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New Natural Science M.S. Enhanced by Access to Adirondacks, Lake Champlain

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (June 27, 2008) - 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.

"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."

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 door step of a six-million acre park that is essentially a research laboratory. And we are on the shores on the shores 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 field 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.

"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 major and an education minor.

Bouyea notes that the new program is likely to be of 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."

Students entering the M.S. program choose a major concentration in one of three areas: environmental sciences, biology and chemistry. Within those concentrations, they can work with current faculty who are conducting research in biochemistry, botany, chemistry, ecology, environmental science, genetics, and more. The program is supported by three departments (earth and environmental sciences, biology and chemistry) and administered by the Office of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

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."

The degree requires 30 credits in science coursework, including a thesis or non-thesis option. Required courses include SCI 505 Graduate Seminar and CI 510 Research Methods.

Requirements for entry into this graduate program include:

  • A baccalaureate degree in a science discipline from an accredited higher education institution, as evidenced by an official transcript.
  • A minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale.
  • An assigned faculty advisor from a participating department. (Students should contact the program coordinator or individual faculty about sponsorship as advisor.)
  • A combined score above 1200 on the general portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • Three letters of reference indicating the candidate's ability and suitability to pursue graduate studies.

For more information about the program, contact SUNY Plattsburgh's Graduate Admissions Office at 518-564-4723 or visit the college's Web site www.plattsburgh.edu/admissions/graduate .

SUNY Plattsburgh (www.plattsburgh.edu ) was founded in 1889 as a teaching college and later became an original member of the State University of New York (SUNY). Under President John Ettling, Ph.D., the four-year comprehensive college now serves 5,500 undergraduates and 500 graduate students. It offers more 50 majors and a wide range of special programs that prepare graduates for professional life and advanced studies through a strong foundation in liberal arts and an experience that celebrates excellence, ethical values, lifelong learning and responsible citizenship in a global community. Situated near Lake Champlain, the Adirondacks and Canada, the college's unique location provides rich recreational, cultural and educational opportunities. Today, SUNY Plattsburgh is a thriving campus that has experienced a 34 percent growth in applications over the past two years and has been recognized by Kiplinger's as one of the "Top 100 Values in Public Colleges," for its mix of academic quality, financial aid, opportunities and total cost.

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