Ph.D. Degree Program

Program for the Ph.D. Degree

Our graduate program is designed to provide students with a broad introduction to graduate level topics in diverse areas of biology.  We have designed a pair of courses exclusively for graduate students; these courses are intended to broaden and deepen your thinking in biological concepts, research, and quantitative hypothesis testing. 

Students can also participate in other courses as well as independent study with individual faculty.  Since most course requirements are usually completed in the first year, you then have time to engage fully in individual research projects by the second year.

Course Requirements 

Other courses as deemed appropriate based on strengths, weaknesses, and interests of the individual. At least 16 course credits are required for the Ph.D. degree, 8 credits are met by the Graduate Foundations courses BIOL 505 and 508.  The remaining courses can be taken from the Department of Biology - courses numbered 350 or above (no more than 8 credits can come from courses with numbers below 350 and these require special permission) - or from the Medical Center.  Please see the Graduate Catalog for detailed course descriptions, or follow this link.  Courses taken through the consortium of Universities will also apply to the program. 

Other Requirements

  • Minimum of three years of residency. 
  • Teaching experience as a Teaching Fellow for at least 2 semesters (and no more than 6 semesters)
  • Teaching pedagogy by completion of 5 workshops offered through the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship.  Completion of the Apprenticeship in Teaching certification (AT program) is optional (requires 6 workshops and 4 tasks). 
  • A passing grade on the Qualifying Examination at the end of the first full year. 
  • A passing grade on the Ph.D. Comprehensive Examination at the end of the third full year.  (The Comprehensive Examination is prepared by a student's thesis committee and is individualized for each student.)
  • Ph.D. thesis and defense with a departmental thesis seminar.