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Learning Objectives

The Division offers a master of arts (M.A.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) degrees in biological sciences. Both degrees are based on completion of original research built on a foundation of coursework from both undergraduate and graduate training. The doctoral program prepares graduates to work as independent researchers and teachers in academic institutions and in the government and private sectors, in basic and applied biology. The program emphasizes flexibility in pursuing different research paths within biological sciences as well as interdisciplinary training to meet the individual professional goals of each student.

Graduate students within the Division are expected to possess the knowledge and skills obtained at the undergraduate level of biology. In addition, doctoral candidates are expected to

  • read and critically evaluate primary literature in their research discipline.
  • understand the ethical issues surrounding the performance of biological research.
  • formulate testable hypotheses based on theory or empirical research.
  • design experiments and studies that can test hypotheses.
  • write research proposals for funding.
  • perform statistical and computational analyses of data.
  • develop and carry out collaborations and interactions with colleagues on group research projects.
  • communicate scientific results in writing (manuscripts, posters) and orally (seminars, presentations) with both academic and lay audiences.

The overall goal of the doctoral program is completion of an original research project that produces novel findings that are publishable in peer-reviewed journals.

The learning objectives for the graduate studies program are accomplished through a combination of mentoring, training, and coursework. Faculty members are expected to train and mentor students by

  • conducting regular individual and laboratory group meetings.
  • developing seminars and discipline-specific reading groups.
  • providing opportunities to give research seminars within DBS, MU, and at national conferences.
  • developing the students writing and analytical skills to help prepare manuscripts for publication.
  • developing the oral expression skills needed to present talks to scientific as well as lay audiences.