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Ph.D. Program

The doctoral degree is granted in recognition of scholarly proficiency and distinctive achievement in a specific field of an academic discipline. The former is demonstrated by successful completion of advanced coursework (of both a didactic and an unstructured nature) and by adequate performance on the comprehensive examination. The latter consists of performing independent original research and writing a dissertation on the results of that research.

Graduate students pursuing a Ph.D. in Biology may specialize in research activities at all levels of biological organization, with emphases on ecophysiology, cellular and molecular biology, endocrinology, and ecology of aquatic organisms, or on models related to human disease.

To qualify for candidacy, students must take both written and oral comprehensive examinations. A public departmental seminar must be presented as part of the final defense of the student's dissertation. The dissertation must embody the results and analysis of an original experimental investigation.

A Multidisciplinary Program

Since scientific problems encountered today are multifaceted and require multidisciplinary approaches, students are expected to acquire a broad background in the physical and life sciences. Doctoral students must complete formal course work in or have equivalent training related to five of the following nine areas: ecology, evolution, physiology, cell and/or molecular biology, developmental biology and embryology, genetics/molecular genetics, microbiology, organismal biology, and systems/computational biology and bioinformatics.

Students are also expected to satisfactorily complete a course or sequence in biometry and any advanced courses designated by their graduate study committees consistent with the chosen area of specialization.

Students must also enroll in three seminar courses approved by their graduate study committees. One of the seminars must be outside the primary area of specialization. Also, every student is required to demonstrate proficiency in teaching by delivering formal course lectures or by conducting instructional laboratories.

Course Catalog

A complete list of courses is available in the UAB Graduate Catalog.

Application Deadlines

Students enter at the beginning Fall semester, with an application deadline of December 15.

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