PhD and MS in Biological Sciences

Female student blows into aspirator, most likely to move fruit flies from one container to another without damaging them. Her right hand is placed inside a "cage" used for lifespan/survivalship experiments. A white cloth is around her wrist.The Ph.D. and M.S. programs in Biological Sciences (BIOL) are designed to offer a broad, multidisciplinary modern education in the life sciences coupled with the development of in-depth expertise and research training within a specialized area. Because many current problems in the biological sciences overlap traditional disciplinary boundaries, a single graduate program is offered rather than the traditional separate programs in botany, microbiology, computational biology, and other areas. The research of the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences covers a broad range, from structure and function of nucleic acids to the feeding behavior of animals. Therefore, this program provides a diversity of opportunities for an interdisciplinary research and graduate education in biology.

PhD Degree Areas of Specialization

PhD Degree Requirements

  • 30 credits of graduate-level coursework
  • At most 12 credits should be for thesis research (BIOL899). At least one research credit should be taken each semester after the student begins thesis research in an advisor’s laboratory
  • One 700 level (3-credit) graduate seminar
  • Research rotations (three)
  • Two semesters as a teaching assistant
  • Beginning with the second year, students are required to participate in a research seminar (journal club) every semester and to take one credit of research seminar (journal club) each year
  • Original research directed by a research advisor and overseen by a committee knowledgeable in the student’s area of specialization

MS Degree Requirements

  • 30 credits of graduate-level coursework
  • At least 18 credits at the 600 or 700-level; up to six 400-level credits may be applied toward the required 30 credits, for courses approved by the graduate school (for example, BIOL 430 is an approved graduate course). Courses listed at both the 400 and 600 level must be taken at the 600 level. Research credits are not counted toward this 18 credit requirement.
  • One 700-level graduate seminar
  • Thesis: 6 credits of research and a Master’s thesis written and defended

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