Ph.D. Program

The Department of Biology offers a Doctor of Philosophy degree in quantitative biology with research emphasis in Genome Biology & Genetics, Cell Biology, Ecology & Systematics, or Microbiology. The doctoral program is designed to train students to apply sophisticated quantitative techniques to solving basic and applied problems in biology. Students in this program will attain substantially greater quantitative skills than in traditional doctoral programs in the biological sciences, providing them with a competitive advantage in business, industry, government, and academia.

The University Catalog contains all UTA admission requirements for the Department of Biology Ph.D. program.

How to Apply

First, read the general instructions for applying to the graduate program and download the checklists available on the Office of Graduate Studies webpage: www.uta.edu/admissions/graduate/apply

International applicants have specific requirements, and a separate admissions checklist, available here: https://www.uta.edu/admissions/apply/international-graduate 

The text below contains additional information requested by the Department of Biology.

ALL APPLICATIONS ARE REVIEWED ON THE FOLLOWING SCHEDULE:

  • For entrance in the Fall semester
    For full consideration, please submit all application materials by December 1 (e.g., December 1, 2020 for Fall 2021 entry). Applicants are notified of admissions decision typically in late December through March.

  • For entrance in the Spring semester
    Completed applications will be under review starting September 15 (e.g., September 15, 2021 for Spring 2022 entry). Applicants are notified of admissions decision typically in the September through November time frame.

Questions? Please contact : askbiology@uta.edu 

ADMISSION REQUIREMENTS

Students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in the Department of Biology must apply to either the “B.S. to Ph.D. track” or the “Ph.D. program”, with the corresponding prerequisites:

B.S. to Ph.D. track: A bachelor's degree in biology, or a bachelor's degree in some other discipline with at least 12 hours of advanced level coursework (junior or senior level courses) in biology. This is the Ph.D. track designed for students with a B.S and without master’s degree, which tends to be the majority of applicants.

Ph.D. program: This track is for students that already have a master's degree in biology, or at least 30 hours of graduate level coursework in biology. A minimum undergraduate GPA of 3.0 (4.0 scale), as calculated by the Graduate School, is expected. An applicant's GPA in science courses will be taken into consideration. If an applicant has a master's degree, the GPA from their master's degree will also be considered. For applicants with up to 30 hours of graduate coursework but no master's degree, the GPA from those hours will be also be taken into consideration.

GRE: A satisfactory score on the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). Successful students tend to have a minimum combined score of 301 on the Verbal and Quantitative sections under the new scoring system (1100 old scoring system), with strong performance on the Quantitative section of the GRE.

Application, scores, and transcripts: Your online application will include instructions for uploading transcripts, test scores, and any other required materials. 

International students: Students whose native language is not English must provide a score on the Test of Spoken English (TSE) of at least 45, a minimum score of 23 on the Speaking portion of the TOEFL iBT exam or a minimum score of 7 on the Speaking portion of the IELTS exam. See the following website for complete details: https://www.uta.edu/admissions/apply/international-graduate

Letters of recommendation: Three letters of recommendation are required for admission to the program. Ideally one or two letters should come from professors or instructors who can speak to your academic abilities; others may come from employers or other individuals who can comment on your work ethic and potential for graduate study. Letters should be emailed directly from the letter writer to biology_PhD_LOR@uta.edu. If you have questions regarding letters of recommendation, please email askbiology@uta.edu and include your UTA ID #, provided within your online application.

Letter of intent: Please email a Letter of Intent to the Graduate Program Assistant (sarah.giberman@uta.edu) and include the following information:

  • Indicate that you are seeking the Ph.D. degree in Quantitative Biology
  • Tell us which research track you are interested in: Genome Biology & Genetics, Cell & Developmental Biology, Ecology & Systematics, or Microbiology
  • Provide names of the faculty member(s) whom you hope will supervise your dissertation, and note if you have directly corresponded with any of these faculty directly, and if they have specifically invited you to apply to work in their lab.
  • Identify if you wish to be admitted directly to a single faculty member’s laboratory (and identify this faculty member), or indicate that you are interested in a lab rotation (in 2-3 labs). If interested in a lab rotation, please also indicate which faculty members’ labs are of interest, and if you have been in contact these faculty and they agreed to invite you to rotate in their labs if you are accepted into the program.

