Biology PhD

Gain a research-oriented degree in biology with study in one of many specializations through the Biology PhD in the College of Science and Technology. PhD students usually receive funding for their degree with either a teaching or research assistantship and a tuition waiver.

During your first year, you may choose a research group to join immediately or else perform up to three rotations through different research groups before settling on the lab you wish to join. Once admitted to candidacy, you’ll pursue specialized research towards completion of your degree.

Different areas of specialization and research offered by the department include

Learn more about core faculty members who work in each of these disciplines.

Coursework is interdisciplinary and students are encouraged to participate in research across other fields, including biochemistry, chemistry, computer science, ecology, environmental science, engineering, mathematics and physics. Doctoral candidates perform innovative research in many of the College of Science and Technology’s cutting-edge centers and facilities, including

  • the Center for Biodiversity, focused on the conservation, education and research of species and their impact on the environment; 
  • the Center for Biophysics and Computational Biology, an interdisciplinary center that explores theoretical and experimental research to define problems in the evolution of proteins, molecular recognition and structural biology; and
  • the Sbarro Health Research Organization, where genetic research investigates treatments and cures to chronic illnesses such as cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.  

Learn more about the Department of Biology’s research centers and facilities. 

Program Requirements

Doctoral candidates have seven years to complete the required courses and examination and a dissertation. All candidates must fulfill the following requirements for successful completion of the Biology PhD degree. 

  • The preliminary examination is designed to test a student’s understanding of biological phenomena, specific research areas and scientific writing. The preliminary examination is comprised of 
    • an original research proposal, a 15- to 20-page proposal that introduces a research problem and the student’s methodological plan for investigating the problem, and
    • the oral examination, which is administered after a student’s research proposal has been approved and tests a student’s understanding of the background and substance of the research proposal. (If a student’s research proposal is not approved, the student is considered to have not passed the oral examination.)
  • The doctoral dissertation is an original, empirical study that demonstrates a student's knowledge of research methods and mastery of the primary area of research. All dissertation research is conducted under the guidance of the Doctoral Advisory Committee.
  • The final dissertation defense is the culminating event for Biology PhD candidates. Students must successfully pass the dissertation defense for completion of the Biology PhD degree.  

All Biology PhD candidates must have experience teaching at Temple for a minimum of two semesters. This requirement can be satisfied through teaching assistantships in the Department of Biology.

Learn more about the Biology PhD degree requirements. 

Classes & Curriculum

Following coursework in the first one to two years, you'll advance to candidacy and engage in research opportunities across the many labs and disciplines represented by faculty members. Doctoral students will undertake a preliminary examination, as well as an original dissertation, to demonstrate their knowledge of research methods and mastery of their primary research area.

The Biology PhD curriculum requires 36 credit hours, including 15 hours of graduate seminar courses. Some of these courses include

  • Analytical Biotechnology, 
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience, 
  • Contemporary Biology, 
  • General Biochemistry, and 
  • Evolutionary Genetics Genomics. 

Learn more about required courses for the Biology PhD. 

Related Graduate Degrees

Related Graduate Certificates

Tuition & Fees

In keeping with Temple’s commitment to access and affordability, this Doctor of Philosophy program offers a competitive level of tuition with multiple opportunities for financial support.

Tuition rates are set annually by the university and are affected by multiple factors, including program degree level (undergraduate or graduate), course load (full- or part-time), in-state or out-of-state residency and more.

These tuition costs apply to the 2017–2018 academic year.

Pennsylvania resident: [node:field_tuprog_tuition_resident] per credit
Out-of-state: [node:field_tuprog_tuition_nonresident] per credit

Learn more about our tuition and fees.


Additional Program Information