The graduate program in the department of biological sciences at Fordham offers courses and research opportunities leading to the master of science and doctor of philosophy degrees in biology. The goal of the program is to ensure a broad education in biology and specialized training for those pursuing careers in research or teaching. There are two areas of specialization: (1) cell biology and (2) ecology.
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Prerequisites for admission to the graduate program
The Master's Program
The PhD Program
Courses in the Biological Sciences
Five Year BS/MS Program
New York City Doctoral Consortium
GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES APPLICATION INFORMATION
PREREQUISITES FOR ADMISSION
(1) hold a bachelor's degree in the biological sciences or related major
(2) have a minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (out of 4.0)
(3) have an acceptable combined GRE score
It is strongly recommended that applicants take the Advanced Biology section of the GRE
Degree Requirements. For the MS the student must (i) complete 24 course credits and 6 research credits and submit a thesis or complete 30 credits without a thesis, including satisfactory completion of core courses, (ii) have a knowledge of either an appropriate modern language or a computer language, and (iii) pass a comprehensive examination after completion of core courses. Master's students are required to take the core courses in their area of specialization and one additional core course outside of their concentration. All graduate students are required to successfully complete two semesters of Biological Colloquium.
Core Courses. All students (MS and PhD) must successfully complete core courses in their specialties. If in cell biology: Cell Biochemistry, Biology of Eukaryotes, and Molecular Biology. If in ecology: Population Biology, Community Ecology, Ecosystem Ecology, and Ecological Methods.
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY PROGRAM
There are two paths leading to the doctoral degree in the department: a direct PhD track and a track that requires the MS degree. At the initial registration, the student should indicate his or her area of interest. Based on this, the student will be assigned aninterim faculty advisor by the chairperson. Before the end of the first year in the PhD program, the student should select a mentor. The mentor need not be the interim advisor, and the student can change to another area of interest. The mentor will organize a committee consisting of three or more faculty members to advise and supervise the student in the selection of course work, preparation for language and comprehensive examinations, research, and writing a dissertation (thesis). Details of these procedures can be found in the departmental Graduate Student Handbook.
(l) Direct PhD Program. For admission to this program, the applicant is required to have a bachelor of science degree or equivalent with a GPA of at least 3.3 (out of 4.0). For the PhD, the student must complete a course of study and research consisting of a minimum of 30 course credits (including core courses) and a maximum of 30 research credits.
(2) PhD Program Requiring MS Degree. For admission to this program, the applicant must have a MS degree or equivalent from an accredited university. For the PhD, the student must complete a course of study and research consisting of (i) a minimum of 18 course credits (including core courses or equivalent) and (ii) a maximum of 12 research credits. All graduate students are required to successfully complete two semesters of Biological Colloquium.
In addition to the above, the student in either track is required to have a reading knowledge of a foreign or computer language deemed appropriate by the departmental chair and to pass a comprehensive examination. The student must prepare a dissertation based on material acceptable for publication by a refereed journal in biology or a related field. The candidate must pass an oral examination on the subject of the research.
Other requirements for both MS and PhD degrees are detailed in the departmental Graduate Student Handbook.
GRADUATE COURSES IN THE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
GRADUATE CELL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY COURSES
BISC 6733—Eukaryotic Genetics (3)
Examination of the genetic basis of inheritance, development, and disease in eukaryotes, including the study of chromosome structure, DNA organization, recombination, mutation, repair, and epigenetic regulation.
BISC 6734—Cell Biology of Eukaryotes (4)
The focus will be on major principles of cell organization as related to cell function in multicellular organisms with emphasis on animal cells. Physiological and biomedical aspects of cell structure and function will be discussed. Experimental approaches employing diverse microscopic, biochemical, and biophysical techniques will also be examined. Prerequisite: BIGA 6791
BISC 6744—Virology (3)
Biological, chemical, and physical aspects of cell-virus interactions will be studied in general; specific details of such interactions will be considered with representative animal viruses.
BISC 6759—Physiology (3)
The principles of the homeostatic processes in mammals, focusing on the function of blood, the physiology of energy balance, thermoregulation, and the cardiovascular, renal, respiratory, reproductive, and gastrointestinal systems. Special emphasis is given to the cellular and biochemical basis of homeostasis, integrative physiology, and the role of the nervous and endocrine systems in coordinating physiological responses.
BISC 6791—Biochemistry (4)
The study of the structure, function, metabolism, and regulatory properties of the molecular constituents of cells.
BISC 6793—Neurobiology (3)
An introductory course in the study of the peripheral and central nervous systems of mammals.
BISC 6795—Developmental Biology (3)
An exploration of the principles of animal development with emphasis on molecular aspects.
BISC 6797—Immunology (3)
A detailed study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the immune response and the role of the immunity in the prevention of disease.
BISC 6798—Biological Membranes (3)
Principles of membrane biology with emphasis on the cell biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology dealing with the biogenesis of membranes and membrane proteins. The structure and function of membrane proteins.