Your letter will be forwarded to the faculty members you indicate, but you should also contact those faculty members directly to determine if s/he is taking new students and has the resources to support your research – please also include this information in your Letter of Intent, and you may update your letter of intent with further information if needed (by emailing the Graduate Program Assistant (sarah.giberman@uta.edu). During your first semester you will join/rotate through one or two labs that you are interested in and that are currently recruiting students. If no fit is found during your first semester, you have the option of rotating through additional labs the second semester.

Please visit the listed faculty pages to find faculty research that you might be interested in and contact those faculty members to assess whether they are taking students, and if they would be interested in you applying to work in their lab as either a direct applicant or as a rotation student. In addition to the faculty listed on our website, we are hiring new faculty this year with research interests across all of our major disciplines: genomics and genetics, microbiology and molecular biology, and global change/ecology and evolution. As soon as these new hires become official, the new faculty will be added to our website. We feel confident that you will find an exciting and dynamic dissertation lab to join.

Funding opportunities: Ph.D. students are not admitted to the graduate program without financial support in the form of Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs), funded by the department, or Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs), funded by grants to individual faculty members. Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. In general, there are more assistantships available for the fall semester than the spring semester. All Ph.D. students enrolled full-time and receiving an assistantship are eligible for in-state tuition regardless of residence. The UTA Graduate Dean’s office awards small fellowships to outstanding new students.

Areas of research: Genome Biology & Genetics, Cell & Developmental Biology, Ecology & Systematics, or Microbiology

Career opportunities: Students who complete the Ph.D. program often go into academia, biotechnology, biomedical industries, government research, or positions in research institutes. More information is available in the UTA Graduate Catalog.

Checking the status of your application: You can check your application and admissions status through the MyMav student portal, where you can also review if you have any missing items needed to complete your application.  CHECK YOUR STATUS IN MYMAV. To confirm receipt of letters of recommendation, first check with your recommenders before contacting the Graduate Program assistant at sarah.giberman@uta.edu. Please include your UTA ID #, available via MyMav, in any correspondence with the Biology Department.

Financial Support

Funding Opportunities: Ph.D. students are not admitted to the graduate program without financial support in the form of Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs), funded by the department, or Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs), funded by grants to individual faculty members. Assistantships are awarded on a competitive basis. In general, there are more assistantships available for the fall semester than the spring semester. All Ph.D. students enrolled full-time and receiving an assistantship are eligible for in-state tuition regardless of residence. The UTA Graduate Dean’s office awards small fellowships to outstanding new students.

Areas of research: Ecology and Systematics; Genome Biology and Genetics; Cell Biology; Microbiology and Molecular Biology.

Career opportunities: Students who complete the Ph.D. program often go into academia, biotechnology, biomedical industries, government research, or positions in research institutes. More information is available in the UTA Graduate Catalog. 

Lab Rotations

The UTA Biology Department has a wealth of great research labs, and choosing a lab can be difficult. About half of entering students join a single lab as a direct admission. The other portion of students decide to rotate in multiple labs their first year. If several labs are of interest to you, consider signing up for lab rotations your first semester. Our lab rotation option allows you to experience multiple labs before making a final decision. However, please be sure to reach out to at least two potential rotation faculty to be sure they are able and interested in taking students for rotation. In your letter of intent (see How To Apply above), inform the Biology Department which labs are of interest to you (list up to three labs), and note which faculty have agreed to host you as a lab rotation student if you are accepted.

  • If you are only interested a single lab and are applying to UTA with the intention of joining that lab, please tell us that and open a dialog with the principal investigator of the lab early in your application process. Please also include whether you have been invited to apply by a particular faculty member in your letter of intent.
  • For those students opting for a lab rotation, your letter of intent will be forwarded to the faculty members you indicate, but you should also contact those individuals directly to determine if they are taking new students and have the resources to support your research. During your first semester you will join/rotate through up to three labs in which you are interested and that are currently recruiting students. If no fit is found during your first semester, you have the option of rotating through additional labs in your second semester. Please visit the listed faculty pages to find faculty research that you might be interested in and contact those faculty members to set up a rotation. We feel confident that you will find an exciting and dynamic dissertation lab to join. 

BIOLOGY GRADUATE HANDBOOK [PDF]

The Biology Graduate Handbook is currently under revision. Up-to-date information regarding the PhD in Biology is available in the UTA Graduate Catalog. Questions regarding the Biology graduate program should be emailed to askbiology@uta.edu .