Academic Programs Catalog

College of Natural Science

Graduate Study

The graduate programs of the College of Natural Science provide for advanced study with emphasis either in a single discipline or in the multidisciplinary areas of the biological sciences and the physical sciences. The graduate programs are designed to develop independent effort, encourage creative thinking, and educate the student in the fundamentals of basic research.

The programs of study lead to one of the following degrees:  Master of Arts, Master of Science, Master of Arts for Teachers, and Doctor of Philosophy. The specific degrees available and the programs leading to them for each discipline are given in the departmental or program listing.

Each student's program of study is arranged to suit individual needs, the only restriction being that the final program must conform to one of the general patterns approved by the faculty. The general university requirements for these degrees are given in the Graduate Education section of this catalog. A department or college may specify additional requirements. Most of the departments in the college require participation in teaching during the course of the graduate program.

Students who are enrolled in doctoral degree programs in departments and programs emphasizing environmental science and policy may elect the Graduate Specialization in Environmental Science and Policy. For additional information, refer to the Graduate Specialization in Environmental Science and Policy statement in the College of Social Science section of this catalog.

Students who are enrolled in master’s and doctoral degree programs in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the College of Natural Science, and the College of Veterinary Medicine may elect the Graduate Specialization in Fish and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Conservation Medicine. For additional information, refer to the statement on Graduate Specialization in Fish and Wildlife Disease Ecology and Conservation Medicine in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources section of this catalog.

Students who are enrolled in Master of Science degree programs in the departments of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics; Agricultural Engineering; Animal Science; Communication; Entomology; Epidemiology; Food Science and Human Nutrition; Horticulture; Large Animal Clinical Sciences; Microbiology and Molecular Genetics; Packaging; Pathobiology and Diagnostic Investigation; Pharmacology and Toxicology; Plant Pathology; and Sociology may elect a Specialization in Food Safety.  For additional information, refer to the statement on the specialization in the College of Veterinary Medicine section of this catalog.
 

 


BioMolecular Science Gateway - First Year

Students seeking a doctoral degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, cell and molecular biology, genetics, microbiology and molecular genetics, pharmacology and toxicology, or physiology should apply through the BioMolecular Science Gateway - First Year for admission to any of these Ph.D. programs. Students should select the Ph.D. program in which they have the greatest interest. During the first two semesters of enrollment, students  will have the opportunity to choose and complete at least four courses in appropriate disciplinary subjects. In the spring semester of the first year, they will have the opportunity to continue with the Ph.D. program initially selected or  change to one of the other five programs which aligns most closely with their educational goals. For additional information about the individual Ph.D. programs, refer to the statements on the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and Physiology in the College of Natural Science section of this catalog, statements on the programs in Cell and Molecular Biology and Genetics in the College of Natural Science section of this catalog, and statement on the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the College of  Osteopathic Medicine section of this catalog.


Master of Arts for Teachers

The Master of Arts for Teachers degree is designed to provide an enriching educational experience for teachers who are interested in a program of graduate study with less specialization in a science area than is common in most master's degree programs. The degree is for teachers who wish to take graduate work in a subject–matter area but who do not anticipate continuation of graduate study beyond the master's level. However, the student who holds the Master of Arts for Teachers degree may, upon the satisfactory completion of additional work as recommended by the appropriate academic unit, become eligible for admission to a doctoral program.

The degree may be earned with a major in chemistry, geological sciences, or mathematics.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the University as described in the Graduate Education section of this catalog, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

An applicant for admission to the Master of Arts for Teachers program must be a senior in or a graduate of an institution having substantially the same requirements for the bachelor's degree as Michigan State University, and possess, or be a candidate for, a teacher's certificate. Admission is recommended by the director of the program in which admission is sought, with approval of the Dean of the College of Natural Science.

Requirements for the Master of Arts for Teachers Degree

An appropriate course of study is planned with the candidate by an advisor from the academic unit in the College of Natural Science to which the candidate has been admitted. The minimum number of credits required for the degree is 30, in addition to any credits which must be taken to complete requirements for provisional teacher certification. A comprehensive written or oral examination may be required. A thesis is usually not required, but should one be required, a maximum of 10 semester credits may be allotted for it. The student must complete the requirements for provisional teacher certification before the degree may be granted.

