M.S. Degree Requirements for EEB B.S./M.S.

This page provides details on the coursework, research, and internship requirements as well as information on other programmatic requirements such as the advisory committee and exam. A worksheet on the M.S. coursework is available here; it provides information on the semester schedule for each course.

I. Course Work*

Required or Core Courses:

1.    EEB 5301 Population and Community Ecology (3 credits) NOTE: this course is taught in alternate years

2.    EEB 5369 Current topics in Biodiversity (1 credit)

3.    EEB 5370 Current topics in Conservation Biology (1 credit)

4.   EEB 5310 Conservation Biology (3 credits) NOTE: this course is taught in alternate years


5.    One of the following:

EEB 5348 Population Genetics (3 credits) NOTE: this course only taught in alternate years
EEB 5449 Evolution (3 credits) NOTE: this course only taught in alternate years

 6.    EEB 5347 Principles and Methods of Systematic Biology (4 credits), OR one of the following taxonomic diversity courses**:

EEB 4250 General Entomology (4 credits)
EEB 4252 Field Entomology (4 credits)
EEB 4260 & 4261 Ornithology & Ornithology lab (4 credits)
EEB 4272 The Summer Flora (3 credits)
EEB 4274 Introduction to Animal Parasitology (4 credits)
EEB 4275 Invertebrate Zoology (4 credits)
EEB 5200 Biology of Fishes (4 credits)
EEB 5204 Aquatic Plant Biology (4 credits)
EEB 5220 Evolution of Green Plants (3 credits)
EEB 5240 Biology of Bryophytes and Lichens (4 credits)
EEB 5250 Biology of the Algae (4 credits)
EEB 5254 Mammalogy (4 credits)
EEB 5265 Herpetology (4 credits)
EEB 5271 Systematic Botany (4 credits)
EEB 5477 Insect Phylogeny (3 credits)

* If a course cannot be taken through no fault of the student’s, then a substitute course may be taken with prior permission from the student’s advisory committee. Permissions for substitution will be granted only in response to unforeseeable events (e.g., a course is cancelled at short notice), and not in cases of failure to plan ahead.

** In selecting a course from this list, students are reminded that a maximum of only six credits of undergraduate coursework may be used to fulfill their graduate requirements.

Related Area:

Students are required to take at one course from two of the following related fields of Environmental Policy or Ethics, Environmental Economics, and Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  With approval of the advisory committee, other graduate courses of three credits or more that are not listed here but within these areas may be used. If students have already taken a course from one area as part of their B.S., they are encouraged (but not required) to take their M.S. courses from the other two areas. Students should be aware that some of these courses may have prerequisites.

7.    One of the following courses in Environmental Policy or Ethics:

ARE 3434 Environmental and Resource Policy (3 credits)
NRME 3245 Environmental Law (3 credits)
PHIL 3216 Environmental Ethics (3 credits)

8.    One of the following courses in Environmental Economics*:

ARE 4438 Valuing the Environment (3 credits)
ARE 4462 Environmental and Resource Economics (3 credits)
ARE 5464 Benefit-Cost Analysis and Resource Management (3 credits)

9.    One of the following courses in Geographic Information Systems (GIS):

GEOG 5500 Fundamentals of Geographic Information Systems (variable credits)
GEOG 5510 Applications Issues in Geographic Information Systems (3 credits)
NRE 3535 Introductory Remote Sensing (3 credits)
NRE 4535 Advanced Remote Sensing (3 credits)
NRE 5575 Natural Resource Applications of Geographic Information Systems (4 credits)

II. Research

The degree requires at least 4 credits of Master’s research experience (EEB 5889).  The goal of this requirement is to give students experience working in a research setting.  Students may obtain this research experience on campus or off-campus, perhaps in association with the internship component of their degree program.

