advisory Committee. This includes areas of course-work concentration as well as any additional elective courses needed to fulfill degree requirements described above.
    5. Thesis research: The student’s individual research project should be of sufficient quality to be published in a refereed scientific journal.
  3. Continuous enrollment for a minimum of one credit hour from admission to candidacy until graduation.
  4. Exit Requirements:
    1. Presentation of the thesis research at a departmental seminar.
    2. Defense of the thesis before a faculty committee. Two unsuccessful attempts to defend the thesis shall result in a recommendation for dismissal from the program.
    3. Submission of the approved thesis together with an article or manuscript, based on the thesis, in a format suitable for submission to a refereed scientific journal.

Non-Thesis Option

Students in the non-thesis option may earn the M.S. degree in Biology by completing a minimum of 32 credit hours of course work and passing a comprehensive examination, based on a Library Research Paper that presents a critical review of original scientific literature on a topic chosen by the student. The BGES Graduate Program Director serves as the Advisor.


  1. Completion of a minimum of 32 credit hours with a minimum grade-point average of 3.2 distributed as follows:
    1. Total course work 32 credits *May not include research credits (e.g.,BIO 691  or BIO 695 ) or BIO/EVS courses below the 500-level; not more than seven credit hours of 400-level courses in related areas and not offered by the BGES Department may be included, if approved by the Advisor and the BGES Graduate Committee.
    2. Required courses: Each M.S. student must complete BIO 500  (Graduate Orientation), BIO 504  (Biological Chemistry), BIO 690  (see Exit requirements), and a course in statistics if not previously taken.
    3. Seminars: Each M.S. student must complete at least three seminar courses (BIO 688 ) and complete one credit of BIO 684  (Research Seminar).
    4. Remaining courses: Each M.S. student formulates an individual plan of study in consultation with the BGES Graduate Program Director. This includes areas of course-work concentration, as well as any additional elective courses needed to fulfill degree requirements described above.
  2. Exit requirements:
    1. Selection of an Examining Committee to supervise the Library Research Paper.
    2. Successful completion of the comprehensive examination (BIO 690 ) by presenting and defending the Library Research Paper before the Examining Committee. Two unsuccessful attempts to pass the comprehensive examination shall result in a recommendation for dismissal from the program.

Museum Studies Track (Natural History)


The Museum Studies track is a version of the non-thesis Masters in Biology that will serve as an introduction to the various aspects of professional work in museums, with particular attention to science museums. Modern museums have redefined themselves as educational, social, and cultural institutions, in addition to the traditional functions of scientific research and preservation. They house, protect, and preserve objects for posterity, and for study and enrichment. The objects found in natural history museums span many scientific disciplines and almost the entire existence of the earth; illuminating the history of these objects requires diverse techniques for direct observation and indirect inference. Further, modern natural history museums often maintain large collections of living organisms and may administer extensive nature preserves. Modern technology makes us human and it provides the tools for increasing our knowledge of and effect on the natural world; as such, technology itself is increasingly seen as a suitable object for natural history museums. Finally, modern museums encourage public engagement through volunteer programs, student internships, and a variety of educational programs; they also have a responsibility to contribute their experts and their store of basic scientific knowledge to enhance the factual basis of public issues where appropriate.

The course work will address general aspects of museums, including fund-raising, and focus on the primary goals of a science museum: education, preservation of collections and research. Students can choose electives to deepen their understanding of the science in the particular area of their interest. Finally, the certificate will include an internship experience.

Admission Information

It is expected that most interested students will have some background in one of the scientific or technological fields typically found in Natural History Museums or Science Centers. In general, requirements for admission to the Masters in Biology program apply. 

Course Requirements

(23 credits)


Students who have never taken a college-level course in statistics must do so; BIO 540  Biostatistics or an equivalent graduate statistics course approved by the BGES Graduate Program Director is preferred.

This curriculum deviates from the standard requirements for a non-thesis Masters degree in Biology in the following ways:

  1. BIO 504  Biological Chemistry is not required
  2. Two, rather than three, enrollments in BIO 688  Graduate Seminar are required
  3. Total credits are 35, not 32.

With the approval of the BGES Department, the internship can be the basis of the required Library Research Paper (BIO 690 ).

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