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The discipline of biology is expansive in scope and diverse in approaches to the exploration of the life sciences. Studies span many levels of organization, from the structure of biological molecules and the function of cells to the role of plants, animals, and microbes in natural communities. The process of evolution unites the history of all living organisms and serves as a unifying principle for the biological sciences. The goal of our graduate program is to train students to apply current biological knowledge to problems of scientific or societal interest and to generate new knowledge that will expand the field of biology.

The Department of Biology awards four graduate degrees, the MS and PhD in Biology and the MS and PhD in Ecology. All graduate students are mentored by a major advisor and their progress is overseen by an advisory committee of faculty from within and outside our department. All four degrees involve independent research by the student, as well as the completion and defense of a major written product, either a master’s thesis or a doctoral dissertation. The diversity of research topics and analytical methods applied in the biological sciences requires that each graduate student’s graduate program – a combination of coursework and mentored research -- be tailored to their individual needs. That is accomplished through consultation between the student, the major advisor, and their advisory committee.