Academic Standards

The minimum standard is a 3.00 grade–point average. Standards may be set higher than the minimum by the academic unit responsible for the degree program. The accumulation of grades below 3.0 in more than three courses of 3 or more credits each, or deferreds in more than three courses of 3 or more credits each at any given time, or a combination of the above in excess of four courses may remove the student from candidacy for the degree. A student who fails to meet the academic standards for any program may, on recommendation of the director, be required by the dean to withdraw at the end of the semester.

Residence

The minimum residence requirement is 8 credits on campus. Some programs may require more.

Time Limit

The time limit for the completion of the Master of Arts for Teachers degree is six years from the beginning of the first semester in which credit was earned toward the degree.

 


Master of Science and Master of Arts

The Master of Science is the conventional degree for all majors in the College of Natural Science. The Master of Arts may be conferred upon student request and College approval in the Department of Statistics and Probability.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the University as described in the Graduate Education section of this catalog, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

Admission to provisional status may be used to indicate incomplete records, incomplete interpretation of available records, a grade–point average below 3.00 but with other evidence of good capacity, or minor deficiencies in subject matter.

Students may be transferred from one classification to another at any time by the dean, normally upon the recommendation of the department.

The college as a whole does not require an entrance examination. However, all departments expect students to provide Graduate Record Examination General Test scores.

Requirements for the Master of Science or Master of Arts Degree

For Plan A, a maximum of 15 credits of master's thesis research may be permitted.

Academic Standards

The minimum standard is a 3.00 grade–point average. Standards may be set higher than the minimum by the academic unit responsible for the degree program. The accumulation of grades below 3.0 in more than three courses of 3 or more credits each, or deferreds in more than three courses of 3 or more credits each at any given time, or a combination of the above in excess of four courses automatically removes the student from candidacy for the degree. A student who fails to meet the academic standards for any program may, on recommendation of the director, be required by the dean to withdraw at the end of any semester.

Residence

The minimum residence requirement is 8 credits on campus. A program may require more.

Time Limit

The time limit for completion of the master's degree is six years from the beginning of the first semester in which credit was earned toward the degree.



Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is awarded for an original contribution to scientific knowledge and high attainment of scholarship in the mathematical or natural sciences.  This degree, with its emphasis on research in the frontiers of science, is the traditional terminal degree in the College of Natural Science.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university as described in the Graduate Education section of this catalog, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

Admission may be granted to a student who has a record of high scholastic attainment and demonstrated research potential acceptable to the department or program and to the college. A master's degree in an appropriate subject–matter field may be required, but the completion of a master's degree is not a guarantee of admission. Most programs require the applicant to submit Graduate Record Examination General Test scores; many also require the Graduate Record Examination Subject Test in the area of specialization.

Admission to provisional status may be used to indicate incomplete records, incomplete interpretation of available records, grade–point average below 3.00 but with additional evidence of good capacity, or minor deficiencies in subject matter.

Students may be transferred from one classification to another at any time by the dean, normally upon the recommendation of the department.

Academic Standards

The minimum standard is a 3.00 grade–point average. Standards may be set higher than the minimum by the academic unit responsible for the degree program. The accumulation of grades below 3.0 in more than three courses of 3 or more credits each, or deferreds in more than three courses of 3 or more credits each at any given time, or a combination of the above in excess of four courses automatically removes the student from candidacy for the degree.

A student who fails to meet the academic standards for any program may, on recommendation of the director, be required by the dean to withdraw at the end of any semester.

Residence

In some programs a student may be permitted to enter the doctoral program without taking a master's degree. In such cases 30 semester credits of approved work are considered the equivalent of the master's degree, and the minimum residence requirement for the combined program is three semesters, involving at least 4 credits of graduate work each semester.

 


Mathematics Education - Master of Science

The Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees in Mathematics Education are administered jointly by the College of Natural Science and the College of Education. The College of Natural Science is the primary administrative unit.

The Master of Science Degree in Mathematics Education is designed for persons who show promise of becoming researchers and leaders in state, national, and international mathematics education communities. The program prepares researchers and leaders to address critical questions about mathematics education. Students will have opportunities to develop analytical perspectives on current issues in mathematics education.

