Graduate Program Overview

ACADEMIC PROGRAM

The Department of Biological Sciences offers a wide variety of programs for students
pursuing a Master’s of Science degree in Biology. Examples include Environmental Biology,
Ecology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Evolutionary Biology. Students
work closely with a major professor in designing a program suited to their individual
needs and can choose a thesisor a non-thesis option.

Students enrolled in the thesis program are required to complete30 credit hours of coursework, including six hours of thesis
(GBIO 770) and write and defend a Master’s thesis.

Students enrolled in the non-thesis program are required to complete 36 hours of coursework, including three hours of research
problems (GBIO 660) and two hours of graduate seminar (GBIO 691).

 

THE FACULTY AND THE DEPARTMENT

There are currently44 faculty in the Department, of which 19 are members of the Graduate Faculty. Their research interests span a wide range of disciplines, including electron microscopy,
cell biology, molecular biology, microbiology, systematics, population ecology, parasitology,
immunology, neurobiology, endocrinology, plant physiology, physiological ecology,
and conservation biology. Over the past three years the faculty have published over
90 scholarly papers, several books, and have generated over $1,000,000 in extramural
funding. In 1989, an outside review panel named Southeastern’s Department of Biological
Sciences as the best biology department in the state among non-doctoral universities.

 

RESEARCH FACILITIES

The Department of Biological Sciences offers excellent opportunities for field and/or
laboratory investigations. Biology facilities are located on campus, and at the Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station, located approximately 20 miles south of SLU. Turtle Cove is the focus for the department’s
field research, and is ideally situated for a variety of terrestrial, freshwater,
and estuarine projects. The station can house up to approximately 20 persons and contains
sleeping areas, kitchen, laundry, classroom, laboratories, and storage areas for research
equipment. Five large and ten smaller boats are available for travel within the vicinity
of the station. Several classes are taught at Turtle Cove each year, and plans for
a major expansion within the next two years are being drawn up.

Other departmental facilities include updated instrumentation for nucleic acid and
protein analysis, DNA sequencing, cell/tissue culture, electrophysiology, transmission
and scanning electron microscopy, gas chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography,
and atomic absorption analysis. The department also maintains a vivarium, aquatic
room, environmental chambers, and greenhouse.The Horticulture Center has five greenhouses
and numerous plots available to conduct botanical experiments. Also available at the
horticulture center are two climate-controlled mesocosm facilities which accurately
simulate tidal flow and various wetland ecological parameters. Complete state-of-the-art
instrumentation allows measurement of such variables as photosynthetic rates, microbial
respiration rates, soil biogeochemical analyses, and many other criteria valuable
for wetlands work and oilspill bioremediation studies. The departmental herbarium
(which has recently been registered as Southeastern in the New York Botanical Garden’s
Index Herbarium) and vertebrate museum house a wide variety of regional and state
floral and faunal specimens for study and research. The department maintains a number
of IBM-compatible and Macintosh computers for graduate student use, and many faculty
have personal computers that are also available for graduate students. A wide variety
of statistical, graphical, and word-processing software is available for these computers.
Graduate students may also use computers housed in the Biology Simulation Center.
The Department is also affiliated with the library microcomputer lab, with access
to laser printers, plotters, and a variety of software. The department has a number
of PCs that are networked to allow access to the Internet and the World-Wide Web.

The Department is affiliated with both the Gulf Coast Marine Research Laboratory (GCRL) in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, and the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium (LUMCON), which maintain several field stations along the Gulf of Mexico. Graduate
students at SLU are encouraged to utilize these facilities and register for classes
taught by GCRL and LUMCON. The Department is also affiliated with the Southeastern
Louisiana Evolutionary Biology Consortium, a group of ecologists and evolutionary
biologists from Tulane University, Louisiana State University, Loyola University,
and the University of New Orleans. Students are encouraged to utilize the wealth of
talent at these institutions, especially as outside committee members. Research opportunities
are also available at the Audubon Zoo, Audubon Center for Research on Endangered Species,
Global Wildlife Center, and the many state-operated Wildlife Management Areas nearby.

 

THE ENVIRONMENT

Southeastern Louisiana University is one of the fastest growing universities in the United States, with a current enrollment
of approximately 15,000. The university has an excellent library for biology. Southeastern
is located in Hammond, Louisiana approximately one hour from both New Orleans and
Baton Rouge. Hammond has a population of about 30,000, and has a pleasant college-town
atmosphere. Cost-of-living (especially housing) is relatively inexpensive. Many recreational
opportunities are within easy access, especially swimming, boating, canoeing, cycling,
and hiking. The local flora and fauna are very impressive, and the mild climate permits
field work year-round.