Undergraduate Program in Biological Sciences
Department of Biological Sciences Distance Education, Lehigh University
Image courtesy of Sothy Eng, Ph.D., College of Education

Non-thesis Research Option for Master’s degree program in Molecular Biology (through Distance Education)

One of the requirements of the Distance Program M.S. degree in molecular biology is the fulfillment of BioS 407 with six (6) credits of research, leading to the completion of the master’s thesis. The Department of Biological Sciences has recently voted to include a non-thesis option within this degree program.

The non-thesis track may be elected only in consultation with the student’s on campus advisor (assigned after the student is admitted to the program as a regular status student). Three options are available to complete the non-thesis track within the degree program. Students are expected to enroll in BioS 407 for six credits and to complete one of the following:

1. The completion of a comprehensive written review of an approved topic in molecular biology, in which the student provides a critical review of the current literature in the area of interest, and offers insight into experimentation that might be offered to resolve critical issues in the field. The specific requirements for the review are within the purview of the on campus advisor. The review will be evaluated by the student's Lehigh faculty advisor.

2. The completion of a master’s research report, which summarizes research data and conclusions related to a scientific investigation(s) conducted by the student currently performing research in BioS 407. The report may present findings from a short-term project(s) conducted by the student taking BioS 407. The report should include a review of the relevant literature, the hypothesis that is being tested, the methodologies used, results, discussion, and literature cited. The research report will be evaluated by the student's Lehigh faculty advisor AND the off-site (non-Lehigh affiliated) research advisor.

3. The completion of a written and oral comprehensive examination in molecular biology covering biochemistry, cell biology, classical and molecular genetics, and molecular biology. The exam is administered by faculty in the molecular biology program of the Department of Biological Sciences. The exam is generally administered twice a year, at the end of each semester. Students should expect to take the exam after approximately 24-27 credits have been accumulated toward the degree. This option would be favored for students who are interested in applying to the Ph.D. program (residency required in the Department of Biological Sciences). Satisfactory completion of the examination would satisfy the qualifying examination requirement for the Ph.D. program. An application to the Ph.D. program may be made to the Department of Biological Sciences during the course of study for the M.S. degree in molecular biology. Contact the Department of Biological Sciences Graduate Committee for more information about the examination format.

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Biological Sciences
111 Research Drive
Bethlehem, PA 18015
Phone: 610-758-3680
Fax: 610-758-4004
Email: inbios@lehigh.edu