The Department of Biology and Marine Biology offers a program of study and research leading to the doctor of philosophy in marine biology. The program provides students with a broad background and overview of the fields comprising marine biology and make use of the diverse interests of the marine biology faculty within the department. As is generally the case, the Ph.D. program is primarily a research degree. As such, it is intended to serve students with interests in conducting research in academia, industry, and government along with those who intend to become faculty in undergraduate teaching institutions, managers in technology-based industries and policy makers in government. Students will learn the process of identifying, defining and solving an original research problem. The program also includes a teaching practicum with classroom instruction in pedagogical techniques and technologies along with lecture experience under the guidance of a faculty mentor.
Ph.D. Marine Biology Student Learning Outcomes
- Learning Outcome #1a: A graduate student should be able to develop a research plan.
- Learning Outcome #1b: A graduate student should be able to present and defend a research plan.
- Learning Outcome #2: A graduate student should be able to independently answer questions regarding their research field.
- Learning Objective #3: A graduate student should be able to communicate his or her research to a broadly-trained public audience.
- Learning Objective #4: A graduate student should be able to write up his or her research in the form of a manuscript for publication in a scientific journal.
PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS AND CURRICULUM
Students will be admitted to the Ph.D. program by a majority vote of the Graduate Advisory Council of the Department of Biology and Marine Biology based on eligibility requirements and available resources. Under most circumstances, students admitted to the program will have met the following requirements:
- received a M.S. degree or equivalent from an accredited university
OR, if entering with a B.S., completed all the requirements for the M.S.
Biology or M.S. Marine Biology degree at UNCW except submission of bound thesis.*
- an overall graduate grade point average of at least 3.0 out of 4.0.
- a score on the Graduate Record
Examination General Test with a target of the 65th percentile or better
(average for the verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections).
- a score of at least 550 on the paper version of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a minimum score of 79 on the Internet-based test (TOEFL iBT) is required for applicants
whose native language is not English. A financial responsibility statement must also be submitted.
- an application that outlines the applicant’s academic goals
and identifies a faculty advisor who has indicated a willingness to mentor
- three letters of reference, at least two of which must be from faculty members. All three must be from professionals working in the applicant’s field of interest.
*Under certain circumstances, a student may, with the support of his or her faculty advisor, choose to apply to the Ph.D. program before completion of the requirements for the MS biology or marine biology degree. Students who choose this path after their first year of core courses and research planning must complete a new application, including letters of recommendation, to enter the Ph.D. program. If accepted, these students would not take their M.S. oral preliminary exam, but would continue on with their study and take the Ph.D. candidacy exam in year 3. Students who decide upon a Ph.D. later in their academic career, and who have, thus, already taken their preliminary oral exam, may apply to the Ph.D. program, again with the support of their advisor. Students who choose this path must complete a new application, including letters of recommendation, to enter the Ph.D. program. If accepted, these students may decide to bind a M.S. thesis, or simply continue on with their study and research and take the candidacy exam in year 3.
Documents to be submitted for admission:
All applicants must submit to the Graduate School:
- An application for graduate admission
- Official transcripts of all college work (undergraduate and graduate)
- Official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing)
- Three recommendations with accompanying letters by individuals in professionally relevant field
- Official score on the TOEFL (if applicable)
In addition, students applying who are currently enrolled in a M.S. program or who have completed the M.S. degree must submit the following to the Graduate School:
- Current curriculum vitae
- Detailed summary of M.S. thesis research (maximum of three pages)
- Statement of interest for Ph.D. research (maximum of three pages)
- Reprints or copies of any publications (if applicable)
1. The program requires 78 post baccalaureate (48 post-M.S.) semester hours of graduate study.
2. The maximum amount of credit that a Ph.D. student may count toward a doctorate from a master’s degree program is 30 semester hours. This applies whether the master’s degree was earned at UNCW or elsewhere. Six post-M.S. semester hours of credit may be transferred from another accredited institution. Grades earned on transfer work must be equivalent to “B” or better and must be approved by the Graduate Advisory Committee.
3. A minimum of 24 semester hours of graduate study must be completed in residence.
4. Each student must pass a Candidacy Exam that includes an oral examination based on the student’s dissertation prospectus. The Candidacy Exam should be taken during the second year of residence.
5. The student must complete and defend a dissertation based on a research program approved by the student’s committee that results in an original, high quality, significant, and substantial body of research.
6. All requirements for the degree must be completed within six years after admission to the Ph.D. program (i.e. post-MS).
Additional requirements for all students seeking the Ph.D. in Marine Biology
1. Must have master’s degree or must complete course and research requirements of a master’s degree program as described above.
2. Must complete following courses:
Graduate Seminars in Marine Biology (2 credit hr each; minimum of three required (6)
BIO 601 Oceanography and Environmental Science*
BIO 602 Ecology
BIO 603 Physiology and Biochemistry
BIO 604 Cellular and Molecular Biology
BIO 605 Evolution and Biodiversity
BIO 690 Seminar (1)
BIO 694 Practicum in College Biology Teaching (2)
BIO 699 Dissertation (12)
*Required of all students: Prerequisite: Biological Oceanography (564) or equivalent
In addition to the above requirements, each student in consultation with his/her dissertation committee, shall select a minimum of 27 hours of elective credit that may include graduate courses and research hours (BIO 698).
BIO 601 Oceanography and Environmental Science (2) Prerequisite: BIO 564 or permission of instructor. Topics and methods in biological oceanography and environmental science. Required of all Ph.D. candidates. May be repeated under different subtitles.
BIO 602 Ecology (2) Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Topics and methods in marine ecology. May be repeated under different subtitles.
BIO 603 Physiology and Biochemistry (2) Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Topics and methods in the physiology and biochemistry of marine organisms. May be repeated under different subtitles.
BIO 604 Cellular and Molecular Biology (2) Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Topics and methods in the cellular and molecular biology of marine organisms. May be repeated under different subtitles.
BIO 605 Evolution and Diversity (2) Prerequisite: permission of instructor. Topics and methods in the evolution and diversity of marine organisms. May be repeated under different subtitles.
Along with additional core courses and electives:
Biology 690: Seminar: 1 semester. Required attendance of Departmental Seminar series with one formal presentation of student progress toward research goals.
Biology 694: Teaching practicum: 2 semester hours minimum. Student will teach a portion of a lecture course in a subject area that is related to marine biology and be evaluated and mentored by faculty.
Electives: 15 semester hours minimum. Selected by students with approval of their committees. It will be the responsibility of the doctoral committee to see that each student attains the necessary course work and academic rigor to meet the student’s educational needs. Elective hours may include classroom or research credit hours and may be selected from graduate courses offered at UNCW, UNCCH, NCSU, ECU or Duke University.
Dissertation: 12 semester hours of dissertation research credit after passing candidacy examination.