The mission of the M.S. Degree Program in the Department of Biology at the University of West Georgia is to provide graduate students the knowledge and training necessary to pursue advanced graduate education, professional studies, or employment. In pursuit of this mission, the Department of Biology offers a M.S. Degree Program via either a thesis and non-thesis track.

For more information, please see the Academic Catalog.

  • Overview
  • Cost
  • Courses
  • Faculty
  • Admissions
  • Dates
  • Objectives
  • Overview

    The Department of Biology at the University of West Georgia will provide opportunities for personal and professional development to students, faculty, staff, and the broader university community through excellence in teaching, research, and service. Teaching: The Department of Biology will implement and maintain a rigorous curriculum which facilitates an understanding of the major principles and concepts in the biological sciences, promotes critical-thinking and communication skills, and fosters a continuous interest in learning. Research: The Department of Biology will provide and maintain student-oriented research opportunities which will facilitate a comprehensive understanding of biology and the scientific process, enhance the quality of instruction, promote professional development, and further the state-of-knowledge in the biological sciences.

    Program Location

    Carrollton Campus

    Method of Delivery

    Courses are 100% face-to-face.

    Accreditation

    The University of West Georgia is accredited by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

    Credit and transfer

    Total semester hours required: 36
    Maximum Hours Transferable into program: 6
    A transfer credit evaluation will be completed by the UWG Transfer Team (transfer@westga.edu). Course application to a program is subject to review by the department.

  • Cost

    This program may be earned entirely face-to-face. However, depending on the courses chosen, a student may choose to take some partially or fully online courses.

    Save money

    UWG is often ranked as one of the most affordable accredited universities of its kind, regardless of the method of delivery chosen.

    Details

    • Total tuition costs and fees may vary, depending on the instructional method of the courses in which the student chooses to enroll.
    • The more courses a student takes in a single term, the more they will typically save in fees and total cost.
    • Face-to-face or partially online courses are charged at the general tuition rate and all mandatory campus fees, based on the student's residency (non-residents are charged at a higher rate).
    • Fully or entirely online courses are charged at the general tuition rate plus an eTuition rate BUT with fewer fees and no extra charges to non-Residents.
    • Together this means that GA residents pay about the same if they take all face-to-face or partially online courses as they do if they take only fully online courses exclusively; while non-residents save money by taking fully online courses.
    • One word of caution: If a student takes a combination of face-to-face and online courses in a single term, he/she will pay both all mandatory campus fees and the higher eTuition rate.
    • For cost information, as well as payment deadlines, see the Bursar's Office website

    There are a variety of financial assistance options for students, including scholarships and work study programs. Visit the Office of Financial Aid for more information.

  • Courses

    Coursework

    A combination of 5000-level and 6000-level courses may be used to complete graduate degree requirements, but a substantial portion of the degree program should be at the 6000 level. A topic for thesis research should be identified before the end of the first semester of the degree program. The degree candidate should submit a brief thesis proposal to the advisory committee at this time and should schedule qualifying exams before the end of the third semester. The advising committee may approve up to two course substitutions from departments other than biology if such substitutions are appropriate to the research interests or career goals of the student.

    These are not all required courses. For Thesis, 7 3-hour BIOL courses must be taken at the 5000/6000 level. BIOL 6984, 6983, and 6999 are always required as well.

    For Non-Thesis, BIOL 6984 and 6995 are required on top of ten three hour 5000/6000 level courses.

    General

    • BIOL-5241 - Entomology

      The study of insects. This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of insect taxonomy, morphology, physiology, behavior, and evolution. The relationships between insects and humans, other animals, and plants will be examined. The influences of insects on culture, religion, art, history, and colonization will be discussed. The laboratory will be devoted primarily to developing an understanding of insect identification.

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    • BIOL-5242 - Invertebrate Zoology

      This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of taxonomy, morphology, physiology, and evolution of the more common invertebrate phyla. The distribution and interspecific relationships among invertebrates and other forms of life will be presented and discussed. The laboratory will be devoted primarily to developing an understanding of insect identification.

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    • BIOL-5266 - Molecular Ecology

      This course examines the use of molecular genetic data to the understanding of ecological and evolutionary processes in natural populations such as genetic diversity, dispersal, gene flow and phylogeography. This course will also examine how molecular genetic data is utilized to study behavioral mechanism such as mate selection and foraging. Application of molecular ecology principles to conservation will also be explored.

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    • BIOL-5315 - Bacterial Genetics

      Bacterial Genetics is an advanced microbiology course which focuses on the molecular genetics of the bacterium Escherichia coli. Topics addressed include the nature of the bacterial chromosome, the multi-step process of DNA replication, DNA damaging agents and mutations, DNA repair systems, mechanisms of gene transfer and antibiotic resistance, and the regulation of gene expression. The laboratory component reinforces concepts learned in lecture and familiarizes students with modern techniques used in genetic engineering and biotechnology.

