Program Courses & Schedule
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Plan of Study: Overview
MCLFS requires successful complete of 30 credits. A minimum 3.0 GPA is required to maintain good academic progress towards graduation. Students are responsible for keeping track of their progress and should review their academic record to ensure accuracy. To assist you with keeping track, click here.
Students must complete 30 credits in the following three categories:
- The Laboratory Experience: 6 credits
The lab experience requirement can be satisfied by:
- Taking CLFS 710 offered at College Park during Summer Term, or
- Enrolling in a pre-approved laboratory course at another institution and transfer those credits in AND taking CLFS 725, a 2-credit online course.
- The Scholarly Paper: 3 credits
- Course Selection: 21 credits
For more information, click here.
The Scholarly Paper is the program’s capstone experience. It is often the case that the Scholarly Paper takes more than one term to complete. No more than six credits CLFS 608 may be counted towards the required 30 credits. For more information, click here.
The remaining 21 credits may be selected from the menu of courses available. If advice is needed about course choice, the student should e-mail the academic directors at firstname.lastname@example.org. Provisionally admitted students with a GPA below 3.0 are required to register for either CLFS 510 or CLFS 520. Neither course may be used to meet the credit requirements of the MCLFS program.
The Laboratory Experience: 6 credits
Because both biology and chemistry are fundamentally experimental in nature, the Master of Chemical and Life Sciences Program includes six credits of practical experience on the methodologies and techniques used in research within these disciplines. The purpose of this experience is to expose students to the problems and rewards of scientific investigation. The MCLFS practical experience has two components, (1) experimental design and statistical analysis, and (2) applications of research techniques to specific experiments. These components of the practical experience requirement can be fulfilled in one of two ways:
- Students can enroll in either CLFS 710 (Experimental Biology) or CLFS 720 (Experimental Chemistry). These are the only resident courses in the MCLFS program, meeting daily for six weeks during the summer on the University of Maryland, College Park Campus. These six-credit courses provide training in experimental design, as well as, introductions to basic experimental techniques within each discipline. Out-of-town students can arrange housing through the University.
- Because six weeks in Maryland is impractical for many students, there are alternative means of completing the practical experience requirement. These alternatives have two stipulations. First, the two-credit online course CLFS 725 (Experimental Design and Statistics) must be combined with four credits of other laboratory or field experiences. Second, the alternative applications experiences must be pre-approved by the MCLFS Associate Director. All questions about the practical experience component of the MCLFS program and requests for approval for alternative practical experience activities should directed to the MCLFS Associate Director via e-mail: email@example.com
- Students can take classes or workshops at local colleges, universities or field stations. Such courses are widely available and frequently geared towards the needs of teachers. To be acceptable, the course (i) must be offered for graduate credit, (ii) focus on biological or chemical techniques (rather than pedagogy), and (iii) have a credit level appropriate to the contact hours in the class.
- Students can work as interns with established researchers at local colleges or universities. If internships have a grade and graduate credit assigned to them by the college or university, the internship can be transferred into the MCLFS program. If no graduate credit is assigned to the internship, credit and a grade still can be awarded in the MCLFS program after a written summary of the internship activities are evaluated by a member of the UM faculty. As with classes and workshops, credits are awarded in compliance with UM Graduate School regulations.
- Students can perform an independent research project with established researchers at local colleges or universities. Independent research requires collaboration between the student and a research committee consisting of the local researcher and two members of the UM faculty assigned by the MCLFS Associate Director. The committee is responsible for approving the research protocol and evaluating the final written description of the research. As with the other applications alternatives, credits are awarded in compliance with UM Graduate School regulations.
For information on transfer credit eligibility and how to transfer credits, click here.
Scholarly Paper: Overview
Biology and chemistry are frequently viewed as static disciplines that are characterized by a collection of known facts published in textbooks. But disciplines are highly dynamic and expanding our view of the world around us at an astonishing rate. Unfortunately, many teachers are never exposed to the dynamic nature of the life sciences. Instead, they receive filtered versions that emphasize broad generalizations at the expense of specific details. But it is these untidy details that frequently provide the impetus for new and more innovative research as scientists attempt more fully explain biological and chemical phenomena.
The purpose of the scholarly paper is to immerse a teacher in a specific subject within the life sciences. Unlike the shorter projects and assignments in other MCLFS classes, the scholarly paper allows teachers sufficient time to explore a subject in greater depth and breadth. Teachers will be able to critically evaluate articles in the primary literature, compare differing interpretations of these articles and develop a consensus view on the state and future direction of their subject area.
The Scholarly Paper is a mentored project done in consultation with a University of Maryland faculty member. During the academic session prior to beginning their scholarly paper students should identify a topic of interest with the program’s associate director. Once confirmed, you’ll work on the project with the guidance of the mentor who assists in the preparation of the paper and is responsible for assigning the final grade. There are 2 options to select a mentor:
- Contact Dr. Kent (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a few topics and he will assist in locating a mentor. This is typically a slow process as he needs to determine who is qualified to oversee the topics and then get them to agree to oversee the work.
- Identify your possible topic and then approach a faculty member that you have had during your courses in the program to see if they are willing to help. This tends to be a quicker process; however, your topic may not always fit with the person’s expertise.
Topics for the scholarly paper are broadly defined as any basic or applied aspect of the life sciences. Consequently, topics related to the application of biological or chemical principles to real world problems are just as viable as those based on pure research. By this definition, papers on the plausibility of biological or chemical terrorism, the potential uses of the human genome sequence, the impact of genetically-modified organisms on ecosystems, or the development of synthetic pathways for new structural materials would be appropriate topics. The paper should be informational in nature, and will be based primarily on a review of the relevant literature on the subject. Generally, papers are 15-20 double-spaced pages in length (exclusive of figures, tables and references), although this will vary with the scope of the selected topic.
The academic component of the scholarly paper is the 3-4 credit course MCLFS Seminar (CLFS 608). Students preparing a scholarly paper enroll in this course for a maximum of three credits over two consecutive terms.
Be sure to review the advice document available here.
Program advising is provided by the program directors as follows:
Dr. Paul H. Mazzocchi, Director (email@example.com)
Professor Emeritus (2002- ), former Dean, College of Life Sciences (1989-2000), and founding leader for the Master of Chemical and Life Sciences (2000), Dr. Mazzocchi serves as the program’s academic director.
Dr. Bretton W. Kent, Associate Director (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Entomology, Dr. Kent serves as the program’s associate director and correlates mentor student relationships for the Scholarly Paper capstone experience as well as a number of other administrative tasks.
Summer On-Campus Housing: for CLFS 710
The University has limited on-campus housing available during the standard summer sessions. If you have a special summer on-campus housing request, please contact the Department of Resident Life at 301-314-2100 or email@example.com to see if your specific situation can be accommodated.