Students must satisfy all requirements for master's degrees expressed in the Academic Policies section of the University Catalog.
The curriculum for the Neuroscience Concentration in the M.S. Biology Program consists of at least 30 credits: An advisory committee (consisting of three relevant graduate faculty) and the student work together to develop a program of study that best fits the student’s background and interests. The student must submit a program of study to the program director for approval within the first 12 credits of graduate work and must complete at least 30 graduate credits.
Students have the option to complete a thesis (3 to 6 credits of BIOL 799) or a research project (1 to 3 credits of BIOL 798). According to Mason graduate policies, the same quality of work is expected of students regardless of their chosen option; that is, the MS thesis option or the MS project option. In general, the MS thesis is most appropriate for students planning or considering a research career. The MS project is most appropriate for students who have scheduling commitments, such as a full-time job, that may preclude performing a complete series of laboratory experiments.
The requirements differ primarily at the conclusion of the project, when students pursuing the project option must successfully complete written and oral comprehensive exams. Students pursuing the thesis option must write a formal thesis that meets the requirements of the graduate school, as well as defending their thesis and presenting their results in a public seminar.
The proposed MS in Biology, Neuroscience concentration program requires 30 credits of graduate coursework. Credits are distributed as follows, with courses already existing designated by an asterisk:
TOTAL: 30 credits
Course descriptions are provided in the appendix, along with a sample schedule. There are no new classroom courses required for the proposed program. Moreover, this proposed curriculum includes the mandatory minima of 12 hours of unique coursework for a given concentration.
**Project: for students not intending bench-level research upon graduation, a non-laboratory project of similar scope to a thesis is an option. This could include work such as a very extensive critical literature review, developing a draft workscope for a grant funding program for a Federal agency, etc.