Program type:


On Campus
Est. time to complete:

4-5 years
Credit Hours:

42 (with Master's) 72 (with Bachelor's)
Research, strong professor-student mentoring, high-quality instruction and professional community service are the foundation of this degree.
The cornerstone of our graduate programs is the creation of new knowledge through research. Research is supported through numerous federal, state, private and nonprofit sources.

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Why Earn a Biology Ph.D.?

We offer opportunities to conduct research in:

  • Aquatic biology
  • Aquatic toxicology
  • Cell and molecular biology
  • Ecology
  • Environmental science
  • Forensic biology
  • Genetics
  • Neurobiology
  • Physiology
  • Plant sciences

Our faculty members include internationally renowned researchers who have earned recognition from the National Science Foundation, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for Microbiology, among others.

Marketable Skills
  • Professional communication in life science environments
  • How to develop and present alternative explanations
  • How to conceive and design complex studies
  • Leadership ability
  • Supervision of research teams

Biology Ph.D. Highlights

The Center for Network Neuroscience focuses on in vitro preparations, especially monolayer cultures of mammalian central nervous system cells, and emphasizes research on pattern generation, storage and recognition.
The BioDiscovery Institute (BDI) operates through a pipeline linking sustainable plant production platforms, metabolic engineering and the development of new materials. The institute touts a multidisciplinary team of researchers committed to collaborating on large research projects with an emphasis on application of findings and solutions to meet market issues and needs.
The Center for Watershed and Reservoir Assessment and Management conducts research on techniques and best management practices for assessing and managing watersheds and reservoirs, addressing current and emerging problems and issues.
The Advanced Environmental Research Institute (AERI) houses multidisciplinary research teams that conduct science-based environmental research that provides an understanding of how human actions impact the environment, and then use that knowledge to suggest scientific, engineering, policy and/or educational solutions.
Qualified students are supported through competitive teaching assistantships or research assistantships funded by research grants to faculty members.
The Life Sciences Complex, which has Gold-level Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification for sustainability, includes an aquatics laboratory and four climate-controlled rooftop research greenhouses.

Career Outlook

There are many interesting careers available to you if you want to combine an education in biology with your interest in another field, including:

  • Forensic Biologists -- working with law enforcement agencies to help solve crimes by applying scientific methods to uncover evidence;
  • Cytotechnologists -- using microscopic interpretation of cells to detect diseases;
  • Medical Technologists -- performing tests on body fluids using state-of-the-art medical equipment;
  • Biotechnologists -- helping develop and improve medical treatments and environmental products;
  • Biochemists -- conducting cell research in government agencies, clinics and hospitals, and nonprofit and private laboratories, or creating new and beneficial products for humanity and the environment such as medicine, agricultural chemicals, cosmetics, food and beverages, environmentally friendly cleaners and biodegradable plastics;
  • Business biologists -- working with chemical or pharmaceutical companies and other organizations to research and test new products.

Biology Ph.D. Courses You Could Take

Mammalian Ecology and Evolution (4 hrs)
Mammalogy course with hands-on, laboratory-style format. Emphasis on diversity, morphology, ecological roles and contemporary field and analytical techniques
PharmacologyThe Biological Basis of Drug Action (3 hrs)
Overview of pharmacology for graduate students, based on principles of drug action. The course emphasizes drugs by class, not specific drugs per se
General Toxicology (3 hrs)
Introduction to the basic principles of toxicology. Focus on absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination of toxicants; target organ toxicity; mechanisms of toxic action; carcinogenesis; and risk assessment
Eukaryotic Genetics (3 hrs)
Research and theory in eukaryotic genetics with an emphasis in metazoan genetic model systems and human genetics, including chromosome structure, genomic analysis, developmental genetics and diseases
Neurochemistry (3 hrs)
Chemistry of the nervous system and behavior; pharmacology, anatomy and physiology of neurotransmitter systems; current techniques in neurochemistry and neuropharmacology
Tracing Darwin’s Path (3 hrs)
Annual in-depth field course that explores sub-Antarctic biota, geography, history, cultures and ecosystems of the Cape Horn Biosphere Reserve, integrating ecological science and field environmental ethics approaches to the study and conservation of biocultural diversity

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