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    • BIOL-5321 - Applied and Environmental Microbiology

      The applied and environmental microbiology course is designed to expose students to the importance of microorganisms in industry and in the environment.

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    • BIOL-5325 - Advanced Medical Microbiology

      Advanced medical microbiology is designed to inform students of current developments in the areas of clinical and medical microbiology. The course will focus on mechanisms of pathogenesis and host defense. Discussion of new and emerging infectious agents will be addressed.

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    • BIOL-5424 - Wildlife Habitat Ecology

      This course is designed to familiarize biology graduate students with the ecology and management of terrestrial wildlife habitats. Ecological concepts and principles relevant to wildlife habitat structure and function will be evaluated from the individual, population, community, ecosystem, and landscape levels of organization. Management practices that affect the structure and function of wildlife habitats will be evaluated for agriculture and forest ecosystems. Concepts will be synthesized and reinforced by investigating the habitat requirements for a variety of wildlife species in the southwestern United States.

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    • BIOL-5440 - Aquatic Ecology

      A study of biological, chemical, and physical components and interactions in freshwater systems. Field labs include a study of reservoirs and streams in west Georgia. A three-day field trip to the Georgia coast or the Okefenokee Swamp is required.

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    • BIOL-5441 - Animal Behavior

      A study of the mechanisms and adaptive functions of behaviors. The genetics, development, physiology, and ecology of behaviors are investigated with an evolutionary approach.

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    • BIOL-5445 - Marine Biology

      The biology, systematics and taxonomy of marine organisms with an emphasis on the ecological principles that influence their biogeography and distribution.

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    • BIOL-5450 - Terrestrial Ecology

      Terrestrial ecology is designed to give the student an overview of the structures and functions of populations, communities, and ecosystems in the major terrestrial biomes on Earth. Emphasis will be placed on ecological analyses and disturbance impact assessments in the dominant terrestrial ecosystems of the southeastern United States.

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    • BIOL-5539 - Comparative Physiology

      This course is designed to study the similarities and differences in how various animals have solved a wide variety of physiological problems imposed by the natural world in which they exist. The student will investigate the functions of the different organ systems in invertebrates and vertebrates. The main goal of this class is to focus on the observation of how problems in nature are solved by various organisms. A complete understanding of the physiology of the human is an absolute prerequisite for this course as this will be the point of reference for most discussions.

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    • BIOL-5541 - Plant Physiology

      Plant Physiology is intended to give students an overview of the processes which allow plants to function as living organisms. Emphasis will be placed on how plants interact with their environments.

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    • BIOL-5631 - Eukaryotic Molecular Genetics

      This course thoroughly examines the molecular aspects of nuclear structure and function. A special emphasis will be placed on understanding the experimental methods and interpretation of data on which current understanding is based.

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    • BIOL-5666 - Evolutionary Genomics

      This course covers the techniques by which genome sequences and genome functions are analyzed. This course also examines topics in evolutionary genomics such as comparative genomics, evolution or duplicate genes, evolution of genome structure and organization, evolution of protein function, and evolution of gene expression.

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    • BIOL-5727 - Essentials of Immunology

      Essentials of immunology is designed as an introduction to the immune response. The student will obtain a broad, comprehensive understanding of the principles of immunology. The course will focus on a detailed study of antigen-antibody interactions, humoral immunity, and cell-mediated immunity. Medically important syndromes, including AIDS, will be discussed to reinforce the principles of immunology.

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    • BIOL-5729 - Medical Virology

      Medical virology is designed as an introduction to viruses that are involved in human disease. The student will obtain a broad, comprehensive understanding of the principles of virology using specific medical examples. The course will focus on a detailed study of the viral structure, replication, gene expression, pathogenesis, and host defense.

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    • BIOL-5730 - Emerging Pathogens

      The emerging pathogen course is designed to inform students of the dramatic changes and current developments in the area of infectious disease. The course will focus on the evolving microorganisms and the reasons that the pathogens emerged. Also the course will include discussions on the mechanisms of pathogenesis and the host defense.

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    • BIOL-5731 - Introduction to Toxicology

      The primary objective of the course is to present students with the concepts and practical applications of the science of toxicology. This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the principles of toxicology, focusing on the biochemical, physiological, and ecological effects of various toxicants. The use of toxicology in biomedical, pharmaceutical, agrochemical, and environmental research will be examined and discussed.

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    • BIOL-5732 - Biology of Aging

      Course will focus on some of the ideas about aging put forward by early alchemists to modern molecular biologists. Will discuss the biological principles behind anti-aging and aging intervention agents, as well as life-style options.

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    • BIOL-6150 - Scientific Integrity and Propriety

      A course designed to inform students of the ethical and professional obligations of scientific investigation and communication. Students will be instructed in proper methods for record keeping and for reporting scientific discoveries. Topics such as scientific integrity, authorship, peer review, ethical use of animals in research, conflict of interest, ownership of data, and intellectual property will also be addressed. Case studies will be used heavily as teaching tools. This course is recommended for all graduate students conducting research in the department, and is required for all students who are supported from federal funds for their research or degree program.

