Master of Science Graduate Program in Entomology

The Entomology Graduate Program is designed to educate scientists who can function in a wide array of professional endeavors. The requirements are intended to present the student with contemporary thought and methods of entomological research.

1. Admission to the Program:

Application for admission must be made through the Office of Graduate Admissions of Rutgers University. Application materials may be obtained at gradstudy.rutgers.edu. A complete application (application form, letters of recommendation, application fee, official transcripts, personal statement, and test scores) must be on file before a final decision on admission can be made. Applications can be processed at any time; those requesting financial assistance for fall term admission should be received before January 1 if possible.

Final admission to the program, including transfers from other Graduate Programs at Rutgers, may be attained only by recommendation of the Program's Graduate Student Acceptance/Progress Committee with the approval of the Department Chairman and the Dean of the Graduate School.

2. Entrance Requirements and Time Limit:

  1. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores in verbal, quantitative, analytical and advanced areas must be on file with the Graduate Program Director prior to acceptance into the program. For those applicants requiring an English-language proficiency test, both TOEFL and IELTS are accepted for admissions. Please see more information on minimum score requirements and how to submit your scores on the Graduate and Professional Admissions' information page for international students.
  2. Course requirements for Admission are:
    Biology 2 semesters or equivalent
    General Chemistry 2 semesters or equivalent
    Calculus 2 semesters or equivalent, or 1 semester of calculus and 1 semester of statistics
  3. Depending on a student's background and research interests, the student's committee can require that a student take additional courses in Organic Chemistry, Physics, Biochemistry, Ecology or Genetics.
  4. Any deviation from these requirements must be approved by the Program for each individual case. Admission to the Program with deficiencies is permitted but the course requirements must be met prior to defense of the thesis. The Acceptance/Progress Committee will notify the Graduate Director in writing of any deficiencies. Notification to the applicant of all deficiencies and a timetable for meeting them will accompany the Admission letter. The advisory committee chairman will notify in writing the Graduate Director when the necessary work is complete. If no entomology course work is included in the student's course background, he/she may, at the discretion of the advisory committee, be required to enroll in Insect Biology without credit.
  5. Financial support derived from the budget of the Department of Entomology (Entomology TA's and above- or below-the-line GA's) or from endowed fellowships restricted to students in the Graduate Program in Entomology shall be limited to no more than a total, from all such sources, of 3 years for students in the M.S. Program. The Graduate School requires that the M.S. normally be completed within 3 years of enrollment for that degree.

3. Entomology Core Curriculum

  1. The entomology core curriculum for the M.S. degree is:
    Insect Structure and Function 370:515, 516 4, 4 credits
    Insect Field Ecology and Natural History 370:520 3 credits
    Insect Taxonomy 370:524 4 credits
    Insect Collection 370:605 1 credit
    Seminar in Entomology 370:603, 604 2 credits
  2. (During at least one of the two semesters the student must present a seminar to the Department).
  3. Two additional elective graduate entomology courses (other than Seminar and Special Topics in Entomology, 11:370:601, 602).
  4. Students in the Program must satisfy the core curriculum requirements prior to completion of their degree. Failure of any core course will ordinarily result in termination from the Program. Students entering the Program who feel that their previous training is sufficient to meet all or part of the core courses may petition the Program faculty, before the end of their second semester of enrollment, to have any portion of the requirements waived. Waiver will require that the student either (1) pass a competency exam administered by the Acceptance/Progress Committee in consultation with the course instructor, or (2) present satisfactory evidence to this Committee of having taken, with a grade of B or better, an equivalent course at another institution ("equivalent" means closely similar in subject matter, depth, and rigor to that required in the core course). A petition must be by letter, endorsed by their advisory committee, to the Acceptance/Progress Committee stating the student's reason(s) for waiver of the requirements. The Acceptance/Progress Committee, with support from appropriate faculty, evaluates the request and makes a recommendation to be discussed by the Program Faculty. All waivers require a majority vote by the faculty.

