Natural Sciences — M.S.
Leonard R. Brand
The Natural Sciences Program leads to the Master of Science degree. Coursework is selected from the allied fields of biology, paleontology, geology, earth systems science, and geographic information systems. Areas of curriculum strength include ecology, genetics, systematics, sedimentary geology, paleontology, environmental geology, environmental science, and GIS.
The Natural Sciences Program emphasizes ecology-oriented areas of biology and field-oriented geology—particularly sedimentology, stratigraphy, and paleontology. Fieldwork is emphasized because it provides a first-hand experience with biological and geological phenomena that cannot be satisfactorily grasped or understood solely from classroom or laboratory study. Throughout the natural sciences curriculum, students are encouraged to develop an open-minded and investigative approach in the application of the scientific method to the resolution of biological and geologic problems. Multiple working hypotheses are encouraged. The goal is to prepare students for effective careers in teaching or government.
Program learning outcomes
By the end of this program, the graduate should be able to:
- Articulate the fundamental concepts of biology, geology, GIS, and environmental science;
- Seek endorsement for subject-teaching in secondary education in either biological science or geoscience;
- Apply effective written and oral communication to professional practice;
- Apply the scientific method, hypothesis testing, and deductive reasoning;
- Discuss key issues related to the integration of faith and science;
- Seek employment in K-12 teaching, or civil or public service.
Rosario Beach summer courses
In cooperation with the Walla Walla University Marine Station at Anacortes, Washington, facilities are available for marine courses and research by graduate students in the Department of Earth and Biological Sciences.
In addition to Loma Linda University admission requirements, the applicant must also complete the following requirements:
- Bachelor's degree in biology, geology, chemistry, physics, or other degree with typical biology and geology prerequisites.
- Undergraduate G.P.A. of at least 3.0 is expected.
- Achieve an acceptable score on the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The subject GRE is not required.
- Completion of prerequisite courses:
- College mathematics—two quarters (calculus recommended)
- General physics with laboratory—one year
- General chemistry with laboratory—one year
- General ecology—one course
Some prerequisite courses may be taken during residence at Loma Linda University, with approval of the admissions committee.
Applications are accepted at any time. Review of applications begins in February for the Autumn Quarter admission. It is highly recommended that the applicant complete the application process by January 31 of the calendar year being considered for admissions, for priority consideration. Research assistantships are competitively awarded. Applicants may contact the department at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
A minimum of 50 quarter units, including 34 at or above the 500 level, constitutes the curriculum for the Master of Science degree program in natural sciences. The following courses are required. Undergraduate courses must be at the 400 level.
|BIOL/GEOL 558||Philosophy of Science||4|
|GEOL 518||Earth Structure, Process, and History||4|
|BIOL 607||Seminar in Biology (0.5) 1||3|
|or GEOL 607||Seminar in Geology|
|BIOL/GEOL 616||Research and Experimental Design||2|
|BIOL 664||Science Communication Outreach||1|
|Select one course of the following:||3-4|
|Techniques in Vertebrate Ecology|
|Biodiversity and Conservation|
|Select one course of the following:||4|
|REL_ 5__||Graduate-level Religion||3|
|Selected in consultation with the student's faculty advisor||22-23|
|Biology of Marine Invertebrates|
|Marine Biology (If not taken to meet a core requirement)|
|Biogeography (If not taken to meet a core requirement)|
|Readings in Ecology|
|Behavioral Ecology (If not taken to meet a core requirement)|
|Genetics and Speciation|
|Techniques in Vertebrate Ecology (If not taken to meet a core requirement)|
|Biodiversity and Conservation (If not taken to meet a core requirement)|
|Current Topics in Biology (If not taken to meet a core requirement)|
|Readings in Biology|
|Writing for Publication|
|The Environmental Context of Community Health|
|Special Projects in Environmental Sciences|
|Sedimentology and Stratigraphy|
|Invertebrate Paleontology (If BIOL 426 not taken to meet a core requirement)|
|Vertebrate Paleontology (If BIOL 427 not taken to meet a core requirement)|
|Paleobotany (If BIOL 444 not taken to meet a core requirement)|
|Introduction to GIS for the Natural Sciences|
|GIS Spatial Analysis for the Natural Sciences|
|Taphonomy (If not taken to meet a core requirement)|
|Principles of Geographic Information Systems|
|Desktop GIS Software Applications|
|BIOL 695||Special Projects in Biology||4|
|or BIOL 697||Research|
|or GEOL 695||Special Projects in Geology|
|or GEOL 697||Research|
Registration required for each quarter in residence; 0.5 unit per quarter. Maximum counted toward the degree total is 3 (6 quarters of seminar).
Seminar attendance requirements
Advancement to candidacy
Students may apply for advancement to candidacy by completing Form A, which requires:
- Completing all deficiencies and corequisites.
Completing an approved written project proposal.
Passing the written comprehensive examination.
Being recommended by the program faculty (should be completed by the end of the third quarter of study).
Students are expected to pass a written comprehensive examination during their penultimate quarter in residence.
As part of the core curriculum, the student will complete a project, in consultation with the advisor, involving four units of registration in research or special projects.
Grade requirement for graduation
A grade of B (3.0) or better is required in all courses that count toward the degree.
Normal time to complete the program
Two (2) years — based on full-time enrollment; part time permitted