Students who may be interested in this program include the following: (1) graduates of undergraduate mathematics or mathematics education programs who are interested in research-based academic careers; (2) K-12 teachers who intend to return to the classroom with strong, research-oriented knowledge and experience in mathematics education; (3) graduates of undergraduate mathematics or mathematics education programs who are interested in the application of knowledge to curriculum or policy development, curriculum development, policy, assessment, etc., not necessarily with a focus on research; and (4) graduates of master’s or doctoral programs in mathematics who wish to become mathematics education faculty in a college or university mathematics or education department.
Students will have opportunities to acquire an understanding and experience in various aspects of the mathematics education field including investigation of mathematical learning and teaching, the development of instructional materials, participation in policy formation and analysis, development and use of assessment, and integration of technology into mathematics learning and teaching.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the university, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

The program admits students with a variety of backgrounds. Some students will have equally strong backgrounds in education and mathematics. Others may have more extensive prior preparation in one of these two disciplines. Candidates should have the equivalent of an undergraduate major in mathematics or satisfactory completion of course work in mathematics appropriate to the applicant’s program of study and approved by an Admissions Committee of the Mathematics Education Faculty Group, with the expectation of completing additional mathematics study if necessary. In such cases, the guidance committee will help the candidate design a program that includes appropriate course work in mathematics. Applicants with deficiencies in academic preparation may be admitted provisionally. These collateral courses will not count toward the degree. In addition, K-12 teaching experience is strongly encouraged, but not required. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is required of all applicants.

Students will be admitted to the program by an Admissions Committee composed of members of the Mathematics Education Faculty Group. All admitted students will be assigned an academic advisor.

Candidates will apply directly to the Mathematics Education Graduate Program, and must have three letters of recommendation sent to the Director of the Mathematics Education Graduate Program.

Requirements for the Master of Science Degree in Mathematics Education

The student must complete a minimum of 31 credits for the degree under Plan A (with thesis). The student’s program of study must be approved by the student’s academic advisor and must include:

               
1. Both of the following courses (6 credits):  
  MTHE 926 Proseminar in Mathematics Education I 3
  MTHE 927 Proseminar in Mathematics Education II 3
2. One of the following courses (3 credits):  
  CEP 913 Psychology and Pedagogy of Mathematics 3
  MTHE 997 Special Topics in Mathematics Education 3
  TE 950 Mathematical Ways of Knowing 3
3. One of the following courses (3 credits):  
  MTHE 840 Critical Content of School Mathematics: Numbers and Operations 3
  MTHE 841 Critical Content of School Mathematics: Algebra  3
  MTHE 842 Critical Content of School Mathematics: Geometry  3
4. The following course (3 credits):  
  MTHE 954 Design and Methods in Mathematics Education Research 3
5. One of the following courses (3 credits):  
  CEP 931 Introduction to Qualitative Methods in Educational Research  3
  CEP  932 Quantitative Methods in Educational Research I  3
  CEP  933 Quantitative Methods in Educational Research II  3
  CEP 934 Multivariate Data Analysis I 4
  CEP 935 Advanced Topics in Multivariate Data Analysis II 4
  STT 430 Introduction to Probability and Statistics 3
  STT 441 Probability and Statistics I: Probability 3
  STT 442 Probability and Statistics II: Statistics 3
  STT  801 Design of Experiments  3
  STT  825 Sample Surveys  3
  STT  843 Multivariate Analysis  3
  STT 861 Theory of Probability and Statistics I 3
  STT 862 Theory of Probability and Statistics II 3
6. One 3-credit course in general education foundations, policy, or learning and development, selected from a list of approved courses available from the student’s academic advisor .  
7. Six credits in the Department of Mathematics at a level appropriate to the student’s program of study and career goals at the 400-level or above, excluding Mathematics 443.  
8. At least 4 credits of MTHE 899 Master's Thesis Research and completion of a research thesis.
 
9. Successfully pass an oral defense of the research thesis.
 



Mathematics Education - Doctor of Philosophy

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in Mathematics Education is designed for persons who show promise of becoming leaders in local, state, national, and international mathematics education communities. The program prepares researchers and leaders to address critical issues in mathematics education by developing analytical perspectives for research, engaging in reflective teaching, and deepening mathematical knowledge.

