Dec 01, 2023  
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2019-20 
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2019-20 [Archived Catalog]

Plant Biology - PHD

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Degree Title and Name:  Doctor of Philosophy in Plant Biology

Program Name and Number:  Plant Biology – PH2111

Department/Unit:  Environmental and Plant Biology

Delivery Mode:  Athens Campus

Term(s) of Entry:  Fall, Spring, Summer

Program Overview: The Environmental and Plant Biology Ph.D. graduate program is a full-time program that provides educational and research experience in plant biology from the molecular to the organismal and ecosystem levels. Normative time to completion is four-five academic years. Most students are trained within three general areas of study: plant ecology, plant systematics and evolution, or plant molecular and cellular biology. The program strives to foster communication across and beyond these areas of study to provide unique opportunities to meet each student’s specific career goals. The Ph.D. program is designed to :

  • Train and prepare students to be successful in teaching and research positions in academia, industry, government, or non-governmental organizations.
  • Train students to conduct independent research in the pursuit of knowledge.
  • Mentor students in grantsmanship and have many opportunities to support their own research with internal and external funding.
  • Provide hands-on teaching experience to students because the program provides a teaching assistantship. As teaching assistants, students have the opportunity to assist in a variety of courses and interact with faculty. Students may additionally have opportunities to supervise and mentor undergraduate students in a research laboratory environment.
  • Expose all students to the national and international plant biology community through colloquia, seminars, and scientific meetings that will aid them in achieving their post-Ph.D. career goals.

Expected time to complete the degree is four years for a student entering with an earned M.S. or five for a student without.

Program Learning Outcomes:

  • Demonstrate the professional standards and responsible conduct expected of scientists.
  • Synthesize literature in their area(s) of study.
  • Design a research study/scientific experiment. 
  • Analyze and interpret data.
  • Communicate scientific ideas in both written and oral forms to diverse audiences.
  • Demonstrate the breadth of knowledge in plant biology essential for the pursuit of different career paths.
  • Demonstrate the skills essential to building and maintaining the scientific community.
  • Demonstrate depth of knowledge within their area(s) of study and demonstrate the ability to think creatively.
  • Demonstrate grantsmanship.
  • Describe the applications and implications of scientific research to a broader audience and/or in a broader context.

PBIO-MCB track offers additional courses: MCB 7200 (Molecular Biology), MCB 7410 (Seminar in Molecular and Cellular Biology), MCB 7600 (Advanced Cell Biology), CHEM 5901 (Biochemistry I), CHEM 5902 (Biochemistry II), and computer science courses (bioinformatics, etc.)

Link to Program:

Link to Program Handbook:

Graduation Requirements:  

  1. Successfully complete Biological Research and Science Ethics (PBIO 5170).
  2. Successfully complete the required minimum graded credit hours. For students without an M.S. degree, a minimum of 30 graded graduate credit hours is required, of which 20 must be PBIO. For students with an M.S. degree, a minimum of 21 graded graduate credit hours is required, of which 12 must be PBIO. Seminar, supervised study, colloquium, and research are not part of these graded credit hours required for a Ph.D.
  3. Successfully complete the minimum number of courses from the following list. A Ph.D. student with an M.S. degree must take one (1) course, whereas a Ph.D. student without an M.S. degree must take two (2) courses from:
    1. PBIO 5150: Statistical Methods in Plant Biology
    2. PBIO 5160: Problem Solving with Bioinformatics Tools
    3. PBIO 5180: Writing in the Life Sciences
    4. PBIO 8700: Biostatistics II
    5. GEOG 5730: Principles of GIS
  4. Maintain a GPA at or above 3.00.
  5. Earn a minimum of 60 credits hours of research (PBIO 8950)
  6. Successfully complete four semesters of Seminar (PBIO 6970).
  7. Pass a Comprehensive Examination composed of written and oral sections no later then the 9th semester.
  8. Successfully complete a research dissertation with an oral defense

For more details:

Culminating Experience:

  • Comprehensive Examination (written and oral)
  • Dissertation

Admission Requirements:  An M.S. degree is preferred. Minimum GPA: 3.00. Combined Graduate Record Examination (GRE) verbal and quantitative scores of 305, achieved within the last 4 years, are recommended. TOEFL score of 95 is recommended. In addition to test scores, the following documents must be submitted with the application: a curriculum vitae; a 1-2 page personal statement indicating preferred faculty advisor(s) and describing previous research experience, graduate school goals, and career plans after graduate school; and three letters of recommendation. A faculty member willing to advise the student is required for admission.

International Students: This program permits full-time enrollment in residence at Ohio University, and an I-20 may be issued based on admission to this program.

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