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    University of North Texas
   
    May 27, 2024  
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog 
    
2017-2018 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Biological Sciences


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Main Departmental Office
Life Sciences Building, Room A210

Mailing address:
1155 Union Circle #305220
Denton, TX 76203-5017
940-565-3627
Fax: 940-565-3821

Website: www.biology.unt.edu

Art Goven, Chair

Faculty  

Mission

The Department of Biological Sciences provides contemporary course work and research-based education of the highest quality to students pursuing graduate degrees in three degree programs: biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, and environmental science. Research, strong professor-student mentoring, high-quality instruction and professional community service are the foundation of our mission.

Research

The cornerstone of our graduate programs is the creation of new knowledge through research. We offer students the opportunity to conduct research that leads to theses and dissertations in aquatic biology, aquatic toxicology, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, ecology, environmental science, forensic biology, genetics, limnology, microbiology, neurobiology, physiology and plant sciences. Our research is supported through numerous public- and private-sector sources.

Department resources for research and graduate training occupy more than 200,000 square feet in the Life Science Complex, the Science Research Building and the Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building. Greenhouses and an aquatic field station are also available for research.

Degree programs in biological sciences

The department offers graduate programs leading to degrees in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, and environmental science.

Research MS degrees require a scholarly thesis based on original research by the student. The PhD represents attainment of the highest level of scholarship and achievement in the creation of new knowledge through independent research that culminates in a dissertation of scientific merit. The candidate is expected to have published or have accepted for publication at least one original research article in a refereed scientific journal prior to graduation.

The department offers a non-thesis option in the following degree programs: MS in biology (Teaching in the Life Sciences); MS in environmental science the Professional Science Master’s (PSM); MS in molecular biology (PSM); and MA (course work only or course work plus problems in lieu of thesis) in biology.

Professional Science master’s degree option

The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) is an innovative graduate degree option designed to allow students to pursue advanced training in science while simultaneously developing workplace skills highly valued by employers. PSM degrees thoroughly prepare students for science and technology careers in business, government and nonprofit organizations. PSM degrees are MS degrees in an emerging or interdisciplinary area of science, mathematics or technology and contain a set of professional skills courses selected from such areas as business, communication, policy, law and leadership. Contrary to a traditional master’s degree, a thesis is not required but a 3 to 6 semester credit hour internship is included within the science requirement. The Department of Biological Sciences offers two PSM type degrees:

  • MS with a major in molecular biology (biotechnology)
  • MS with a major in environmental science

Additional information about these degrees can be found at www.psm.unt.edu and www.sciencemasters.com.

Application and admission to the programs

Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and Environmental Science programs

  1. Application materials and information about our faculty and programs may be obtained by contacting the graduate advising secretary or coordinator of graduate programs in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology at 940-565-3627, the environmental science program at 940-565-2694, or from our web site (www.biology.unt.edu). Prospective applicants meeting our admission criteria are encouraged to become familiar with the research and degree programs within the department and to seek opportunities by contacting individual faculty members or the coordinator of graduate programs in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, and environmental science.

  2. Applicants must first apply and be admitted to the Toulouse Graduate School to be considered for admission to a degree program in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, or environmental science. Applicants must also submit the following directly to the department:
    1. departmental application form;
    2. letter of intent, including the specific program and degree sought (MA, MS or PhD); faculty member(s) contacted as prospective major professor/advisor; professional goals and objectives; the reason for choosing UNT, the Department of Biological Sciences and the specific area of interest (biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, or environmental science); and
    3. three form letters of recommendation from former professors if a recent graduate. One letter may be from an employer if employed for more than one year since graduation.
    4. application data sheet.
  3. Completed applications for programs in biology or biochemistry and molecular biology meeting departmental acceptance criteria are reviewed by the faculty. Applications to the environmental science program are reviewed for acceptance by the environmental science graduate admissions committee. Only applicants selected by a faculty member who agrees to act as the student’s major professor (i.e., advisor) are eligible for admission to a graduate program in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, or environmental science. Students admitted to the Professional Science Master’s program may select a major professor (i.e. advisor) after admission.

  4. Application deadlines: applications are reviewed on a rolling admissions format; however, for financial support purposes completed applications must be received in the department on or before the following dates.
  Fall term/semester January 15
  Spring term/semester October 1


The environmental science graduate program application deadlines are:
 

  Fall term/semester January 15
  Spring term/semester September 15


The environmental science graduate program does not accept applications to begin during summer.