BISC 7745—Molecular Biology (4)
Principles of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The study of nucleic acid structure and the mechanistic and regulatory aspects of DNA replication, recombination, transcription, RNA processing, and protein synthesis. Experimental approaches, including recombinant DNA methods, will be examined in detail. Prerequisite: BIGA 6734.
BISC 7760—Genomics and Human Molecular Genetics (3)
An advanced course to analyze complex genomes, and to discuss strategies employed for mapping and identification of genes involved in simple Mendelian traits. The course will address the advances that led to sequencing of the human genome and other genomes, and place it in the context of studying the molecular basis of inherited disorders.
BISC 7801—Methods in Cell and Molecular Biology (1)
Study of methodologies employed in the field of cell and molecular biology.
BISC 7804—Techniques in Molecular Biology (4)
The study and practice of methodologies employed in the analysis of proteins, RNA and DNA. Prerequisite: BIGA 7801.
GRADUATE ECOLOGY COURSES
BISC 6503—Tropical Biodiversity (4)
An introduction to tropical biology with special emphasis on the nature and importance of high species diversity in the tropics. Includes field trip to a biological station in the Caribbean. The required extra cost of this trip will be announced prior to registration.
BISC 6505—Ornithology (3)
The study of bird life: evolution, classification, anatomy, physiology, behavior, ecology and identification of the taxonomic class Aves.
BISC 6513—Limnology (4)
A study of biological, physical, and chemical characteristics of lakes and streams. Emphasis is on an ecosystem approach. Field trips will be taken to local lakes, ponds, wetlands, rivers, and creeks. Lab fee: $45.
BISC 6514—Aquatic Ecology & Water Management (3)
An introduction to the communities and processes characterizing global aquatic ecosystems, including the open ocean, coastal marine systems, tidal marshes, coral reefs, mangroves, deep thermal communities, estuaries, large rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. Topics stress chemical and biological differences, similarities, and linkages among various aquatic communities. An applied emphasis will include conservation issues, sources of and solutions to water pollution, methods of biological assessment, watershed management, sewage treatment, and impacts of agriculture, mining, and urbanization.
BISC 6525—Introductory Biostatistics (3)
Principles and applications of statistical methods for biologists with an emphasis on the creation of sampling design and hypothesis testing.
BISC 6531—Population Biology (3)
Principles of evolution and ecology, including mechanisms of evolution, species, speciation, gene flow, adaptation, behavioral ecology, life histories, population growth, and intraspecific interactions.
BISC 6532—Community Ecology (3)
Theory of community and interspecific interactions, including competition, predation, parasitism, mutualism, species diversity, niche theory, and community structure. Prerequisite: BIGA 6531.
BISC 6533—Ecosystem Ecology (3)
Principles of ecosystem science, including patterns of productivity, energy and matter flow in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems, island biogeography, landscape ecology, effects of human disturbance, global change, biodiversity, and conservation. Prerequisite: BIGA 6532.
BISC 6535—Ecological Methods (2)
Methods and principles of ecological research, combining field and laboratory approaches, statistical and a graphical data analysis, as well as modeling. Exercises emphasize techniques used to estimate the abundance and dispersion of organisms, describe habitat variables, estimate biomass and production, characterize stoichiometric properties, and quantify energy fluxes. Assignments include research reports, data analysis and peer-review of research papers. All assignments emphasize benefits and limitations of specific techniques as well as interpretation of results in a theoretical context.
BISC 6538—Biogeography (3)
Study of the pattern and process in plan and animal distribution.
BISC 6561—Mammalogy (3)
Mammalian evolution, functional morphology, and ecology. Lectures, demonstrations, and field trips introduce the distinguishing features of the major taxonomic groups and their roles in the environment. Students gain practical experience with the collections and facilities of the American Museum of Natural History and the NYZS-Wildlife Conservation Society.
BISC 6589—Evolutionary Ecology (3)
The mechanisms of evolution and application of evolutionary theory to ecological questions. Topics include: sources of variation in nature; natural selection; genetic drift; gene flow; maintenance of genetic variation; species concepts; speciation; adaptation; coevolution; life history evolution; maternal effects; evolution of sex and sex ratios; sexual selection; evolutionary game theory.
BISC 6595—Environmental Management (3)
An investigation of key issues in the current environmental crisis. Lectures and discussions will focus on actual conservation problems, including management of endangered species, public lands, biodiversity, renewable resources, and energy.
BISC 6597—Conservation Biology (3)
Theory and practice of conservation biology. Topics will include maintenance of species diversity, design of reserves, captive management, genetic considerations, and factors affecting extinction rates.
BISC 6598—Primate Behavior and Ecology (3)
A survey of the behavior and ecology of non-human primates. Topics will include taxonomic differences, ecological constraints on social structure (e.g., predation pressure, food availability), plant/folivore/frugivore interactions, dispersal patterns, reproductive strategies, intraspecific variability in social systems, and conservation problems.
