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Main Departmental Office
Biology Building, 210
P.O. Box 305220
Denton, TX 76203-5220
Fax: (940) 565-3821
Web site: www.biol.unt.edu
Graduate Faculty: Atkinson, Ayre, Beitinger, Benjamin, Burggren, Chapman, Chesnut, Dickson, Dickstein, Dzialowski, Fitzpatrick, Fuchs, Goven, Gross, Kennedy, Kunz, LaPoint, O’Donovan, Padilla, Pirtle, Root, Schafer, Schwark, Sinclair, Smith, Tam, Venables, Waller, Zimmerman.
The Department of Biological Sciences provides contemporary education of the highest quality to students pursuing graduate degrees in four degree programs: biology, biochemistry, molecular biology and environmental science. Research, strong professor-student mentoring, high-quality instruction and professional community service are the foundation of our mission.
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 Biology Building, the Science Research Building and the Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building. Greenhouses and an aquatic field station are also available for research.
The department offers graduate programs leading to the following degrees:
Concentrations at the master’s level are available in ecology, microbiology and plant science.
Concentrations at the doctoral level are available in ecology, microbiology, and plant science.
The department offers research programs leading to the degrees listed above. Each MS requires 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 (course work only) in environmental science; MA (course work only) in biology; MA (problems-in-lieu-of-thesis) in biology; MA (course work only) in molecular biology; and MA (problems-in-lieu-of-thesis) in molecular biology.
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) 565-3593, the environmental science program at (940) 565-3599, or from our web site (www.biol.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, molecular biology and environmental science.
2. Applicants must first apply and be admitted to the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies to be considered for admission to a degree program in biology, biochemistry, molecular biology or environmental science. Applicants must also submit the following directly to the department:
a. a departmental application form;
b. a letter of intent, including the specific program and degree sought (MA, MS or PhD); faculty member contacted as prospective professor/adviser; professional goals and objectives; the reason for choosing UNT, the Department of Biological Sciences and the specific area of interest (biology, biochemistry, molecular biology or environmental science); and
c. 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.
3. Completed applications for programs in biology, 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. adviser, are eligible for admission to a graduate program in biology, biochemistry or molecular biology, and for the PhD in environmental science. Master’s students in the environmental science program may select a major professor, i.e. adviser, after admission.
4. Application deadlines: for financial support purposes completed applications must be received in the department on or before the following dates. We encourage applications at least three months prior to anticipated enrollment.
5. Departmental acceptance criteria.
a. Master’s Degree (MA/MS):
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. Provisionally accepted students must satisfy all admission provisions, including deficiency courses, within the time designated by the department at the time of admission or will be dropped from the program.
b. Doctoral Degree (PhD):
There is no provisional admission to the PhD program.
The biology program provides students the option of selecting a research track leading to the Master of Science (MS) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in biology, or a non-research track leading to the Master of Arts (MA) in biology. Students interested in obtaining both a masters degree and certification to teach life sciences at the secondary level may select the non-research Master of Science in biology: teaching in the life sciences. Students pursuing a research degree have the opportunity to conduct research leading to a thesis or dissertation in a variety of specializations, including aquatic biology, aquatic toxicology, ecology, forensic biology, genetics, immunology, limnology, microbiology, neurobiology, physiology and plant biology. Visit www.biol.unt.edu for research interests of the faculty. Information on degree requirements follows the program descriptions.
Research Faculty: Ayre, Benjamin, Chapman, Dickstein, Kunz, O’Donovan, Padilla, Pirtle, Root, Smith.
Faculty research interests in biochemistry reflect the broad nature of this discipline, including regulation of microbial and plant metabolism, regulation of prokaryotic and eukaryotic gene expression and regulation of protein-protein interactions. A specially tailored degree plan will be determined in consultation with the student’s major adviser and graduate committee members. Research laboratories are equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation, and several courses focus on contemporary technical approaches in biochemistry and molecular biology. Specialized instrumentation assists in the analyses of protein/nucleic acid structure and function, molecular imaging, metabolite identification, functional genomics and gene discovery. Visit www.biol.unt.edu for more information on the research interests of the biochemistry program faculty. Information on degree requirements follows the program descriptions.
*Biochemistry Graduate Core Courses: BIOC 5540 and 5550, or the equivalents, are prerequisites for the core courses. Three of the following are required for the MS and four for the PhD: BIOC 5340 or 6600 (only one may count as a core course), 6610, 6620, 6630 and 6640. In exceptional cases the substitution of a comparable course may be made for one core course.
