Ph.D in Biology

Our doctoral program in biology prepares students for research-oriented careers in academia, government, and the private sector. 

Candidates for the Ph.D. must satisfy the requirements of the Graduate Program Committee (GPC) including passing the first year Core Course, which serves as a qualifying exam with a grade of B or better, and passing two at least 3-credit graduate elective courses (one of which must be at the 6000 level, and one of which must be in BIOL or BCBP). Entering students must complete three rotations in the first year. A thesis advisor must be chosen from the list of participating faculty by the end of the second semester. Students must also pass a candidacy exam which consists of a written and an oral portion, and must be taken by the end of the second year of full-time study. Degree candidates also must submit a dissertation based on an original research project, present their findings in a public seminar, and defend their work in an oral examination. Additionally, all doctoral candidates are required to participate in teaching for at least one semester under the supervision of a faculty member. Seventy-two credit hours are required for the Ph.D.


Outcomes of the Graduate Curriculum

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to:

  • explain general principles and concepts from a variety of sub-disciplines within the broader field of biology.
  • demonstrate expert knowledge of a specialized field of biology and be able to ask and answer challenging questions in that field.
  • critically analyze and interpret the scientific literature and scientific presentations.
  • independently design, prepare, and execute experiments, using appropriate research techniques.
  • critically interpret research data and evaluate findings using appropriate statistical analyses.
  • independently design and execute a research strategy aimed towards answering a pressing scientific question in the field.
  • effectively communicate their scientific research and findings in a variety of written and oral formats, including the ability to prepare a manuscript of original research for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.
  • discuss issues related to scientific ethics and scientific misconduct and apply ethical standards to their research and professional conduct.