Ph.D. Programs in Biology

The University at Albany Doctoral Degree in Biology provides the advanced multidisciplinary education required for successful careers in today’s research, teaching, government, and industrial environments. Many alumni now hold faculty positions in other universities as well as key positions in biotechnology companies and government agencies.

Two core areas comprise this Ph.D. degree program in biology:

  • Molecular, Cellular, Developmental and Neural Biology (MCDN).In studying systems that range from bacteria and viruses to mammals, students gain multidisciplinary expertise while taking advantage of MCDN’s significant strengths: close collaborations with principal investigators and other leading faculty, exceptional teaching opportunities, state-of-the-art facilities, and lasting career connections. Many professors in the program are recognized for their research in biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, RNA biology, and neuroscience. Research collaborations also exist with other respected institutions, such as the Wadsworth Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), and Albany Medical Center, located near the campus in upstate New York.
  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB)In this core area, doctoral degree students in biology pursue a wide range of research activities, which span research about fundamental questions in evolutionary biology to research into the most challenging environmental questions of our time. Several faculty members are distinguished for their research in such fields as aquatic ecology, ecosystem organization, genetic mechanisms of adaptation, and biological invasions.  Doctoral student research projects are diverse ranging from population dynamics theory to freshwater ecology to the evolutionary ecology of disease. Openings in the EEB program are currently limited; please contact Ing-Nang Wang before applying.
What Students Say…
  • “The department encourages collaborations within and outside the department, which allows graduate students to broaden their scope of thinking.”
  • “It has been a great first year where I have been able to meet many inspiring individuals, both faculty and students, who have generously helped me with their advice and guidance.”
  • “ research experience has been extremely rewarding.”
  • “...continuing my education was necessary to explore my own ideas and questions in the field”
  • “I felt very fortunate that the RNA Institute was opening, and the Life Sciences Research Building at UAlbany was quite impressive.”
  • “I was able to try different types of research working with different model organisms and methodologies”
  • “The location of the university and the opportunities for collaborations with different departments and institutions is a major attraction.”

What to Expect

  • The first year immerses you immediately in a professional scientific environment: you will take core courses, gain experience as a teaching assistant, and begin research with the faculty within MCDN. In EEB, you will immediately begin working with your faculty advisor.
  • During the second year, you choose a permanent research adviser in the MCDN program. In preparing your Ph.D. dissertation, you are expected to develop an original and significant research program. You will also keep abreast of current scientific literature through specialized courses and active participation student activities in your core area.
  • After graduation, you will be prepared to pursue a successful career in a variety of fields: research, academia, industry, government, or other areas.

To learn more, please read our detailed program description.

Available Courses in Biology

  • Bio 504 - Cell Biology I
  • Bio 505 - Cell Biology II
  • Bio 511 - Population Genetics
  • Bio 513 - Modern Use of Light Microscopy
  • Bio 514 - Biotechnology Laboratory
  • Bio 515a - Responsible Conduct and Skills in Research
  • Bio 515b - Responsible Conduct and Skills in Scientific Communication
  • Bio 517a - Current Literature in Forensic Biology I 
  • Bio 521 - Cell and Molecular Developmental Neurobiology
  • Bio 523 - Biochemistry and Biomolecular Structure
  • Bio 524 - Advanced Molecular Biology
  • Bio 527 - Grazing in Terrestrial Ecosystems
  • Bio 540 (Sta 569) - Principles of Bioinformatics
  • Bio 541 - Molecular Neurobiology
  • Bio 544 - Issues in Landscape Conservation and Land Use Policy

Approved Courses in Other Departments

  • Chm 540A&B - Comprehensive Biochemistry
  • Chm 541A&B - Biophysical Chemistry for Biochemical Science 
  • Bms 606 - Biology of Model Organisms 
  • Bms 610 - Microbial Pathogenesis 
  • Bms 612 - Neuroanatomy and Nervous System Disorders
  • Bms 640 - Cellular Dynamics 
  • Bms 663 - Mammalian Molecular Genetics

Next Steps

To see requirements for admission and for receiving a Ph.D. in Biology please see the Graduate Bulletin's requirements page. Find out about financial support available to PH.D. students. To find out more about applying, visit our How to Apply page.

For specific application deadlines, please see the Requirements and Deadlines page for the Biology Ph.D. on the Graduate Education web site. Note that applications for the Spring semester, while considered, are discouraged due to the nature of the first-year curriculum.

All applications to graduate programs are handled by the Office of Graduate Education. To find out more about the process of applying to graduate programs at the University at Albany, please see the Step-by-Step instructions for applying on the Graduate Education web site.