Academics

Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Biological Sciences within the School of Life Sciences (SoLS) consists of four sectional research concentrations that reflect the scope of modern biology: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB), Integrative Physiology (IP), Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB), and Microbiology (MB). The degree is research intensive and designed to prepare students for careers in academia, government, and industry as engaged scholars who are experts in their chosen field. Students must complete a minimum of 60 credit hours from a list of core and approved courses within their research section. They must engage in independent research that is novel and exciting culminating with a dissertation that makes an important contribution to their chosen field. As such, it is expected that their dissertation work will be published in peer reviewed journals with the student listed as first author. Successful students are also trained and expected to develop as effective teachers and educators, and each student must serve as a teaching assistant for two semesters as part of the degree program.

Learning Objectives

All students graduating with a Ph.D. in Biological Sciences should be able to:

  • Master a critical set of key concepts specific for each sectional concentration
  • Gain expertise with key methodologies and experimental techniques specific for each sectional concentration.
  • Read, comprehend, and critically evaluate the current published scientific literature.
  • Evaluate a scientific question and formulate testable hypotheses.
  • Independently design experiments to effectively test hypotheses.
  • Generate and collect reproducible data.
  • Access up-to-date methods for analyzing and tabulating data.
  • Communicate scientific results effectively in oral presentations to general and specialized audiences.
  • Communicate scientific results effectively in written reports for publication in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Apply and be competitive for extramural monies to fund research.
  • Instruct and engage students and members of the community at all levels to appreciate the importance of biology in their lives.
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