Why Study Biology
At APSU, students interested in furthering their understanding of the living world get hands on experience in the lab and out in the field, both through structured activities and through research, study abroad, and other high impact experiences. Students can research endangered plant, bat, and fish species, conduct experiments involving genetics in beetles and neuronal physiology, gain an appreciation for birds, algae, and reptiles, and discover bacteriophages in soil samples. Students can study disease states such as cancer and cardiovascular disease and learn how vaccines are developed. Study abroad trips to Belize, Costa Rica, and Antigua provide study of marine life, ecological systems, and non-traditional pharmacology. The MS in Biology provides numerous opportunities for developing new skills, career preparedness, and personal growth.
A Masters of Science in Biology provides a foundation for understanding the living world, while also allowing the student to use contemporary research methods to specialize in a specific area of interest in biology. Graduate students learn critical thinking, problem solving, research techniques, and other important skillsets needed for almost every biology career from field biologists and conservationists to biomedical researchers and environmental scientists. Students work individually and as part of a team, developing discipline and leadership skills. Areas of study include botany, ichthyology, animal behavior, microbiology, field biology, herpetology, ornithology, mammalogy, genetics, ecology, physiology, cell and molecular biology, biomedical science, and evolution, among others.
Biology graduate students at APSU not only learn biology, but also experience the field through immersive activities. Students complete lab activities associated with their biology coursework, where they make observations, collect and critically evaluate data and learn to use equipment and other scientific techniques. Many courses incorporate research projects that apply contemporary research methods and both thesis and non-thesis options provide research experiences. Students work closely with faculty in the lab and in the field and may travel to remote sites to collect samples. Students learn molecular, research, and field skillsets that prepare them for careers or study at the doctoral level. Graduate teaching and research assistantships provide a tuition waiver and stipend and many students receive funding to carry out research and attend meetings. The department is associated with the Center of Excellence for Field Biology and Southeastern Grassland Institute, which allows for additional research experiences and training. Students work closely with mentors to develop themselves as biologists and to work towards individual career goals.
The Department of Biology includes experts in various subjects including mammalogy, ornithology, ichthyology, herpetology, microbiology, pharmacology, botany, physiology, genetics, ecology, molecular biology, and conservation. All faculty hold advanced degrees with most having PhDs. Everyone in the department, including staff and part time faculty, hold at least masters level credentials and have expertise in biology.
What will I Learn
- Content Knowledge: Students earning a MS-Biology will demonstrate mastery of the central concepts of biology and be able to evaluate biological research quantitatively and critically.
- Communication Skills: M.S. in Biology students will use appropriate professional terminology correctly in the explanation of biological concepts and principles.
- Skills Mastery: Students will demonstrate mastery of their molecular skill set and/or ecological skill set established by the Department.
- Career Preparedness: Career preparedness is the intertwining of content knowledge and skills mastery in the matriculation of the student to the next level.
- Academic Advisement: Academic advisement is multifaceted and includes assisting students successfully complete their degree in a timely manner while also helping them develop as a biologist.