  1.  Departmental acceptance criteria.
    1. Master’s degree (MA/MS):
      • Unconditional admission to the Toulouse Graduate School.
      • Complete application.
      • A letter of intent to the department, including the specific program and degree sought (MA, MS, PSM or PhD); faculty members contacted as prospective professor/advisor; professional goals and objectives; the reason for choosing UNT, the Department of Biological Sciences and the specific area of interest (biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, or environmental science).
      • Three form letters of recommendation to the department, from former professors if a recent graduate. One letter may be from an employer if employed for more than one year since graduation.
      • Undergraduate GPA greater than or equal to 3.0 overall or greater than or equal to 3.2 in the last 60 hours.
      • Submission of GRE scores (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections) is required. The program views high GRE scores as positive indicators of potential success; however, low GRE scores need not exclude a candidate who demonstrates positive indicators in other areas.
      • Completion of the Graduate Preparation Course (GPC) offered by the Intensive English Language Institute may be substituted for the verbal section only of the GRE. Applicants using the GPC in lieu of the verbal section of the GRE are required to take the GRE in order to meet requirements for other sections of the examination.
      • The appropriate GRE subject test is also required for diagnostic purposes, but not for admission. In addition, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) may also be considered at the discretion of the department.
      • Bachelor’s degree with 24 hours, 12 of which are advanced, in a life science or appropriate related science is required for programs in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology.
      • For the environmental science program, the bachelor’s degree must include a B or better in at least 6 credit hours of a life science (3 of which must be ecology), 8 credit hours of chemistry (must be courses with laboratories) and mathematics up to but not necessarily calculus.
      • A score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) that meets or exceeds the International Admissions Office requirements for international students whose native language is not English.
      • International applicants needing confirmation of teaching assistantship eligibility must provide passing scores on either the Test of Spoken English (TSE) administered by the Educational Testing Service (minimum score of 50) or the Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) Speaking Section (minimum score of 26).
      • Agreement by a faculty member to serve as the applicant’s major professor (i.e. advisor) is required for programs in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, and environmental science.

        Provisional admission of applicants not meeting all of the criteria, except for the requirement for a major professor, may be considered at the discretion of the department. However, such students are advised to explore the Graduate School’s non-degree (GNDE) program until satisfying departmental criteria. Provisionally accepted students must satisfy all admission provisions, including deficiency courses, within the time designated by the department at the time of admission or they will be dismissed from the program.
         
    2. Doctoral degree (PhD):
      • Undergraduate GPA greater than or equal to 3.0 overall and greater than or equal to 3.2 in the last 60 hours.
      • GPA greater than or equal to 3.4 overall for any prior graduate work.
      • Complete application.
      • A letter of intent to the department, including the specific program; faculty member contacts as prospective professor/advisor; professional goals and objectives; the reason for choosing UNT, the Department of Biological Sciences and the specific area of interest (biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, or environmental science).
      • Three form letters of recommendation to the department, from former professors if a recent graduate. One letter may be from an employer if employed for more than one year since graduation.
      • Submission of GRE scores (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing sections) is required. The program views high GRE scores as positive indicators of potential success; however, low GRE scores need not exclude a candidate who demonstrates positive indicators in other areas.
      • Completion of the Graduate Preparation Course (GPC) offered by the Intensive English Language Institute may be substituted for the verbal section only of the GRE. Applicants using the GPC in lieu of the verbal section of the GRE may be required to take the GRE in order to meet requirements for other sections of the examination.
      • The appropriate GRE subject test is also required for diagnostic purposes, but not for admission. In addition, the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) may also be considered at the discretion of the department.
      • A score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) that meets or exceeds the International Admissions Office requirements for international students whose native language is not English.
      • International applicants needing confirmation of teaching assistantship eligibility must provide passing scores on either the Test of Spoken English (TSE) administered by the Educational Testing Service (minimum score of 50) or the Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) Speaking Section (minimum score of 26).
      • Bachelor’s degree with 24 hours in a life science or appropriate related science, 12 of which are advanced; a master’s degree in a life science with a research-based thesis is desirable for programs in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology.
      • For the environmental science program the bachelor’s degree must be in an appropriate field related to environmental science, with course work in a life science, chemistry and mathematics. Master’s program must include a thesis appropriate to environmental science.
      • Agreement by a faculty member to serve as the applicant’s major professor (i.e. advisor) is required for programs in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, and environmental science.

There is no provisional admission to the PhD program.

Complete applications for programs in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology meeting departmental acceptance criteria are made available for review by the faculty of the Department of Biological Sciences. Applications to the environmental science program are reviewed by the Environmental Science Graduate Admissions Committee. Only applicants selected by a faculty member who agrees to act as the student’s major professor (i.e. advisor) are eligible for admission to a graduate program in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, and environmental science.

