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) as stated in the Biological Sciences Graduate Student Handbook. In brief, students must pass the year-long Biology Core Course (with a B or better) in the first year. The Core Course also serves as a qualifying exam. By the end of the second year, the student must pass the candidacy exam, which consists of a written research plan and an oral presentation. To graduate with a PhD, the degree candidate must submit a dissertation based on an original research project. The GPC requires a high level of performance in courses and research, and the progress of all students is evaluated yearly. Additionally, all doctoral candidates are required to participate in teaching for at least one academic year under the supervision of a faculty member. The student thus gains experience teaching should he or she select an academic career.

Program Outcome

Students who successfully complete this program will be able to demonstrate:

  • Demonstrate basic knowledge in a variety of sub-disciplines within the broader field of biology.
  • Demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of a specialized field of biology and be able to address challenging questions in that field.
  • Analyze and interpret the scientific literature and scientific presentations.
  • Demonstrate the ability to plan, execute and interpret experiments, and will use appropriate research techniques.
  • Express their scientific research and findings in a variety of written and oral formats.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills.
  • Discuss issues related to scientific ethics and scientific misconduct.