Sep 30, 2023
Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Stephen Kinsey
The Department of Biology and Marine Biology offers a program of study and research leading to the doctor of philosophy in marine biology. The program provides students with a broad background and overview of the fields comprising marine biology and makes use of the diverse interests of the marine biology faculty within the department. As is generally the case, the Ph.D. program is primarily a research degree. As such, it is intended to serve students with interests in conducting research in academia, industry, and government along with those who intend to become faculty in undergraduate teaching institutions, managers in technology-based industries and policy makers in government. Students will learn the process of identifying, defining and solving an original research problem. The program also includes a teaching practicum with classroom instruction in pedagogical techniques and technologies along with lecture experience under the guidance of a faculty mentor.
Students will be admitted to the Ph.D. program by a majority vote of the Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC) of the Department of Biology and Marine Biology based on eligibility requirements and available resources. Under most circumstances, students admitted to the program will have met the following requirements.
- Received a M.S. degree or equivalent from a regionally accredited university OR, if entering with a B.S., completed all the requirements for the M.S. biology or marine biology degree at UNCW except submission of the bound thesis.*
- An overall graduate grade point average of at least 3.0 out of 4.0.
- A score on the Graduate Record Examination General Test with a target of the 65th percentile or better (average for the verbal, quantitative and analytical writing sections).
- A score of at least 550 on the paper test or 79 on the internet-based Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or a minimum score on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) of 6.5 or 7.0 to be eligible for a teaching assistantship, for applicants whose native language is not English. TOEFL scores are good for two years from the date the test is administered.
*Under certain circumstances, a student may, with the support of his or her faculty advisor, choose to apply to the Ph.D. program before completion of the requirements for the M.S. biology or marine biology degree. Students who choose this path after their first year of core courses and research planning must complete a new application, including letters of recommendation, to enter the Ph.D. program. If accepted, these students would not take their M.S. oral preliminary exam, but would continue on with their study and take the Ph.D. candidacy exam in year three. Students who decide upon a Ph.D. later in their academic career, and who have, thus, already taken their preliminary oral exam, may apply to the Ph.D. program, again with the support of their advisor. Students who choose this path must complete a new application, including letters of recommendation, to enter the Ph.D. program. If accepted, these students may decide to bind a M.S. thesis, or simply continue on with their study and research and take the candidacy exam in year three.
Documents to be submitted for admission:
All applicants must submit:
- An application for graduate admission
- Official transcripts of all college work (undergraduate and graduate)
- Official scores on the Graduate Record Examination (verbal, quantitative, analytical writing and subject test in biology)
- Three recommendations with accompanying letters by individuals in professionally relevant fields, one from the intended faculty mentor.
- Official score on the TOEFL (if applicable). TOEFL scores are good for two years from the date the test is administered.
- Current curriculum vitae
- Detailed summary of M.S. thesis research (maximum of three pages)
- Statement of interest for Ph.D. research (maximum of three pages)
- Reprints or copies of any publications (if applicable)
- Application and supporting documents must be submitted by the published deadline
Degree Requirements (78 post-baccalaureate credit hours)
- The program requires 78 post-baccalaureate (48 post-M.S.) credit hours of graduate study.
- The maximum amount of credit that a Ph.D. student may count toward a doctorate from a master’s degree program is 30 credit hours. This applies whether the master’s degree was earned at UNCW or elsewhere. Six post-M.S. credit hours of credit may be transferred from another regionally accredited institution. Grades earned on transfer work must be equivalent to “B” or better and must be approved by the Graduate Advisory Committee.
- A minimum of 24 credit hours of graduate study must be completed in residence.
- Each student must pass a Candidacy Exam that includes an oral examination based on the student’s dissertation prospectus. The Candidacy Exam should be taken before the beginning of the third year in the PhD program.
- The student must complete and defend a dissertation based on a research program approved by the student’s committee that results in an original, high quality, significant, and substantial body of research.
- All requirements for the degree must be completed within six years after admission to the Ph.D. program (i.e. post-M.S.).
Additional requirements for the Ph.D. in marine biology
- Must have a master‘s degree or must complete courses and research requirements of a master‘s degree program as described above.
- Must complete the following courses:
In addition to the above requirements, each student, in consultation with his/her dissertation committee, shall select a minimum of 24 hours of elective credit that may include graduate courses and research hours (graduate courses numbering 500-699).