BISC 6599—Paleobiology (3)
An examination of important aspects of evolution, extinction, and environmental change, as they relate to ecology and conservation biology. Emphasis will be on multidisciplinary perspectives on such topics as methods for studying biotic change; processes and chronology of extinction; and roles of human activities and climatic change in past, present, and future ecosystems.
BISC 7526—Multivariate Statistics (3)
This course emphasizes multivariate techniques for analysis of biological data includingordination and classification procedures.
BISC 7528—Physiological Ecology (3)
A detailed examination of the physiological and biochemical adaptations of animals and their environments. Discussions include the ecological aspects of energy metabolism, nutrition, thermal biology, and water balance. The biology of both vertebrate and invertebrate animals are covered.
BISC 7552—Insect Ecology (3)
Foundations of insect ecology, including; plant-herbivore and predatory-prey interactions, life tables, insect reproductive strategies, population dynamics, competition and community structure, behavioral ecology and the evolution of social behaviors.
BISC 7564—Ecology of Urban and Suburban Landscapes (3)
Study of direct and indirect effects of human habitation on organisms and suburbs. Examination of impacts of urban development on exchanges of species, matter and energy across fragmented, heterogeneous landscapes and responses of natural environments. Effects of invasive exotic species, atmospheric pollutants and edges on small habitat patches will be included.
BISC 7565—Plant Ecology (3)
An analysis of the inherent properties of, abiotic and biotic factors regulating, plant physiology; plant population dynamics, plant community structure and plant contributions to ecosystem functions.
BISC 7566—Behavioral Ecology (3)
The ecological aspects of animal behavior adaptations. The ecology of animal foraging, food hoarding, mating systems, life history, predator/prey relationships, and social systems. The behavior of animals ranging from insects to mammals will be examined.
BISC 7595—Aquatic Botany (3)
Introduction to the nature and diversity of aquatic plants. These include the bacteria, fungi, algae, bryophytes, and vascular plants found in marine and freshwater environments. Emphasis on ecological, physiological, and chemical processes.
BISC 8530—Seminar in Ecology and Evolution I (1)
Discussion of current topics in ecology and evolution.
BISC 8531—Seminar in Ecology and Evolution II(1)
Discussion ofcurrent topics in ecology and evolution.
ADDITIONAL GRADUATE COURSES
BISC 6665—Research for MS (3)
BISC 6666—Research for MS (3)
BISC 8801—Biological Colloquium (0)
BISC 8802—BiologicalColloquium (0)
Selected lectures by visiting speakers, focusing on current research topics in cellular biology and ecology.
BISC 8887—Research for the PhD (3)
BISC 8888—Research for the PhD (3)
BISC 8999—Research Tutorial (1-4)
Students have the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience in specific research areas of interest. The number of credits per tutorial varies from one to four. No more than four credits in tutorials are allowed per degree. Permission from the instructor, chairperson, and dean required.
BISC 8538—Seminar in Aquatic Ecology
BISC 8540—Seminar in Entomology
BISC 8710—Seminar in Genetics
FIVE YEAR BS/MS PROGRAM IN BIOLOGY
The accelerated BS/MS program in Biology allows selected Biology majors to obtain both their BS degree and MS degree in five years. (BS after four years and MS after five years). The accelerated BS/MS Biology Program is offered to Fordham College students with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher. Interested students must apply by the time they register for the fall semester of their senior year but are encouraged to apply earlier. Candidates will begin their graduate studies in their senior year and will carry elective credits in the summer between their fourth and fifth years. For the MS, the student must complete 30 credits, including satisfactory completion of core courses, have knowledge of either an appropriate modern language or a computer language, and pass a comprehensive examination after completion of core courses. Master’s students are required to take the core courses in their area of specialization and one additional core course outside of their concentration. All graduate students are required to successfully complete two semesters of Biology Colloquium.
Core courses: For Cell/Molecular Biology: Biochemistry, Cell Biology of Eukaryotes, and Molecular Biology. For Ecology: Population Biology, Community Ecology, Ecosystem Ecology, and Ecological Methods.
Cell/Molecular Biology BS/MS program: In the Fall of their senior year, the student will take BISC 6791 Biochemistry & BISC 7801 Methods in Cell/Molecular Biology. In the Spring of their senior year, the student will take BISC 6734 Cell Biology of Eukaryotes & BISC 7804 Techniques in Cell/Molecular Biology.
Ecology BS/MS program: In the Fall of their senior year, the student will take BISC 6531 Population Biology & BISC 7801 Methods in Cell/Molecular Biology. In the Spring of their senior year, the student will take BISC 6532 Community Ecology plus an elective.
THE NEW YORK CITY DOCTORAL CONSORTIUM
Universities in New York City and Westchester County-Fordham University, City University of New York, Columbia University, New York University, N.Y. Medical College and the New School for Social Research - are associated in a graduate-level consortium in the arts and sciences. Students in approved doctoral programs at any of these institutions have the opportunity to select from courses offered at the other participating institutions.
GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES INFORMATION
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Contact: Dr. James D. Lewis, Chair
Phone: 914-273-3078, ext. 24