May 19, 2022  
2020-21 Graduate Bulletin 
2020-21 Graduate Bulletin Archived

Department of Biology

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Stephen J. Mullin, chair
Miller Science Building, Room 101
Phone: (936) 468-3601
Fax: (936) 468-2056

Matthew A. Kwiatkowski, graduate program advisor
Miller Science Building, Room 241

Departmental Objectives

  • To provide advanced education and training in the biological sciences
  • To develop, with the student, the skill sets necessary to conduct independent research in the biological sciences
  • To enhance a student’s potential for employment in the biological sciences or entrance to a Ph.D. or other professional program.

Graduate Faculty


  • D. Brent Burt, Ph.D., University of Arizona, Ornithology, Animal Behavior and Evolution
  • Beatrice Clack, Ph.D., University of Texas - Dallas, Biotechnology
  • Matthew A. Kwiatkowski, Ph.D., Arizona State University, Herpetology, Evolutionary Ecology
  • Alexandra Martynova-Van Kley, Ph.D., Belorussian University, Biotechnology
  • Stephen J. Mullin, Ph.D., University of Memphis, Community and Behavioral Ecology, Herpetology
  • Donald B. Pratt, Ph.D., Iowa State University, Botany, Plant Systematics and Evolution
  • Josephine Taylor, Ph.D., University of Georgia, Plant Pathology, Mycology, Ultrastructure
  • James Van Kley, Ph.D., Purdue University, Plant Taxonomy and Ecology
  • Stephen C. Wagner, Ph.D., Clemson University, Microbial Ecology and Industrial Microbiology
  • Robert J. Wiggers, Ph.D., Texas A&M University, Molecular Genetics

Associate Professors

  • Daniel J. Bennett, Ph.D., University of Kansas, Entomology
  • Dennis A. Gravatt, Ph.D., Louisiana State University, Plant Physiology and Ecophysiology
  • J. Kevin Langford, Ph.D., Medical College of Wisconsin, Developmental Biology

Assistant Professors

  • Carmen G. Montaña-Schalk, Ph.D., Texas A&M University, Aquatic Ecology
  • Lindsay M. Porter, Ph.D. Texas A&M University, Molecular Genetics

Graduate Assistantships

A limited number of graduate teaching assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis each year in the department. Students with teaching assistantships are usually responsible for teaching introductory biology laboratories. In order to initially qualify for an assistantship, students must have a sufficient amount of coursework in general biology, human biology, zoology and botany. For information, deadlines and applications, contact Matthew Kwiatkowski, graduate coordinator, at

Admission Requirements

Admission Requirements for Domestic (U.S. National) Students

In addition to satisfying the general admission requirements listed elsewhere in this bulletin, applicants to the master’s program in the Department of Biology must meet the following criteria:

GRE Guidelines for Department of Biology Applicants  
Overall GPA Sum of Verbal and Quantitative Percentile  
> 3.0 ≥ 70 with minimum individual percentile score of > 30  
2.75 - 3.0 ≥ 80 with minimum individual percentile score of > 35  
2.5 - 2.75 ≥ 90 with minimum individual percentile score of > 40  
< 2.5 will not be admitted into program regardless of GRE scores  
  • All applicants must take the GRE exam. If the GRE exam was taken prior to Aug. 1, 2011, scores will be converted into the scoring format for the revised GRE and used in admissions decisions. Refer to the table above for the biology department’s guidelines regarding the GRE exam.
  • Completion of a B.S. in biology or related field. Completion of at least 15 to 18 hours of biology credit above the freshman level with a course equivalent to BIO 341 (Genetics), and a minimum GPA of a 3.0 in all biology and related science courses. All attempts of repeated courses will be used in this GPA calculation. Courses in heredity, typically designed for the non-science majors, will not fulfill the genetics requirement. Students lacking the required equivalent of BIO 341 may be provisionally admitted and required to take this course during their provisional first semester.
  • A written letter of intent specifying if the applicant is seeking a thesis (thesis work is highly recommended) or non-thesis degree; which degree track the applicant intends to pursue (botany, cellular and molecular biology, or ecology and evolutionary biology); academic interests; any relevant past academic, field or research experience; and discussing the applicant’s personal academic and career goals and how a master’s in biology from SFA will help further these goals. The letter is used by the graduate advisor to better advise the applicant.
  • Students applying to the thesis track will be admitted as such only if the applicant has secured a faculty member thesis advisor prior to application submission. If the applicant has not secured a thesis advisor prior to application submission and meets all other requirements, they will be accepted into the non-thesis track only. All non-thesis students wanting to switch to the thesis track will have to do so prior to the end of the second week of their first semester.

Admission Requirements for International Students

In addition to satisfying the general admission requirements listed elsewhere in this bulletin, international applicants applying to the master’s program in the Department of Biology must meet the following criteria:

  • Applicants from universities following the U.S. GPA format will be assessed following the table provided above under domestic students. Students from universities not following the standard U.S. GPA format require a sum of the verbal and quantitative percentile of greater than 90 with a minimum individual percentile score of greater than 40.
  • The curriculum criteria as outlined above for domestic students, including some indication of grade interpretation for universities not following the standard U.S. GPA and grading system.
  • A letter of intent as outlined under the domestic student section above.
  • For thesis track applicant’s, a thesis advisor as outlined under the domestic student section above.
  • In addition to the requirements listed above, students for whom English is a second language require a minimum TOEFL score of 550 (paper) or 213 (computer) or 80 (internet) or a minimum IELTS score of 6.5.

Postgraduate Work in Biology

A student with a bachelor’s or master’s degree and with the appropriate prerequisites may take additional coursework in biology. The graduate advisor will assist the student in choosing courses that will increase the student’s working ability in biology. Postgraduate work is recommended for individuals interested in teaching at the junior college level, as well as other teachers. Students completing postgraduate courses also may individually undertake directed research experience(s) with a faculty mentor, but any earned credits will not count towards a graduate degree unless the studnet applies to the program (described above).

Facilities for Graduate Work

The department has a number of facilities in which graduate students study and carry on their research. These facilities include a fully equipped electron microscopy laboratory, an aquatic biology laboratory, a fully equipped cellular and molecular biology lab, a greenhouse, a herbarium and an entomarium. Reference collections of invertebrates, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and fishes are maintained for studies in these respective areas. Other resources on campus include the Steen Library and the Southern Research Station of the U.S. Forest Service. Numerous areas in East Texas also are available for establishment of field sites for ecological studies, including the SFA Experimental Forest; the Davy Crockett, Angelina and Sabine National Forests; and numerous lakes and streams.



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