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SUNY Plattsburgh Launches New M.S. in Natural Science

SUNY Plattsburgh is pleased to announce a new graduate degree program. The Master of Science in Natural Science is designed to provide students with the knowledge, skills, experience and credentials to pursue successful careers as professional scientists in their respective fields of study.

Offering Opportunities to Extend Award-Winning Research

"We've had some excellent award-winning undergraduate research here," said Dr. Tim Mihuc, coordinator of the new program, who described undergraduate students who have won regional, national and even international awards for their work. "And we think we can extend that to the graduate level."

Taking Advantage of the College's Unique Setting

Like SUNY Plattsburgh's other natural science offerings, this unique graduate program takes advantage of the Adirondack region.

"I believe that's one of the biggest assets we have is our location," said Mihuc. "We're in a place that makes it very accessible to ask all kinds of research questions in a wide-array of fields. We are at the doorstep of a six-million acre park that is essentially a research laboratory. And we are on the shoress of a 490-square-mile lake and that, too, can provide numerous opportunities for research."

The use of the surrounding environment makes the degree attractive to those looking for an advanced degree in fields like environmental science, biology and ecology for career advancement. Likewise, elementary and high school teachers of the sciences who need a master's for professional certification, pre-med students and other working scientists should find the program beneficial.

Producing Better Scientists

"Staying in touch with research and mainstream science was important to me. I didn't want to narrow the scope to where all I could do is teach," said Shelley Bouyea, who just graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh's Master's in Liberal Arts Studies with a biology emphasis.

Bouyea notes that the new program is likely to be of great interest to those who want explore the sciences with a greater intensity.

"I think the new program is going to produce better scientists," she said. "It does put emphasis on the research and has you getting into more depth."

Allowing Students to Choose Concentrations

Students entering the M.S. program choose a major concentration in one of three areas:

  • Environmental science
  • Biology
  • Chemistry

Within those concentrations, they can work with current faculty who are conducting research in biochemistry, botany, chemistry, ecology, environmental science, genetics, and more, through the departments of biology, chemistry and the Center for Earth and Environmental Science. The program is administered by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

Providing Support for Students

Students have a three-member faculty committee to guide their program with a primary faculty advisor from that committee. According to Bouyea, a mother who was working full-time while taking classes, the personal touch offered by SUNY Plattsburgh faculty, makes a great deal of difference. In her case, her advisor would check in with her periodically and make sure she knew the next requirement, while still giving her space to take her time in fulfilling it.

"Once you got hooked up with an advisor, it was well laid out," said Bouyea. "I got a lot of help and guidance."

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