Students who may be interested in the program include the following: (1) graduates of undergraduate mathematics or mathematics education programs with interests in research and academic careers; and (2) K-12 teachers, intending to return to the classroom or to leadership in schools and districts, who desire strong, research-oriented knowledge and experience in mathematics education.
Students will have opportunities to acquire an understanding and experience in various aspects of the mathematics education field including investigation of mathematical learning and teaching, the development of instructional materials, participation in policy formation, development and use of assessment, and the integration of technology into mathematics learning and teaching. Students will address issues of research ethics in the Proseminar in Mathematics Education.

A career at any level in mathematics education requires substantive knowledge of the core discipline of mathematics. Each student will plan with his or her guidance committee a set of courses in mathematics that, together with the student’s prior course work and teaching experiences, are appropriate for the student’s career plans.

In addition to meeting the requirements of the University and of the College of Natural Science, students must meet the requirements specified below.

Admission

The program admits students with a variety of backgrounds.  Some students will have equally strong backgrounds in education and mathematics. Others may have more extensive prior preparation in one of these two disciplines. Candidates should have the equivalent of an undergraduate major in mathematics or satisfactory completion of course work in mathematics appropriate to the applicant’s program of study and approved by the Admissions Committee, with the expectation of completing additional mathematics study if necessary.  In such cases, the guidance committee will help the candidate to design a program that includes appropriate course work in mathematics. Applicants with deficiencies in academic preparation may be admitted provisionally. These collateral courses will not count toward the degree. In addition, K-12 teaching experience is strongly encouraged, but not required.  The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is required of all applicants.

Admissions decisions will be made by an Admissions Committee composed of members of the Mathematics Education Faculty Group.  A student who shows promise for success at doctoral study but who needs additional background to be eligible for admission to the Ph.D. program will be provided with specific conditions to be met before admission.  Upon successful completion of these requirements, the student may reapply.

Requirements for the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Mathematics Education

The student must complete the requirements listed below. The student’s program of study must be approved by the student’s academic advisor and must include:

               
1. Both of the following courses (6 credits):  
  MTHE 926 Proseminar in Mathematics Education I 3
  MTHE 927 Proseminar in Mathematics Education II 3
2. Three courses from the following, with at least one course from each area (9 credits):
 
  Pedagogy Courses  
  CEP 913 Psychology and Pedagogy of Mathematics 3
  MTHE 997 Special Topics in Mathematics Education 3
  TE 950 Mathematical Ways of Knowing 3
  Content Courses
 
  MTHE 840 Critical Content of School Mathematics: Numbers and Operations 3
  MTHE 841 Critical Content of School Mathematics: Algebra  3
  MTHE 842 Critical Content of School Mathematics: Geometry 3
3. One of the following courses (2 or 3 credits):  
  MTHE 879 Teaching College Mathematics 3
  TE 994 Laboratory and Field Experience in Curriculum, Instruction, and Teacher Education
4. The following course (3 credits):  
  MTHE 954 Design and Methods in Mathematics Education Research 3
5. Two of the following courses (6 credits):  
  CEP 931 Introduction to Qualitative Methods in Educational Research 3
  CEP 933 Quantitative Methods in Educational Research II 3
  EAD 955B Field Research Methods in Educational Administration 3
  STT 801 Design of Experiments 3
  STT 825 Sample Surveys 3
  STT 843 Multivariate Analysis 3
6. One 3-credit course in general education foundations, policy, teacher education, or learning and development, selected from a list of approved courses available from the student’s guidance committee.  
7. Twelve credits in the Department of Mathematics or Department of Statistics and Probability at a level appropriate to the student’s program of study and career goals at the 400-level or above, excluding Mathematics 443.  
8. Nine credits in a cognate selected in consultation with the guidance committee. The cognate must be at least three courses appropriate to the student’s program of study.  
9. The following course (3 credits):
MTHE      995        Research Practicum

3
10.
Successful completion of comprehensive written examinations administered by program faculty.
 
11. Twenty-four credits of Mathematics Education 999 Doctoral Dissertation Research.  
12. Successful oral defense of the dissertation.