The molecular biology program leading to the PhD degree is offered through the Federation of North Texas Area Universities to students enrolled at UNT or Texas Woman’s University (TWU). Students enrolled through either UNT or TWU have the opportunity to take courses, participate in seminars and conferences, and conduct research at both universities. Research opportunities at UNT include pyrimidine metabolism in bacteria; Pseudomonas ATCase; mechanisms of natural transformation in Gram-negative bacteria; organization and evolution of Pseudomonas catabolic plasmids; role of 5-hydroxytryptamine in the regulation of glycogenolysis; cyanide biodegradation; chemistry and enzymology of pathways for catabolism of aromatic compounds in soil microorganisms; brain-stem lipids; mammalian and plant gene structure, organization and expression; and regulations of blood cell differentiation. Research opportunities at TWU include binding and transport in cell membranes, gene regulation and hormone action, glycoprotein synthesis and secretion, functions of estrogen compounds in plants, biology of retro-viruses, bacterial conjugation and gene transfer, aspects of brain development and brain function, and mechanisms of generating motor patterns. Visit the web site at www.biol.unt.edu for research interests of the UNT faculty. Visit www.twu.edu/as/bio for the research interests of the TWU faculty. Applications are considered for the molecular biology program only after meeting the admission requirements either of the Robert B. Toulouse School of Graduate Studies and the Department of Biological Sciences at UNT or the Graduate School and Department of Biology at TWU. Information on degree requirements at UNT follows the program descriptions.
Research Faculty: Atkinson, Beitinger, Dickson, Kennedy, LaPoint, Venables, Waller, Zimmerman.
The environmental science program is an interdisciplinary collaboration among the Department of Biological Sciences, the Department of Geography, the Department of Chemistry, the Department of Philosophy and Religion Studies and other departments at UNT. The program offers graduate studies in environmental science that lead to the MS and PhD, granted through the Department of Biological Sciences. The course of study, involving both core and elective courses, is designed to accommodate students with various backgrounds and interests in the natural, physical and social sciences who desire careers related to environmental science. Students are trained to identify problems, collect and interpret data, and develop solutions to complex and challenging environmental problems facing municipalities, industries, utilities and government agencies.
Visit www.biol.unt.edu or www.ias.unt.edu for more information on the diverse research interests of the environmental science program faculty, including aquatic biology, analytical chemistry, aquatic and terrestrial toxicology, ecology, ecophysiology, limnology, remote sensing and land use analyses, and environmental modeling. Information on degree requirements follows the program descriptions.
1. The program and specific degree is determined before admission.
2. During the first long term/semester, the student and major professor select an advisory committee of two other faculty members, one of whom must be from the departmental faculty. The third may be from another UNT department, the Federation of North Texas Area Universities, or another university if the member is granted adjunct status in the department. Additional members may be added to the committee as long as the majority of the committee are faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences. A copy of the form designating the committee should be filed with the graduate advising secretary before the student’s second long term/semester. Students in the MS in biology: teaching in the life sciences are advised by the Teaching in the Life Sciences Program Selection Committee.
3. Before registering for the second long term/semester, the student, major professor and advisory committee formulate a degree plan of the courses to be taken by the student, including core course requirements and deficiency work. Research MS students in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology must take a minimum of 24 hours of formal courses, special problems and seminars, plus 6 hours of thesis.
Students in the MS in biology: teaching in the life sciences must take 18 hours of biology courses, including BIOL 5260, 5830 and 6150, plus 18 hours in secondary education (EDSE 5002, 5004, 5105, 5130 and 5470).
Students in the biology program’s MA course work – only option must take a minimum of 36 hours of formal 5000-6000 level courses. Students in the biology program’s MA problems-in-lieu-of-thesis option must take 30 hours of formal courses plus 6 hours of problems-in-lieu-of-thesis. The MA has a language requirement.
Research MS students in environmental science must take a minimum of 30 hours of formal courses, special problems and seminars, plus 6 hour of thesis.
Students in the environmental science MS non-thesis option must take a minimum of 42 hours of formal 5000- to 6000-level courses. Only 6 hours of special problems (5900/5910) may be applied to the research MS degree program.
The degree plan, signed by all committee members, should be filed with the graduate advising secretary for programs in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, or with the environmental science program’s graduate advising secretary, before the beginning of the student’s second long term/semester. The degree plan must be approved by the chair of the Department of Biological Sciences before it is forwarded to the Robert B. Toulouse School of Graduate Studies.
