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Doctor of Philosophy in Biology

A minimum of 72 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 691).

Required Courses

Formal courses must include the core courses listed below:

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
BIOL 504 Biochemistry 3
BIOL 515 Molecular Biology 3
BIOL 544 Molecular Biology of Cells 3
BIOL 595 Biology Colloquium (4 times) 4
  Total 13

Elective Courses

Select 23 to 35 hours

Course Number Course Name   Credit Hours
BIOL 410 Medical Microbiology   3
BIOL 426 Concepts of Cancer Biology   3
BIOL 430 Human Physiology   3
BIOL 503 Virology   3
BIOL 514 Toxicology   3
BIOL 520 Laboratory Rotation   3
BIOL 526 Developmental Biology   3
BIOL 527 Immunology and Immunochemistry   3
BIOL 542 Advanced Microbiology   3
BIOL 545 Advanced Cell Biology   3
BIOL 550 Bioinformatics   3
BIOL 555 Macromolecular Structure   3
BIOL 562 Current Topics in Functional Genomics   3
BIOL 597 Special Problems   1-20
PHYS 410 Molecular Biophysics   3
Ph.D. Research      
BIOL 691 Research and Thesis Ph.D.   24-36

Minimum degree credits required: 72

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.

For more information, please contact:

Program Director
Tanya Bekyarova, Ph.D.
Associate Chair, Department of Biology
Program Director of M.S. and Ph.D. Programs, Department of Biology (excluding Pre-health and Applied Life Sciences programs)