Jun 25, 2024  
2009-2011 Graduate Catalog 

Biological Sciences Ph.D.

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Degree Requirements

Specific degree requirements, including those listed below, are described in detail in the School of Life Sciences’ on-line Graduate Student Handbook http://sols.unlv.edu/current.html.

  1. Doctoral students are required to complete a minimum of 60 credit hours beyond their undergraduate degree, unless they are entering the program with a master’s degree from another institutuion (see below). At least 36 of these hours (18 for a student with an awarded M.S. degree) must be completed at the 700-level. All students are expected to take:
    BIOL 701 - Ethics in Scientific Research , preferably during their first year in residence. All students must also take at least six (6) credits of:
    BIOL 796 A-D - Graduate Seminar  and at least six (6) credits of:
    BIOL 799 - Dissertation  during their residency in the Program. BIOL 799 may be repeated for credit as needed, but only 18 credits may be counted towards the 60 credit hour minimum graduation requirement.
  2. In addition to the aforementioned general requirements, students must complete the specific course work required by the Section (e.g., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Microbiology, and Integrative Physiology) to which they belong. See SoLS’s Graduate Student Handbook http://sols.unlv.edu/current.html for specific requirements.
  3. Students may request a maximum of 15 graduate credits taken at UNLV prior to admission into SoLS’s Graduate Program to be counted towards the 30 credit hour minimum graduation requirement, provided that those credits were not used to fulfill undergraduate requirements and that a minimum grade of “B” (3.00) was earned in each course.
  4. Students entering the Doctoral Program with an M.S. degree from another institution must complete at least 30 credit hours at UNLV. The reduction from the 60-credit minimum will only occur if course work completed for the M.S. degree is relevant to the student’s doctoral degree, and as such the completed work must be unanimously approved by the student’s research advisory committee for the reduction to be granted. No Thesis or Dissertation units can be applied toward the reduction of the 60-credit minimum.
  5. Students should register for at least nine (9) credits each semester if they are receiving financial support from the School; otherwise they must register for at least six (6) credits each semester. Students working on their dissertation must register for at least three (3) credits each semester (excluding summer) until the Dissertation is completed and given final approval.
  6. Students must confer with their Dissertation Advisor prior to enrollment in their first semester. The Advisor will assist with designing an initial graduate degree program (i.e., an outline of the courses that the student will complete for the degree), engage in discussions about possible research directions, and introduce the student to the personnel and resources of the School of Life Sciences.
  7. The student must form an Advisory Committee before the end of his/her first semester in the Graduate Program. This Committee will be composed by the Dissertation Advisor (who will serve as the Committee Chair), two members of SoLS’s Graduate Faculty, and a Graduate Faculty Representative from UNLV (outside of SoLS). Students are encouraged to include a fifth Committee member who is an expert on the student’s field of research. This fifth Committee member can have an academic affiliation outside of UNLV.
  8. Students must meet with their Advisory Committee at least once every year (i.e., from January to October), and a written report of this meeting must be submitted to SoLS’s Graduate Operations Committee by November 1.
  9. The Advisory Committee will review the student’s past academic background and, taking into consideration the student’s research interests, determine his/her definitive graduate degree program.
  10. Students must comply with the deadlines indicated in SoLS’s Graduate Student Handbook http://sols.unlv.edu/current.html for submitting required paperwork to the Graduate College.
  11. Students must take the comprehensive examination before the end of their fifth semester of residency in the Graduate Program. The exam must be held at least three (3) weeks before the last day of instruction of any given term. The exam will include both a written and an oral component, and will assess whether the student has reached the appropriate level of knowledge and analytical skills necessary for his/her field of study. The examination is developed or administered by the Doctoral Advisory Committee or an ad hoc Committee composed of Graduate Faculty within the Section to which the student belongs. See SoLS’s Graduate Student Handbook http://sols.unlv.edu/current.html for information on the possible outcomes of the exam. Students who fail to pass the exam within the specified timeline will be withdrawn from the Program and separated from the Graduate College.
  12. Doctoral students are advanced to candidacy after passing their comprehensive examination and successfully completing a minimum of 36 credits required by the Section to which they belong. Specific curricular requirements for each SoLS Section are described in detail in SoLS’s Graduate Student Handbook http://sols.unlv.edu/current.html.
  13. Each doctoral student should teach for a minimum of two semesters in the undergraduate curriculum of the School of Life Sciences. During that time the student will receive a Graduate Teaching Assistantship.
  14. A student will be placed on academic probation if a minimum 3.00 grade point average is not maintained in all work taken as part of the graduate degree program. A grade of “C” or less in two graduate-level classes will cause a student to be placed on academic probation.
  15. The Ph.D. candidate will present a seminar on his/her dissertation work that is open to all interested parties, including the general public. This public seminar will be widely advertised at least seven (7) days before it takes place, and will be followed by an oral defense of the dissertation research before the Advisory Committee and any other Graduate Faculty member who wishes to attend.
  16. Students are expected to complete all the requirements for the Ph.D. degree in 5-6 years.

Doctoral students may be withdrawn from the Program and separated from the Graduate College if they fail to fulfill any of the requirements for their degree within the specified timeline. See SoLS’s Graduate Student Handbook http://sols.unlv.edu/current.html for specific requirements.

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