Are you interested in strengthening your expertise in biology? What are the benefits of interdisciplinary training?

Understanding how living systems work requires an integration of the fields of chemistry, physics mathematics, and the many sub-disciplines of biology, including molecular biology, physiology, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Interdisciplinary training provides skill sets and a perspective vital to the study of biological structure and processes. This training also embodies the collaborative approach now common to research, and provides the opportunity to pursue multiple career paths in the sciences.

ECU's IDP program in biological sciences includes concentrations in biomedicine, biology, and chemistry.

The biomedical science concentration has research opportunities in cancer biology, cell physiology, immunology, reproductive endocrinology, muscle biochemistry, and the biology of bacterial and viral pathogens.

Biology's concentration is designed to provide interdisciplinary doctoral experience in molecular genetics, cell and developmental biology, biochemistry, ecology, physiology, systematics, and evolution. Students in this program will receive broad exposure to topics that range across all the life sciences disciplines.

Chemistry's concentration is designed to provide doctoral education at the interface between chemistry and biology. Students in this program will receive broad exposure to topics in chemistry and other biological sciences. The department has expertise in both the experimental and computational methodologies used to investigate synthesis, structure, function, reaction mechanisms, and molecular dynamics of biologically important macromolecules.

ECU Advantage

The cross-disciplinary and integrative approach of training in the programs is the future of scientific research. Students’ dissertation topics range from cancer research to the subject of climate change.

Approximately $24,000 in assistantship support is available to students in the program. Additional support consists of in-state and out-of-state tuition, and health insurance. Students entering the program are promised support for five years by a combination of teaching and research assistantships and scholarship funding, along with tuition support and health insurance.

What You Will Study

Program Coordinator: Xiaoping Pan (N-108E Howell Science Complex; 252-328-5443; panx@ecu.edu)

Contacts by concentration:

The interdisciplinary biological sciences PhD brings together students and faculty from multiple disciplines to study a broad variety of interesting biological phenomena. The interdisciplinary program is 77-84 s.h., including 11-12 s.h. from the general and molecular/cellular core curricula, at least 48 s.h. from the research core and at least 18 s.h. from a specific concentration. The concentrations are: biology; biomedical science; and chemistry. Other appropriate graduate-level courses may be added by agreement of the research advisor, graduate program director, and the IDPBS advisory committee. A complete listing of courses for each concentration, and additional program information, is available at the program website (www.ecu.edu/idpbs/).

Core Curriculum
    General Core - 8 s.h.
    • BISC 8815 - Seminar in Biological Sciences (1 s.h., taken 3 times) - 3 s.h. or
    • BIOL 8815 - Seminar in Biological Sciences (1 s.h., taken 3 times) - 3 s.h. or
    • CHEM 8815 - Seminar (1 s.h., taken 3 times) - 3 s.h.

    • HUMS 7004 - Ethics and Research: Humanities and Basic Medical Sciences

    • BIOL 7900 - Ecological Statistics or
    • BIOS 7022 - Biostatistics for Health Professionals II or
    • PSYC 6430 - Statistics and Research Design or
    • PHAR 7777 - Practical Problems in Biometry
    Molecular/Cellular Core - 3-4 s.h.

    Choose 3-4 s.h. from the following

    • ANAT 7202 - Molecular Cell Biology
    • BIOC 7301 - Biochemistry I
    • BIOC 7310 - Molecular Biochemistry
    • BIOL 7480 - Cell Biology
    • BIOL 7481 - Cell Biology Laboratory
    • BIOL 7870 - Molecular Genetics
    • CHEM 6535 - Special Topics in Physical Chemistry
    • MCBI 7410 - Molecular Cell Biology
    Research Core - 43-57 s.h.

    Must complete the minimum hours specified in each of the three courses below:

      3-6 s.h.
      • BISC 8810 - Methods and Techniques in Experimental Biological Sciences or
      • BIOL 8810 - Methods and Techniques or
      • CHEM 8810 - Methods and Techniques
      10-15 s.h.
      • BISC 8830 - Introduction to Research or
      • BIOL 8830 - Introduction to Research or
      • CHEM 8830 - Introduction to Research
      30-36 s.h.
      • BIOL 9000 - Dissertation Research or
      • BISC 9000 - Dissertation Research or
      • CHEM 9000 - Dissertation Research or
      • PATH 9000 - Dissertation Research
    Concentration - 15-20 s.h.:

    (See program director for concentration requirements.)

    For more information about this degree visit the university's academic catalogs.

    Careers With This Degree

    Graduates with this degree are successful in many fields and careers, including the following:

    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences
    • Life Scientists
    • Biological Science Teachers, Postsecondary
    • Scientific and Technical Services
    • Biological and Biomedical Sciences

    Career Opportunities

    ECU has developed resources to help you learn more about career opportunities and job market outlook. In addition, the websites below provide specific information on careers in the various majors from which students may choose:

    NC Tower

    This website provides graphs and tables of in-depth information on employment rates, wages and ongoing higher education enrollment of graduates from the North Carolina Community College System and from the University of North Carolina system schools. NC Tower includes data on former UNC students who are working in roughly 90% of all jobs in North Carolina. This database excludes information for graduates who are:

    • Self-employed;
    • Work for the federal government, including the military: or
    • Work outside of North Carolina.

    US Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook

    This website also provides in-depth information regarding pay, projected new jobs, required education, growth rate and on-the-job training information on various occupations.

    Degree-specific internships

    For information on internship information for specific majors, go to the home page of the department in which the major is located and, as available, find the link to the information on internships in that major.