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Doctor of Philosophy in Biology


A minimum of 84 credit hours is required for the Ph.D. degree in biology. Students should consult the section "Transfer Credits" in the Graduate Bulletin for rules on how many credit hours may be transferred from another institution. Completion of an M.S. degree is not normally required for admission to the full-time program for the Ph.D. degree but may be required of part-time students. Students must pass the Ph.D. qualifying examination in their respective areas of specialization: biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, or microbiology. 

Each student, in addition, will be required to pass a comprehensive examination (which serves partly as an oral defense of the thesis proposal) taken prior to performing the major portion of the dissertation research, and in any event, prior to the sixth semester of study and at least one year before oral defense of the thesis. The final examination for the Ph.D. degree consists of an oral presentation and defense of the dissertation.

Program Requirements 


The Ph.D. program is tailored to fit the student's background and goals and is subject to approval at the time of filing of the program of study (Form #401). Programs of study may be designed in any of the three areas of concentration. However, all programs of study must include at least 36 credits hours in formal courses (exclusive of BIOL 591 and BIOL 691).

Required Courses

Formal courses must include the core courses listed below:

BIOL 445 Cell Biology or BIOL 544 Molecular Biology of Cells
BIOL 504 Biochemistry Lectures
BIOL 515 Molecular Biology
BIOL 584 Graduate Seminar in Biology
BIOL 595 Biology Colloquium (4 times)

Elective Courses

BIOL 410 Medical Microbiology
BIOL 414 Genetics for Engineering Sciences
BIOL 426 Cancer Biology
BIOL 430 Animal Physiology
BIOL 503 Virology
BIOL 514 Toxicology
BIOL 519 Biochemistry Laboratory
BIOL 520 Advanced Biochemistry Laboratory
BIOL 521 Advanced Micro Genetics Laboratory
BIOL 526 Developmental Biology
BIOL 527 Immunology and Immunochemistry
BIOL 533 Laboratory in Cell and Molecular Biology
BIOL 539 Advanced Cell Biology Laboratory
BIOL 542 Advanced Microbiology
BIOL 545 Advanced Cell Biology
BIOL 550 Bioinformatics and Biotechnology
BIOL 555 Macromolecular Structure Determination
BIOL 562 Functional Genomics
BIOL 580 Rotation in Molecular Biochemistry and Biophysics
BIOL 584 Graduate Seminar in Biology
BIOL 597 Special Topics
PHYS 410 Molecular Biophysics

All research for the dissertation must be carried out under the direct supervision of a faculty research adviser. The faculty research adviser will also act as the candidate's academic adviser. Students must have passed the written qualifying examination before registering for BIOL 691. Students may complete all formal course requirements for the Ph.D. degree as either full-time or part-time students.