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Graduate Requirements

Select the program you are interested in and learn about admission and degree requirements.

Biological Sciences

Specific degree requirements, including those listed below, are described in detail in the Biology Graduate Student Handbook (available from the graduate coordinator, biological sciences).

  1. Complete a minimum of 30 credit hours beyond the undergraduate degree. At least 18 of these hours must be completed at the 700-level.
  2. Students may request a maximum of 15 graduate credits taken at UNLV prior to admission into SoLS's Graduate Program to be counted towards the 30 credit hour minimum graduation requirement, provided that those credits were not used to fulfill undergraduate requirements and that a minimum grade of "B" (3.00) was earned in each course.
  3. At least 50 percent of the total credits required to complete the Master's degree must be earned at UNLV after admission into the Graduate Program.
  4. Students should register for at least nine (9) credits each semester if they are receiving financial support from SoLS; otherwise they must register for at least six (6) credits each semester. Students working on their thesis must register for at least three (3) credits each semester (excluding summer) until the Master's Thesis is completed and given final approval.
  5. Students must confer with their Thesis Advisor prior to enrollment in their first semester. The Advisor will assist with designing an initial graduate degree program (i.e., an outline of the courses that the student will complete for the degree), engage in discussions about possible research directions, and introduce the student to the personnel and resources of the School of Life Sciences.
  6. Students must form an Advisory Committee before the department's posted deadline. This Committee will be composed by the Thesis Advisor (who will serve as the Committee Chair), two members of SoLS's Graduate Faculty, and a Graduate Faculty Representative from UNLV (but outside of SoLS). An additional committee member may be added at the student and department's discretion. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
  7. Students must meet with their Advisory Committee at least once every year (i.e., from January to October), and a written report of this meeting must be submitted to SoLS's Graduate Operations Committee by November 1.
  8. The Advisory Committee will review the student's past academic background and, taking into consideration the student's research interests, determine his/her definitive graduate degree program.
  9. Students must comply with the deadlines indicated in SoLS's Graduate Student Handbook for submitting required paperwork to the Graduate College.
  10. A student will be placed on academic probation if a minimum 3.00 grade point average is not maintained in all work taken as part of the graduate degree program. A grade of "C+" or less in two graduate-level classes will cause a student to be placed on academic probation.
  11. The M.S. candidate will present a seminar on his/her thesis work that is open to all interested parties, including the general public. This public seminar will be widely advertised at least seven (7) days before it takes place, and will be followed by an oral defense of the thesis research before the Advisory Committee and any other Graduate Faculty member who wishes to attend.
  12. Students are expected to complete all the requirements for the Master's degree in 2-3 years.

Doctor of Philosophy

Specific degree requirements, including those listed below, are described in detail in the Biology Graduate Student Handbook (available from the graduate coordinator, biological sciences).

