Master of Science Program
Program Requirements: 30 Total Credits
1. Courses can be taken from biology or from computational and integrative biology.
2. Courses in other departments can be taken with prior approval from the program director.
3. A total GPA average of at least 3.0 is required to graduate.
4. A maximum of 6 credits with a C/C+ can be applied toward graduation.
5. Students with three or more C+ (or lower) grades will be dismissed from the program.
Plan A - Thesis Track
1. A total of 9 research credits may be taken (56:120:701, 56:120:702, 56:120:619).
2. Decision to Become Involved:
a. After consultation with the program director, the graduate student shall contact the Rutgers-Camden faculty member under whose direction they would like to work and request that faculty member to serve as the thesis adviser. This faculty member must be a member or an associate member of the graduate program in biology. Furthermore, for students receiving financial support from Rutgers University, the faculty member must be an employee of Rutgers University.
b. If a student wishes to pursue a research project at an off-campus location, they shall propose this arrangement to the executive committee for approval who shall inform the program director of its decision.
3. Thesis Committee:
a. The student's adviser, in consultation with the student and the program director, shall then assemble a committee with at least three members (including the adviser).
b. Members ordinarily will be chosen from the graduate faculty of Rutgers University, three of which must be Rutgers University employees.
c. In certain instances, an individual who is not on the graduate faculty of the university may also be appointed with the approval of the program director to serve on the thesis committee.
d. Arrangements involving a non-Rutgers University employee directing a student's research must be approved by the executive committee and program director.
e. In all cases, the chair of the thesis committee shall be a member of the graduate program in biology at Rutgers-Camden and a Rutgers University employee.
4. General Committee Responsibilities:
a. To assist in the planning of the student's academic program and evaluate the thesis proposal
b. To serve as advisers for the thesis project
c. To judge the final acceptability of the thesis
d. To conduct the student's final examination
5. Initiation and Conduct of the Thesis Project:
a. Outline: The chair of the thesis committee shall arrange for the student to present to the thesis committee an outline of the proposed work during the spring semester of the first year. The meeting will occur no later than March 1.
i. The outline shall be in written form with one copy available to each committee member at least three business days before the meeting.
ii. A meeting shall be arranged between the student and their committee wherein the contents of the outline will be discussed.
iii. The purpose of such an outline and meeting is to demonstrate that the student has appropriate knowledge of the research literature, that the project is feasible, and that the student has an appropriate, clearly defined research objective.
1. In the event that the committee determines that the thesis proposal is unsatisfactory, the student will be permitted to retake the proposal exam within four weeks.
2. Upon reexamination, if the performance is satisfactory the student will continue in the Plan A program. If the student holds a TA position, they will be reappointed as a TA for a second year.
3. If the student does not pass the reexamination, they will be advised to transfer from Plan A to Plan B. If the student insists on remaining in Plan A, they can transfer to a new lab and retake the examination within the first two weeks of the summer semester. If the student holds a TA position, they will automatically lose their reappointment for a second year, regardless of whether they remain a Plan A student.
iv. As the research work progresses, deviation from the original proposal is possible with committee approval.
b. Progress Reports
i. Each semester the student shall give a biology department seminar to serve as a progress report.
6. Completed Thesis
a. The thesis must be approved by the director of the student's research and then accepted by the other committee members.
b. It shall be the student's responsibility to assure that the thesis fulfills all the requirements of the Office of Graduate Studies in Camden.
c. Submission deadlines are determined by the Graduate School-Camden. Please see their website
for semester specific dates.
Plan B - Nonthesis Track
1. A total of 6 independent study credits may be taken (56:120:619, 56:120:620).
2. Final paper and exam
a. In the last semester, the student will choose a faculty member to serve as the chair of their paper committee.
b. The paper is a "review" style paper (15-20 pages) on any topic in biology of the student's choosing. The chair of the committee should ideally be a person with some familiarity of the paper topic.
c. At least one week before the paper defense, the document should be given to the entire committee (three biology faculty including the committee chair)
d. At the defense, the student should prepare a short PowerPoint presentation (6-8 slides) highlighting the most critical aspects of the paper.
e. The oral defense will consist of questions from the committee related to the specific topic of the paper as well as more tangential questions about general biology to determine whether the student understands how their topic fits in a larger context and to assess their general biology knowledge.
i. In the event that the committee determines that the paper and/or defense is unsatisfactory, the student will take a departmental multiple-choice exam covering general biology knowledge.
ii. A score of 50 percent is required to pass this exam and receive the M.S. degree.