Program Requirements

Temple University’s Graduate School provides a “Graduate Bulletin” that describes the details of the graduate application process, and all the requirements necessary for degree completion.  Please click on the Biology Ph.D. Bulletin link to learn more about our department’s doctoral program.  Information about our Masters program can be accessed through the Biology M.S. Bulletin.

Program Overview for Doctoral Students

We have recently implemented new guidelines for incoming Biology doctoral students. Graduate students are encouraged to meet with potential research advisors early in their first semester and begin research rotations in their chosen laboratories.  A depth of knowledge is obtained by the research experience that directly leads to the student’s research thesis.  To assure breadth of knowledge, students are required to take courses from at least three different areas of interest in biology.  Furthermore, doctoral students must take a qualifying examination covering a broad spectrum of topics in the biological sciences at the end of the first academic year.  By the beginning of their 4th semester (year 2), the doctoral candidate should have enough research experience to write a research  proposal towards the completion of the student’s second year.  An examining committee of three Biology Graduate Faculty reviews the written proposal and, if satisfactory, conducts an oral examination on the proposal.  If the oral examination is passed, the Ph.D. student’s status is then elevated to “Ph.D. candidate”.  At this point, a thesis committee is constituted that includes the student’s research advisor.  Formal annual reviews of research progress are expected.  Once the first draft of a doctoral thesis is completed, a formal “Initial Defense of Thesis” is held which includes the thesis committee and an external examiner.  This defense typically results in an explicit plan to complete all research and writing of the doctoral thesis.  After any necessary revisions, a “Final Defense of Thesis” is held.