Biology, PhD

Program Description

Degree Awarded: Biology, PhD

The PhD program in biology offers individualized courses of study tailored to students' interests that include laboratory, field and theoretical work. Flexibility in the program is achieved by requiring only one core class, which is a choice between two topics that cover the breadth of the research directions in this program.

Electives are also as flexible as possible and include areas outside of biology. The major goal is to provide students with the opportunity to create an adaptable and general degree program that allows both traditional and interdisciplinary approaches in any area of biology.

Courses and electives

Possible electives to consider (for required classes, see Degree Requirements above)
  • ASM 401 Health and Human Biology (4)
  • ASM 443/543 Primatology (3)
  • ASM 525 Primate Paleobiology (3)
  • BIO 411 Quantitative Methods in Conservation Biology and Ecology (3)
  • BIO 415 Biometry (4)
  • BIO 423 Population and Community Ecology (3)
  • BIO 436 Sociobiology and Behavioral Ecology (3)
  • BIO 461 Comparative Animal Physiology (3)
  • BIO 462 Endocrine Physiology (3)
  • BIO 465 Neurophysiology (3)
  • BIO 467 Neurobiology (3)
  • BIO 503 Bioimaging Lab (2)
  • BIO 504 Bioimaging (2)
  • BIO 522 Populations: Evolutionary Ecology (3)
  • BIO 561 Environmental Physiology (3)
  • BIO 614 Biometry (4)
  • CHM 460 Biological Chemistry (3)
  • KIN 412/512 Biomechanics of the Skeletal System (3)
  • KIN 414 Electromyographic Kinesiology (3)
  • KIN 440 Exercise Biochemistry (3)
  • KIN 443/533 Exercise Endocrinology (3)
  • KIN 522 Exercise Psychology (3)
  • MAT 450 Mathematical Models in Biology (3)
  • MAT 451 Mathematical Modeling (3)
  • MAT 591 Topic: Math Biology (3)
  • PLB 419/519 Physiological Plant Ecology (3)
  • PSY 420 Analysis of Behavior (3)
  • PSY 424 Genetic Psychology (3)
  • PSY 426 Neuroanatomy (4)
  • PSY 434 Cognitive Psychology (3)
  • PSY 512 Advanced Learning (3)
  • PSY 515 Quantitative Research Methodology and Statistics 1 (3)
  • PSY 526 Neuroanatomy (4)
  • PSY 528 Sensation and Perception (3)
  • PSY 530 Intermediate Statistics (3)
  • PSY 531 Multiple Regression in Psychological Research (3)
  • PSY 532 Analysis of Multivariate Data (3)
  • PSY 532 Analysis of Multivariate Data (3)
  • STP 530 Applied Regression (3)
  • STP 530 Applied Regression (3)

At a Glance: program details

Degree Requirements

Required Core (3 or 4 credit hours)
BIO 514 Statistical Models for Biology (4) or
BIO 620 Research Prospectus Writing (3)

Electives (67 or 68 credit hours)

Other Requirements (1 credit hour)
BIO 610 Introduction to Responsible Conduct of Research in Life Sciences (1)

Culminating Experience (12 credit hours)
BIO 799 Dissertation (12)

Additional Curriculum Information
The program is tailored to the needs of the individual student. The plan of study is developed by the student and a supervisory committee consisting of a major professor and three additional faculty members. The electives credit hours are comprised of coursework showing breadth in biology subdisciplines, seminars and research.

An oral comprehensive examination is required in order to advance to candidacy and a formal defense of the final written dissertation is required prior to graduation.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must fulfill the requirements of both the Graduate College and The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Applicants are eligible to apply to the program if they have earned a bachelor's or master's degree in biology or a related discipline from a regionally accredited institution.

Applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in the last 60 hours of their first bachelor's degree program, or applicants must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A") in an applicable master's degree program.

Applicants must submit the following:

  1. graduate admission application and application fee
  2. official transcripts
  3. academic record form
  4. personal statement
  5. curriculum vitae or resume
  6. three letters of recommendation
  7. proof of English proficiency

Additional Application Information
An applicant whose native language is not English must provide proof of English proficiency regardless of their current residency.

Research experience is desired for entry into this program.

Career Opportunities

Those who have earned a doctorate in biology are prepared for academic careers at every level, from community colleges to research universities, and their skills and knowledge are also valuable for government careers with federal and state agencies responsible for wildlife management and conservation and for careers in industry and nongovernmental organizations.

Career examples include:

  • food, agriculture and health care scientists in academic, private and industrial labs
  • principal investigators in government labs and nonprofit organizations
  • professors or instructors in universities and colleges
  • science teachers in elementary and high schools
  • wildlife, animal and conservation scientists

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Program Contact Information

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