May 25, 2024  
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2019-20 
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2019-20 [Archived Catalog]

Biological Sciences - PHD

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Degree Title and Name:  Doctor of Philosophy in Biological Sciences

Program Name and Number:  Biological Sciences – PH2517

Department/Unit:  Biological Sciences

Delivery Mode:  Athens Campus

Term(s) of Entry:  Fall

Program Overview:  The graduate program in the Department of Biological Sciences at Ohio University 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.

The Department offers a graduate program that includes faculty from both Biological Sciences and Biomedical Sciences (OU-HCOM). Faculty and graduate students conduct research on a wide array of biological topics spanning 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 Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology, the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, and the Ohio Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Studies (OCEES) bring together researchers with common research interests from across diverse departments.


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

The physiology and neuroscience program includes research in metabolic and comparative physiology, the physiology of thermo-tolerance, environmental toxicology, 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.

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.

Program Learning Outcomes:

  • 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.

Link to Program:

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 (i.e., Concentrations above), finally, 2 semesters of supervised teaching are required. Admission to PhD candidacy must be achieved within 6 semesters, and includes successfully passing a qualifying exam and a research proposal defense. The presentation of a public dissertation seminar and passing the final dissertation oral exam are required in addition to the completion of the written dissertation to receive the PhD degree.

Culminating Experience:  The presentation of a public dissertation seminar based on the original research project and passing the final dissertation oral exam given by the thesis/dissertation committee based on the completed written dissertation.

Admission Requirements:  1) Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences or similar degree program that will typically include courses in calculus, organic chemistry, physics, and courses in biology equivalent to those required by Ohio University’s Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences, 2) a GPA of 3.2 or above in her/his most recent completed degree program, 3) GRE test scores, 4) three letters of recommendation, 5) for students who are non-native speakers of English, an 80 or above on the iBT TOEFL. Students are admitted on an annual cycle. Applications must be received by January 8 for students to enter the Program in fall of that year.

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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