Jul 14, 2024  

Biology, M.S.

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Degrees Offered:

Master of Science (M.S.) in Biology, Thesis Option
Master of Arts (M.A.) in Biology, Non-Thesis Option

The Program

The offering of a Master of Science degree in biology has several purposes. One of these is to provide students who have attained the baccalaureate degree in biology or other natural science the opportunity to broaden and increase their knowledge in the biological sciences. Another is to offer the opportunity to enter into or expand their experience in the area of experimental research in biology. These objectives may be achieved through selection of elective courses offered in this department and allied areas (chemistry, agriculture,veterinary medicine etc.), and by the selection of a research area of concentration. The latter is with the assistance of an advisor in the department who will usually act as the student’s major professor. All graduate students are required to teach for at least one year in the Freshman Biology Program.

Teaching and laboratory facilities are housed primarily in Armstrong Hall. A well-equipped multimedia center exists in the building to complement and reinforce effective teaching and learning. A computer laboratory is   available   with   internet   access.   Facilities   for   graduate   research   are   available   in   the   Carver   Research Laboratories and Armstrong Hall. Facilities in other departments can be used for graduate research by special arrangement. Presently, Faculty members in the department offer research experience in genetics, immunology,cardiovascular biology, microbiology, parasitology and cancer biology.

Tuskegee University
Department of Biology

Faculty and Staff

Faculty members of the department of Biology provide advice and guidance to students throughout their graduate career related to courses, laboratory rotations and thesis development.

Marcia Martinez, Ph.D. - Associate Professor, Interim Department Chair and Graduate Student Coordinator for Biology
Immunology and Autoimmune Diseases.
Location: Carver Research Foundation, Room 17
Office Phone: 334-727-8064
E-mail: mmartinez@.tuskegee.edu

Lawrence Cobb, M.S. - Coordinator for Graduate Student Teaching
Microbiology (Food Microbes).
Location: Armstrong Hall, Room 206
Office Phone: 334-727-8079
E-mail: lcobb@.tuskegee.edu

Garland Wise, Pre-Health Advisor and Director of the Learning Resource Center
Location: Armstrong Hall, Room 207
Office Phone: 334-727-8832
E-mail: gwise@.tuskegee.edu

Gwendolyn Brown, Office Manager for the Department of Biology
Location: Armstrong Hall, Room 107
Office Phone: 334-727-8822
E-mail: gbrown@tuskegee.edu

Deloris Alexander, Ph.D.
Location: John A. Kenney Hall, Room 70-116
Office Phone: 334-552-0690
E-mail: dalexander@.tuskegee.edu

Chastity Bradford, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Cardiovascular Physiology.
Location: Armstrong Hall, Room 100
Office Phone: 334-724-4797
E-mail: cbradford@.tuskegee.edu

Sherita Cooks, Ph. D.
Assistant Professor
Location: Armstrong Hall, Room 209
Office Phone: 334-727-8885
E-mail: sfagbodun@.tuskegee.edu

Archana Sharma, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Molecular Genetics
Location: Armstrong Hall, Room 210
Office Phone: 334-727-8828
E-mail: asharma@.tuskegee.edu

Honghe Wang, Ph.D.
Cancer Biology
Location: Carver Research Foundation, Room 21
Office Phone: 334-727-8822
E-mail: wangh@.tuskegee.edu

Richard Whittington, Ph.D.
Microbiology, Wildlife and Fisheries.
Location: Armstrong Hall, Room 201A
Office Phone: 334-724-4218
E-mail: whittingtonr@.tuskegee.edu

Clayton Yates, Ph.D.
Tumor Engineering, Prostate and Breast Cancer.
Location: Carver Research Foundation, Room 22
Office Phone: 334-727-8949
E-mail: cyates@.tuskegee.edu

Admission Requirements:


The Graduate Council establishes the major requirements for admission to Graduate Programs at Tuskegee University based on the recommendations of the Program Directors. The minimum requirements are as follows:

  1. A baccalaureate or professional degree earned from an accredited college or university.
  2. A cumulative grade point average of 3.00 based on the 4.00 scale grading system for all previous work.
  3. Official transcripts. (A transcript grade of D or F for any course will not be accepted by the Biology Department).
  4. Personal statement.
  5. Three (3) letters of recommendation.
  6. Resume
  7. GRE Scores. (Verbal and quantitative minimum acceptable scores are 156 for each section giving a final total of 312 between the two. GRE scores more than FIVE YEARS OLD are not acceptable as fulfillment of the GRE requirement).
  8. * ETS/WES Scores (original)
  9. * Bank Statement
  10. * Affidavit of support
  11. * TOEFL (minimum total score of 85) or IELTS (minimum band score of 6)
  12. A non-refundable application fee is required.

* Must be submitted by all International Students.

