The Master of Sciences (MSc) Program is a cross-disciplinary program leading to the Master of Sciences degree. It provides an opportunity for present and prospective science and mathematics professionals and others to extend and/or broaden their training in the natural and physical sciences and mathematics at advanced undergraduate and graduate levels. The breadth of the program allows students to emphasize their principal discipline of interest and also to take several courses in a related department. There is no list of required courses in the degree program other than BIOL 5010 - Seminar in Biology for the Biology option. Instead, each student designs their own program in consultation with a departmental advisor.
The MSc options are:
Wide latitude is possible in the details of a degree plan so that each student may follow a course of study most pertinent to their interests and career goals. Each degree plan must be approved by the MSc Director and the student’s advisor.
Requirements for Admission
General regulations for admission to the Graduate School apply. The regulations can be found at www.uccs.edu/~gradschl. Each program has its own admission criteria. Please refer to each option’s criteria.
How to Apply
Applications are submitted online. Application information can be found on the Graduate School website (www.uccs.edu/~gradschl). Contact your program of interest for specific admission requirements.
Requirements for MSc Degree
Each program has its own standards for the MSc degree. All requirements are subject to the general regulations of the Graduate School.
Thesis or Non-Thesis Option
Each MSc student has the option of selecting Plan I or Plan II. See particular option for specifics.
Plan I: Thesis Option
30 credit hours, 3 to 6 of which must be thesis credit. At least 24 credit hours must be at the graduate level, 15 of which must be taken in their primary department. A minimum of three credit hours must be taken from a secondary department. Student must write a thesis on their research, give a presentation, and defend their thesis before a thesis defense committee. Please see your program advisor of department for the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines and Manual.
Plan II: Non-Thesis Option
30 credit hours. At least 24 credit hours must be at the graduate level, 15 of which must be taken in their primary department. A minimum of three credit hours must be taken from a secondary department. Student must complete a paper describing a research project or other specialized study on a topic and give a presentation. This paper must be approved by the student’s committee. Biology does not offer a BS-MSc degree plan.
The Department of Biology offers a program leading to the degree of Master of Sciences (MSc) with options in Molecular & Cellular Biology, Exercise Science, and Ecology & Evolution. Graduate students pursue coursework in biology and one other science discipline (e.g., physics, chemistry, mathematics), providing students with a diverse curriculum and an understanding of how various science disciplines relate to each other. This interdisciplinary program offers students a broad science education with few restrictive requirements compared to traditional graduate science programs. It allows for development of a plan based on individual needs.
- Ecology and Evolution
- Molecular and Cellular Biology
For specific program information, please see the comprehensive Program Information document or the Biology department page.
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university
- Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0
- Completion of 40 credit hours of natural and physical science and mathematics courses
- Two semesters of calculus or one semester of calculus and one semester of statistics
- GRE, general test
Under certain circumstances, applicants not meeting the criteria for admission as a regular degree student may be recommended by the faculty for admission as a ‘provisional admissions’ student. The department may assign coursework and/or examinations that must be taken to make up deficiencies. When the conditions for regular status are met, the program advisor will reclassify the student to regular status.
Up to 12 credit hours of appropriate upper-level coursework with a grade of B or better that are not counted toward a degree and earned at any CU campus may be requested for transfer into the MSc program. Double counting of undergraduate and graduate courses is not allowed. These credit hours are computed into the students’ graduate GPA but the undergraduate transcripts remain unchanged (i.e., there is no physical movement of courses on the transcripts).
Up to 9 credit hours of appropriate upper-level coursework with a grade of B or better that are not counted toward a degree and completed at an institution other than the University of Colorado may be requested for transfer into the MSc program. These credit hours are not computed into the students’ graduate GPA.
