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Master of Science in Integrated Science & Math

The Master of Science Degree in Integrated Science and Mathematics (MSISM) is designed to serve populations of graduate students whose interests and needs for professional development transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries.

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The program gives the student the opportunity to combine graduate courses from many departments within the College of Science and Mathematics, allowing them to design a program to suit their needs.

Courses address the challenges and methods of study in such areas as environmental science, forensic sciences, integrated natural and life sciences, and mathematics disciplines. Students pursuing this degree will be able to construct a variety of rigorous, innovative, and non-traditional interdisciplinary mprograms.

Students in this program come from a variety of undergraduate fields including biology, chemistry, environmental health sciences, earth sciences-geology, physics, health sciences and mathematics. Professionals currently employed in environmental sciences, medical research support, forensic science, and others who are interested in integrating the sciences would particularly benefit from this degree.

Admission Requirements

  • Official copies of all transcripts
  • GPA of at least 2.75 overall
  • Three letters of reference
  • A 1-2 page Statement of Career and Education Objectives
  • A 1-2 page Curriculum Vitae or Resume
  • A minimum combined score of 950 on the verbal and quantitative sections of the GRE general section, and a minimum score on the writing assessment of 4 out of 6. GRE tests must have been taken within the last five years. Applicants with a 3.5 or greater GPA on their last 60 hours are not required to take the GRE.
  • International students must present TOEFL scores. Minimum scores for acceptance are 525 on the paper-based test or 195 on the computer-based version.

Program Requirements

The MSISM degree combines writing, thinking, and analyzing skills with study of specialized knowledge in several science disciplines and mathematics. The program has 3 options:

Coursework only: The coursework only option requires 36 graduate semester hours.

Thesis, and Project:  A total of 30 graduate semester hours are required for either the thesis or project options.

Students must take a minimum of 18 semester credit hours of graduate level work which emphasize the interdisciplinary content in at least two of the following traditional disciplines:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Environmental Health Science
  • Geology-Earth Science
  • Health Science
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Mathematics

Additional course work may come from outside the College of Science and Mathematics. The course work curriculum must be approved by the student’s adviser and by the Integrated Science Program Director.

A six-credit-hour project or thesis is required for students in the thesis or project option. For both the thesis and project option, the student will have a three person graduate committee composed of at least one faculty member from each area of emphasis, with one faculty member serving as the student’s adviser. The adviser, with input from the committee, will recommend which option, thesis or project, is right for optimizing the student’s educational goals, and develop a curriculum for the student. The topic of thesis study and the scope of the study are designed by the student in consultation with the student’s adviser. Thesis require a formal thesis proposal that must be approved by the student’s committee. Thesis studies are hypothesis driven lines of scientific inquiry that demonstrate a students ability to 1) identify a scientific problem, 2) design a plan to examine the problem, 3) carry out the plan, 4) interpret the results of their study, and 5) defend their interpretations in the form of an oral defense. A formal written thesis document is required.

Integrated Science and Mathematics

The Dissertation and Thesis Guide, available online at http://gradschool.ualr.edu/, provides a detailed description on preparing the thesis document. Projects are scholarly activities that do not fit within the scope of a traditional thesis. Projects require a formal proposal and must be approved by the student’s committee. A formal document may not be appropriate for all projects. Documentation of the project is required, as is a formal presentation of the project. The formal presentation of the project must be approved by the student’s committee.

For students in the coursework a total of 36 credit hours of graduate work is required that emphasizes interdisciplinary content of at least 2 disciplines. Students in this option will have a coursework committee composed of a faculty adviser from each of the areas of emphasis that the student has selected. This committee will meet with the student each semester to discuss the student’s progress, and they will approve all coursework. All undergraduate work will be assessed prior to acceptance into the degree program and deficiencies will be defined at that time. All deficiencies must be removed before students progress into the program.

Possible degree combinations with sample curriculum content blocks:

Biology – Chemistry

  • 18 credit hours in biology and chemistry
  • 3 credit hours of technical writing
  • 3 credit hours of Applied science
  • 6 credit hours of thesis or project

Biology – Earth Science

  • 18 credit hours of biology and earth science
  • 3 credit hours of statistics
  • 3 credit hours of technical writing
  • 6 credit hours of thesis or project

Environmental Health Sciences – Health Sciences

  • 18 credit hours in environmental health sciences and
    health sciences
  • 3 credit hours of statistics
  • 3 credit hours of technical writing
  • 6 credit hours of thesis or project

Mathematics – Earth Science

  • 32 credit hours of mathematics and earth sciences
  • 4 credit hours of integrated science and mathematics

Some of the other possible degree combinations are listed below. Please contact the program director to discuss additional degree combinations.

  • Biology – Physics
  • Chemistry – Earth Science
  • Chemistry – Physics
  • Earth Science – Physics
  • Environmental Health Sciences – Health Sciences
  • Biology – Health Sciences