No action will be taken on an application without all required documentation. The Admissions Office will coordinate the processing of the application materials with the appropriate graduate department.

  • To be considered for the Master of Science (M.S.) degree or the Master of Arts (M.A.) degree program in Biology, applicants must have completed the B.S degree from an accredited institution in any one of the following areas:
    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Biomedical Engineering
    • Psychology
    • Bio ‐ Physics
    • Computational Biology
Year I  
Early Enrollment
June 1st
Enrollment August 1st
Formal identification of Faculty Advisor October 15th
Selection of Thesis or Proposal Defense Committee April 31st
Open Qualifier Examination June 1st
Retake of Open Qualifier Examination August 15th
“Progress Report” Affirmed by Committee August 20th
Summer I  
Thesis/Proposal Research (mandatory)  
Year II  
Submission of Prospectus/Proposal August 31st
Defense of Prospectus/Proposal September 15th
Completion of requirements for non-thesis option November 1st
Publication/Submission of Manuscript March 15th
Defense and completion of requirements for thesis option April 24th

Admission Requirements

All students are required to complete 30 credit hours comprising coursework, research and seminar (see M.S.curriculum below). The student must maintain at least a B average in all classes. If a grade lower than a B is earned the student will be placed on academic probation and will face forfeiture of departmental support (i.e.,tuition, fees, and stipend). Continual failure to maintain a B average will result in expulsion from the program.Graduate students are also expected to be participating members of the Biology Community. They are expected to attend all departmental seminars and Biology-sponsored symposia.

Master of Biology Curriculum

Students in the Master of Biology Program must complete 30 credit hours. All students must complete classes listed as CORE within the first year as these will form the basis of the open qualifier examinations along with a research question submitted by the research mentor. After completion of core classes students may select any of the optional classes until 30 credit hours are completed. Students must consult the research mentor before a decision is made on which of the optional classes listed should be taken. Students are NOT allowed to take classes   below   a   500   level.   With   the   exception   of   the   classes   listed   below,   students   must   obtain permission/approval to take a class outside of the biology department.

Optional Classes - See list of courses below

Total: 30

Please Note:

Other options are listed on the Tuskegee University biology website. The student must discuss these options with their research advisor

List of Elective Courses

Teaching Requirement

As part of the training, All students regardless of funding source are required to make a commitment to teach laboratories and/or introductory non-science courses as assigned for no less than two semesters of the Master of Biology Program. Students are required to satisfactorily complete TATU (Teaching at Tuskegee University) which is a weeklong program to introduce students to the department’s pedagogical approach, Bloom’s Taxonomy, and strategies to increase social and intellectual presence in the online and in-class learning environment. Students are also required to attend training sessions for each class they are assigned to teach. Although students may request a preferred teaching assignment, teaching assignments are ASSIGNED at the discretion of the department. During each semester the student’s teaching approach and method will be evaluated by a member of the faculty. Students who receive a poor evaluation will have to repeat the semester teacher training session and/or face forfeiture of departmental funding (stipend; tuition; fees). Students who continue to have a poor evaluation will be placed on probation or face expulsion from the program.

Masters Committee

Students in both the non-thesis and the thesis options must have a Masters Examining Committee of no less than three members. The department expects that at least two of the committee members will be members of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) at the rank of research associate or higher. If committee members are selected from institutions outside of Tuskegee University, the student’s primary faculty advisor must submit the credentials of the committee member to the department and to the Dean of CAS. Final approval for the participation of an external committee member will be given by the Dean of CAS. The student is expected to have convened at least two committee meetings prior to his/her oral defense. Minutes of the meeting must accompany the student’s request to defend to the department itself.

Masters Defense:

Students in the thesis option must complete an original independent research project under the guidance of a research mentor. Students in the non-thesis option must complete a grant proposal for submission to a recognized granting authority (NIH; NSF; USDA; DOD etc.) under the guidance of a faculty advisor. Students will present and defend their thesis or grant proposal work to an audience consisting of their Masters Committee, faculty members and students. The defense MUST be publicly advertised two weeks prior to the agreed upon date by the committee. The student must submit in writing a request to announce his/her defense date. At the time of the request, the student must submit to each committee member a copy of his/her thesis or grant proposal. Without the required documents, the student will not be permitted to defend. Ideally, the thesis committee will identify an external reviewer with appropriate credentials to review the thesis or grant proposal.

Mentor Mentee Relationships

Each Graduate student is expected to choose a faculty advisor whose role as a mentor is to guide, to give advice, and to support the student (mentee). The faculty mentor will help the student mentee improve his or her abilities and skills through observation, assessment, modeling, and by providing guidance.

To be involved in a mentoring relationship is a privilege for both participants, and as a result it is important to be gracious and thoughtful towards each other. When unclear about what to do or how to act, please seek guidance from the mentoring resources, or better yet, ask you mentor/mentee. The gesture of asking conveys respect for what the two of you are working to accomplish.

