College of Sciences

Graduate Requirements

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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. Master's students are required to complete a minimum of 30 credit hours. Eighteen of these hours must be at the 700 level. All students are expected to take BIO 701 (Ethics in Scientific Research) during their first year in residence. All students must also take at least three credits of BIO 796 (Graduate Seminar). Up to six credits of BIO 797 (Thesis) may be counted towards the 30 credit hour minimum. All students are required to have the equivalent of three credits of upper-division undergraduate course work in statistics.
  2. Diagnostic interviews are held for all new students in the week prior to the start of the fall semester. The Graduate Operations Committee meets with each student to review the courses they have taken and to determine if there are any courses that should be included in the student's degree program. Students are expected to have basic knowledge in the following three areas: Genetics or cell biology; physiology; and ecology, evolution, or systematics.
  3. An incoming master's student will be appointed an interim adviser. The adviser will assist with designing a tentative curriculum, engage in discussions about possible research directions, assist with choosing a thesis adviser, and introduce the student to the personnel and resources available in the department of biological sciences. A thesis adviser should be chosen by the second semester, and the Master's Advisory/Examination Committee should be appointed prior to the end of the second semester. The Master's Advisory Committee will normally consist of the thesis adviser (committee chair), two additional members generally from the graduate faculty of the department of biological sciences, and a graduate faculty representative appointed by the Graduate College. An approved graduate degree program should be filed prior to the start of the third semester after admission. Students may request a maximum of 15 graduate credits taken prior to admission to be included in the graduate degree program, providing those credits were not used to fulfill undergraduate requirements.
  4. A student will be placed on academic probation if a minimum 3.00 GPA is not maintained in all work taken in the degree program. A grade of C or less in two graduate-level classes will cause a student to be placed on academic probation and will elicit a critical review of the student's degree program by the Graduate Operations Committee.
  5. Upon completion of required course work and the master's thesis, the student must pass a final examination as provided for by Graduate College regulations. The exam will include a defense of the thesis and demonstration of a comprehensive understanding of biology. The student will present a departmental seminar that summarizes his or her thesis research.

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. Doctoral students are required to complete a minimum of 60 credit hours beyond the bachelor's degree. Course selection will be based on the student's academic record, the results of a diagnostic interview, and individual goals. For students entering the doctoral program with a master's degree, at least 30 credit hours must be completed at UNLV. Of the credits required for completion of the program, at least 36 (18 for a student with an M.S. degree) must be in courses at the 700 level. All students are expected to take BIO 701 (Ethics in Scientific Research) during their first year in residency. All students must take at least six credits of BIO 796 (Graduate Seminar; the course may be repeated for a maximum of 10 credits). Up to 18 credits of BIO 799 (Dissertation) may be counted toward the 60 credit hour minimum graduation requirement.
  2. Diagnostic interviews are held for all new students in the week prior to the start of classes. The Graduate Operations Committee meets with each student to review the courses taken and to determine if there are any basic courses that should be included in the student's degree program. Students are expected to have basic knowledge in the following five areas: genetics, cell biology, physiology, ecology, and evolution/systematics.
  3. An incoming Ph.D. student will be appointed an interim adviser. The interim adviser will assist with designing a tentative curriculum, engage in discussions about possible research directions, assist with choosing a dissertation adviser, and introduce the student to the personnel and resources available in the department of biological sciences. A dissertation adviser should be chosen by the end of the second semester, and the Doctoral Advisory/Examination Committee should be appointed prior to the beginning of the third semester. The Doctoral Advisory Committee will normally consist of the dissertation adviser (committee chair), two additional members generally from the graduate faculty of the department of biological sciences, one outside committee member, and a graduate faculty representative appointed by the Graduate College. The outside committee member shall have expertise in the student's field of research, and an affiliation outside the university and community college system of Nevada. An approved graduate degree program should be filed prior to the start of the third semester after admission. Students may request a maximum of 15 graduate credits taken prior to admission to be included in the graduate degree program, providing those credits were not used to fulfill undergraduate requirements. A maximum of 30 credits taken in another degree program (e.g., M.S.) may be requested for inclusion in the doctoral degree with approval.
  4. A student will be placed on academic probation if a minimum 3.00 GPA is not maintained in all work taken in the degree program. A grade of C or less in two graduate-level classes will cause a student to be placed on academic probation and will elicit a critical review of the student's degree program by the Graduate Operations Committee.
  5. The student will take the qualifying or comprehensive examination by the end of the third year (second year for students entering with a master's degree) after matriculation in the program. This exam will assess the familiarity of the student with his or her major field of study as designated by the Doctoral Advising Committee. The examination will consist of both written and oral components, its content having been determined by the members of the Doctoral Advising Committee. Students who fail to pass the qualifying examination on the first attempt must complete a second examination (again as specified by the Doctoral Advising Committee) within the next calendar year. Students who entered the program with a bachelor's degree and who fail the second examination may be allowed to complete a Master of Science degree with the consent of the Graduate Operations Committee. Students who fail the examinations a second time and who entered the doctoral program with a Master of Science or other graduate degree will be separated from the program except under extraordinary circumstances. A student who has successfully passed the qualifying examinations and completed the formal course work, exclusive of BIO 799 (Dissertation), will be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.
  6. The Ph.D. candidate, having submitted to the Doctoral Advising Committee a dissertation draft (previously found acceptable by the dissertation adviser), will orally defend the dissertation before said committee and any other graduate faculty members who wish to attend. The candidate will also present a departmental seminar summarizing his or her dissertation research.

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.
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