Biology Option Degree Requirements
Thesis and Capstone Project Options
The MSc degree is designed for students intending to become professional biologists. The standard MSc degree plan requires a thesis and is appropriate for those seeking advanced graduate work. See Thesis Option Requirements below for more information. A Capstone Project option is offered for students who are not focused on graduate work beyond the MSc. Students in the Capstone Project Option will enroll in BIOL 6050 Biology Master’s Capstone Project instead of thesis hours, and complete additional coursework to complete the degree. See Capstone Project Option Requirements below for more information. Students may switch to the capstone project option on consultation with their major advisor and the MSc program advisor.
General Requirements for Both Options
- Complete a total of 30 credit hours of upper-level coursework
- BIOL 5010 Seminar in Biology must be taken the second semester enrolled
- A minimum of 24 credit hours of 5000-level courses with the remaining at the 4000-level
- At least one course must be taken from another department participating in the MSc program (e.g., chemistry, physics, geography, health sciences, mathematics)
- All courses must be taught by faculty appointed to the Graduate Faculty
- Courses taken pass/fail will not count toward the degree
Thesis Option Requirements
Capstone Project Option Requirements
Additional Requirements for All Students
- Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher
- A maximum of 6 credit hours of Independent Study, Research Practicum, or Externships will count toward the degree
- Any course in which the student receives a grade of C (C+, C-, or lower in courses where + and - are used) will not be counted toward the degree
- The student will be allowed to retake any one course in which the student receives a C or lower; if a B- or above is not achieved on the retake, the student will be dismissed from the program
- Two consecutive grades of C (C+, C, C-) or lower will be cause for dismissal from the program
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry offers a program leading to the degree of Master of Sciences (MSc) in Chemistry. The following focus areas are available.
- Analytical Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Physical Chemistry
The student should choose a research mentor in consultation with the Program Director during the application process. To be admitted to the program, a research adviser must agree to the student working in their laboratory. In consultation with the Program Director the student should also prepare a list of courses to be taken to fulfill program requirements when applying to the program. A thesis committee will be chosen at the start of a student’s program. The committee will assist the research advisor in monitoring student progress throughout the length of the student’s program. The committee will also administer the thesis examination required for the MSc degree.
A student who is in their final semester studying toward the BA/BS in Chemistry or Biochemistry at UCCS or is within one year of graduation is guaranteed admission to the MSc program, if they satisfy all of the following criteria:
- Has completed a minimum of 45 credits at UCCS at the time of graduation
- Has a minimum grade point average of 3.20
- Has two letters of recommendation from faculty members in Chemistry or Biochemistry
Regular admission to the MSc program requires that the student meets the following requirements:
- Has attained a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry or biochemistry from an accredited College or University
- Has an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.00
- Has a combined GRE percentile score of 50th percentile or higher
Applicants must complete the online Graduate School application and include four letters of recommendation, one official transcript from each college or university attended, and pay a non-refundable $60 application fee. International students must also meet Graduate School requirements for the TOEFL or IELTS exams.
Students who meet all of the requirements for regular admission listed above, but who have a GPA between 2.75 and 3.00 may be considered for provisional admission. Program faculty may assign coursework and/or examinations that must be taken to make up deficiencies. When the conditions for regular status are met, the program director will reclassify the student to regular status. Each candidate is evaluated individually for provisional admission.
Transfer of Credit
- Up to 12 credit hours of coursework with a grade of B or better and earned at UCCS may be requested for transfer into the MSc program. These credit hours are computed into the student’s graduate GPA.
- Up to 9 credit hours of coursework with a grade of B or better and completed at an institution other than UCCS may be requested for transfer. This request may be submitted only after completion of 9 credit hours of coursework as a regular admission student into the MSc program. These credit hours are not computed into the student’s graduate GPA.
- Courses applied to a graduate degree elsewhere or within the CU System may be transferred for MSc credit with permission of the chemistry faculty.
