Plan A (Thesis) vs. Plan B (Non-thesis) options
With the Thesis option, students complete original research with a faculty mentor for the culminating project. With the Non-thesis, students complete a seminar paper, which is typically a thorough review of a topic relevant to clinical microbiology suitable for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, as the culminating project. Details of the two plans are below.
There are advantages and disadvantages to each option. While the Thesis option may take longer, it is more widely marketable. Employers in research and development (in academic or industry) in particular prefer to hire those with background in original research. The Non-thesis option prepares students best for careers in non-research settings, such as hospital lab supervisor or clinical instructor.
1. Plan A: Master of Science--Thesis Option
Students electing this plan must earn three to six credit hours in Microbiology 799, Research: Master's Thesis. This is accomplished by writing a thesis based on original research and data gathered by the student. The thesis must be acceptable to the student's Thesis Committee and must conform with the Thesis Guidelines discussed in this document. Candidates must satisfactorily pass a final oral defense of the thesis and related subject matter.
2. Plan B: Master of Science-- Non-thesis Option
Students electing this plan must earn two credit hours in Microbiology 761, Research and Seminar in Biology. This is accomplished by researching literature on a special topic and presenting a written seminar paper on the results. Such papers frequently involve the reanalysis and interpretation of scientific data reported in the existing literature. Candidates must satisfactorily pass a final oral comprehensive examination concerning the special topic and related subject matter.