M.S. Degree Requirements for Joint 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. Credit Requirements

30 total credits. These credits will include at least 14 credits of course work, exclusive of the related or supporting area and the required research and internship credits. Up to 12 credits of coursework required for the BS in EEB can also be used for the MSIf a required course cannot be taken for reason(s) beyond the student’s control, 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 canceled at short notice), and not in cases of failure to plan ahead.

II. Course Work

Required or Core Courses:

1.    EEB 5301 Population and Community Ecology (3 credits)*

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)*

5.    One of the following:

EEB 5348 Population Genetics (3 credits)*
EEB 5449 Evolution (3 credits)*

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

EEB 3266 Field Herpetology (3 credits)
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)***

Related Area Courses:

Students are required to take at least 6 credits of coursework in related fields: Environmental Policy, Ethics and Management; Environmental Economics; and Environmental Analysis. At least one course from each of two of the three sets of courses listed below must be taken to fulfill this requirement. If students have already taken a course from one area as part of their BS, they are encouraged (but not required) to take their MS courses from the other two areas. Students should be aware that some of these courses may require prerequisites.

7.    One of the following courses in Environmental Policy, Ethics and Management****:

ARE 3434 Environmental and Resource Policy (3 credits)
EVST/POLS 3412 Glob Envt Politics (3 credits)
GEOG 4210 Urban and Regional Planning (3 credits)
NRE 3155 Water Quality Management (3 credits)*
NRE 3245 Environmental Law (3 credits)
NRE 4165 Soil and Water Management and Engineering (3 credits)*
NRE 4335 Fisheries Management (3 credits)
NRE 5200 Sustainable Natural Resource Management (3 credits)
NRE 5345 Advanced Fisheries Management (3 credits)***<
PHIL 3216 Environmental Ethics (3 credits)
SOCI 3407 Energy Envt & Society (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 Environmental Analysis****:

GEOG 3505 Remote Sensing of Marine Geography (3 credits)
GEOG 5500 Fundamentals of Geographic Information Science (3 credits)
GEOG 5510 Application Issues in Geographic Information Systems (3 credits)
NRE 3535 Remote Sensing of the Environment (3 credits)
NRE 4535 Remote Sensing Image Processing (3 credits)
NRE 4665 Natural Resources Modeling (3 credits)
NRE 5205 Decision Methods in Natural Resources (3 credits)
NRE 5215 Introduction to Geospatial Analysis with Remote Sensing (3 credits)***
NRE 5325 Geospatial Data Processing Techniques (3 credits)
NRE 5575 Natural Resource Applications of Geographic Information Systems (3 credits)
NRE 5585 Python Scripting for Geospatial Analysis (3 credits)

*Course taught only in alternate years
**This list provides only graduate versions of dual undergrad-grad courses
***Course taught irregularly or not likely to be offered in near future
****Any other graduate-level course of at least 3 credits, within this related area, may be substituted upon approval of the advisory committee

III. Research

The degree requires at least 4 credits of Master’s research experience (EEB 5889). Since the BS-MS program is not a Plan A thesis MS, students are not required to develop their own research project and no formal thesis is required. To demonstrate proficiency, students are expected to write a short paper (2 or more pages) summarizing the project 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 able to talk about their research experience in an informed way appropriate to an MS student, and be prepared to answer questions about their research experience during their final examination.

Students are encouraged to obtain this research experience off-campus, perhaps in association with the internship component of their degree program. If a student has gained substantial research experience as an undergraduate they may petition their committee to take other graduate level courses, or an additional internship, instead of 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 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 should be sent to the Program Coordinator

IV. 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 will likely need at least three credits of internship and may count no more than nine credits towards the BS-MS degree. Each credit represents 42 hours of work. Students may enroll in a zero-credit course (EEB 5881) for a summer internship, and then enroll during the subsequent academic year in the for-credit internship course (EEB 5891) for which credits are earned by writing a paper on the internship. The internship provides students with experience in the practical applications of biodiversity and/or conservation outside of the university. 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

V. 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 and prior to the degree conferral date. 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. Students should schedule this exam with members of their graduate committee as early as possible in their final semester. The exact format and content of the exam will be set by the committee and the student should seek advice from their advisor about how to prepare. Exams typically last 2 hours and 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.