May 23, 2024  
2018-19 NSU Graduate Catalog 
2018-19 NSU Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Natural Science, M.S.

OSRHE Program Code: 150
CIP Code: 301801

Major Code: 7700

Option Code: 7704


(36 Semester Hours)


The Master of Science in Natural Sciences program at Northeastern State University will provide students with multi-disciplinary training in the Natural Sciences beyond that of the baccalaureate degree.  Students pursuing a traditional thesis-based M.S. degree will gain experience in the design, execution, and reporting of scientific research by completing an original research project, while non-thesis students take more formal coursework and complete a capstone project.  The curriculum consists of formal courses in the natural sciences and incorporate the candidate’s background, goals, and objectives.  A central goal of the program is to prepare students for doctoral programs and/or employment in the natural sciences or advancement in their current profession.

The graduate courses chosen for this program are intended to give students depth in the natural sciences.  Adequate classroom instruction is a critical part to broadening student understanding of science and enabling them to be successful researchers.  However, the program also specifically includes multi-disciplinary courses that will give a student exposure to a wider range of concepts and topics than are typically included in a more traditional, discipline specific graduate program.  Many of the issues our society faces today are multi-disciplinary in nature, and scientists who are comfortable with approaching these issues from a multi-disciplinary angle will be very valuable.  Thus, the coursework for this program is designed to provide students the skills they need to understand and appreciate multi-disciplinary approaches to problem solving in science, without sacrificing the deeper understanding of a specific discipline in science.

Admission Requirements

Students admitted in full standing must meet the following requirements:

  1. The student must have a bachelor’s degree from a college or university accredited by agencies recognized by Northeastern State University or equivalent education from a foreign university.
  2. The student must have an overall GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 scale for the last 60 hours of coursework, and a combined Graduate Record Examination (GRE) score of 298 with a minimum score of 143 on the quantitative section of the GRE, submit a program application.
  3. The student must be admitted to Northeastern State University and the Graduate College.  For more information concerning admission, visit
  4. International applicants are also required to submit a score of not less than 550 on the paper-based or a comparable score of 213 on the computer-based TOEFL, with a minimum of 50th percentile on the Listening Comprehension Section.
  5. The student must have an undergraduate background of at least 20 semester hours in the natural sciences and/or engineering, excluding Introductory Biology I and II, General Chemistry I and II, General Physics I and II, or Engineering Physics I and II lectures and labs.  Additional coursework may be required for admission.

Admission to the program will be determined by the Program Admissions committee after reviewing the application documents.

Degree Requirements (minimum of 36 hours)

  1. Advisory Committee.  Initially, each student will be advised by the departmental coordinator of graduate studies from the student’s emphasis area.  Within the first semester, the student will select a graduate faculty member from that department to chair a graduate advisory committee consisting of at least three faculty members.  This committee will supervise the remainder of the student’s program.
  2. Program of Study.  Each individualized program will be structured by the advisory committee in consultation with the student.  The academic background, professional experience, academic objectives, and personal needs will be considered in establishing the individual’s program.
  3. Course Requirements. The candidate must satisfy the following requirements:


  • Topics in Natural Science (3 hours)
  • Statistics for the Natural Sciences or Mathematical Methods for Physics and Chemistry (3 hours)
  • Seminar (4 hours)
  • Science Electives (12 hours)

Other Requirements:

  • Satisfactorily complete the comprehensive oral examination covering coursework and thesis, if selected
  • Or for students not selecting to complete a thesis, satisfactorily complete the capstone sequence and a comprehensive oral examination covering coursework and project.
  1. Guidelines for Good Academic Standing in the MSNS program.
  • No grade of C or lower may be applied toward a graduate degree in the MSNS program.
  • Students must maintain a 3.00 or higher grade point average (GPA) for all courses taken including those required in the program of study.
  • A graduate student becomes ineligible for graduate study if more than 9 semester hours of C or lower are earned in graduate courses taken in the degree program, or if the student does not meet any additional specific degree retention requirements imposed by a department or program.
  1. Time Limit.  The student must complete all requirements within a six-year period (exclusive of the time spent in the United States Armed Forces).




M.S. in Natural Science - 36 hours

Thesis or Capstone - 14 hours

Thesis Candidates

The student will give an oral defense of his/her research thesis. The thesis shall be approved by the advisory committee and by the Dean of the Graduate College before the degree is conferred. A maximum of six hours of thesis credit can be applied toward the minimum hours required for the master’s degree.

Capstone Candidates

The student will complete 8 hours of electives and the capstone sequence.

Accelerated B.S. Chemistry to M.S. Natural Science Degree - Thesis Pathway

Note:  Please refer to Accelerated Bachelor’s to Master’s Degree Program  for complete information concerning the Accelerated Degree Program (ADP).  Refer to the current Undergraduate Catalog for bachelor’s degree requirements.


  • Students admitted to the Accelerated B.S. Chemistry: Biochemistry or Chemistry: Professional to M.S. Natural Science degree program will complete 6-9 hours of graduate level credit to apply toward both the undergraduate and graduate degrees.
  • Students who do not follow the approved degree plan may become ineligible to continue in the accelerated degree program. 
  • Prior to completing the undergraduate degree, if the undergraduate GPA, graduate GPA and/or overall GPA fall below a 3.00, the student becomes ineligible to continue in the ADP.
  • Students may withdraw from an approved accelerated degree pathway.  Graduate credit hours completed prior to the student withdrawing or becoming ineligible to continue in the ADP apply toward the undergraduate degree only.

Accelerated Degree Required Courses for M.S. - 10 hours

Thesis - 14 hours