Financial support

Most biological sciences graduate students are supported through teaching assistantships (TAs) or research assistantships (RAs) funded through research grants to faculty. Assistantships are limited to 20 hours per week, which is considered as half-time employment. Nine-month stipends range from $14,000 for entering master’s students and up to $19,000 for PhD candidates. In addition, out-of-state and international students who are supported at least one-half time are eligible for in-state tuition. Students supported for nine months on TAs or RAs are eligible for 12-month health insurance coverage. A limited number of summer TAs are available. Funding commitments may be up to a maximum of 3 years for the master’s degree and 6 years for the PhD. Contact the Graduate Secretary at 940-565-3627 for further information about assistantships. Contact Student Financial Aid and Scholarships at 940-565-2302 for student loan information.

Advanced Environmental Research Institute

Advanced Environmental Research Institute
1155 Union Circle #310559
Denton, TX 76203-5017
940-369-5555

The Advanced Environmental Research Institute (AERI) at the University of North Texas has been established as an Institute of Research Excellence. This is in recognition of the university’s strong and growing environmental and water research program. The institute will support the university on its path toward national prominence. The institute touts a multidisciplinary team of researchers committed to collaborating on large research projects with an emphasis on application of research findings to the solutions of our most pressing environmental issues. AERI is founded on UNT’s strong legacy of addressing environmental issues, which began with the eminent scientist, Dr. J.K.G. “Doc” Silvey who began water research at UNT by examining the differences in tap water. For nearly 80 years, a team of researchers has been investigating the complex nature of the natural world and how people’s actions influence it.

Institute of Applied Sciences

Main Office
Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building, Room 215

Mailing address:
1155 Union Circle #310559
Denton, TX 76203-5017
940-565-2694

Website: www.ias.unt.edu
E-mail: atkinson@unt.edu

Sam Atkinson, Director

The Institute of Applied Sciences (IAS) provides research and educational programs that address the natural and human resource issues facing Texas, the nation and the world. With an emphasis on water, land, people and communities, IAS seeks to explore resources for the future. The strength of IAS is its interdisciplinary approach to instruction, research and community service. The Institute is presently organized into multiple program areas, including aquatic and terrestrial ecology, toxicology, science education, remote sensing, computational epidemiology, environmental chemistry, biocultural conservation, wildlife and archaeology. The institute provides educational programs for students seeking training in environmental studies and other applied science areas. It also offers continuing education programs such as workshops, mini-courses, seminars and symposia to the public.

Activities include basic and applied studies in a variety of fields, including the analysis of trace organic and inorganic compounds in air, water, soils, waste materials and biological samples; toxicology; land use analysis via remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS); archaeological reconnaissance and salvage; and water resources management. The institute is particularly active in the coordination and execution of joint research projects with industry and governmental agencies in these areas. The following centers support this role.

Aquatic Toxicology and Reservoir Limnology

As one of the foremost aquatic toxicology laboratories in the Southwest, the lab is equipped to conduct acute and chronic toxicity tests with freshwater and marine organisms for industries and municipalities on the effects of chemicals on aquatic ecosystems. The reservoir limnology program conducts water quality research on rivers and reservoirs throughout Texas.

Center for Remote Sensing

The Center for Remote Sensing (CRS) applies remote sensing technologies and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to land use and water resources issues. The center’s state-of-the-art computer facilities for remote sensing data collection, image enhancement, classification and analyses support a variety of basic and applied research. The primary thrust of the research is to understand interrelationships between local or regional land use patterns and water quality. The center has a fully equipped Earth Resources Data Analysis System (ERDAS) and ARC/INFO capabilities.

Center for Watershed and Reservoir Assessment and Management

Surface reservoirs in Texas currently provide 55 percent of drinking water for Texas citizens and serve as significant sources of water for agriculture, industry and recreation. However, maintaining these services is becoming increasingly more difficult and complex. The center offers scientific knowledge and expertise to address the current and emerging watershed scale issues of Texas. The center’s expertise is based on more than 60 years of problem-solving research and state-of-the-art capabilities.

Ecological Risk Assessment/Water Research Field Station

UNT has two of the few facilities in the U.S. designed to assess, under field conditions, the effects of new chemicals and pesticides on aquatic ecosystems prior to their use in the general environment. The Water Research Field Station (WRFS) consists of 48 aquatic testing ponds of 0.1 acre each and 52 1,000- and 10,000-liter microcosms. The Artificial Stream Facility has 12 replicate five-meter streams, each capable of being colonized by aquatic species. The WRFS is specifically designed to assess the impacts of agrichemicals on aquatic populations and communities. The field station and stream facility are supported on campus by a biological and residue analysis laboratory with state-of-the-art equipment.

