College of Science


Ph.D. in Biology

Program Purpose

Graduate training in Biology fosters excellence in research in a wide variety of disciplines while emphasizing a holistic, interactive approach and an evolutionary perspective. Research in Biology utilizes theoretical and computational approaches, laboratory benchwork and outdoor fieldwork. Teaching excellence is fundamental to academic scientists, and students participate in teaching as part of their training.

Learning Outcomes

  • Acquire the skills necessary to conduct original scientific research in the student's area of interest, including project design, development and acquisition of techniques, data collection, analysis and publication. Students will acquire these skills through formal course work and hands-on training in active research laboratories.
  • General mastery of the scientific literature in biology, with expert mastery of the scientific literature in the student's area of study. Mastery will be assessed by the student's ability to converse in both formal and informal settings that include discussions with the student's supervisory committee, colleagues, visiting scientists, attendance at professional meetings, and serving as an effective teaching assistant for at least one semester.
  • Ability to communicate the student's research and its relationship to the larger questions underpinning their research. During their time in graduate school, students will be expected to present a Research In Progress talk to the department once a year and give at least one oral or poster presentation on their research at a national or international scientific meeting.
  • Completion of a dissertation that represents a significant and original contribution to scientific knowledge, and which is publishable in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  • Ability to write an effective grant proposal. This ability will be assessed during the qualifying exam process.
  • Development of a professional portfolio that includes a curriculum vitae and/or resume, a summary of research interests and experience, a summary of teaching philosophy and experience, publications, and any other documents relevant to the student's career path.