1. All students are expected to demonstrate:
a. The mastery of course work considered fundamental to the training of a biologist. Required competencies may include the accumulation of knowledge in molecular biology, botany, zoology, microbiology, physiology, ecology, and evolution. A thesis-track student may elect to specialize in one of the listed areas.
b. The mastery of supplementary requirements selected to enhance the training of a biologist, including statistics and regional analysis.
c. The use of equipment and instruments required for biological research.
d. The ability to think analytically and have a thorough understanding of the scientific method. Students are expected to evaluate published research with respect to experimental design, strengths and weaknesses of data, and validity of research conclusions.
e. The ability to write a formal proposal of their intended research projects. The proposal will consist of a literature survey, research objectives, materials and methods, significance, bibliography, and an itemized budget for the research.
f. The ability to design original experiments, collect and analyze data, and report the findings through oral and written presentations.
2. Students preparing for post-master's degree professions must develop those competencies required for admission to professional schools or Ph.D.-level graduate programs.
Assessment of Competencies
1. Students must pass both a written exit examination prepared by the BES departmental committee and an oral examination given by the student's graduate committee. It is expected that students attain an 80 percent performance level on the written exit examination and unanimous approval by the student's graduate committee concerning performance on the final oral examination and research component. Exams will include questions pertaining to regional analysis and biological principles. Students failing to reach the 80 percent performance level on the written exam may retake the exam one time after a seven-day period.
2. Students must pass with a 70 percent performance level of recommended courses in statistics and regional analysis.
3. Successful data collection using instruments in the student's research meets this goal.
4. In-class evaluation of journal research occurs in all graduate courses, and interpretation of scientific articles associated with the student's thesis or non-thesis research is evaluated.
5. All research proposals are evaluated by the graduate advisory committee.
6. Every student is expected to perform original research and present the data in a formal seminar (BIOL 671) setting to the faculty and students of the BES department. This oral seminar is graded by the faculty in attendance and the averaged score must be 80 percent or above. Students failing to reach the 80 percent performance level must give the seminar to their committees after a seven day period.