Some basic premises of what makes the ideal mentee are:

  1. Eagerness to learn, admission
  2. Ability and willingness to work as a team player
  3. Patience
  4. Be a risk taker
  5. Have a positive attitude

Mentee Roles

Mentoring is a partnership between two individuals, the mentor and the mentee. In considering the roles of the mentor, he or she must wear many hats throughout the process. A mentee must also perform several roles. The mentee is the student who needs to absorb the mentor’s knowledge and have the ambition and desire to know what to do with this knowledge. As a student, the mentee needs to practice and demonstrate what has been learned.

A mentee is the “gauge” to measure how interactive the connection between the mentor and mentee will be. This means that the mentee determines the capacity of the mentoring connection. The mentee decides upon the amount of help and guidance he/she needs. As well, the mentee should take the initiative to ask for help or advice and to tackle more challenging assignments.

Recommendations/Guidelines for Mentees

  1. Allow your mentor to take the lead in the relationship, at least initially. Listen and respect the opportunities, limitations and format of the relationship he or she is able to provide for you. Always act with courtesy and respect towards your mentor.
  2. Use active listening skills during discussions with your mentor. Be careful not to interrupt, unless you need to clarify a point and you see no other opportunity or pause. Take notes when appropriate, ask good questions and have a purpose for your questions.
  3. Prepare the goals and objectives you have for your career. Be prepared to ask for specific guidance and advice on your goals, plans and strategic ideas. The more specific you can be, the easier it will be for your mentor to help you.
  4. Take the initiative to ask for feedback. Feedback, although difficult to hear at times, is critical to your personal and professional growth and development. Demonstrate that you are open to hear new ideas and suggestions to bring out your best and overcome any blind spots. Get feedback on specific issues, for example, how you come across to others. Ask for specific details to ensure you understand specific behaviors. Tell your mentor how you prefer to get feedback (for example, direct, with humor, softened). Don’t get defensive. Thank your mentor for taking the risk to be honest with you. Remember, if your mentor was not invested in you, he/she would probably not take this risk. Honest feedback gives you an opportunity to improve yourself and help you to move towards fulfilling your potential.
  5. Always be considerate and respect your mentor’s time as you do your own. Be thorough, but succinct in your explanations, experiences and comments. Watch for clues that you may be going on too long. It is polite to ask directly if you are talking too long.
  6. Return phone calls promptly and be on time with commitments or meetings. If your mentor offers a specific time frame of availability, respect his/her wishes by following through. Only extend the time of your contact if your mentor initiates or insists to extend or complete a task or discussion.
  7. Seriously consider all advice or suggestions you receive. Arguing why the mentor’s advice would not work, can be construed as rude and close-minded.
  8. Demonstrate that you have followed advice or commitments for action at every opportunity, even if you have modified your plan. Pointing out that you used your mentor’s help and sharing outcomes is important.
  9. Express your appreciation for every form of assistance you get. Provide positive feedback, thanks as well as positive comments to him/her in front of others.
  10. Make only positive or neutral comments about your mentor to others. If you disagree with your mentor’s values, behaviors, or attitudes, discuss it with him/her directly. Respect your mentor’s confidence and trust.
  11. Assume the mentoring connection will be strictly professional. This does not mean you cannot be yourself, or you cannot be friendly. Let your mentor take the lead in establishing a more friendship based connection. Do not intrude into your mentor’s personal life or expect to be close friends. If you have a cross-gender connection, any romantic involvement is inappropriate. Ensure your mentoring connection does not give the appearance of favoritism or inappropriate/romantic.
  12. Prepare yourself to move beyond your mentoring connection, once it has served its purpose. Be sure to end on a positive note.
  13. Keep the door open to return to your mentor for assistance or advice at a future time.
  14. Follow up with your mentor after termination to keep in touch, to share your progress and to continue to express your gratitude.

Extension of Graduate Enrollment Status

A student will not be permitted to extend his/her tenure beyond 2 years unless a strong argument is presented by his/her committee. If the thesis committee presents an official request for an extension, the student’s contract will be renewed in six month increments. A student may receive no more than two extensions. Please note that students whose enrollment extends beyond the designated time (18 months for non-thesis majors and two years for thesis majors) are not eligible for departmental funding. A student will not receive an extension without an official letter submitted by his/her committee. However, a student may provide his/her own funding to remain in the “Candidate for degree” status.

Required Activities

The HBCU-UP Distinguished Gentlemen Scholars’ Summit (Sept 15th )
The JARS (Joint Annual Research Symposium-First Weekend following Spring Break)
Ethical Research Conduct
Annual CVMNAH Biomedical Research
Annual Retreat
Graduate Teaching Workshop

Revised 08/18/2020

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