Apr 14, 2024  
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2017-19 
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2017-19 [Archived Catalog]

Biological Sciences - PHD

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Degree Title: Doctor of Philosophy

Program Name and Number: Biological Sciences - PH2517

Department: Biological Sciences

Delivery Mode: Athens Campus

Terms of Entry: Fall

Program Mission: The graduate program in the Department of Biological Sciences strives to be both flexible and supportive, stressing individualized training and a diverse research environment. We provide our students with a rich intellectual environment, as well as the necessary technical resources to succeed.

Program Learning Objectives:

  • Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of major concepts in programmatic areas within Biology
  • Critically evaluate the primary literature in research discipline and demonstrate independent scientific thinking.
  • Formulate testable hypotheses based on theory or empirical research.
  • Design experiments and studies to test hypotheses.
  • Acquire necessary skills to write successful research proposals for funding.
  • Demonstrate the ability to perform statistical and computational analyses of data.
  • Present scientific concepts and research in written and oral form to both scientific and lay audiences.
  • Acquire effectual teaching practices and skills.
  • Develop collaborative research skills.

Program Overview: The Department of Biological Sciences at Ohio University offers a graduate program that includes faculty from both Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences (OU-COM). Faculty and graduate students conduct research on a wide array of biological topics spanning from molecules to ecosystems, and from basic to applied research. Faculty and students develop collaborative networks both within and outside the department as they conduct their research. Within Ohio University, the Ohio Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Studies (OCEES), the Interdisciplinary Program in Cellular and Molecular Biology, and the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program bring together researchers with common research interests from across diverse departments.

Special research facilities available include:

  • MicroCT Scanning Facility
  • Electron microscopy facility
  • Molecular genetics and genomics facilities, including next generation sequencing
  • AAALAC-accredited animal holding facilities are available for terrestrial and aquatic animals
  • 15,000 specimen vertebrate collection
  • Mass spectrophotometry facilities
  • Transgenic mouse facility
  • Laser scanning confocal microscope
  • Microrespirometry System
  • Fully equipped experimental biomechanics lab including electromyography system, force plates and   force-plate integrated treadmill, strain gauge system for measuring in vivo and in vitro bone strain, high speed motion capture system, and equipment and software for X-ray Reconstruction of Moving Morphology system.


The cell, developmental and microbiology program employs molecular and cellular approaches to study biological function. The cell group examines intracellular and intercellular interactions amongst a wide variety of cells. The developmental group studies how multicellular complexity is established and maintained over time. The microbiology group addresses questions concerning the role of microorganisms in environmental processes and in disease and immune responses.

The ecology and evolutionary biology program integrates research in functional and evolutionary morphology, biomechanics, animal behavior, phylogenetics, population genetics, conservation biology, population ecology, and community ecology to understand the causes and consequences of biological diversity. Faculty use lab and field based research on model organisms and natural populations to study ecological and evolutionary patterns, processes, and mechanisms.

The physiology and neuroscience program includes research in metabolic and comparative physiology, the physiology of thermotolerance, environmental toxicology, exercise physiology, computational biology, developmental neurobiology, trophic interactions in the development of sensory systems, control of movement, auditory neurobiology, neuronal cytoskeleton and axonal transport, heavy metals and neurodegeneration, neuroendocrine control of development, cellular basis of neuronal communication, and neural and neuroendocrine control of the autonomic nervous system.

Link to Program: http://www.ohio.edu/biosci/grad.html

Graduation Requirements: 90 credit hours are required for the PhD degree, with at least 15 of these hours as formal courses or seminars, and must include at least one statistics course. Doctoral students may be required to complete breadth courses depending on their particular Educational Program, in addition to 2 semesters of supervised teaching before the PhD is granted, even if the student’s stipend and tuition is provided by non-Program sources that relieve them of teaching. Admission to PhD candidacy must be achieved within 6 semesters, and includes passing the qualifying exam and the proposal defense. The presentation of an open dissertation seminar and passing the dissertation oral exam are required in addition to the completion of the dissertation to receive the PhD degree.

Culminating Experience:

Candidacy, Qualifying Exam and Dissertation

Admission to Ph.D. candidacy must be achieved within six semesters, and includes passing a qualifying exam and proposal defense. The presentation of an open dissertation seminar and passing the dissertation oral exam are required in addition to the completion of the dissertation to receive the Ph.D. degree.

Admission Requirements: Program admission generally requires 1) undergraduate courses in calculus, organic chemistry, physics, and courses in biology equivalent to those required by Ohio University’s undergraduate degree in Biological Sciences, 2) a GPA of 3.2 or above in her/his most recent degree program, 3) a score of 50% or better in all three portions of the GRE, 4) a statement of why the student wants to pursue a graduate degree, 5) an indication of the section the student wishes to join, 6) a list of three Program faculty the student is interested in as advisors, 7) at least one Program faculty who is interested in serving as the student’s interim advisor, and, 8) for students who are non-native speakers of English, a 90 or above on the iBT TOEFL and written documentation of English speaking ability from a faculty who has spoken with the applicant by telephone or in person. Students are admitted on annual cycle. Applications must be received by January 8 for students to enter the Program in fall of that year.

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