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Ph.D. Requirements


  • Make up any course deficiencies during your first year.
  • Form your advisory committee and prepare the Plan of Study by the end of your 2nd semester (excluding summer). 
  • Prepare the Research Proposal by the end of your 3rd semester (excluding summer).
  • Take general oral exam (written and oral), which results in a classification of "candidate for PhD".
  • Conduct original research and prepare the dissertation.
  • Satisfactorily present your 1st research seminar (BIOL 8950) 
  • Satisfactorily present your 2nd research seminar (BIOL 8950)
  • Pass the Final Oral Exam (includes outside dissertation reader*). 

All graduate students holding a Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) or a Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) must register for at least 1 credit hour for every semester in attendance, consisting of graded and/or S/U (satisfactory/unsatisfactory) courses. In addition to, or in lieu of, graded courses, in a given semester students may register for BIOL 8990 (Dissertation Research). The number of credit hours of BIOL 8990 per semester should reflect the amount of time students spend on their dissertation research (i.e., 1-10 hours per semester).

*The assistance of an outside reader, appointed by the Graduate School, is required in evaluating all doctoral dissertations. The reader also is the designated Graduate School representative at the final oral examination. See Policies and Procedures Manual of the Graduate School (Section 16.0) for more information.

**Students who have finished all course work and are in the final stages of completing the dissertation may take GRAD 8900 (Dissertation Completion) for a maximum of 6 semesters once they have passed the general oral examination and advanced to candidacy. GRAD 8900 carries no credit and students must register for 1 hour of BIOL 8990 concurrent with registration in GRAD 8900. Students will be classified as full-time students. For more information and the Registration Request form, see Policy for GRAD 7900/8900

Annual Review:
All graduate students will undergo an annual review each August/September. Students will submit a short summary of their course work, teaching and research accomplishments for the year and anything else related to their program. The review will serve to: (a) help students who have encountered obstacles, (b) update the department on a student’s progress, and (c) provide a mechanism for the department to receive input on ways to enhance the graduate program.

Time Limit:
The degree must be awarded within 4 years from the date of the general oral exam.


Course Deficiencies 

Required courses for Biological Sciences Graduate Students

The following courses are required of all graduate students to have been completed as undergraduates. There are no exceptions. If any of these are deficiencies they must be made up in the first year of residence, earning at least a "C" grade in each course.

  • Genetics (BIOL 3000) or equivalent course
  • Organic Chemistry (CHEM 2030 or 2070)
  • Physics (PHYS 1500)
  • Calculus (MATH 1610)

Last Updated: 08/16/2016