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Departments of Biological and Physical Sciences
Master of Science in Natural Sciences Degree



The Department of Biological Sciences and Department of Physical Sciences offers the following masters degree programs for students desiring specialized training in the biological or physical sciences beyond the baccalaureate level.


  • Master of Science in Natural Sciences, biological sciences emphasis
    for science teachers desiring advanced study primarily in biology.
  • Master of Science in Natural Sciences, physical sciences emphasis
    for those desiring advanced study primarily in chemistry. Both teaching oriented and research oriented options are available.

Admission to the program

Full admission. Requirements for full admission are described below for each area of emphasis. Admissions are selective and decision to admit or not admit an applicant is by department committee based on holistic evaluation of all required and other application materials as they relate to potential for successful completion of requirements of the graduate program. An applicant who is denied admission will be informed as to the reasons for denial and under what circumstances reapplication is advisable. It is strongly advised that an applicant consult with the appropriate graduate advisor concerning his/her qualifications for admission prior to initiating the formal application process.

Non-degree Admission. An applicant who is unable to satisfy requirements for full admission may be admitted on a non-degree, watch-care status to improve undergraduate credentials and to meet full admission requirements. No more than 9 graduate level semester hours earned while enrolled under non-degree status may be applied to degree. Only credits earned with a grade of B or better may be applied.

Student Responsibility. The graduate student must accept full responsibility of knowing and following the policies, regulations, and time lines of the Department of Biological Sciences or Department of Physical Sciences and the Graduate School that are relevant to the MSNS degree program.

MSNS: Biological Sciences Emphasis

Full admission

This emphasis provides specialized training for science teachers. Full admission status may be granted to an applicant who:


  1. Holds a baccalaureate degree from an institution fully accredited by one of the recognized accrediting agencies
  2. Has completed, as a minimum, coursework equivalent to general biology, general botany, and general zoology along with a minimum of one course from each of the following sub-discipline areas: taxonomy/ecology; cytology/microbiology/genetics; anatomy/developmental biology/physiology
  3. Has earned a minimum acceptable overall undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 with a 3.00 GPA minimum on all major and other relevant coursework completed during the applicant’s last 64 undergraduate hours
  4. Submits a score for either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test or the PRAXIS II Science Content Exam.
  5. Holds or qualifies to hold a Class A teaching certificate, or its equivalent based on a baccalaureate degree in biology. An applicant lacking a teaching certificate must sign a waiver stating that he/she realizes that the MSNS degree does not constitute certification.

A student must verify satisfaction of requirements 1-4 for full admission as described above through submission of appropriate documentation by completion of the first 9 semester hours of graduate level work. A student who fails to do this will be moved to Non-degree status for the next term of enrollment and prevented from enrolling in additional coursework applicable to the degree program. Requirements must be satisfied during that term of enrollment or the student will be dropped from the program. Furthermore, the student must complete the following tasks prior to completion of the first 9 hours of major subject coursework:


  1. Establish a graduate advisory committee
  2. File a tentative program of study approved by the advisory committee, the Division Chair, and the Dean of Arts and Sciences.

A student who fails to complete 1 and 2 as specified will be moved to Non-degree status for the next term of enrollment and prohibited from enrolling in additional major coursework applicable to the degree program. Requirements must be satisfied during that term of enrollment or the student will be dropped from the program.

Degree Requirements

A candidate for the MSNS: Biological Sciences Emphasis is required to


  1. Fulfill the general requirements for a graduate degree at Delta State University
  2. Complete a minimum of 33 semester hours of graduate credit, one-half of which must be 600-level
  3. Earn a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 in all coursework listed on the approved program of study and separately in all major courses in biology listed on the program of study
  4. Pass a final oral comprehensive examination formulated by and administered in part by the Division of Biological and Physical Sciences Graduate Program Committee and in part by the student’s graduate advisory committee and covering the broad discipline of biology and the student’s specific area of interest
  5. Prepare a teaching portfolio to be presented during the oral comprehensive examination

MSNS: Physical Sciences Emphasis

Full admission

Full admission status may be granted to an applicant who:


  1. Holds a baccalaureate degree from an institution fully accredited by one of the recognized accrediting agencies
  2. Has completed, as a minimum, coursework equivalent to two semesters of general chemistry, two semesters of organic chemistry, one semester of quantitative analysis, and one semester of physical chemistry
  3. Has earned a minimum acceptable overall undergraduate grade point average of 2.75 with a 3.00 GPA minimum on all major and other relevant coursework completed during the applicant’s last 64 undergraduate hours
  4. Submits a score for either the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test or the PRAXIS II Science Content Exam.
  5. Holds or qualifies to hold a Class A teaching certificate, or its equivalent based on a baccalaureate degree in chemistry (for the option A applicants only). An option A applicant who does not yet qualify for an A certificate may be admitted, but with the stipulation that the requirements of the State of Mississippi for an A certificate in physical science teaching must be met before the degree will be awarded. This requirement is not subject to waiver.

