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Department of Biology






Doctoral Programs



Coastal Resources Management Program (CRM)
 

The Biology Department participates with Departments of Geological Sciences, Geography, Sociology, Political Science, and Maritime Studies, in this interdisciplinary program.  Students choose one of four areas of study (Coastal and Estuarine Ecology, Coastal Geosciences, Social Science and Coastal Policy, Maritime Studies) as their primary focus, and two of the remaining areas as their secondary interests. CRM graduates typically pursue careers in academics, or some aspect of environmental management or policy. Individuals interested in applying and learning more about the CRM program should visit: http://www.ecu.edu/crm/

Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program In Biological Sciences (IDPBS)

The Biology Department partners with the Chemistry Department in this interdisciplinary program. Each IDPBS student is formally affiliated with one Department, and their research is centered in either Biology, or Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Individuals interested in applying and learning more about the IDPBS program should visit: http://www.ecu.edu/idpbs


IDPBS Biology

The Department of Biology’s doctoral degree in the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Biological Sciences (IDPBS), has Experimental Biology as its primary focus.  This concentration is designed to provide interdisciplinary doctoral training in molecular genetics, systematics, and evolution, cellular biology, biochemistry, ecology, and physiology.  Students in this program will receive broad exposure to topics that range across all the life sciences disciplines.  The curriculum emphasizes the study of biological processes at the molecular, cellular, organismal, and community levels.  Students can conduct research in a variety of fields guided by expert faculty who are:

•    Broadly trained evolutionary biologists who are interested in topics ranging from the evolution of genomes to speciation pattern and process.  Computational and methodological approaches to addressing these questions include phylogenetic theory, molecular systematics, genomics, and bioniformatics.

•    Biochemists and cellular biologists interested in basic cell processes including topics such as metabolism, animal physiology, and photosynthetic pathways in plants.

•    Developmental biologists who study the regulation of developmental pathways across metazoans.

•    Ecologists interested in the ecosystem modeling, species interactions, and the mechanisms governing the control of biodiversity in an area.

We invite highly motivated individuals with a commitment to integrating a variety of techniques and viewpoints as they search for solutions to some of biology’s toughest and unique questions.

Financial Support


IDPBS Biology students are guaranteed five years of financial support through a combination of the sources listed below.

Institutional Scholarships.  Scholarships cover tuition and health insurance, and offer a stipend of at least $22,000 per calendar year.  Students may receive up to two years of scholarship support. 

Graduate Assistantships. A Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) covers tuition and health insurance, and provides a stipend of at least $22,000  per calendar year.  GTA’s teach 2 or 3 labs during a semester, depending upon the course.  Duties include assisting in lab preparation, instruction, and administering and grading lab problem sets, quizzes, practicals, or other assignments.

A Graduate Research Assistantship may be provided if the student’s graduate mentor has received external funding through a grant or contract.  The nature of the research and the student’s duties and responsibilities are determined by the mentor.  Research Assistantship awards are typically competitive with that of a Teaching Assistantship.

Timeline for Completion

The table presented below describes the annual program and research goals for IDPBS Biology students assuming a 5 year timeline for completion of all degree requirements. Note that forming the dissertation committee is recommended to occur during the first year, with annual meetings thereafter to keep the committee abreast of progress toward completing the degree. The teaching requirement consists of two semesters as a Graduate Teaching Assistant, and it is recommended this requirement be satisfied during the final 3 years of the program.  The defense of the dissertation proposal (year 2) and the comprehensive exam are separate events, with the proposal defense occurring first.  The format of the comprehensive exam is at the discretion of the committee, but an oral format has been the most common, with the dissertation proposal and the dissertation representing the written portions of the comprehensive assessment.  Students are strongly encouraged to publicize their research findings (e.g. publishing and presenting at professional meetings) early in their training, and to apply for grant/ fellowship / dissertation improvement awards throughout their participation in the program.

Time Program Goals
Research Goals
Year 1
Confirm Mentor Preliminary research/pilot studies
  Form dissertation committee
Begin developing dissertation proposal
 

Meet with Biology Graduate Committee and plan curriculum;affirm curriculum with dissertation committee

Meet with dissertation committee for input on research topic

    Apply for research fellowship(s) / grant(s)
Year 2
Complete minimum curriculum requirements
Dissertation research

Take comprehensive exam Meet with dissertation committee for input on dissertation proposal
  Meet with committee to review progress toward degree
Complete and defend dissertation proposal
    Present research findings at professional meeting
    Apply for research fellowship(s) / grant(s)
Year 3
Satisfy teaching requirement Dissertation research
    Apply for research fellowship(s) / grant(s)
    Submit paper for publication
Year 4
Satisfy teaching requirement
Dissertation research
  Meet with committee to review progress toward degree
Present research findings at professional meeting
    Apply for research fellowship(s) / grant(s)
    Submit paper for publication
Year 5
Satisfy teaching requirement
Dissertation research
  Meet with committee to review progress toward degree
Present research findings at professional meeting
    Submit paper for publication
    Complete and defend dissertation