Integrated Science and Mathematics

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Admissions | Program Requirements | Graduate Courses

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Master of Science in Integrated Science and Mathematics

The Master of Science in Integrated Science and Mathematics (MSISM) degree is designed to serve populations of graduate students whose interests and needs for professional development transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries. The program gives the student the opportunity to combine graduate courses from many departments within the College of Science, allowing them to design a program to suit their needs. Courses address the challenges and methods of study in such areas as STEM education 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 programs.

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, and 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, or 3.0 in the last 60 hours.
  • Three letters of reference.
  • A 1-2 page Statement of Career and Education Objectives.
  • A 1-2 page Curriculum Vita or Resume.
  • A minimum score of 147 on the verbal and 147 on the quantitative sections of the GRE general section. 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 requires 36 semester hours of graduate course work for the Course Work Option and 30 semester hours of graduate course work for the Thesis or Project Option. Students must take a minimum of 18 semester credit hours of graduate-level work which emphasizes 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. 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 Options, 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 advisor. The advisor, 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. Theses 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 student’s 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 the study, and
  5. defend the interpretations in the form of an oral defense.

A formal written thesis document is required. The UALR Dissertation and Thesis Guide, available at gradschool, provides a detailed description for 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 Course Work Option, an additional 12 credit hours of graduate course work is required beyond 24 hours for a total of 36 hours. Students in this option will have a course work committee composed of a faculty advisor 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 it will approve all course work.

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 are:

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

Mathematics – Earth Science

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

Please contact the program director to discuss additional degree combinations


Courses in Integrated Science and Mathematics

A list of courses in integrated science (IGSC) with descriptions is provided below. Course listings and descriptions for earth science, environmental science, and physics are found in the “Non-program Courses” section in this Catalog. For a list of available courses in biology, chemistry, and applied science, please visit the “Master of Science in Biology,” “Master of Science and Master of Arts in Chemistry”, and the “Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Science” sections in this Catalog.

IGSC 5401 Integrated Science Methods
Prerequisite: At least 16 hours of science. This course incorporates lecture, laboratory work, and field methods to stress the learning of science as an active, integrated constructive process that involves experimentation, investigation, communication, reasoning and problem solving as they apply to life, earth and physical systems. Three hours of lecture per week and two hours of laboratory per week.

IGSC 7192,7292,7392 Independent Study
Independent study provides an opportunity for students to gain depth in a specialized area to support a particular aspect of their degree program. The specific topic and course of study for the independent study will vary by student. The student will develop the course of study in collaboration with a faculty member in the department and their academic adviser.

IGSC 7195/7295/7395 Internship in Integrated Science and Mathematics
Prerequisites: graduate standing and consent and approval of assignment by advisor. Supervised professional experience related to students discipline with governmental agencies, industry and consulting firms. Forty hours supervised work per credit hour. One, two, or three credit hours.

IGSC 7199, 7299, 7399, 7499 Special Topics
Prerequisites: variable, depending on instructor and course content. Courses will cover topics that draw from two or more scientific disciplines and that can be best taught from an integrated perspective. Credit and laboratory/lecture format vary depending on the topic. One hour of credit per one hour of lecture; one hour of credit per two-three hours of laboratory.

IGSC 7301 Higher Order Thinking in Science
Prerequisite: consent of the instructor. Laboratory-based; stresses the learning of science as active, integrated, constructive processes involving experimentation, investigation, communication, reasoning, and problem solving; show connections and relevant applications in life systems, earth systems, and physical systems; goals include helping teachers extend content learning and create successful learning environments for every student through use of manipulative s, calculators, science equipment, and various learning strategies; provides access to appropriate materials, equipment, and technology. Two hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week.

IGSC 7391 Cooperative Education in Integrated Science
Prerequisites: Graduate standing and consent and approval of assignment by advisor. Supervised professional experience related to students discipline with governmental agencies, industry, and consulting firms. This course requires a minimum of 200 semester work hours. Three credit hours.

IGSC 8100, 8200, 8300 Thesis Research
Under the supervision of the student’s major advisor, along with the graduate advisory committee, the student will carry out original research to support his thesis. May be taken for a maximum of six hours.
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