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Department of Biology
Degree Requirements

See the Biology Graduate Handbook for more detailed information.


All doctoral students are required to take a three course statistics sequence (Biometry, Advanced Biometry & Experimental Design). In addition, each student must select 3 courses from a list of quantitative biology courses (Topics include Advanced Evolution, Behavioral Ecology, Bioenergetics, Image Analysis, Modeling, Population Genetics, Quantitative Physiology, and Theoretical Systematics among others) and are expected to participate in seminar courses that review current literature in specific areas of biology or that include topics such as presentation methods and grant writing. All graduate students must maintain a B (3.0) or better average in their graduate course work.

(See Graduate Courses for a complete listing of current courses offered.)


Doctoral students must take an Oral Comprehensive Exam (an exam of general knowledge of biology) administered by an Examining Committee of five faculty chosen by the student's advisor and the student. The Examining Committee is usually the same as the student's Supervisory Committee. In addition the student must write a Dissertation Research Proposal that is submitted to the Supervisory Committee. The Comprehensive Exam must be passed prior to the Dissertation Proposal Defense and the proposal defense must be completed by the end of the student's fifth semester. The Supervisory committee approves the dissertation and conducts the final defense. The proposal defense allows the committee to evaluate the merit, feasibility, and the student's understanding of and ability to successfully complete the proposed research.

Dissertation and Dissertation Defense

The Dissertation is the culmination of the doctoral candidate's research and scholarly effort and is expected to demonstrate original and independent research that represents a significant scientific contribution. The research is directed by the supervising professor with advice from the five member supervisory committee. The dissertation must ultimately be approved by the supervising professor and the committee. The final Dissertation Defense is a public, oral presentation of the student's research. The defense is primarily concerned with the dissertation research and content but the committee may explore the candidate's knowledge and understanding of core areas related to the dissertation.

Time Limits

All requirements for the doctoral degree including the Dissertation defense must be completed within four years of passing the Comprehensive Examination.

Core Complete: Students who transfer from a Texas community college or university and are certified as core complete shall have satisfied the core requirements of The University of Texas at Arlington. Academic Departments may, in some instances, require specific courses outside the major as prerequisites for major course work.


University of Texas at Arlington, Department of Biology
Box 19498, Arlington, Texas 76019-0498, USA
Phone: 817-272-2872 Fax: 817-272-2855
Mailing Address: Life Science, Room 337
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