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Black Hills State University


    Jul 20, 2018  
2017-2018 Graduate Bulletin 
2017-2018 Graduate Bulletin

Master of Science in Integrative Genomics

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Integrative Genomics is an interdisciplinary graduate program that combines genomics, ecology, evolution, and physiology to better understand the evolutionary forces that have shaped the mechanisms that are important to species interactions in the wild. The College of Arts and Sciences oversees the Master of Science in Integrative Genomics (MSIG) and their website is located at This graduate program is designed to provide M.S. students the necessary skills and concepts to work cooperatively with others in a research area that takes a systems-wide approach and incorporates an organisms history and natural environment to understand the organization and expression of its many genes. Exposure to modern techniques and instrumentation in the laboratory and field will prepare the student for success in both academic and other biotechnology-related pursuits.

It is the intent of the program to admit qualified students into either a thesis or non-thesis track. The thesis track requires at least one satisfactory and relevant manuscript from original research for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The non-thesis track substitutes an internship with a relevant biotech company or the equivalent (e.g., Environmental Protection Agency laboratory) and one course in business marketing and management.

All students enrolled in the program take 12 credits from the core curriculum, and at least 8 credits from the list of electives. The core, which should be completed in the first year of study, is designed to provide a current overview of the field and techniques. The electives provide additional relevant emphases.

The main goals of the Integrative Genomics Program are to develop young scientists in the research and teaching skills needed to be successful in Ph.D. and professional programs or in biotechnology businesses. Students in the Integrative Genomics Program will be supported through Graduate Research Assistantships (RAs). Most of the students will receive 20 hour RAs, which will require responsibilities in research (50%), mentored laboratory teaching (25%), and mentoring undergraduates in research experiences (25%). A few RAs will be awarded for full-time research responsibilities and mentoring undergraduates in research experiences.


Graduate Student Outcomes

The students should be able to: 1) Identify the organisms and areas in ecology and evolution that link best to genomics, 2) specifically functional genomics, and 3) be familiar with, and in some cases have a working knowledge of, the Molecular, Statistical, and Database tools for genomic analyses. Specifically, the program will emphasize the areas of genome comparisons, structure and function in communities, life history patterns, stress responses, and recent advances in the field of genomics. Major competencies include using equipment associated with gene discovery, sequencing genomes, and transcript profiling; being able to analyze data and think critically about one’s own research and that of others; communicating results effectively both orally and in writing; and working as part of a research team.

Students in the internship track will also take a marketing course and learn about the basics of marketing and management. Instead of conducting their own research, they will do an internship with a biotechnology company to learn about the business and gain technical and analytical skills.



Successful applicants will be required to have completed a Bachelors degree in either biology or chemistry with at least a 3.0 GPA and at least one course in genetics. Applicants must also take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) (the general test only; the advanced subject test is optional) and provide two letters of recommendation from former instructors.

Plan of Study

During the first year, the student will select an adviser, form a graduate committee, and submit the Plan of Study to be approved by the committee. The Plan of Study will be written either in the format of a focused review article or a proposal for funding. The committee must include the student’s major adviser, at least one other faculty member from the Integrative Genomics program, and a third member, which could include another faculty from the Integrative Genomics program or another appropriate faculty member from another academic institution, such as South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT), or department.

Progress and Evaluation

Graduate student success and satisfaction will be evaluated frequently by the major advisor and yearly by the graduate committee who will evaluate minimal B-average course performance and progress in research.

Based on the thesis, the thesis defense, and the oral examination, the student’s Graduate Advisory Committee will determine satisfactory mastery by an individual student.

Questions in the examination will evaluate the candidate’s understanding of the basic principles of biology and specific aspects of the discipline. Questions on research and thesis may relate to points of clarification, analytical procedures, basic biology and systematics of the species studied, possibilities for future research and publication, and areas where research could be improved. Each committee member will keep notes on all questions asked, record satisfactory or unsatisfactory for the answer, and make a general summary of the student’s performance. A pass or fail vote is recorded by secret ballot before any discussion. A student must obtain at least two-thirds of the votes in favor of passing the oral exam and accepting the thesis. The Chair of the Graduate Advisory Committee (the Faculty Advisor) will report the result of this exam in writing to the Director of Graduate Studies on a designated form, provided in the college office. If the examination is failed it may be repeated only once.

The student’s Graduate Advisory Committee will meet to evaluate the student once each year. A student is expected to maintain a grade point average of B or better throughout the course work for the M.S. degree, and to make significant progress in research each semester. No more than 6 credit hours of course work with a grade of C may be used toward the M.S. requirements. Accumulation of more than 6 credit hours of graduate course work with a C grade or below will result in the termination of the student’s M.S. program regardless of the grade point average. A terminated student may petition the Graduate Council for readmission based on their individual circumstances.

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