All course work must be at the 5000 and 6000 levels. Students pursuing the MA or MS may not receive graduate credit for any course below the 4000 level by taking the course under a 5000-level designation, such as special problems. Undergraduate courses, except those cross listed as graduate courses, are considered to be deficiencies and are not included in the graduate degree plan hours.
4. Before registering for the third long term/semester, students on a thesis or problems-in-lieu-of-thesis track should submit a formal research proposal to the major professor and advisory committee for approval. Students may not register for thesis (5950) or problems-in-lieu-of-thesis (5920/5930) until an approved research proposal is filed with the graduate advising secretary.
5. After the approved research proposal is filed, the student may register for thesis or problems-in-lieu-of-thesis hours. Once registered for thesis, but not problems-in-lieu-of-thesis, the student must maintain continuous enrollment in at least 3 hours of 5950 during each long term/semester until the thesis is submitted to the graduate school. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment may invalidate previous thesis credit or result in the student being dropped from the degree program, unless granted an official leave of absence by the dean of the Robert B. Toulouse School of Graduate Studies. If the student uses university facilities or faculty time or both during one or both summer terms/semesters, the student must also enroll for a minimum of 3 hours of 5950 during the summer.
6. Following approval by the major professor, a draft of the completed thesis or problems-in-lieu-of-thesis must be submitted to the committee at least two weeks prior to its defense and final examination.
7. A formal public seminar based on the thesis must be presented by the student to the department (students pursuing a problems-in-lieu-of-thesis present only to their committee) during the student’s final term/semester. The student must to schedule a room for and publicly advertise the seminar and defense through the graduate advising secretary for biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, or environmental science.
8. Directly following the seminar, the student defends the thesis in a final oral examination conducted by the major professor and advisory committee.
9. Students in the MA 36-hour biology course work option and the environmental science MS non-thesis option must take a final comprehensive oral examination given by the adviser/major professor and advisory committee during the final term/semester. Students in the MA problems-in-lieu-of-thesis option must take their final examination during presentation of the problems-in-lieu-of-thesis to the faculty adviser/major professor and advisory committee in the final term/semester. Students in the MS in biology: teaching in the life sciences must take a final oral comprehensive examination given by the Teaching in the Life Sciences Advisory Committee during the final term/semester.
10. The student is responsible for completing all requirements and meeting all deadlines for graduation within the time specified by the graduate school.
11. A final copy of the student’s thesis or problems-in-lieu-of-thesis must be submitted to the Department of Biological Sciences main office, either bound or on disk in .pdf format.
1. During the second long term/semester, the student and major professor select an advisory committee of four other faculty members, three of whom must be from the department faculty. The fourth may be from another UNT department, the Federation of North Texas Area Universities or another university if the member is granted adjunct status in the department. Additional members may be added to the committee as long as the majority of the committee are faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences. A copy of the form designating the committee should be filed with the graduate advising secretary before the student’s third long term/semester.
2. Before registering for the third long term/semester, the student, major professor and advisory committee prepare a formal degree plan of the courses to be taken by the student, including the language or tool subject requirement. The degree plan consists of 60 hours for students with an approved master’s degree, or 90 hours for students having only a bachelor’s degree, including 12 hours of dissertation. Only 6 hours of special problems (6900/6910) may be counted toward the degree. The number of individual research (6940) hours counted toward the degree is determined by the adviser and advisory committee. A copy of the degree plan, signed by all committee members, should be submitted to the graduate advising secretary before the student’s third long term/semester. All course work must be at the 5000 and 6000 levels. Doctoral students may not receive graduate credit for any undergraduate course by taking the course under a 5000- or 6000-level designation, such as special problems. Undergraduate courses, except those cross listed as graduate courses, are considered to be deficiencies and are not included in the graduate degree plan hours.
3. Students must satisfy the Robert B. Toulouse School of Graduate Studies’ language requirement or, in lieu of a foreign language, students may complete 6 hours of acceptable tool subject courses specified by the major professor and the advisory committee. Exceptions to this requirement may be made for students whose native language is not English.
4. Students who filed degree plans prior to 1996 were required to select, in consultation with the major professor, a UNT faculty member from outside the department to serve as a university committee member. Students filing a degree plan after 1996 are not required but may choose to have an external UNT committee member. It is the responsibility of the student and major professor to make all contacts with the external committee member.
5. Before registering for the fifth long term/semester, a formal research proposal should be submitted to the major professor and advisory committee for approval. Students should have an approved research proposal filed with the graduate advising secretary for programs in biology, biochemistry and molecular biology, or environmental science prior to registering for dissertation (6950).
