Fifth-Year Master's Program

The Plant Biology Graduate Program offers the 5th Year Masters Program exclusively for BS graduates from UMass or any other of the Five Colleges. This accelerated program is open to students who have already begun undergraduate research in the lab of a Plant Biology Graduate Program faculty member prior to their senior year and intend to develop that project into a Master's degree.

The program is designed to augment the research and academic training of academically strong students in preparation for the workplace or additional professional studies.

Students who are interested in this program should meet with their academic and research advisors to discuss this option before the end of their junior year. Admission will require the consent of the research advisor, and in most cases, an undergraduate research project will be modified to provide the basis for the Masters Degree Project.

Application Process

Students must apply for the program directly through the Graduate School using the standard graduate school application. Two letters of recommendation, including one from the students intended research advisor are required. The program does not require GRE's for admission.

Eligibility

UMass or Five College undergraduates with majors in the life sciences and a minimum grade point average of 3.0 are eligible for consideration.

Financial Support

Financial support for the research project and the student's stipend are to be arranged between the student and research advisor.

Program Requirements

Graduate School Requirements

A minimum of 30 credits is required for completion of a Master's Degree. Students should refer to the Graduate School Bulletin for additional information about general requirements. Note, that a graduate level course used to fulfill the requirements for a B.S. degree cannot be used for the M.S. degree.

Program Specific Requirements

Non-Thesis Option

1. Core Courses
15 credits
 

Courses must include three Plant Biology core courses as outlined in the Plant Biology Graduate Program Academic Requirements (section I, part A) and one additional elective course selected from the listing in the Academic Requirements (section I, part B).

2. Independent Study
12 credits
 
3. Journal Clubs
2 credits
 
4. Plant Biology Seminar
2 credits
 

5. In addition to the coursework listed above, all non-thesis M.S. degree students will be required to complete a research project and write a research report. The report is to be approved by three members of the Plant Biology faculty, and orally defended by the student before the committee. The committee includes the student's research advisor.

Thesis Option

1. Core Courses
15 credits
 

Courses must include three Plant Biology core courses as outlined in the Plant Biology Graduate Program Academic Requirements (section I, part A) and one additional elective course selected from the listing in the Academic Requirements (section I, part B).

2. Independent Study
2 credits
 
3. Journal Clubs
2 credits
 
4. Plant Biology
2 credits
 
5. Master's Thesis
10 credits
 

6. In addition to the coursework listed above, all thesis M.S. degree students will be required to complete a research project and write an M.S. thesis document in accordance with the format set by the Graduate School. The thesis is to be defended in front of the committee after they have read and tentatively approved the thesis. The thesis committee will consist of the research advisor as chair and two additional members of the Plant Biology faculty. An outline of the thesis is to be presented to the Thesis Committee at least four months prior to the intended date of the thesis defense.

Duration of Degree Track

Students are expected to complete the Masters degree in approximately 15 months, including two summers and an academic year.