Chemistry Option Degree Requirements
Coursework and Thesis
- 15 credit hours of coursework, which must be taken at the 5000-level or above (This typically includes five 5000-level chemistry courses or four 5000-level chemistry courses and one 5000-level course from another department)
- At least 9 credit hours of CHEM 5904 Research: Graduate
- 6 credit hours of CHEM 7000 Masters Thesis
- Thesis defense exam (open to the public)
Evaluation of Progress
Each student will:
- Present a 20-minute progress report each semester to the research adviser and, when possible, to the thesis committee members. The research adviser will complete a report to be sent to the Program Director and be added to the student’s file.
- Present a seminar to the capstone class in chemistry or biochemistry during the spring semester of the first year on a research topic different than the student’s research. The student’s thesis committee members are strongly encouraged to attend. This is a zero credit hour requirement.
- Confer with the Program Director once per semester to update the student’s program plan, discuss student progress, and any identify any problem areas. The report will be added to the student’s file.
The Master of Sciences (MSc) with Mathematics Emphasis Program is a cross-disciplinary program leading to the Master of Sciences degree. It provides an opportunity for present and prospective science and mathematics professionals and others to extend and/or broaden their training in the natural and physical sciences and mathematics at advanced undergraduate and graduate levels. All courses credited toward the degree after admission must be taken at the University of Colorado, on the Colorado Springs, Denver, Health Sciences or Boulder campuses, over a maximum of five years or six successive summers.
The admission criteria include but are NOT limited to the following requirements. Any decision regarding admission is made by the Graduate Committee on an individual basis, after taking into consideration the application material and supporting documents.
- Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
- At least 40 credit hours in the natural sciences and mathematics, including one year of calculus. Students may be admitted to the program with a deficiency in mathematics but must remedy the deficiency within one year after admission with a grade of B or better
GPA of 3.00 or higher on a 4.00 scale. A student with an undergraduate grade point average below 3.00 may be considered for admission, subject to approval by the Graduate Committee.
Mathematics Option Degree Requirements
General regulations of the Graduate School governing the award of the Master’s degree apply except as modified below:
- 30-36 credit hours of science and/or mathematics courses are required.
- All courses must be taken from approved Graduate School faculty members.
- 24 or more credit hours in science/math must be from courses numbered 5000 or above. Courses may be selected from the following departments: Biology, Chemistry, Education, Health Sciences, Geography, Mathematics, and Physics. Courses from other departments must be approved by the Chair of the Graduate Committee.
- Because not all courses will be appropriate for all programs, students should first consult with their advisor before enrolling. An academic plan should be completed during the student’s first semester.
- Minimum grade point average: Courses at the 3000 and 4000 levels will be accepted toward the degree only with grades of A or B; 5000 and 6000 level courses will be accepted toward the degree with grades of A, B, or C. Students must have a B average in all courses taken subsequent to admission to the program, including courses not actually required for the degree.
- Select Thesis or Non-Thesis option.
- Thesis Option: 30 credit hours, including a minimum of 6 hours of thesis credit. At least 15 credit hours must be at the graduate level in their primary department. A minimum of three credit hours must be taken from a secondary department. Student must write a thesis on their research, give a presentation, and defend their thesis before a thesis defense committee. Please consult with the Graduate Committee Chair and the Graduate School for the Thesis and Dissertation Guidelines and Manual.
- Non-Thesis Option: 30 credit hours; at least 15 credit hours must be at the graduate level in their primary department. A minimum of three credit hours must be taken from a secondary department. Student must complete a paper describing a project on a mathematical topic approved by the Graduate Committee. The final paper must be approved by the Graduate Committee.
