Jun 16, 2024  
2022-2023 Graduate Catalogue 
2022-2023 Graduate Catalogue Archived Catalogue

Integrative, Comparative and Marine Biology, Ph.D.

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Graduate Coordinator: Dr. Stephanie Kamel

The Department of Biology and Marine Biology offers a program of study and research leading to the doctor of philosophy in Integrative, Comparative and Marine Biology. The program provides students with a broad background in targeted areas of biology and marine biology based on the diverse interests of the 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.

Admission requirements

Students will be admitted to the Ph.D. program by a majority vote of the Graduate Advisory Committee (GAC) and the support of a faculty advisor in the Department of Biology and Marine Biology. Under most circumstances, students admitted to the program will have:

  1. A bachelor’s degree in biology or a related discipline from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university or its equivalent at an international institution based on a four-year program.
  2. An overall graduate grade point average of at least 3.0 out of 4.0.
  3. A record of research, applied learning or relevant professional experience.


The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test is not required for admission.

Under certain circumstances, a student in the M.S. biology or marine biology program may, with the support of their faculty advisor, apply to the Ph.D. program rather than completing their M.S. 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.

Documents to be submitted for admission:

All applicants must submit:

  1. An application for graduate admission
  2. Official transcripts of all college work (undergraduate and graduate)
  3. Three recommendation letters by individuals in professionally relevant fields
  4. Curriculum vitae
  5. Statement of Interest for Ph.D. research, including a summary of relevant experience (maximum of three pages)
  6. Copies of any publications (if applicable)
  7. Application and supporting documents must be submitted by the published deadline

Degree Requirements (60 post-baccalaureate credit hours)

  1. The program requires 60 post-baccalaureate credit hours of graduate study.
  2. 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.
  3. A minimum of 24 credit hours of graduate study must be completed in residence.
  4. 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 Ph.D. program.
  5. 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.
  6. All requirements for the degree must be completed within six years after admission to the Ph.D. program.

Additional requirements for the Ph.D. in Integrative, Comparative and Marine Biology

Must complete the following courses:

Elective Credit

In addition to the above requirements, each student, in consultation with their dissertation committee, shall select elective credit sufficient to reach 60 total credit hours that includes graduate courses and research hours (graduate courses numbering 500-699). Graduate courses from other disciplines may also be selected, with approval of the student’s dissertation committee.

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