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Biological Sciences - Integrative Physiology and Neurobiology - Ph.D.

The Ph.D. degree in Biological Sciences - Integrative Physiology and Neurobiology is the study of a broad range of topics, including endocrinology, neuroscience, immunology, reproductive biology and other regulatory systems. Students have access to resources for physiological research, including a vivarium, tissue culture facility, confocal microscope/visualization facility, laser capture microscope, genomics and proteomics facilities.

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Program Information

Learning Outcomes

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  1. Understand advanced biological concepts beyond the scope of the typical undergraduate degree and increase the depth of their knowledge through coursework and hands-on experiences.
  2. Apply scientific principles and appreciate work outside of their particular field.
  3. Effectively communicate about science with colleagues as well as those outside of the student's area of expertise.
  4. Develop the necessary laboratory skills that will allow testing of hypotheses.

For more information about graduate admissions, visit the graduate admission website. For more information on international admissions, visit the international admission website.

Admission Requirements

  • Bachelor's degree or higher from an accredited college or university in the natural sciences
  • Strong background in biology and related subjects such as chemistry and mathematics1
  • Minimum 2.750 GPA on a 4.000-point scale
  • Official transcript(s) - copies of official transcripts can be submitted for initial review of application
  • Résumé or curriculum vitae
  • Personal statement that clearly explains why the applicant wishes to pursue an advanced degree and describes research experience and interest; statement must include a list of potential faculty mentors
  • Three letters of recommendation that comment on chance of success in an advanced degree program, with minimum one from someone who can comment on research aptitude
  • English language proficiency - all international students must provide proof of English language proficiency (unless they meet specific exceptions to waive) by earning one of the following:2
    • Minimum 94 TOEFL iBT score
    • Minimum 7.0 IELTS score
    • Minimum 65 PTE score
    • Minimum 120 DET score

Student deficiencies in these areas at the time of admission shall be rectified during the first year of graduate study.


International applicants who do not meet the above test scores will not be considered for admission.

Application Deadlines

  • Fall Semester
    • Priority deadline: December 1
      Applications submitted by this deadline will receive the strongest consideration for admission.

Program Requirements

Major Requirements

Major Requirements
BSCI 70191SEMINAR IN BIOLOGY (taken 2-4 times)2-4
Additional Electives 320-22
Student Seminar Presentation 4
Culminating Requirement
Minimum Total Credit Hours for Post-Baccalaureate Students90
Minimum Total Credit Hours for Post-Master's Students60

Students may substitute a different graduate-level statistics course for BSCI 70104, if deemed appropriate by the students' advisor/guidance committee.


Students are required to take BSCI 70184 their first semester (or the following fall semester for those starting their studies in the spring semester).


Students are to select courses in consultation with their academic faculty advisor. It is recommended that students enroll in BSCI 70142 and BSCI 70195 for selected current topics. Additional coursework should provide the necessary skills and/or knowledge base to aid in the completion of the student's research project and be beneficial for their professional development.


Students are required to present at least one departmental seminar about their work.


Doctoral candidates, upon admission to candidacy, must register for BSCI 80199 for a total of 30 hours. It is expected that doctoral candidates will continuously register for BSCI 80199, and thereafter BSCI 80299, each semester, until all requirements for the degree have been met. It is expected that candidates will present the results of their research in a defense open to students and faculty, at which the dissertation will be presented and defended before the dissertation committee, with not more than one negative vote, in order to be recommended to the Department of Biological Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences for degree conferral.

Graduation Requirements

Minimum Major GPA Minimum Overall GPA
- 3.000
  • Students entering the program with a bachelor's degree must complete a minimum 20 credit hours of graduate courses beyond BSCI 80198 toward their degree.
  • Students entering the program with a master's degree should consult with their guidance committee to determine how many courses are required.

Candidacy for the Degree

After completing the required coursework, students complete the doctoral program by being admitted to candidacy, by proposing a research project to the faculty and by completing and defending that research with a written dissertation before a faculty committee.

Candidacy Exams: Students are admitted to doctoral candidacy following successful completion of both written and oral candidacy examinations. These exams are based on prior coursework and coursework taken in this graduate program as determined by students' academic Guidance Committee, which must consist of at least three eligible faculty members. The advisor(s) and a majority of members of the Guidance Committee must be members of the appropriate graduate program. This committee is responsible for determining the student's academic curriculum and for administering the candidacy exams. Following successful completion of candidacy exams, students register for dissertation - BSCI 80199 for two semesters and, thereafter, for BSCI 80299 continually until complete.

Prospectus: Following completion of the candidacy exam, students must successfully prepare, present and defend a formal prospectus of the research project before their dissertation committee.

Dissertation and Final Defense: Doctoral candidates must complete a dissertation. It is expected that candidates will present the results of their research in a defense open to students and faculty, during which they will present and defend before the dissertation committee, with not more than one negative vote, in order to be recommended to the department and College of Arts and Sciences for degree conferral.

Program Delivery
  • Delivery:
    • In person
  • Location:
    • Kent Campus
PhD Timeline
  • Semester 1: Form faculty guidance committee
  • End of Semester 1: Create a program of study to define required coursework.
  • End of year 2: Complete all required coursework & take candidacy examination
  • End of year 3: Complete prospectus
  • Final Semester (average 5 years):
    • Complete Dissertation
    • Give Department seminar (45-minute)
    • Pass final oral defense
Competitive Applications

GPA average for accepted students 3.5

  • Minimum GPA 2.75 required; however, applicants must demonstrate an ability to maintain a 3.0 GPA in graduate coursework.  Applicants can demonstrate this by meeting one or more of the following conditions:
    • Earned an undergraduate degree from an accredited institution with 3.0 GPA.
    • Completed 9 or more graduate hours in graded coursework at an accredited institution and earned a 3.0 cumulative GPA or above.
    • Earned a 3.0 cumulative GPA in undergraduate courses related to the academic program to which the applicant has applied.
    • Earned a 3.0 cumulative GPA in the last 60 credit hours of completed undergraduate courses.
    • Solid science background with a focus in the program  area to which the applicant applied
    • Clearly explain in their personal statement why they wish to pursue a MS or PhD in Biology, a description of their research experience and outline their research interests and long-term goals. Students should identify 3-5 faculty who they are interested in working with based on their and the faculty’s research interests. Faculty research interests can be found on the program webpages. 

Examples of Possible Careers and Salaries

Biological scientists, all other


slower than the average


number of jobs


potential earnings

Biological science teachers, postsecondary


much faster than the average


number of jobs


potential earnings

Medical scientists, except epidemiologists


faster than the average


number of jobs


potential earnings

Notice: Career Information Source
* Source of occupation titles and labor data comes from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Outlook Handbook. Data comprises projected percent change in employment over the next 10 years; nation-wide employment numbers; and the yearly median wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less.