Ph.D. Program


Students pursuing a Ph.D. are interested in advanced biological research, usually leading to a research and/or teaching career at a university or in industry. Faculty research interests are organized into four areas of research, each corresponding to one of the four different Ph.D. disciplines within the department. Students can choose among any of these programs of research based upon their own interests.

Each student is accepted into one of these disciplines:

Upon entry into the program, students usually perform rotations in two Biology Graduate Faculty laboratories for ~10 weeks each. Students then choose one of the two labs for their dissertation work. In addition to the Graduate Faculty on campus, there are opportunities for collaboration with researchers at Emory University, Georgia Tech, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control. As part of their training, students take 28 hours of graduate classroom coursework, including core courses, electives, seminars and topics courses. In addition, students must complete 60 credit hours of research. By their second year, students should be well on their way to completing their core coursework, as well as engaging in research projects with their major professors.  Following their courses (and usually by the beginning of their third year), students take written and oral qualifying examinations in their concentrations. After passing the exams, a student then forms a dissertation committee, writes a dissertation proposal and focuses on research. Once the research has been completed, students are required to write a dissertation and present findings at a departmental seminar. A common time frame for students to complete the program is four to six years. All Ph.D. students are supported by stipends. The student’s major research professor can also use grant monies to supplement student stipends.

Detailed information about the Ph.D. graduate program is available in: