The Biology Department offers graduate work leading to the degree of Master of Arts through the BA/MA program. The program has a strong research orientation. It also includes course work, seminars, and, in some cases, teaching. A student hoping to enter this program will be expected to discuss the intention to do so with a research advisor in the first semester of their junior year to permit the design of an acceptable program. The Biology Department may grant the degree of Master of Arts to students in the PhD program who do not complete the PhD.
Students in the BA/MA or terminated Ph.D. programs are required to earn a minimum of 6 credits in addition to the 32 necessary for the Wesleyan BA.
Three credits will be earned through Journal Club I & II:
- BIOL506, BIOL508, BIOL510, BIOL548 (0.25 credits x 2 = 0.50)
- Advanced Research (BIOL549 , BIOL550 (1.0 credit x 2 = 2.0)
- Research Seminar (BIOL557 ; 0.50 credits)
The remaining credits will be earned through lecture, lab, or seminar courses (200, 300, or 500-level) determined by the student and mentor; a minimum of two of these must be one-credit courses. MA credit will only be awarded for academic work in which grades of B minus or higher have been earned. A student in the BA/MA program who earns more than 32 credits during the BA may apply any excess credits toward the MA, providing that they are relevant to the research area and they have not been used to fulfill an undergraduate major requirement.
PROGRESS AND QUALIFYING EXAMS
A 3-member committee of the faculty will be established upon acceptance into the BA/MA program. The candidate will be in contact with their committee in early stages of research and meet with them in the second semester of their MA year. This committee determines when sufficient experimental work has been completed and must approve the final written document. Students in this program will be expected to submit a MA thesis describing the research which they have carried out in partial fulfillment of the degree requirements.
There are no requirements for BA/MA candidates to teach although the opportunity may arise.
All MA students present their research in bi-monthly seminars attended by all members of the department, to encourage students to become fluent and comfortable with their presentation skills.
THESIS and DEFENSE
Students in this program will submit a MA thesis describing their research and give a public presentation during the BIOL557seminar describing the research they have carried out as partial fulfillment of the degree requirements.
This program provides an attractive option for life science majors to substantially enrich their research and course background and to earn an advanced degree while at Wesleyan. Students are encouraged to begin research by their sophomore year if they intend to pursue the BA/MA in biology. Admission is competitive and based on GPA, faculty recommendations, and research experience. For information about the BA/MA Program: wesleyan.edu/grad/degree-programs/bama.html]
For additional information, please visit wesleyan.edu/bio/graduate.