  1. Complete a minimum of 60 credit hours beyond the undergraduate degree. At least 24 of these hours (excluding dissertation) must be completed at the 700-level.
  2. Dissertation credits may be repeated for credit as needed, but only 12 credits may be counted towards the 60 credit hour minimum graduation requirement.
  3. Students must complete the specific didactic course work required. See SoLS's Graduate Student Handbook for specific requirements.
  4. Students may request a maximum of 15 graduate credits taken at UNLV prior to admission into SoLS's Graduate Program to be counted towards the 30 credit hour minimum graduation requirement, provided that those credits were not used to fulfill undergraduate requirements and that a minimum grade of "B" (3.00) was earned in each course.
  5. Students should register for at least 9 credits each semester if they are receiving financial support from the School; otherwise they must register for at least 6 credits each semester. Students working on their dissertation must register for at least 3 credits each semester (excluding summer) until the Dissertation is completed and given final approval.
  6. Students must confer with their Dissertation Advisor prior to enrollment in their first semester. The Advisor will assist with designing an initial graduate degree program (i.e., an outline of the courses that the student will complete for the degree), engage in discussions about possible research directions, and introduce the student to the personnel and resources of the School of Life Sciences.
  7. The student must form an Advisory Committee before the department's posted deadline. This Committee will be composed by the Dissertation Advisor (who will serve as the Committee Chair), two members of SoLS's Graduate Faculty, and a Graduate Faculty Representative from UNLV (outside of SoLS). Students are encouraged to include a fifth Committee member who is an expert on the student's field of research. This fifth Committee member can have an academic affiliation outside of UNLV. See SoLS's Graduate Student Handbook for specific requirements. Please see Graduate College policy for committee appointment guidelines.
  8. Students must meet with their Advisory Committee at least once every year (i.e., from January to October), and a written report of this meeting must be submitted to SoLS's Graduate Operations Committee by November 1.
  9. The Advisory Committee will review the student's past academic background and, taking into consideration the student's research interests, determine his/her definitive graduate degree program.
  10. Students must comply with the deadlines indicated in SoLS's Graduate Student Handbook for submitting required paperwork to the Graduate College.
  11. Students must take the comprehensive examination before the beginning of their sixth semester of residency in the Graduate Program.
    1. The exam must be held at least three (3) weeks before the last day of instruction of any given term.
    2. The exam will include both a written and an oral component, and will assess whether the student has reached the appropriate level of knowledge and analytical skills necessary for his/her field of study.
    3. The examination is developed or administered by the Doctoral Advisory Committee or an ad hoc Committee composed of Graduate Faculty within the Section to which the student belongs.
    4. See SoLS's Graduate Student Handbook for information on the possible outcomes of the exam. Students who fail to pass the exam within the specified timeline will be placed on academic probation and will be allowed one retake of the exam.
    5. Failure to pass the retake or meet the requirements of academic probation will result in separation.
  12. Doctoral students are advanced to candidacy after passing their comprehensive examination. Specific curricular requirements for each SoLS Section are described in detail in SoLS's Graduate Student Handbook.
  13. Each doctoral student should teach for a minimum of two semesters in the undergraduate curriculum of the School of Life Sciences. During that time the student will receive a Graduate Teaching Assistantship.
  14. A student will be placed on academic probation if a minimum 3.00 grade point average is not maintained in all work taken as part of the graduate degree program. A grade of "C+" or less in two graduate-level classes will cause a student to be placed on academic probation. Failure to meet the requirements of academic probation will result in separation.
  15. The Ph.D. candidate will present a seminar on his/her dissertation work that is open to all interested parties, including the general public. This public seminar will be widely advertised at least seven (7) days before it takes place, and will be followed by an oral defense of the dissertation research before the Advisory Committee and any other Graduate Faculty member who wishes to attend.

Additional Requirements:

  • Statistics: Each doctoral student will complete at least one year (a minimum of six credits) of upper-division undergraduate or graduate course work in statistics appropriate to the natural sciences.
  • Instructional: Each doctoral student will spend at least the equivalent of one academic year as a teaching assistant in the undergraduate curriculum.
  • Other: Requirements for additional skills in foreign languages, computer programming, advanced mathematics, or advanced statistics will be determined by each student's Doctoral Advising Committee.
  • The graduate college requires two years of full-time residency on the campuses of the university and community college system of Nevada. At least one continuous academic year (and usually the final year) of residence must be at the UNLV.

Chemistry

Admission Requirements:

  • An undergraduate degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, or a related discipline.
  • A cumulative GPA of 2.75, or of 3.00 for the last two years of undergraduate work.
  • A Graduate College application accompanied by official transcripts of all college-level work.
  • Two letters of recommendation from individuals able to assess the applicant's potential as a graduate student should be sent directly to the department along with an additional set of transcripts.
  • The GRE General Aptitude Test results received by the Graduate College prior to regular admission.

