Please note – this is a summary of requirements for a Ph.D. in Integrative Biology. For complete requirements and details, please refer to the Integrative Biology Policy & Procedures Manual and the Graduate College.
Before 12 months in residence, students must select an Advisory Committee. For students who enter the program during the summer, this 12-month duration starts in August with the beginning of the fall semester. For all other students this 12-month duration starts the first day of the semester in August or January, depending on when the student first started the program. Advisory Committees for Ph.D. students must consist of at least four members of the Graduate Faculty with at least one from outside the department and at least one, the major advisor, from the Department. An adjunct faculty member in the Department can count as a Departmental member.
Plan of Study
Students must complete an approved Plan of Study (see more information here) before 12 months in residence. For students who enter the program during the summer, this 12-month duration starts in August with the beginning of the fall semester. For all other students this 12-month duration starts the first day of the semester in August or January, depending on when the student first started the program.
Proposal and Dissertation Requirements
Students must complete an original research project that is worthy of publication(s) in a refereed journal. A project research proposal must be approved by the student's Advisory Committee within the first 18 months. The completed proposal with the Departmental cover page signed by each member of the student's Advisory Committee must also be placed in the student’s departmental folder within the above time frame. For students who enter the program during the summer, this 18-month duration starts in August with the beginning of the fall semester. For all other students this 18-month duration starts the first day of the semester in August or January, depending on when the student first started the program
Proposal Format. The exact format of the project research proposal should be determined by the student and their Advisory Committee. However, at a minimum, the proposal should follow an NSF or EPA-style narrative that clearly explains the research problem to be addressed, provides a review of relevant literature to support the basis for the study, and provides an overview of general methodology. The proposal should not exceed 30 double-spaced pages, not including literature cited.
Proposal Review. It is expected that students will prepare drafts of their research proposals to allow sufficient time for review and comment by the major advisor and Advisory Committee. It is also expected that faculty will review and return proposals to students in a timely fashion to allow the established deadlines for submission of the proposal to be met.
Advisory Committee Meetings
All graduate students will meet with their Advisory Committee at least once a year until completion of the degree. For students who enter the program during the summer, this 12-month duration starts in August with the beginning of the fall semester. For all other students this 12-month duration starts the first day of the semester in August or January, depending on when the student first started the program.
Approval of the completed Plan of Study and Research Proposal by the Student’s Graduate Advisory Committee advances the student to candidacy for the doctoral degree. The student must submit the “Admission to Candidacy” form to the Graduate College (link to form available in Banner) and place a copy in his/her departmental folder.
Doctoral students must schedule and take the comprehensive exam (both written and oral portions) within 36 months of enrollment in the graduate program. For students who enter the program during the summer, this 36-month duration starts in August with the beginning of the fall semester. For all other students this 36-month duration starts the first day of the semester in August or January, depending on when the student first started the program. The comprehensive exam will be administered by the student's advisory committee and will cover general biological principles as well as the specific research area of the student. Students must demonstrate comprehension of the fundamental principles of evolution and knowledge of the diversity of evidence that supports this unifying theory for the life sciences, and be able to articulate the integrative nature of biological organization. The written portion must be taken and passed before the oral portion can be given. The oral portion should be taken within two weeks of passing the written portion. The doctoral student either passes or fails the written and oral portions as a whole and as the majority of the advisory committee decides. Results of the exam are reported on the departmental “Results of Doctoral Comprehensive Exam” form, with signatures of all members of the student’s advisory committee, and placed into the graduate student’s folder. Students are allowed two opportunities to pass the comprehensive exam. The second attempt may be scheduled no earlier than four months after the first and must be successfully passed within eight months after a failure.
Credit Hour Requirements
The Plan of Study must include the following:
- A minimum total of 60 credit hours.
- A minimum of 3 seminar classes (BIOL 5010 or similar).
- A minimum of 15 hours of dissertation (BIOL 6000).
- A minimum of 25 hours of 5000 or 6000 level courses or seminars, not including BIOL 6000.
- At least 75% of courses (including BIOL 6000) taken at the 5000-6000 level.
Graduate Teaching Associates and Graduate Research Associates must be enrolled in at least 6 credit hours (Fall and Spring) or 2 credit hours (Summer) while they are on assistantship except under the following circumstances. First, students who have advanced to doctoral candidacy may be considered full-time by enrolling in a minimum of 2 credit hours during any semester that they are on assistantship. Second, during the last semester of enrollment when the final defense is administered, students not on assistantships must enroll in at least 2 credit hours.
Graduate Student Folders
All graduate students will have folders (“departmental graduate folders”) held in the Integrative Biology office under the supervision of the Administrative Assistant. These folders will be used by the Graduate Committee as necessary to evaluate student progress in the graduate program and will include application materials (except letters of reference), administrative paperwork (e.g., tuition waiver forms), and the following materials to be placed into the folder by the student: training certificates (e.g., Responsible Conduct of Research, IACUC training), and as appropriate, the signed research proposal, Admission to Doctoral Candidacy form, Results of the Doctoral Comprehensive Exam form, and any other indicators of progress the student wishes to add to the folder. Students may access their folder at any time by requesting it from the Administrative Assistant.
Annual Review of Graduate Students
- All Integrative Biology graduate students will be reviewed annually by the Graduate Committee to track progress, ensure timely completion of program and degree requirements, and provide students with a mechanism of review that is efficient, relevant, and instructive.
- Annual review for all graduate students will cover the preceding calendar year (1 January – 31 December), regardless of when the student entered the Integrative Biology graduate program.
- All students will prepare their annual reviews by following the template provided in Appendix III of the Integrative Biology Policy and Procedures Manual (template also can be found below and as a link on the Department of Integrative Biology website).
- Annual reviews are due no later than the first day of classes each Spring semester. They are to be submitted by email to the Graduate Coordinator and cc’d to the student’s advisor and advisory committee; submitting the annual review in this fashion indicates that the advisor previously has seen and accepts the contents of the student’s submitted annual review.
- The Graduate Committee will evaluate the annual reviews in a timely fashion to ensure satisfactory progress is being made and, in consultation with the student’s graduate advisor, to call attention to achievements worthy of nomination for award/recognition or, when necessary, deficiencies in need of corrective action. Should corrective actions be required and not taken by the student, any resulting negative actions recommended by the Graduate Committee (e.g., loss of assistantship, dismissal from Integrative Biology graduate program) shall be advisory to the Department Head.
-- Revised 15 July 2020