2013-2014 Samford University Catalog 
    Nov 26, 2022  
2013-2014 Samford University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological and Environmental Sciences

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Ronald N. Hunsinger, Chair, Professor
Elizabeth G. Dobbins, Paul Propst Professor of Natural Sciences
Lawrence J. Davenport, Professor
David A. Johnson, Professor
Rita Malia Fincher, Associate Professor
George E. Keller III, Associate Professor
Kristin A. Bakkegard, Assistant Professor
Grant L. Gentry, Assistant Professor
Andrew Hataway, Assistant Professor
Jennifer E. Layton, Assistant Professor
Marione E. Nance, Assistant Professor

Undergraduate Programs and Requirements

Majors Minors
Environmental Science 
Marine Science 
Marine Science 

The Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences offers majors in biology, environmental science, and marine science, each leading to a bachelor of science degree. Preparation is provided for professional programs in the allied health sciences.

The department also offers minors in biology and marine science, plus an interdisciplinary minor in bioinformatics, offered in cooperation with the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science . The bioinformatics minor is available in three variations, depending on the student’s major.

University Core Curriculum and General Education Requirements

See University Core Curriculum and General Education Requirements  in the Howard College of Arts and Sciences introductory pages for a list of required and applicable courses.

Graduate Programs and Requirements


Master of Science in Environmental Management (M.S.E.M.)

Environmental Management, M.S.E.M. 
Environmental Management with a Concentration in Energy Management and Policy, M.S.E.M. 


Master of Science in Environmental Management/Juris Doctor (M.S.E.M./J.D.)

The Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences offers the master of science in environmental management (M.S.E.M.), a 36-credit, non-thesis program. It directs working professionals through a collection of courses to prepare them for the decision-making processes of the ever-increasing demands of environmental regulatory compliance. Students can pursue the stand-alone environmental management major or can opt for the same major with a concentration in energy management and policy.

A joint graduate degree in environmental management and law (M.S.E.M./J.D.) is offered in conjunction with the Cumberland School of Law. Contact the Cumberland School of Law for more information.

Graduate Admission Requirements

Three levels of admission status are designated:

  1. Regular admission after three years of relevant work experience:
    1. Graduation from an accredited college or university with an overall GPA of at least 2.50.
    2. A minimum of three years relevant work experience
    3. Two letters of reference from nonrelated persons.
  2. Regular admission for recent college graduates (three years or less since award of undergraduate degree):
    1. Graduation from an accredited college or university with an overall minimum GPA of 3.00.
    2. A GRE score of at least 1,000 or a MAT score of at least 50, taken within the last five years.
    3. Two letters of reference from nonrelated persons.
  3. Provisional Admission: Provisional admission may be granted upon demonstrating seriousness of purpose and ability to succeed in the program. This status will be considered for applicants who do not meet all requirements for regular admission as listed above. The applicant must furnish two letters of recommendation from two nonrelated persons. If offered provisional admission, the student must complete the first six semester hours with no grade lower than a B. Upon demonstrating this level of work, the student will qualify for admission to regular graduate status.
Required Credentials for Admission

Each student must submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. In order for transcripts to be official, they must be sent directly from the student’s college/university to the Office of Admission, Samford University, 800 Lakeshore Drive, Birmingham, AL 35229. Transcripts sent to faculty or other offices on campus are not official. In addition, GRE or MAT scores must be sent directly to the Office of Admission from the testing agency. Scores furnished from other sources are not considered to be official.

Notification of Admission

Official notification of admission is communicated by letter from the Office of Admission. In the case of provisional admission, the letter may stipulate certain conditions which must be met by the applicant.

Prerequisites for Graduate Admission

While interdisciplinary in nature and accepting candidates with a variety of backgrounds and degrees, the program is heavily technical and scientific in design. Applicants will ideally have some training in the biological and physical sciences. If the admission committee notes a lack of scientific background in an applicant’s preparation, it will require the student to complete a cell-based general biology course, specifically approved by the program directors, PRIOR to taking any of the scientifically-oriented courses in the program, with the exception of ENVM 501 - Biological and Environmental Chemistry . This cell-based general biology course may be an undergraduate course and will not count towards the 36 credits required for degree completion.

International Students

In addition to the stated admission requirements, for international students applying to the program, a minimum TOEFL score of 80 will be required. For regular admission, students with a TOEFL score of less than 80 may still be accepted provisionally at the discretion of the directors. In such cases, the students would be required to successfully complete English as a second language. This language course will not count towards the 36 credits required for degree completion.

Acceptable Academic Progress (Minimum GPA)

Students in the M.S.E.M. program must maintain an overall 3.00 GPA in all graduate work. If a student earns a grade of D, F, or WF in any M.S.E.M. program course, or if his/her GPA falls below 3.00, the program director and relevant faculty must consider the student’s promise and potential for successful completion of the program.

Transfer Credit

Up to nine semester credits/hours of appropriate and approved graduate coursework completed at another institution may be substituted for program course requirements. Coursework requested to be transferred must have been completed with a grade of at least B in each course. Such coursework must be the equivalent of a full semester’s work (specifically, a course taken for three quarter-hours is NOT the equivalent of a three semester credit/hour course) and be supported by official transcripts and appropriate syllabi. Acceptance of such credit is solely the authority of the program directors.

Time Limit

All courses required for the master of science in environmental management must be completed within a period of five years from the academic session of first admission.






       Of related interest: IDSC 201 - Scientific Methods .

      Environmental Management

      NOTE: The environmental management graduate program follows the calendar of one summer term, one fall term, and one spring term. Unless otherwise indicated, all environmental management (ENVM) courses are offered on rotation.

      Marine Science

      Courses are offered only at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab operated by the Marine Environmental Sciences Consortium of which Samford University is an active member. A minimum of at least one year of biology (preferably more) is required before any upper-level course in marine science may be attempted. Admission into all courses is subject to ultimate approval by the instructor. Unless otherwise indicated, marine science courses (MARS) are offered during the Summer.

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