4. Competency Examinations in Entomology

Each candidate for the masters in Entomology must demonstrate to the Graduate Student Progress Committee competency in Entomology in the following areas; insect structure and function, and taxonomy. Competency will normally be assured by taking the corresponding courses of the Entomology Core Curriculum; if these are passed with a grade of B or better no additional examination is required. Students receiving a grade lower than B must take a competency exam administered by the Progress Committee.

5. Credit Requirements

  1. Two plans are available for achievement of the master's degree:
    • Plan A (with Thesis): 24 credit hours of formal courses and 6 research credits; or
    • Plan B (without Thesis): 30 hours of formal courses with no research or thesis

    Plan A is designed for students who anticipate a career in research. The purpose of the thesis is to teach the principles of experimental design, collection of scientific data, interpretation of results, and scientific writing. Plan B is intended for students who wish to gain expertise in the field of entomology but do not expect to work in a research environment. Students completing the M.S. degree via Plan B will not be recommended for continuation to the Ph.D. program. The plan is intended for secondary school teachers or non-academic professionals who wish to upgrade their proficiencies in science without continuation to the Ph.D. degree.

  2. The Graduate School requires a minimum of 12 credit hours of courses in the 500 and 600 level (strictly graduate courses) for a Plan A degree, and 18 credit hours of 500 and 600 level courses for a Plan B degree (without thesis).
  3. The student must demonstrate to the satisfaction of the advisory committee an ability to write in a scientific manner before completion of the degree, regardless of whether he/she follows Plan A or Plan B.

6. Student Advisor and Advisory Committee

  1. Graduate School regulations regarding graduate student committees may be found in the Graduate School Bulletin under the heading "Rules Relating to Graduate Students." 2. A student must be accepted by a professor as an advisee, or temporary advisee, at the beginning of a Master's program. 3. It is expected that a permanent adviser and a advisory committee will be selected within the first year of study. 4. Each student's committee shall meet at least once a year to review the student's overall academic progress and advise the student accordingly. In addition, the student and the major advisor should meet at least once during the alternate semester to review the student's progress; a full committee meeting report shall be at the discretion of the advisor. Each spring semester the Student Acceptance/Progress Committee shall solicit from the student a report on his/her academic and research progress, which shall include a request for verification that these meetings were held and shall require the advisor's signature.

    7. Transfer of Credits for the M.S. in Entomology

    Transfer of credits for graduate courses taken at other institutions is governed by the policies of the Graduate School (see Graduate Catalog, "Academic Policies and Procedures, Transfer of Credit"). Transfer of credits accrued while enrolled in other Graduate Programs at Rutgers University is subject to approval by the Entomology Faculty.

    8. Thesis Defense and Diploma

    1. An application for a diploma must be filed with the Registrar before March 1 preceding the June commencement. Consult the Graduate School office regarding other dates.
    2. For students pursuing Plan A, a public defense of the thesis must take place no later than three weeks prior to commencement, and a final draft of the thesis must be available for committee evaluation two weeks before the final oral examination.
    3. At least one week prior to the defense, formal notice must be given by the student's advisor to the Graduate Director of the time and place of the defense and at the same time announced to the Program Faculty. Any unannounced thesis defense shall be considered invalid and will have to be rescheduled. At the time of the defense, the student is required to present a formal seminar summarizing his/her research; the duration of this presentation ordinarily should not exceed 30 minutes. Following the seminar, members of the student's advisory committee, and any other interested faculty, will examine the candidate.
    4. Thesis approval forms and specifications for the style of the thesis are available from the Graduate School office.
    5. Four copies of the thesis are required.

    9. Residency Requirements

    There is no residency requirement for the degree of Master of Science. However, a year spent in residence for that degree will satisfy the residence requirement for the doctorate.

    10. Completion of Degree

    1. An Application for Admission to Candidacy for the Master of Science (Part II. Final Requirements), obtainable from the Graduate School, must accompany delivery of the final copy of the thesis to the Graduate Director. This is an assertion that all Program requirements have been met.
    2. Students wishing to go on to the Ph.D. program after completing M.S. degree must gain permission of the advisory committee and the Graduate Director to begin Ph.D. studies.

    First Approved: December 15, 1972 by Graduate Faculty, Last Revision: June 2009.