Since the B.S./M.S. program is not a “research M.S.”, students are not required to develop their own research project and no formal thesis is required. Students should, however, be able to talk about their research experience in an informed way appropriate to a Master’s-level student. To demonstrate their proficiency, each student is expected to write a short paper (2-4 pages) summarizing the research project that they worked on and its broader significance. The paper should cover (a) why the work was conducted, (b) how it was conducted and what the student’s role was, (c) what the research revealed, and (d) the significance of the results. The paper should be written as though for a general, but informed, audience (e.g., a likely future employer). The background information and significance section should reference relevant literature. This paper must be approved by the student’s committee before the final examination date is set. Students should be prepared to answer questions about their research experience during their final examination (see below).

If a student has gained substantial research experience as an undergraduate then they may petition their committee to take other graduate level courses, or an additional internship, instead of taking an additional 4 research credits. “Substantial” research experience means work appropriate to that of a graduate student (e.g., research leading to a substantial undergraduate thesis, a first-authored publication, or equivalent). Students who wish to make this petition are still required to write a short paper summarizing their prior research (following the guidelines described above) and must also provide justification for taking the alternative course(s). The decision to accept the petition lies with the student’s committee, but copies of the paper and justification must be sent to the Program Coordinator.

Research credits used for the B.S. degree cannot also be used for the M.S. degree. Undergraduate students who are conducting research that would meet the standards of the M.S. research requirement, and who do not need the credits for their B.S., are advised to enroll for graduate credits (EEB 5889).

III. Internship

Students are required to participate in at least one internship, of no less than two months total duration, with an appropriate agency over the course of their degree program.  Students can obtain credit for this internship by registering for EEB 5891; each credit of internship will entail a minimum of 42 hours of work per semester or term.  No more than 15 credits of internship work will be counted towards the B.S. portion of the proposed B.S./M.S. degree. This internship component is designed to provide students with experience in the practical applications of biodiversity and/or conservation.  Examples of appropriate host agencies in the US or abroad include, but are not limited to:

American Museum of Natural History
Audubon Society, both National and Connecticut offices
Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection
Connecticut State Museum of Natural History
Conservation International
Ecological Society of America
Environmental Protection Agency
National Museum of Natural History
National Park Service
The Nature Conservancy
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Forest Service
U.S. Geological Survey/Biological Resources Division
Wildlife International
World Wildlife Fund

IV. Advisory Committee

Upon entry into the program each student must select a Major Advisor, who will guide them through their degree. Each student’s Advisory Committee is formed after consultation between the student and the Major Advisor. It includes two Associate Advisors. The Major Advisor and at least one Associate Advisor must be members of the Graduate Faculty. One Associate Advisor may be chosen from outside the University in accordance with Graduate School procedures. The advisory committee should be formed during the student’s first semester in the program. Failure to form an Advisory Committee in a timely fashion will provide grounds for removal from the program.

V. Plan of Study

The student must prepare a Plan of Study containing the courses he or she will take to gain mastery of the body of knowledge in the field, including the required or core courses, the elective courses, and the related courses. The student’s Advisory Committee must approve the Plan of Study and three copies with original signatures should be given to the Graduate School. An additional copy should also be given to the Program Coordinator. The Plan of Study should be submitted to the Program Coordinator during the student’s first semester in the program, and submitted to the Graduate School during the first semester after admission as a graduate student. Failure to complete the Plan of Study in a timely fashion will provide grounds for removal from the program.

VI. Candidacy

The student becomes a candidate for the degree of Master of Science once the Plan of Study, approved by the Advisory Committee, has been filed with the Graduate Records Office.

VII. Final Examination

The final examination is taken near the close of the candidate’s period of study, no later than one year after the completion of coursework as contained in the Plan of Study. The internship and research requirement must be satisfied before the final examination can be taken. No fewer than three faculty members, including all members of the candidate’s advisory committee, participate in the oral examination. At minimum, the final exam will consist of questions based on the student’s coursework, research and internship experience, and the application of the acquired knowledge to the student’s proposed career. Students should consult their committee members for additional details.