6. Only following submission and approval of the research proposal may the student begin registering for dissertation hours. Once registered for dissertation, the student must maintain continuous enrollment in at least 3 hours of 6950 during each long term/semester until the dissertation is submitted to the graduate school. Failure to maintain continuous enrollment may invalidate previous 6950 credit or result in the student being dropped from the degree program, unless granted an official leave of absence by the dean of the Robert B. Toulouse School of Graduate Studies. If the student uses university facilities or faculty time or both during one or both summer terms/semesters, the student must also enroll for a minimum of 3 hours of 6950 during the summer.
7. Doctoral students may take written and oral candidacy examinations only after completion of all of their degree plan course requirements. Oral examinations may be taken only after the student has passed all written examinations. Both examinations must be completed at least nine months prior to graduation. The manner and form of the written and oral candidacy examinations are determined by the major professor, who is chair of the student’s advisory committee, and the committee members. The student must schedule a room for the examinations through the graduate advising secretary for biology, biochemistry, molecular biology or environmental science. The committee members should send all written examinations to the graduate advising secretary at least one day prior to the scheduled date of the examination. The examining professor sets guidelines for administration of written examinations.
8. Following approval by the major professor, a draft of the dissertation must be submitted to the committee at least two weeks prior to the defense of the dissertation and final examination.
9. A formal seminar based on the dissertation must be presented by the student during the student’s final term/semester. The candidate must schedule a room for and publicly advertise the seminar and defense through the graduate advising secretary for biology, biochemistry, molecular biology or environmental science.
10. Directly following the seminar, the candidate defends the dissertation in a final oral examination conducted by the major professor and advisory committee.
11. The candidate is responsible for completing all requirements and meeting all deadlines for graduation within the time specified by the graduate school.
12. A final copy of the dissertation must be submitted to the Department of Biological Sciences main office either bound or on disk in .pdf format.
Environmental Education, Science and Technology Building, 215
P.O. Box 310559
Denton, TX 76203-0559
Web site: www.ias.unt.edu
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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 four program areas: water resources, environmental chemistry, remote sensing and land use analysis, 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 in the applied sciences, 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.
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.
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 Systems (ERDAS) and ARC/INFO capabilities.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Science Research Building, 120
P.O. Box 305220
Denton, TX 76203-5220
Students interested in neurobiology, neuropharmacology, tissue-based biosensors or the mathematics of neural modeling may participate in an interdisciplinary research effort directed at investigating the behavior of neurons in networks and the application of network dynamics to the field of neurotoxicology, drug development, biosensors and small ensemble information processing.
The center specializes in in vitro preparations, especially monolayer cultures of mammalian (mouse) central nervous system cells that emphasize research on pattern generation. The center pioneered the development and application of photoetched multimicroelectrode arrays and special culture chambers that allow the simultaneous monitoring of electrical activity at 64 sites in a network. Sophisticated multichannel data analysis systems support these research efforts.
Department of Biological Sciences
The Laboratory of Forensic Anthropology and Human Identification provides field search and recovery technology and scientific laboratory analysis of human remains to medical examiners, coroners and law enforcement agencies within the state of Texas. The laboratory also provides accredited professional training in forensic science to death investigators. The main laboratory and x-ray facility are housed in the Department of Biological Sciences together with a teaching laboratory. Cooperating facilities include the Videocomputing Laboratory (Center for Instructional Services) and the Zooarchaeology Laboratory (Institute of Applied Sciences). Research activities focus on material properties of bone, isotopic dietary reconstruction and taphonomy.
Most of our graduate students are supported through teaching assistantships (TAs) and 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 $9,200 for entering master’s students to $11,400 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. Contact the Administrative Services Officer at (940) 565-3600 for further information about assistantships. Contact Student Financial Aid and Scholarships at (940) 565-2302 for student loan information.
All Courses of Instruction are located in one section at the back of this catalog.
The “Course and Subject Guide,” found in the Courses of Instruction section of this book, serves as a table of contents and provides quick access to subject areas and prefixes.
“University of North Texas,” “UNT,” “Discover the power of ideas” and their associated identity marks, as well as the eagle and talon graphic marks, are official trademarks of the University of North Texas; their use by others is legally restricted. If you have questions about using any of these marks, please contact the UNT Division of University Relations, Communications and Marketing at (940) 565-2108 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Page last updated:
December 22, 2005
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