- Applicants with a BA or BS in physics or in a related area, such as chemistry, computer science, electrical engineering or mathematics, are natural candidates for graduate study in physics
- A BS or BA degree from a college or university of recognized standing, or work equivalent to that required for such a degree and equivalent to the degree given at this university
- Considerable coursework in physics
- Sufficient mathematical background, i.e. at least two semesters of mathematics beyond the normal calculus sequence, such as differential equations and mathematical methods of physics
- Promise of ability to pursue advanced study and research
- Undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
Students with an undergraduate grade point average of less than 3.0 but at or above 2.5, or students with an inadequate background, may be allowed into the program provisionally. This decision would be made by the UCCS Physics Graduate Student Committee. Provisional status would subsequently be removed and a student given regular standing after completion of nine hours of graduate courses with a 3.0 average (or better).
Students with international transcripts must take the Physics GRE exam. A minimum score for regular admission is in the range of 520-550.
Applicants for whom English is a second language must complete the TOEFL exam with a minimum score of 560 (paper-based exam) or 83 (internet-based exam) or 220 (internet-based exam). A band score of 6.5 on the IELTS is also acceptable. If the student has successfully completed one year of full-time academic study at a U.S. institution, this requirement can be waived. An oral interview may also be required, as the department sees fit.
Students who are transferring from other physics graduate programs must meet the minimum standards outlined above and have a 3.0 average (or better) in all graduate work done previously. Full credit, up to nine hours (normally one semester of full-time coursework), will be given for coursework done previously, assuming the prior work is done at accredited institutions with approved programs. Course equivalency will be decided by the UCCS Physics Graduate Student Committee after interviewing the student and comparing textbooks, class notes, or any other helpful documentation.
For more information on our Graduate programs, prospective students should contact the Graduate Co-Advisor, Professor Robert Camley. Students already in the program should contact the Graduate Co-Advisor, Assistant Professor Karen Livesey, for information on graduation paperwork.
Physics Option Degree Requirements
- Select Thesis or Non-Thesis option.
- Thesis option: 30 credit hours, including at least 6 hours of thesis credit.
- Non-Thesis option: 30 credit hours from the approved courses.
- Regular degree students must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average each semester or summer term on all work taken, whether or not it is to be applied toward the advanced degree intended. Students who fail to maintain this standard of performance will be subject to suspension from the Graduate School.
- The Master’s Comprehensive Exam is an exit oral exam that must be passed by all students. Students electing the thesis option may substitute an oral defense of their thesis. Students in the non-thesis option are required to write a short (15 page, double-spaced) typed paper summarizing either some original research or summarizing a research topic in current physics. The paper should be at a graduate physics level. The exam consists of a 30-40 minute presentation of the paper with questions on the topic from the faculty.
- The committees for exit exams will consist of three members of the graduate faculty, one of whom is the student’s advisor. The other two members will typically be from the physics department, but one may be selected from a related discipline such as electrical engineering, mathematics, computer science or chemistry.
In order to design a more specialized degree, students may concentrate their elective courses in areas outside of physics. Concentration areas could include space studies, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, geography, computer science, applied mathematics or other graduate disciplines. These concentration areas might be appropriate for students who have very well-defined career objectives which require a combination of physics with another discipline. Students should consult with the Physics graduate program advisor to establish a course sequence for the MSc degree.
Mathematics and Science Teaching Options
This option requires 36 credit hours of study. The same rules are followed as for the science option except that 24 credit hours of science/math and 12 credit hours of education courses are required.
For the 12 credit hours of required education courses, students should consult their advisors to choose courses suitable for their programs.
Students may select either Plan I: Thesis or Plan II: Non-Thesis option.
Accelerated Masters Programs (AMP)
The Accelerated Master’s Program (AMP) allows high achieving students to pursue existing Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in an accelerated manner. The program is normally a 5-6 year program for currently enrolled full-time UCCS students and allows students to take graduate level courses which will count towards graduation requirements for both their Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. MSc programs that have AMP options are Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Applied Mathematics.
Each department has a minimum set of requirements in the major that must be met before a student can be admitted to the AMP Program. Please go to the Graduate School website or contact your department advisor for more information about the program.
Upon receiving acceptance to UCCS, transfer students interested in the AMP Program should consult with a departmental advisor.