Degree Requirements:

  1. A minimum of 30 graduate credits is required, of which 10-13 must be in CHE 795 and CHE 798 and two in CHE 791. At least 12 of the remaining credits must be in courses at the 700-level, excluding those course numbers listed above. GPA of at least 3.00 must be achieved in all course work required for the degree. No grade lower than C is acceptable, and only one grade below B- is permitted.
  2. Research and course work specializations are available in analytical chemistry, biochemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry. The individual student's program of course work must be selected in consultation with and approved by the student's committee, and may include courses from selected disciplines other than chemistry, such as biology, physics, civil and environmental engineering, or water resources management.
  3. Students are expected to select a research adviser by the end of their first semester.
  4. Each student is required to present a departmental seminar on the student's research prior to graduation. This requirement is in addition to the two credits in CHE 791. Students are expected to attend weekly departmental seminars.
  5. Each student is required to meet at least once per semester with the student's examination committee. At the meeting in the semester prior to the expected term of graduation, the student will be asked to make a detailed presentation on research progress. The committee will then make recommendations to be addressed by the student during the remainder of the student's research program, in writing the thesis, and in the final examination. The committee may request another meeting prior to the final exam if deemed necessary. It is expected that each student will be a teaching assistant for a minimum of two courses prior to graduation. It is also expected that each student publish at least one research-based manuscript in a peer-reviewed journal.
    • Individuals with apparent deficiencies in their undergraduate background may be required to enroll in selected courses in addition to those listed below to satisfy the master's degree requirements.

Geoscience

View geoscience requirements from the department of geoscience website.

Mathematical Sciences

The M.S. program in mathematical sciences has four areas of concentration: pure mathematics, applied mathematics, applied statistics, and teaching mathematics.

Admission Requirements:

  • Admission to the master's program in mathematical sciences requires, in addition to the Graduate College admission requirements, that a student has completed 18 upper-division credits in the mathematical sciences.
  • The Ph.D. program in mathematical sciences has four areas of concentration: applied mathematics, computational mathematics, pure mathematics, and statistics.
  • In addition to departmental requirements, applicants must satisfy the admission requirements of the Graduate College.
  • Requirements for admission to the doctoral program requires applicants to have a minimum GPA of 3.00 for all undergraduate work or a minimum 3.25 GPA for the last two years of undergraduate work.
  • Applicants seeking direct admission to the doctoral program without a previously earned M.S. degree must have a minimum GPA of 3.00 for all undergraduate work or an overall 3.25 GPA for the last two years of mathematics undergraduate work.
  • Applicants with a master's degree must have an overall 3.00 GPA in their master's program and at least 15 credit hours of graduate-level course work in mathematical sciences with a grade of B or better.
  • Applicants must also submit official scores from the GRE General Test; successful applicants to the program are expected to have GRE scores among the upper 50th percentile of examinees taking the general GRE test.

Physics

Admission Requirements:

  • Prospective graduate students must satisfy the graduate admission requirements for the relevant degree.
  • Application forms and fees, official transcripts, test results, and assistantship applications are all submitted directly to the Graduate College (address below).
  • Informal copies of the application, transcripts, test results, three letters of recommendation, and a cover letter are to be submitted directly to the department office.
  • Both the General and Advanced Graduate Record Examination (GRE) are required.
  • International students should check with the Graduate College for current deadlines and procedures (p. 21 - 25). International students are required by the Graduate College to complete the TOEFL exam with a score of 550 or higher, or to show comparable evidence of competence in English.

Water Resources Management Program

Admission Requirements:

Applicants to the program must hold a B.S. or B.A. degree in the physical, natural or social sciences, business, management, or a related field. Admission to the program is contingent upon:

  • A minimum overall undergraduate grade point average of 3.00.
  • Satisfactory scores on the GRE at the general level. This requirement may be waived in the case of candidates with exceptional professional experience.
  • Three letters of recommendation from individuals competent to comment on the applicant's promise as a graduate student.
  • A letter of application stating the student's interests and goals.
  • Submission of an application to the Graduate College, as well as official transcripts of all college-level course work.