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Master of Science - Columbus State University

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Master of Science

Program Description

The M.S. in Natural Sciences program develops a broad based scientific background in one of four tracks: Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Geosciences. The program also develops the research skills necessary to design and conduct original research.  

The opportunity to take graduate courses in a specific track or combine graduate courses from each of the tracks allows the student to design a graduate course of study to suit his or her own specific interests and goals. The two-year curriculum allows students to focus on required courses and complete research in a timely manner. Graduate assistantship employment opportunities provide tuition and competitive stipends.  

The Natural Sciences Program has...
• Broadly trained faculty with diverse areas of expertise with Southeastern, National and International research programs.
• Well-equipped, modern laboratories as well as access to protected natural areas.
• A wide variety of study abroad courses that allow students to conduct research projects abroad.

The Department of Earth and Space Sciences offers a Master's degree in Natural Sciences with a focus on the Geosciences (MNSgeo).  Students accepted to the MNSgeo program complete 36 hours of coursework culminating in a written thesis, with 12 of the 36 course hours devoted to thesis research.  Students in the MNSgeo program work with ESS faculty to develop a thesis research project as a requirement for graduation. ESS faculty are involved in a wide variety of research areas encompassing paleontology and paleoenvironments, sedimentology and stratigraphy, structural geology and tectonics, and interactions between the physical and human worlds

Career Opportunities

Graduates of the program will be able to pursue a broad range of careers in the field of Natural Sciences. Common areas of employment include public agencies, non-profit organizations, government service, and private business. Students will also be prepared to move into a doctoral level degree program

Admission Requirements

In addition to the Columbus State University Graduate School Admissions requirements, all interested applicants must submit the following materials to be considered for admission for all tracks in the Natural Sciences program.
• Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university, demonstrated excellent preparation in the Biological, Chemical, Environmental and/or Geological Sciences or permission of the program director.
• Undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
• A minimum combined score of 290 on the verbal and quantitative portions of the Graduate Record Exam. The GRE must have been taken in the last five years.
• A one page statement of experience and interests.
• Two letters of reference. References should come from persons familiar with the applicant's academic or professional experience

Learning Outcomes

Graduates will be able to:
• Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of key concepts, principles, theories, and methods with in the core discipline of the Natural Sciences: biology, chemistry, environmental science, and geosciences.
• Employ critical and analytical thinking in application of the scientific method, including formulating and testing hypotheses, designing experiments, analyzing data, interpreting results, and drawing conclusions.
• Report orally and in writing research results and conclusions according to accepted standards of the chosen area of core study

Additional Program Requirements

The maximum course load for a graduate student in a given semester is 12 semester hours. The maximum course load for a student holding a graduate assistantship is 10 semester hours.  Students in the Geosciences track must complete a thesis as part of their degree requirements

Program of Study

Area 1 Program Core Required Hours: 3
ENGL 5149 Grant Writing

Area 2 Program Requirements
Required Hours: 21
Students must complete the following courses, unless an equivalent course was taken at the undergraduate level.(6-17)
ENVS 6235 Introduction to Geographic Information and Global Positioning Systems
GEOL 5165 Hydrology
GEOL 5255 Environmental Geology
GEOL 6205 Current Research in the Geosciences
GEOL 6705 Graduate Seminar (may be repeated for credit)

Electives (4-15 hours):
Students will complete up to 15 hours from the following. Equivalent courses taken at the undergraduate level may not be repeated for credit.
ATSC 5116 Meteorology
ATSC 5117 Climate and Global Change
ENVS 6105 Environmental Issues
ENVS 6157 The Geology of Georgia
ENVS 6206 Water Resources Management
ENVS 7115 Environmental Chemistry
ENVS 7145 Land and Use and Waste Management 
GEOL 5115 Geochemistry
GEOL 5135 Oceanography
GEOL 5175 Physical Anthropology and Archeology
GEOL 5215 Geomorphology
GEOL 5275 Vertebrate Paleontology
GEOL 5555 Selected Topics in Geology
GEOL 6105 Tectonics and Geophysics
GEOL 6705 Graduate Seminar (2) (maximum of 6 hours may be applied to Area 2)
GEOL 7565 Selected Topics in Environmental Geology
POLS 6106 Environmental Issues and Public Policy

Students must pass the following course, which should be taken after completion of at least 18 hours of graduate level coursework.
GEOL 6000 Comprehensive Exam(0)

Area 3 Program Requirements

Thesis Only Required Hours: 12
GEOL 6005 Thesis Defense
GEOL 6905 Thesis Research

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