Biology, PhD

The Biology PhD program complements other, more specialized life science degree programs at Arizona State University. We offer individualized courses of study that include laboratory, field and theoretical work.

This degree allows both interdisciplinary and more traditional disciplinary approaches. The program is flexible and tailored to your individual needs and interests in consultation with your program's committee.


To receive PhD degree in biology, you must complete the following:

Assemble a supervisory committee

  • include at least four members
  • include your main advisor

File a program of study

  • File your program of study by the end of your second semester
  • The program must include 84 semester hours:
    • Of these, at least 9 semester hours should include:
        • Either BIO 614 Biometry or BIO 620 Research prospectus writing
    • Remaining elective courses may include seminars or classes at the 400, 500, 600 or 700 levels. No more than three credits of the required semester hours may be taken at the 400 level.
  • Optional additional semester hours of elective courses including seminars or classes at the 400, 500, 600 or 700 level, but no more than 6 semester hours at the 400 level in total.
  • Remaining hours should include 12 semester hours of dissertation and at least 12 semester hours of research

Submit and defend a thesis and pass an oral exam

By the end of your 6th semester, submit and defend your research proposal. You must also pass an oral, comprehensive exam in order to advance to candidacy.

Your program is completed with a public defense of your PhD thesis and by passing an oral exam administered by your supervisory committee.

Application Deadline

Applications are accepted Oct. 1 - Dec. 15, with a preference date of Dec. 1.
The Biology PhD program admits one group of students annually to start their program in the fall semester, the following August.Applications are accepted Oct. 1 through Dec. 15, with a preference date of Dec. 1.

There is no guarantee that applications received after Dec. 15 will be reviewed. In January, the top applicants will be invited to a recruitment event scheduled in mid- to late-February.  

Before applying, we encourage you to read our Tips for Applying.

We will notify you of your admissions status by April 15.  

Desired qualifications:

  • Research experience 
  • Undergraduate GPA minimum 3.0 (on 4.0 scale)
  • GRE scores: 50% Verbal and 70% Quantitative 
  • International students: TOEFL score of 100, or IELTS score of 6.5

Note: Your application is evaluated based on your entire application package.

To apply, follow the How and When to Apply link below.

 You will be asked to:

  1. Review the university standards, degree program timelines and application requirements
  2. Complete the graduate admission application
  3. Send official transcripts, general GRE scores and language tests (international students only) to graduate admissions services
  4. Fill out the academic record form and upload it 
  5. Submit a non-refundable application fee 


Degree Offered

Biology, PhD
Liberal Arts & Sciences, College of


Plan of Study

The Plan of Study is the required curriculum to complete the program.

View Plan of Study

Applications for Fall 2019

  • Accepted:  Oct. 1-Dec. 15, 2018
  • Priority deadline:  Dec. 1, 2018

Financial Support for Graduate Education

 More information on financial support through the School of Life Sciences.


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