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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Department of Biological Sciences
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Department of Biological Sciences
1W14 Jonsson-Rowland Science Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 Eighth Street
Troy, NY 12180-3590

Phone: (518) 276-6446
Fax: (518) 276-2344

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Biology Home Undergraduate Graduate Faculty Research News and Events Contacts
Ph.D. in Biology

Our doctoral program in biology prepares you for research-oriented careers in academia, government, and the private sector.


Learn more about our Biology research opportunities.


The Ph.D. program in Biology features:

  • Immediate immersion in laboratory research rotations
  • Specialized core course covering topics in emerging fields of the life sciences and technology
  • Use of cutting-edge technologies to address important questions in biology
  • Low student-faculty ratio with faculty mentors across departments
  • Development of independent scientific thinking and creativity
  • Integrated career mentoring for professional development
  • Vibrant geographical region with connections between academia and industry

Candidates for the Ph.D. must satisfy the requirements of the graduate program oversight committee (GPOC), pass the qualifying exam and the candidacy exam. The qualifying exam is a written test taken at the end of the second semester. The candidacy exam consists of a written research plan and an oral presentation. The candidacy exam must be taken by the end of the second year (i.e. May 31). A degree candidate also must submit a dissertation based on an original research project. The GPOC requires a high level of performance in selected courses and research, and reports its findings each year of full-time students. Additionally, all doctoral candidates are required to participate in teaching for at least one academic year under the supervision of a faculty member. The student thus gains experience teaching should he or she select an academic career.

For more details, see the Graduate Handbook (PDF).

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Graduate Admissions

If you have questions, please direct them to:

Lee Ligon Chair, Graduate Admissions, or
Graduate Coordinator (

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Department of Biological Sciences