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Ph.D. in Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences: PH2517

Program Overview

The Biological Sciences Department at Ohio University offers a graduate program that includes faculty from both Biological Sciences and Biomedical Sciences (Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine). 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 Molecular and Cellular 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
  • 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.


Cell, Developmental and Microbiology

The cell, developmental and microbiology program employs molecular and cellular approaches to study biological function. The cell group examines intracellular and intercellular interactions among 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.

Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

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.

Physiology and Neuroscience Program

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.

Graduation Requirements

Also see concentration areas for additional program requirements.

Required Credit Hours

Ninety (90) credit hours are required for the Ph.D. degree, with at least 15 of these hours as formal courses or seminars, and must include at least one statistics course.

Coursework & Seminars

Doctoral students may be required to complete breadth courses depending on their particular Educational Program, in addition to two semesters of supervised teaching before the Ph.D. is granted, even if the student's stipend and tuition is provided by non-program sources that relieve them of teaching.

Candidacy, Qualifying Exam and Dissertation

Admission to Ph.D. candidacy must be achieved within six 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 Ph.D. degree.

Program Mission

The graduate program in the Biological Sciences Department strives to be both flexible and supportive, stressing individualized training and a diverse research environment. The department provides 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.