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    • BIOL-6325 - Procaryotic Biology

      This course is intended to introduce graduate students to the complexity and diversity of procaryotic organisms, including the eubacteria and archaea. The course will involve both lecture and laboratory learning, will engage problem solving skills, and will require extensive written and oral communication components.

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    • BIOL-6503 - Biological Perspectives: Biochemistry

      This course is designed to study the interactions of biochemical pathways and the control systems that function to regulate cell and whole body metabolism. This course emphasizes the regulation of biochemical pathways as opposed to the mechanisms involved in each enzymatic step within a given pathway.

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    • BIOL-6513 - Human Physiology

      A survey of the mechanisms involved in the function of the human body. Study is approached from the organ system level to address muscular, neural, hormonal, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, renal, and reproductive functions. Correlation will be made to the similarity between the demands placed on living systems regardless of whether the organism is multicellular or a single cell.

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    • BIOL-6526 - Histology

      A microanatomical study of cell and tissue structure. Emphasis is on the complex nature of tissues and how the cellular associations within the tissue contribute to the overall functions of the tissues. Laboratory is devoted to preparation and interpretation of tissue samples.

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    • BIOL-6981 - Graduate Independent Study

      Independent study of topics not offered in the current term. Independent study is only available for topics addressed by current courses if the topical course will not be offered during the academic year, or if the scheduling of the topical course is such that it will require a delay in timely completion of the degree for the student.

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    • BIOL-6982 - Directed Readings

      Directed readings are available for graduate students who need to conduct an independent review of the literature in a topic not addressed by the curriculum of the department. Students must complete a statement of understanding and expectation and must have the topic approved by their major professor and either the graduate coordinator or the department chair. Selected readings are appropriate for topics related to thesis research or for topics that provide a foundation for comprehensive examinations for non-thesis track students.

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    • BIOL-6983 - Graduate Research

      The research course is designed to teach students methods for biological research. Student will conduct research under the supervision of a faculty mentor and will learn proper methods for record keeping and report writing. Each student will work on a unique research project to be selected by the faculty mentor and the student. The research conducted is expected to provide the basis for the thesis for students in a thesis track degree program.

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    • BIOL-6984 - Graduate Biology Seminar

      Graduate seminar will meet each term. Each offering will have a different topical focus, to be determined by the faculty discussion leader. All students will select an area to present that is consistent with the topic for the term. Students are also expected to fully participate in the discussions generated by student presentations. Graduate students should enroll in graduate seminar each term.

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  • Faculty
  • Admissions

    Guidelines for Admittance

    • All graduate applicants must complete the online Grad Application. A one-time application fee of $40 is required.
    • Applicants should also review the Graduate Studies Website for individual program specific requirements and tasks that must be completed prior to admission. See Graduate Studies Application Process.
    • International applicants are subject to additional requirements and application deadlines. See Procedures for International Students.
    • Official transcripts from a regionally or nationally accredited institution are required and should be sent directly to the UWG Graduate Admissions Office.

    Program Specific Admittance Guidelines

    • Current resume
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement up to one page, including 3 components:
      • Their reasons for pursuing a graduate degree in Biology
      • The specific area(s) (sub-discipline) of Biology in which they are interested
      • The type of degree (thesis track or non-thesis track) they wish to pursue.
    • Official GRE scores

    A student entering this program is normally expected to have an undergraduate degree in biology. Students without a degree in biology or students lacking certain background courses in biology and related sciences may be expected to complete undergraduate courses to compensate for deficiencies. All students must take the GRE general test.

    Graduate students must select an advising committee by the first pre-registration period following admission on any basis, or one will be selected for them by the Department Chair.

    Application Deadlines

    Specific Graduate Admissions Deadlines are available via the Graduate School

    * Application, app fee, and document deadline

    See The Scoop for more specific deadlines.

    Admission Process Checklist

    The Graduate Studies Application Process checklist is available here

    One exception: If you will not ever be traveling to a UWG campus or site, you may apply for an Immunization Exemption. Contact the Immunization Clerk with your request.

    Contact

    Graduate Admissions
    graduate@westga.edu
    678-839-1394

    College of Science and Mathematics
    Dr. Melissa Johnson
    Phone: 678-839-4043
    mcavalli@westga.edu

  • Dates

    Specific dates for Admissions (Undergraduate Only), Financial Aid, Fee Payment, Registration, Start/End of Term Dates, Final Exams, etc. are available in THE SCOOP.

    Specific Graduate Admissions Deadlines are available via the Graduate School

  • Objectives
    • Students will communicate scientific information through the acquisition, organization, and presentation of scientific information in written and/or oral form.