Environmental Chemistry

The Environmental Chemistry Laboratory supports research on the physical and chemical processes that control the fate and effect of chemicals in soil, surface water, ground water and the atmosphere using state-of-the-art equipment to analyze metals and organic chemicals in water and soils.

Environmental Archaeology and Geology

The institute’s faculty are experienced in the design and implementation of cultural resource management projects. The emphasis is on reconstruction of past environments and cultural ecology as part of archaeological research. Quaternary geologic studies are supported by a sediment-soils laboratory that has full capabilities for mechanical, chemical and mineralogical analyses of samples from archaeological sites and natural deposits. A comparative osteology lab maintains an extensive collection of animal skeletons for zooarchaeological research and forensic analysis. An off-campus lab includes facilities for artifact washing and cataloging, detailed analysis and artifact curation. Environmental geology, groundwater hydrology, geomorphology, soil science, sedimentology and hydrology research are also conducted.

Environmental Modeling

This laboratory develops and uses mathematical models and computer simulations for the assessment of risks and impacts of anthropogenic stressors on ecological systems. Research is conducted at local, landscape, regional and global scales. The main themes of the laboratory involve linking of environmental models to remote sensing, GIS and other advanced technology in order to understand landscape and regional dynamics; reveal global change effects on ecosystems; and to relate environmental policies to environmental issues and economic development.

Center for Network Neuroscience

Main Office
Science Research Building, Room 120

Mailing address:
1155 Union Circle #305220
Denton, TX 76203-5017
940-565-3615
E-mail: gwgross@cnns.org

Guenter W. Gross, Director

Students interested in neurobiology, electrophysiology, neuropharmacology, neurochemistry or biophysics can participate in transdisciplinary investigations directed at the self-organization of small nerve cell networks and their ability to generate and process spatio-temporal patterns. Direct applications of network dynamics to the fields of pharmacology, toxicology, drug development, tissue-based biosensors and modeling of complex systems have been demonstrated and represent ongoing research efforts.

The center uses in vitro preparations with primary focus on monolayer cultures of mammalian central nervous system cells growing on high density microelectrode arrays. Parallel recording with 64 or 256 amplifier systems allows long-term monitoring of network action potential production used for quantification of network responses to chemical and pharmacological compounds or to electrical stimulation. Sophisticated multichannel data processing programs support such analyses. In order to achieve high throughput, an 8-network 256-electrode platform, coupled to a liquid handling robot, is being tested for reproducibility and applications to rapid toxicity screening. The CNNS pioneered much of the microelectrode array technology and has extensive international contacts.

Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology and Human Identification

Life Sciences Building, Rooms A 403-405
Mailing address:
1155 Union Circle #305220
Denton, TX 76203-5017
E-mail: harrell@unt.edu

Harrell Gill-King, Director

The Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology and Human Identification is a component of the UNT System’s Center for Human Identification housed at the UNT Denton campus and the UNT Health Science Center at Fort Worth. The laboratory provides human remains location and recovery assistance to law enforcement and medicolegal professionals across the U.S. and postmortem laboratory analysis. The laboratory participates in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) by entering samples from unknown human remains. The laboratory provides graduate academic training and accredited professional training to law enforcement and medicolegal investigators and to a number of federal agencies.

The main laboratories (osteology lab, decomposition lab and x-ray facility) are housed in the Department of Biological Sciences, as are the J.R. Lott Osteology Reference Collection and teaching labs. Cooperating entities include the Zooarchaeology Laboratory located in the Department of Geography, the Center for Remote Sensing located in the environmental science program and the electron microscopy facility located in the Center for Advanced Research and Technology at Discovery Park. Ongoing research activities include remote digital image analysis of clandestine burials, thermobaric effects on human bone, skeletal endocrinology and pathology related to drug use, isotopic analysis of human diet, taphonomy, and techniques in human identification.

BioDiscovery Institute

Life Sciences Building
Mailing address:
1155 Union Circle #305220
Denton, TX 76203-5017
940-565-2491

The BioDiscovery Institute (BDI) at the University of North Texas delivers research solutions to underpin the utilization of plants, forest products and other biomass for production of biopolymers, new bio-based materials for construction and transportation, bioactive small molecules and biofuels. The institute operates through a pipeline linking sustainable plant production platforms, metabolic engineering and the development of new materials.  BDI includes a multidisciplinary team of researchers committed to collaborating on large research projects with an emphasis on application of findings and solutions to meet market issues and needs.

Programs

    Master’s DegreeDoctorate

    Courses

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