A student must verify satisfaction of all requirements for full admission as described above (except 5) through submission of appropriate documentation to the Graduate Studies Office by completion of the first 9 semester hours of graduate level work. A student who fails to do this will be moved to Non-degree status for the next term of enrollment and prevented from enrolling in additional coursework applicable to the degree program. Requirements must be satisfied during that term of enrollment or the student will be dropped from the program. Furthermore, the student must complete the following tasks prior to completion of the first 9 hours of major subject coursework:


  1. Establish a graduate advisory committee
  2. File a tentative program of study approved by the advisory committee, the Division Chair, and the Dean of Arts and Sciences.
  3. Be accepted by a major advisor for research direction (for the option B – research applicants only). An applicant seeking a research focus should consult with appropriate faculty who have compatible interests prior to application. There can be no guarantee that the research option will be available unless it has been negotiated between the student and a graduate faculty member willing to serve as the research director. The faculty member must provide a written statement of acceptance for research direction to the student and the division Chair. Acceptance of a student for research direction by a given faculty member is made only when the student is considered to have the potential to successfully complete an independent research program and with the knowledge that the faculty member and division have sufficient and appropriate resources available to support the needs of the student.

A student who fails to complete 1 and 2 as specified will be moved to Non-degree status for the next term of enrollment and prohibited from enrolling in additional major coursework applicable to the degree program. Requirements must be satisfied during that term of enrollment or the student will be dropped from the program.

Degree Requirements

A candidate for the MSNS: Physical Sciences Emphasis is required to


  1. Fulfill the general requirements for a graduate degree at Delta State University
  2. Complete a minimum of 33 semester hours of graduate credit, one-half of which must be 600-level
  3. Earn a minimum overall GPA of 3.0 in all coursework listed on the approved program of study and separately in all major courses in chemistry listed on the program of study
  4. Pass oral and written components of a final comprehensive examination formulated by and administered in part by the Division of Biological and Physical Sciences Graduate Program Committee and in part by the student’s graduate advisory committee and covering the broad discipline of chemistry and the student’s specific area of interest
  5. Complete an approved research project in the field of chemistry and defend the research during the oral component of the final comprehensive examination for the option B research oriented student only. An option B student may substitute additional approved coursework in lieu of the research element.

MSNS: Biological Sciences Emphasis curriculum

Courses Credit Notes
Core Education Courses
Educational Psychology EPY 601 3 Psychology of learning
Educational Methods ELR 605 3 Methods of educational research and statistics
Educational Thought CUR 608 3 Historical foundations of educational thought and curriculum methodology
Required Biology Courses
Conceptual Biology BIO 540 3 Evolution and systematics
Biology Education BIO 601 3 Problems in teaching biology in the secondary schools
Biology Electives
Designated Electives Three courses 12 Choose on course in each of the following areas: (1) ecology, (2) cell/molecular biology, (3) structure/function
Other electives Two courses 6 Choose from any graduate level biology courses
Total hours minimum 33
A maximum of three semester hours of credit earned in biology courses taught in a workshop format may be applied toward fulfilling the 15 hours of biology electives. Enrollment in the workshop must be approved by the student’s advisor.

MSNS: Physical Sciences Emphasis curriculum

Option A Program

Courses Credit Notes
Core Education Courses
Educational Psychology EPY 601 3 Psychology of learning
Educational Methods ELR 605 3 Methods of educational research and statistics
Educational Thought CUR 608 3 Historical foundations of educational thought and curriculum methodology
Required Chemistry Courses
Inorganic Chemistry CHE 504 3 If not taken at the undergraduate level
Chemical Techniques CHE 601 3 Principles and techniques in the physical sciences
Electives
Physical Science CHE or PHY courses 12 Choose enough courses to total at least 12 credit hours.
Recommended Electives Two courses 6 Advisor recommended courses
Total hours minimum 33

Option B Program

Courses Credit Notes
Required Chemistry Courses
Inorganic Chemistry CHE 504 3 If not taken at the undergraduate level
Biochemical Methods CHE 541 3 If not taken at the undergraduate level
Topics in Chemistry CHE 612, 625, 680 9 Topics in analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry
Research CHE 689 or 690 3-6 Chemical research or Thesis
Electives in Related Fields
Recommended Electives CHE, PHY, or BIO 12-15 Advisor recommended electives
Total hours minimum 33


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Delta State University > Arts and Sciences > DSU Sciences > MSNS Degree

Division of Biological and Physical Sciences
Delta State University, Cleveland, MS 38733

This page is maintained by John Tiftickjian
and was last modified April 9, 2014

 

 

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