Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences

Graduate Studies in Biology

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Department Faculty

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Graduate students in biology at SMU have the opportunity to work with a faculty of nationally prominent researchers and committed teachers. Faculty members have a diverse range of interests in the general areas of cellular and molecular biology, including specialties in biochemistry, development and aging, microbiology, parasitology, and endocrinology, computational biochemistry. Recent publications have appeared in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Journal of Biological Chemistry, Journal of Bacteriology, Developmental Genetics, Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology, Biophysical Journal, Biochemistry and others. The Department of Biological Sciences offers numerous tuition scholarships, teaching assistantships, and faculty research assistantships.

Master of Arts (M.A.)

This degree plan is designed for students who want additional training in Biological Sciences as a prerequisite for professional schools or who seek additional training as secondary teachers. Students are required to complete 30 semester credit hours in Biological Sciences, with at least 12 semester credits earned in 6000-level classes and a research program equivalent to three semester hours in lieu of a thesis. The program typically requires 18 to 24 months to complete, and students must enroll full time for least one academic year in residence at SMU.

Master of Science (M.S.)

This program, which takes approximately two academic years to complete, is designed primarily for students who are research-oriented and who wish to prepare for advanced work at the doctoral level. Degree plan requirements include: completion of 30 semester credit hours of course work, including 18 semester credit hours earned in 6000-level courses and a research project equivalent to three semester credit hours of preparation, presentation, and successful defense of a written research proposal one academic year of full-time enrollment and residency at SMU

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

In general, the Ph.D. program includes academic course work and research training that may be completed in approximately four years. Admission to graduate study leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy does not constitute formal admission to candidacy for the degree. After passing a preliminary examination that includes the defense of a research proposal, Ph.D. candidates devote the major part of their academic effort to the research program and preparation of a dissertation. Specific degree plan requirements include: completion of 60 semester credit hours (as many as 24 semester credit hours may be waived for students with previous graduate work in the life sciences); writing a monograph detailing the area of proposed research and defending it before a faculty committee; completion of a research program under faculty supervision; completion of a qualifying examination, including both written and oral sections; preparation of a dissertation and successfully defend it before an audience that includes a faculty dissertation committee; and meeting a two-year residency requirement as a full-time student at SMU.

Admission Requirements

In general, applicants must meet the minimum requirements set by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies. Typically, accepted students have a 3.00 grade point average (based on a 4.00 scale) in undergraduate and any previous graduate work and/or have earned a combined minimum score of 1200 on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). When English is not the applicants' native language, they also must take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and score a minimum of 550.

Financial Aid

The Department of Biological Sciences offers tuition scholarships, teaching assistantships, and faculty research assistantships awarded on the basis of academic merit. Tuition scholarships are awarded for up to 10 credit hours each semester. Teaching assistantships provide stipends. Some students receive research assistantships as part of a faculty member's research grant, ranging in comparable amounts. In addition, summer research stipends will typically increase total stipends for teaching and research assistants. Financial aid is awarded on a rolling basis. To receive priority consideration, applicants must submit a completed application and all supporting documents, official transcripts (unoffical transcripts acceptable during the admission phase), and GRE scores by February 1.

Deadlines for Admission

Deadline for spring admission is November 30.

Priority deadline for fall admission is February 1. 

Final deadline for fall admission is May 1.

Department Assistantships

All applications to be considered for department assistantships must be completed by the priority deadline of February 1.  Applications received after the February 1 priority deadline will be considered for any unfilled openings.

Note: Applications received after February 1 will be considered for any remaining funds and openings.

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