The Biology Department offers programs leading to the Master of Arts degree at Queens College. It also offers a variety of graduate courses appropriate for Master’s-level students in Education (see here), and programs of courses and research leading to the PhD at the CUNY Graduate Center in the subprograms of cellular, molecular, and developmental biology; evolution, ecology, and behavior; neuroscience; and plant sciences (see here).
Biology MA students are encouraged to participate in the extensive research programs of the Biology faculty. Their research activities have recently been funded by various agencies, including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and a number of private foundations, including the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association. Participation in research is one of the best ways for students to learn biology first-hand, and to appreciate how scientific methodology is used to answer important biological questions (see the research opportunities page and faculty research interests for more information). The department has well-equipped laboratories and core facilities for research in the areas of ecology, evolutionary, molecular, cell, and developmental biology. Opportunities are enhanced by affiliation with other city institutions and cooperative efforts with other divisions of the City University and the American Museum of Natural History.
Requirements for Matriculation
These requirements are in addition to the general requirements for admission.
1. Students are expected to have a minimum of 20 credits in biology beyond the introductory level. Undergraduate courses in physics, chemistry, and mathematics are required. A course in statistics is highly recommended.
2. The Departmental Admissions Committee will examine the credentials of each applicant. This committee may request an interview with a candidate for admission.
Requirements for the Master of Arts Degree
These requirements are in addition to the general requirements for the Master of Arts degree.
1. Each student’s program will be approved by a supervising professor chosen by the student with the approval of the Graduate Advisor.
2. Only 600- and 700-level courses may be applied toward degree requirements. Students who have taken a 300-level Queens College biology course that is also offered at the 600-level may not take that 600-level course for credit. All graduate students must take at least 10 credits of 700-level lecture courses; furthermore, the combination of BIOL 791 (Colloquium), BIOL 792 (Tutorial), and BIOL 799 (Research), may not exceed 12 credits. Students should meet with the Biology Graduate Advisor for guidance in the selection of Biology courses.
3. Depending on personal interests and career goals, candidates for the MA degree in Biology may choose one of two tracks, described below, to fulfill the degree requirements. All students, regardless of track, are encouraged to participate in the research programs of faculty in the department; following their first semester of matriculation, students are eligible to receive credit (BIOL 799) toward the MA degree for this research.
A. Research-intensive track (30 credits required). Students in this track are expected to present significant independent research in a written Master’s thesis, followed by an oral examination/defense, conducted by an Examination Committee established for each candidate. The chair of this committee shall be a member of the Queens College Biology Department, chosen by the candidate in consultation with the Biology MA advisor. The committee chair, in consultation with the candidate, will choose two additional committee members. The chair of the committee, in consultation with the student to be examined, shall determine the content and nature of the oral examination. Each student will be limited to two attempts to pass this examination.
B. Course-intensive track (32 credits required). Students in this track are required to write a literature- based review paper, followed by an oral examination/defense conducted by a three-member Examination Committee composed of Queens College Biology Department faculty. Each student will be limited to two attempts to pass this examination, which can be taken only after at least 24 course credits have been completed.
Arrangements may be made for students to take courses for graduate credit in other departments at Queens College in order to fulfill particular career goals and training requirements. Faculty in the Department of Biology at Queens College participate actively in the CUNY PhD program in Biology; arrangements can be made to transfer graduate credits earned at Queens College to the PhD Program at CUNY. Students are encouraged to discuss their long-range goals with the Graduate Advisor as soon as possible upon entry into the program.